US green lights sale of P-8A Poseidons to Canada

US State Department approval has been granted for the possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of 16 Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA), related equipment and training/logistical support services to Canada for an estimated cost of $5.9bn.

Confirmation that the State Department had approved this prospective FMS was announced by the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) on June 27, after it had notified the US Congress of the possible sale that same day. As part of this deal, Canada has requested to buy up to 16 P-8A Poseidons, along with an unspecified number of CFM International CFM56-7B27A turbofan engines; AN/APY-10 multi-mission surface search radars; WESCAM MX-20HD electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) imaging systems and AN/AAQ-2(V)I acoustic systems

This digital rendering offers an early glimpse of what the P-8A Poseidon would look like in future RCAF service.
This digital rendering offers an early glimpse of what the P-8A Poseidon would look like in future RCAF service. Boeing

In addition to the aircraft and systems, Canada has requested to buy 26 Multifunctional Information Distribution System Joint Tactical Radio System 5s (MIDS JTRS 5s), along with an unspecified number of AN/ALQ-240 Electronic Support Measures; NexGen Missile Warning Sensors; AN/ARC-210 RT-2036(C) radios; AN/ALQ-213 Electronic Countermeasures; AN/ALE-47 Countermeasures Dispenser Systems and AN/UPX-43 Identification Friend-or-Foe (IFF) interrogators. The prospective deal also includes relevant equipment for the AN/AAQ-24(V)N Large Aircraft Infrared Countermeasures (LAIRCM) system, aircraft and engine spares and associated training, logistics and technical equipment and support.

Commenting on the prospective sale in a media release (published on June 27), the DSCA said: “This proposed sale will increase Canadian maritime forces’ interoperability with the US and other allied forces, as well as their ability to contribute to missions of mutual interest. This will significantly improve network-centric warfare capability for the US forces operating globally alongside Canada.”

Canada is currently assessing its options for how to replace the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF’s) ageing fleet of Lockheed CP-140 Aurora MPA – which entered operational service in June 1980 and is scheduled to be retired from use in 2030 – under the Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft (CMMA) programme. While the Canadian government has already submitted a Letter of Request to the US government for the 16 P-8As, which has now subsequently gained US State Department approval, another MPA replacement option has since been presented to the Canadian Department of National Defence in the form of the Global 6500-based CMMA. This platform has been offered as a prospective Aurora by the type’s Canadian manufacturer, Bombardier, which has teamed up with General Dynamics Mission Systems-Canada for the bid. It remains unclear if Canada will consider the Global 6500-based CMMA solution or if it will proceed with its P-8A purchase.