P-8A upgrade contract to see new South Australian jobs take flight

Boeing Defence Australia has been awarded a $139.5 million contract to upgrade the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) fleet of P-8A Poseidon aircraft, which will create a myriad of new jobs in South Australia.

Fifty new highly skilled defence industry jobs including six Certificate IV aircraft maintenance engineering apprentices, 38 Certificate II aerospace workers and several supply chain trainees will soon be added to Boeing’s 283-strong workforce currently employed at the RAAF Base in Edinburgh, South Australia. These personnel currently deliver maintenance services for the RAAF’s P-8A Poseidon fleet.

The first P-8A aircraft entered service almost 10 years ago under an incremental development program and the upcoming upgrades will ensure best-for-mission capability and support the achievement of Initial Operating Capability in June 2028.

As Boeing’s largest international subsidiary, Boeing Defence Australia employs more than 2000 people across 14 sites nationwide and three international locations. The company delivers military aircraft, network and space systems and services and support.

Through the contract, Poseidon’s software, systems and sensors will be upgraded to enhance the aircrafts’ anti-submarine warfare, maritime strike and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. Out of a fleet of 12, the first two aircraft will undergo upgrades in Jackson, Florida, with the remaining 10 to be upgraded at the RAAF Base at Edinburgh.

Over the next two years, employees will complete formal training with South Australia’s Flight One Academy along with on-the-job training in preparation for the commencement of work in September 2026.

“We anticipate the upgrades will involve more than 300,000 hours of maintenance work over four years, with each aircraft taking around 7.5 months to complete,” said Boeing Defence Australia Director of Sustainment Operations, Naomi Smith.

Two new P-8As are due to be delivered to RAAF in 2024 and 2025. There is provision for the upgrade contract to be extended beyond its 2030 end date to accommodate these two aircraft.