April 13 (UPI) — Production of Norway’s first P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft is underway, manufacturer Boeing announced on Monday.
Norway, which Boeing said in a press release will likely receive its first P-8A by the end of the year, plans to use the aircraft to replace its 40-year-old legacy fleet of P-3C Orion aircraft.
The Royal Norwegian Air Force was approved to purchase five P-8As in a 2016 contract which included additional engines, Tactical Open Mission Software, AN/APY-10 radars, missile warning sensors and additional equipment. The deal was estimated to cost $1.75 billion.
The contract was part of a $2.46 billion agreement by which Boeing will build 19 of the aircraft, with 10 assigned to the U.S. Navy, four to Britain and five to Norway.
The P-8A is a military variation of the Boeing 737 Next-Generation commercial aircraft.
It includes additional fuselage reinforcement and additional wiring to support military components, and is designed for long-range patrol missions including anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance operations.
The P-8A is an element of the militaries of the United States, the United Kingdom, India and Australia, with pending orders from Germany, New Zealand and South Korea.
Boeing has delivered 104 P-8As so far, largely to the U.S. Navy.
The plane is built on Boeing’s 737 production line, and is then sent to the company’s Defense, Space and Security division for installation of military equipment, a Boeing statement on Monday said.