U.K. Buys Boeing Patrol Planes, Attack Helicopters in More Than $6 Billion Deal
(2016-07-11 08:53:28) dawei FARNBOROUGH, England—The British Defense Ministry will buy nine military surveillance jets and 50 attack helicopters from Boeing in deals valued at more than $6 billion.
Britain pledged to buy the nine P-8A jets for maritime patrols and hunting submarines in a major defense review last year. The planes fill a gap created after the grounding of an older jet fleet in 2010 and the cancellation of a program to replace them with British-made aircraft.
The British government said on Monday that the first of the planes would arrive between 2019 and 2020. The cost of introducing the plane over 10 years, including training and infrastructure, will be about £3 billion ($3.9 billion), the Defense Ministry said.
The U.K. has had to call on sea-monitoring planes from its allies in recent years to help patrol its coast and hunt submarines after sighting suspicious foreign vessels.
Boeing has bet heavily on selling modified jetliners for military applications amid dwindling demand for its combat jets. The U.K. becomes the third overseas customer alongside India and Australia for the P-8A, a heavily modified version of Boeing’s best-selling 737 passenger jet.Boeing has committed to involve U.K. companies in its programs and work with the British government to build a P-8A operational support and training base at RAF Lossiemouth.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said the deal indicated the U.K. remained a place to invest even after Britons voted last month to leave the European Union.
“Whatever uncertainties our country faces, I want the message to go out loud and clear: the U.K. will continue to lead the world in both civil and defense aerospace,” said Mr. Cameron, who is stepping down as Prime Minister.
Boeing has estimated an export market of more than 100 of the planes over the next decade. The aircraft include a host of sensors and the ability to deploy weapons such as torpedoes.
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