The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has received another P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft during a ceremony in Seattle, US.

The arrival of the latest P-8A Poseidon marks another milestone in the programme to improve Australia’s maritime security.

Australia Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said: “The P-8A Poseidon aircraft is a cutting-edge aircraft that will conduct tasks, including anti-submarine warfare, maritime and overland intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and support to search and rescue missions.

“The arrival of the latest aircraft provides the government with enhanced flexibility to support multiple operations and will play an important role in maintaining border security.”

The P-8A Poseidon aircraft will complete its verification and validation flying in the US before joining the rest of the fleet at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia.

The P-8A aircraft and MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) are intended to replace the AP-3C Orion fleet.

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By GlobalData

The RAAF is acquiring 12 P-8A maritime patrol aircraft. Ten of these aircraft are already operating at the Edinburgh base while the remaining two are anticipated to arrive by January.

Australian Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price stated that the programme is creating local jobs providing opportunities for domestic small businesses.

Price said: “The Morrison Government is committed to creating jobs in our defence industry, and this project is directly creating 120 jobs in South Australia.

“Already, more than 4,000 Aussies have contributed to the broader infrastructure build at RAAF Base Edinburgh where the aircraft will be located. Australian small businesses will have opportunities to get involved in sustaining these aircraft.”

The first P-8A arrived in Canberra in November 2016. The Boeing-built aircraft has an internal fuel capacity of almost 34t and supports air-to-air refuelling with the KC-30A MRTT.

Based on Boeing B737, the aircraft can also support anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.