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The US Navy has agreed an advanced acquisition contract for the first four of up to 12 Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft being bought by Australia, with delivery expected from 2017.
The Australian government approved the Aus$4 billion ($3.7 billion) acquisition of eight of the 737-derived aircraft – plus options for four more – in February, allowing Boeing to place lead time orders for the first four aircraft. They are being purchased from the US government under the Foreign Military Sales program.
The aircraft will replace the Royal Australian Air Force’s fleet of Lockheed Martin AP-3C Orions, and a decision on the four options is expected to be made once a government white paper is released in 2015. All eight agreed aircraft are expected to be delivered by 2018 and fully operational by 2021.