Canada looks towards P-8A Poseidon

On 27th March 2023, the Government of Canada issued statement on submitting a Letter of Request (LOR), regarding acquisition of up to sixteen Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft.

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is currently operating a fleet of Lockheed CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) that were introduced into operational service in 1980. Those are aeroplanes based on Lockheed P-3 Orion airframe but are equipped with electronic suite known from Lockheed S-3 Viking. The Canadian CP-140s are supported by CP-140A Arcturus, a derivative of the Aurora used for pilot training and coastal surface patrol missions.

´As part of its defence policy Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Government of Canada is seeking to replace the CP-140 Aurora fleet with a Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft (CMMA) for the RCAF.´ – says the governmental statement. ´Procuring a new fleet is required to ensure Canada’s military has the equipment it needs to continue protecting Canadian sovereignty along its coastline. Ensuring that the RCAF are well-equipped and supported, maintaining operational continuity, and seeking best value for Canadians, including through economic benefits for industry and communities from coast to coast, is at the core of Canada’s defence procurement strategy

In February of 2022, the Canadian government released a Request for Information to obtain facts and figures from aviation industry. After evaluating the information they received, the Canadian authorities decided that the Boeing P-8A Poseidon is the only available aircraft that meets all of the CMMA operational requirements, namely regarding anti-submarine warfare and C4ISIR – Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance joint battle management system.

´With a view to exploring this option in more detail, Canada has recently submitted a LOR through the United States government’s Foreign Military Sales programme outlining Canada’s requirements and requesting an offer.´ – continues the statement. ´These requirements include up to sixteen P-8A Poseidon aircraft and associated equipment and initial servicing, as well as access to intellectual property and technical data.´

The first P-8A Poseidon for New Zealand (photo © Boeing)

Issuing the LOR is still an initial stage of purchasing process and at this point does not commit Canada to purchase the P-8A nor any other aircraft. The final decision will be made by the Canadian authorities in the nearest future and will be based on offered capabilities, availability of the aeroplanes, price conditions, as well as benefits to Canadian industry.

In reference to the Canadian announcement, an official statement was also released by the Boeing company:

´The P-8A is a proven multi-mission capability that meets all requirements and will protect Canada’s oceans and its borders for future generations. We look forward to working with the U.S. and Canadian governments to finalize this sale under the Foreign Military Sales process. Together with our Canadian industry partners ― CAE, GE Aviation Canada, IMP Aerospace & Defence, KF Aerospace, Honeywell Aerospace Canada, Raytheon Canada, and StandardAero ― we are committed to delivering 100% Industrial and Technological Benefits that will significantly grow Canada’s aerospace and defence industry.´

The P-8A Poseidon is currently among the most popular long-range MPA in the world, being operated by the Royal Australian Air Force, the Indian Navy, the Royal Norwegian Air Force, the Royal Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force and the US Navy. The Poseidon MPA were also ordered by Germany and South Korea.

According to the official statement of the Boeing company, there are already 155 examples of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft built and delivered. The aeroplanes being in service reached more than 450,000 collective, mishap-free flight hours.

The fleet of Canadian CP-140 Aurora aircraft is planned to be retired from operational service in 2030.

Cover photo: Visualization of the P-8A Poseidon for the RCAF by Boeing. All photos © Boeing. Information from the Boeing Company press releases and the Canadian government newsroom were used.