NAS Patuxent River August 15, 2014 - The U.S. Navy announced Aug. 14 the award, to Boeing Defense and Security Systems, of a $295.6 million firm fixed-price-contract for the procurement of 12 Full Rate Production (FRP) Lot 2 P-8A Poseidon Multi-Mission Maritime aircraft for use in the U.S. Navy and Royal Australian Air Force fleets. The U.S. Navy will receive eight aircraft and the RAAF will receive four.
“We are extremely excited about this contract award because it not only will continue to deliver P-8s to the U.S. Navy, but it also will deliver the initial set of P-8s to the Australian government,” said Capt. Scott Dillon, the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Office's (PMA 290) program manager. “The future of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance community is continuing to make history with the 15 P-8As already delivered to the U.S. Navy fleet, and now with our Australian cooperative program partners.”
PMA-290’s cooperative partnership with Australia ensures that the Australian government has thorough access to information on the aircraft’s capability, cost, and development schedule. The Australian government will also use this collaborative information when making any decisions when acquiring the P-8 weapon system. Through PMA-290’s Joint Program Office (JPO), this cooperative program personnel (CPP) partnership is managed and allows for the collaboration in a series of improvements planned through the life cycle of the P-8.
As part of the cooperative partnership, there were two active memorandums of understanding (MOU) produced: the first was implemented in April 2009 for Increment 2’s weapon systems development and the second was implemented in March 2012 for production, sustainment and follow-on development.
Some of JPO’s other objectives are to foster a cooperative environment, to identify and investigate incremental development opportunities, establish cooperative project plans and processes, and manage projects to achieve memorandum of understanding objectives.
“The partnership allows Australians to be embedded within the program office, and carries long-term advantages for the both the U.S. Navy and the RAAF,” Dillon said. “Cooperation also equips the members of the Australian team to support their own aircraft as their AP-3Cs retire.”
According to Australian Wing Commander David Houghton, P-8 JPO program manager, he has seen the U.S. Navy and RAAF gaining mutual benefit from the sharing of experiences and capabilities that have been developed within both services.
“Through the cooperative arrangement we are being provided insight into how our Air Force needs to prepare to operate and sustain the P-8A ahead of its arrival in Australia, while we also contribute to the development of new capabilities,” Houghton said. “There is also the obvious benefit of increased order quantities that has reduced the unit cost of the aircraft production and long term sustainment for both countries.”
This recent contract award is an example of the work that the CPP have contributed to the maritime patrol community over the past several years since the first MOU was signed by the two governments.
“The caliber of the CPP that have been chosen by their government to join the PMA-290 JPO team has been and continues to meet the highest standard for managerial skills, technical knowledge and professionalism,” Dillon said. “The capability of our CPPs is evident in the key positions they hold in our program, leading critical components impacting not only Australian interests, but also those of the U.S. Navy. I look forward to the expansion of the CPP presence and their further integration into the P-8A program.”