On behalf of the Ministry of Defense, the Defense Equipment agency today signed a contract with the US authorities for the acquisition of five P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) for the Armed Forces. The first aircraft will land on Norwegian soil in 2022, and all will be in place by 2023.
Important for our situational awareness
The acquisition will be an ordinary acquisition by US authorities through the "Foreign Military Sales" program. The aircraft are produced by Boeing Defense, Space & Security and builds on the Boeing 737-800 airframe.
The P-8A Poseidon is already in operation in the US Navy. Norway goes into a well-established production line delivering aircraft to the US Navy, Royal Australian Air Force and Britain's Royal Air Force.
“Besides the actual aircraft, the contract also includes modern sensors, monitoring and support systems and new anti-submarine weapons. The P-8A Poseidon can cover large expanses of ocean in a short time, and can remain on-station for prolonged periods,” says Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide.
The aircraft also has the ability to gather information, detect, identify, monitor and if necessary attack targets under water.
“The P-8A Poseidon is a formidable platform for monitoring our waters, and will provide both Norwegian and allied civil and military authorities with a sound basis for decisions,” says Eriksen Søreide.
The contract is negotiated under Investment Project 2047: Continuation of MPA and ISR capability, initiated on background with Parliament on Recommendation 127 S (2016-2017) cf. Prop. 27 S (2016-2017) in December 2016.
P-8A Poseidon will replace the current six P-3 Orion and three DA-20 Jet Falcon.
“The project cost amounts to about 10 billion NOK in 2017, in addition to a percentage that will come from the intelligence services’ budgets. The contract's total cost is within the cost of long-term plan for the defense,” said the defense minister.
The project supports Parliament's priorities and the back structure adopted in the sheet. 62 S (2016-2017) cf. Prop 151 S (2015-2016) Qualification Kraft and sustainability - Long-term for the defense sector.
The maritime domain has always been important in Norwegian security policy. Norwegian waters are about seven times larger than the land areas and distances are great. Norwegian and adjacent waters have increased their military strategic importance, and little suggests that their significance will become smaller in coming years.
The new security increases demands on situational awareness in own neighborhood. Our ability to deal with current and future challenges, both above and below water, must therefore be strengthened.
NATO now directs more attention to the maritime domain, and maritime patrol aircraft are a capability much in demand. As a nation with strong maritime interests, it is of great importance that Norway helps to ensure freedom of navigation on the seas, and especially the transatlantic connection lines, which are absolutely essential for Allied security.
The Norwegian maritime patrol aircraft have been periodically upgraded in order to follow technological development. Underwater surveillance is technologically demanding. The combination of the new security environment and new generations of submarines in Norwegian neighboring areas mean that modern sensors and systems for monitoring are crucial.
Important monitoring of the northern regions
Norway's monitoring of the maritime areas is important both nationally and as a significant contribution to the Allied community in NATO. The Norwegian maritime patrol aircraft have since about 1960 accounted for a visible and regular military activity in northern waters.
“P-8A Poseidon will continue a known and established operational pattern. A continuation of this activity with the Norwegian aircraft will help to ensure continued stability and predictability in the area, as well as the Norwegian alliance commitments safeguarded,” says Eriksen Søreide.
P-8A Poseidon will be a significant contribution to the sovereignty and the exercise of authority. The aircraft will also be a capacity for search and rescue in the waters off Norway, and an important contribution to social security through the ability to contribute in maritime counter-terrorist operations.
The UK is in the process of acquiring P-8A, and together with the United States and Norway, the overall ability to monitor the waters in the North Atlantic will increase significantly.
“The procurement of new maritime patrol shows Norway's ability and willingness to invest in modern and relevant defense capabilities,” says the defense minister.