The Norwegian government has outlined plans to acquire five Boeing P-8 Poseidons as part of its overhauling its maritime patrol and reconnaissance capabilities. Oslo has made an initial selection of the Poseidon with a view to replacing its aging fleet of six P-3 Orions and three Dassault Falcon 20s currently operated in electronic warfare and marine surveillance roles.
The announcement from the Norwegian government proposes allocating funds of $1.5 billion to acquire the five Poseidons. This figure is planned to include aircraft, sensors, surveillance systems, and anti-submarine weapons.
The announcement follows an agreement between Norwegian and U.K. defense officials for increased co-operation in the field of maritime patrol aircraft. Preliminary selection of the Poseidon by Norway is part of a plan to increase defense spending up until at least 2020, primarily in response to increased Russian military activity in the region.
According to Norwegian Defense Minister Ine Eriksen, “The new security situation increases our demand for situational awareness in our own vicinity. The ability to handle current and future challenges must therefore be strengthened.” She added, “The introduction of the Poseidon aircraft is crucial for Norway to maintain a leading position and expertise on strategic conditions in northern areas.”
Should Norway proceed with the acquisition, the Royal Norwegian Air Force likely would receive its Poseidons between 2021 and 2022. It would be the fifth customer for the P-8, after the Indian Navy, Royal Australian Air Force, U.K. Royal Air Force, and U.S. Navy.