Boeing has clinched a $139.5m (A$215m) contract to revamp the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon fleet.

The deal, set to last four years, will see Boeing implement Increment 3 Block 2 software, systems, and sensor upgrades. 

The Royal Australian Air Force currently has twelve active P-8A maritime patrol aircraft in its fleet. According to GlobalData’s intelligence on the Australian defence market, the units were procured from Boeing between 2016 and 2019. 

The upgrades come as geopolitical tensions continue to simmer in the Indo-Pacific region, with maritime security emerging as a top priority for Australia. By investing in enhancements for its P-8A Poseidon aircraft, Australia aims to ensure optimal mission capability, with the attainment of Initial Operating Capability slated for June 2028.

According to GlobalData’s “The Global Military Fixed Wing Aircraft Market 2023-2033” report, in recent years, Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon has emerged as a preferred choice for several navies worldwide maritime patrolling requirements.

Notably, the contract entails the creation of approximately 50 new jobs, injecting vitality into South Australia’s aerospace industry. Among these roles are opportunities for apprenticeships and supply chain traineeships, paving the way for the region’s skill development and employment growth.

Boeing’s commitment to local workforce development is exemplified by its partnership with South Australia’s Flight One Academy, where new employees will undergo training to equip them for the task ahead. These workers will join the existing workforce at RAAF Base Edinburgh.

The first two aircraft are set to undergo upgrades in Jacksonville, Florida, before the remainder is completed in South Australia, so the contract is poised to generate more than 300,000 hours of maintenance work.

As two additional P-8As are expected for delivery to the RAAF in the coming years, the upgrade contract could be extended beyond its initial end date in 2030, underlining the enduring partnership between Boeing and Australia in safeguarding the nation’s maritime interests.

In other Boeing-Australia developments, Boeing has commenced the construction of a production hub for the MQ-28 Ghost Bat unmanned aircraft.