The US Department of Defence (DoD) has issued a contract to Boeing on the 29 February 2024, which will supply 14 P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to the Royal Canadian Air Force.

In addition, Boeing will also provide three Poseidon aircraft to Germany under this $3.4bn deal, bringing the number of aircraft to be delivered by March 2028 to 17 units.

While currently undefinitised, Boeing – the original equipment manufacturer of Poseidon – will deliver 17 of the latest Lot 13 units. Canada will transition to the new Poseidon fleet from its 14 existing P-3C Orion aircraft, which are approaching the 50-year mark of active service by the end of this decade.

Poseidon is a multi-mission patrol and reconnaissance aircraft used to conduct long-range maritime and littoral operations as well as search and rescue missions. It has intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare capabilities.

The aircraft is 129.5 feet (ft) long and 42.1ft high with a wingspan of 123.6ft. Its internal weapons bay is installed beneath the forward section of the fuselage, while the wings are built with hardpoints for carrying air-to-surface missiles.

At the time of award, the Candian Ministry of Defence issued a press release detailing that its modernisation plans mark an “historic recapitalisation” of the Air Force fleet unseen since the Second World War.

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These efforts extend to the procurement of 16 Poseidon units in December 2023, 88 F-35A Lightning II fighter jets, 11 MQ-9 uncrewed remotely piloted aircraft systems, and 9 CC-330 Husky Multi-Role Tanker and Transport aircraft.

Notably, of the 150 force employment missions that its utility aircraft typically carry out in a year, more than one-third of them are to transport personnel such as senior military officers.