Canada is set to procure a maximum of 16 surveillance aircraft from Boeing to modernize its aging fleet and counter the growing threat posed by adversaries with increasingly stealthy and lethal capabilities near its coastlines and abroad. Officials made this announcement on Wednesday.
The chosen aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, is part of the formidable Five Eyes intelligence alliance, which includes Canada, Australia, the United States, Britain, and New Zealand. The procurement is estimated to cost 10.4 billion Canadian dollars ($7.7 billion) and anticipates deliveries commencing in 2026, with full operational capability expected by 2033. This acquisition is intended to replace Canada’s current CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft, which has faithfully served for over 40 years but is slated for retirement in 2030.
During a news conference, Defense Minister Bill Blair acknowledged Aurora’s commendable service but emphasized the necessity for a replacement due to the evolving threat landscape. He highlighted the deployment of adversaries’ increasingly sophisticated, stealthy, and lethal capabilities, making it imperative to upgrade Canada’s surveillance capabilities to address these challenges alongside its NATO allies.
The new fleet of P-8A Poseidon aircraft will be assigned various crucial tasks, including detecting illegal fishing activities, combating drug trafficking, and monitoring polluters across the extensive Canadian coastline—the longest in the world. Additionally, these aircraft will play a vital role in hunting submarines and patrolling ships in the Arctic region and participating in overseas missions, contributing to Canada’s national security interests and international commitments.