As part of its defence policy Strong, Secure, Engaged, the Government of Canada is seeking to replace the CP-140 Aurora fleet with a Canadian Multi-Mission Aircraft (CMMA) for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). The CP-140 Aurora fleet was originally procured in 1980, and the aircraft is currently scheduled to retire from service in 2030. Procuring a new fleet is required to ensure Canada’s military has the equipment it needs to continue protecting Canadian sovereignty along its coastline. Ensuring that the RCAF are well-equipped and supported, maintaining operational continuity, and seeking best value for Canadians, including through economic benefits for industry and communities from coast to coast to coast, is at the core of Canada’s defence procurement strategy.
A Request for Information (RFI) was released in February 2022 to obtain information from industry. Following engagements with industry and Canada’s closest allies, the government has determined that the P-8A Poseidon is the only currently available aircraft that meets all of the CMMA operational requirements, namely anti-submarine warfare and C4ISR. This platform is a proven capability that is operated by several of Canada’s defence partners including all of its Five Eyes allies—the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand—as well as Norway, and South Korea. Germany has also recently purchased this platform.
The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is a maritime patrol aircraft developed and produced by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, and derived from the civilian Boeing 737-800. It was developed for the United States Navy (USN). The P-8 operates in the anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) roles. It is armed with torpedoes, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and other weapons, can drop and monitor sonobuoys, and can operate in conjunction with other assets. The P-8 is operated by the United States Navy, the Indian Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force. It has also been ordered by the Royal Norwegian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, the Republic of Korea Navy, and the German Navy.
With a view to exploring this option in more detail, Canada has recently submitted a Letter of Request (LOR) through the United States government’s Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program outlining Canada’s requirements and requesting an offer. These requirements include up to 16 P-8A Poseidon aircraft and associated equipment and initial servicing, as well as access to intellectual property and technical data. The issuance of a LOR does not commit Canada to purchasing the P-8A Poseidon and the project remains in Options Analysis. The final decision will be based on the capability offered, availability, pricing and benefits to Canadian industry.