The government of Canada has reached an agreement with the United States to supply 16 P-8A Poseidon aircraft to the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF).
The option for the P-8A had already been made by Canada since March, displeasing the local manufacturer, Bombardier. But the government guaranteed that choosing the US aircraft will bring investment in jobs to the country.
The maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare jets will replace the fleet of P-140 Aurora turboprops (local name for the P-3 Orion) that has been in service for 40 years.
The first delivery is scheduled for 2026 and the last in the fall of 2027 at a rate of one P-8 per month. Full operational capacity is expected to be reached in 2033.
“After significant engagement and thorough analysis, we are confident that the P-8A delivers the best anti-submarine and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities for our country. The aircraft will operate seamlessly with allies. This platform is a proven capability that is operated by all our Five Eyes allies—the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand—as well as other defense partners,” said the Canadian government statement.
“The P-8 will bolster Canada’s defense capability and readiness, and we look forward to delivering this capability to the Royal Canadian Air Force,” said Heidi Grant, president, Business Development for Boeing Defense, Space & Security. “Together with our Canadian partners, we will deliver a strong industrial and technological benefit package that guarantees continued prosperity to Canada’s aerospace and defense industry.”
The huge northern coast of Canada, close to the North Pole, is one of the most extensive and complex areas to be patrolled, hence the importance of having an aircraft with great range and modern systems.
Canadian P-8As will be used in conjunction with other NATO countries, some of which also operate the aircraft. Furthermore, the Royal Canadian Air Force is part of NORAD, North American Aerospace Defense Command, which in partnership with the United States has monitored the airspace of both nations since the Cold War.
There are currently more than 160 P-8As in service and have accumulated around 560,000 flight hours. The aircraft is based on the 737-800 passenger jet, which is still very popular today.