RAAF Base Edinburgh in Adelaide is the base for the nation’s fleet of P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft, as it was for RAAF’s AP-3C Orion maritime patrol fleet for four decades previously.
In February 2014, the Australian Government approved the purchase of eight P-8A Poseidon aircraft to replace the AP3-C Orion fleet. The acquisition of an additional four aircraft was approved in March 2016, with delivery of these aircraft completed in November 2019. In December 2020, the acquisition of a further two aircraft was approved, bringing the total force to 14 aircraft in 2024-25. South Australia is committed to maximising opportunities for local industry over the life of the project, which will involve 30 years of sustainment and upgrade work.
The Poseidons, a variant of Boeing’s 737 commercial airliner, will provide RAAF with a highly advanced maritime intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and response aircraft.
In February 2022, it was announced that South Australia will be home to a purpose-built Defence 737 deep maintenance and modification facility adjacent to RAAF Base Edinburgh. This new $160 million facility will allow for the heavy maintenance and modification of the P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft, as well as RAAF E-7A Wedgetail airborne early warning and control aircraft.
Up to 120 long-term highly skilled defence industry jobs will be created at the deep maintenance and modification facility, with an additional 200 construction jobs to be supported during the build stage of the project. Construction of the new facility is expected to start by mid-2023 and be fully operational in 2025.
Ahead of the new facility being operational, in August 2022, Boeing Defence Australia commenced deeper maintenance work on the first of Australia’s fleet of P8-A Poseidon aircraft at RAAF Base Edinburgh. This followed three-months of modifications at the existing hangar to accommodate the program of works and is the first time major maintenance, repair, and overhaul work on the aircraft is being undertaken locally, rather than offshore.