Australia’s new maritime surveillance aircraft the P-8A Poseidon has achieved Initial Operating Capability (IOC), five months ahead of the original schedule.
FILE PHOTO: A RAAF P-8A Poseidon passes HMAS Darwin in the South China Sea. Photo by Leading Seaman Peter Thompson.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Marise Payne, congratulated Air Force and CASG on the significant milestone that has been achieved.
“Together the P-8A Poseidon and the future MQ-4C Triton aircraft will provide Australia with one of the world’s most advanced maritime patrol and surveillance capabilities,” Minister Payne said.
“P-8A is a very capable and effective successor to the AP-3C Orion, which will soon retire from the role after nearly 40 years of distinguished service.
“Poseidon will improve Defence’s ability to conduct anti-submarine warfare, maritime patrol and surveillance of Australia’s maritime approaches.”
Chief of Air Force Air Marshal Leo Davies said declaring IOC was a significant milestone because the P-8A is a fundamental element of Australian Defence Forces future maritime strategy.
“The arrival of the P-8A has allowed Air Force, under Plan Jericho, to develop and evolve new operating concepts, support arrangements and sustainment options,” Air Marshal Davies said.
“These will best exploit the P-8A’s sensors and networking as part of integrated Navy and Air Force integrated Maritime Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Family of Systems.
“Acquisition of the P-8A represents a $5 billion investment in Australia’s maritime patrol capability and along with the MQ-4C Triton, will be a very capable and effective successor to the AP-3C Orion.”
To date, six of Australia’s 12 P-8As have arrived in Australia.
They are operated by Number 11 Squadron from RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia.