Boeing Australia has been awarded a $43.4m (A$60m) contract to provide maintenance services for the P-8A Poseidon fleet at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Edinburgh.

Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton said: “The P-8A Poseidon is one of the most advanced maritime patrol and response platforms in the world.

“This new contract with Boeing Australia to maintain the Poseidon fleet is an important contribution to Defence’s mission.

“It brings heavy maintenance work to Australia that would otherwise have been performed in the United States.”

The aircraft serves as a key part of Australia’s future maritime patrol and response strategy.

The RAAF took delivery of its first P-8A aircraft in 2016 and all 12 aircraft were delivered by 2019.

In 2020, the Australian Government approved the purchase of two additional aircraft, taking the total units in the fleet to 14.

In September this year, the RAAF’s fleet of P-8A Poseidon fleet successfully completed an extensive modification programme.

The government has also awarded a contract for 36 South Australian-made specialist Automatic Load Handling Systems (ALHS).

Worth $14.2m (A$19.7m), the ALHSs are for use on the Australian Defence Force’s fleet of HX77 Medium Heavy vehicles.

The systems are produced by Supashock in partnership with Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles Australia.

Australian Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said that the contracts contribute to the country’s continued advanced capability development and maintenance.

Price said: “These new contracts will see an additional 21 jobs created at Supashock and 37 at Boeing Australia, as well as supporting more than 100 jobs throughout Australia’s broader defence industry supply chain.”