Salem Radio Network News Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Business

Norway to take delivery of Boeing P-8 submarine-hunter aircraft

By Eric M. Johnson

SEATTLE (Reuters) -Norway was poised to take delivery on Thursday of the first of five Boeing Co P-8 patrol aircraft, as the NATO ally looks to expand its submarine-hunting capabilities in the strategically important High North.

The five P-8A will replace the Royal Norwegian Air Force’s current fleet of six Lockheed Martin Corp’s P-3 Orions and two Dassault Aviation DA-20 Jet Falcons and be operated at Evenes Air Station, inside the Arctic Circle.

“Norway is responsible for large maritime areas in a strategically important part of the world,” Mette Sørfonden, director general of the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency, said in prepared remarks ahead of the delivery ceremony later on Thursday in Seattle.

“Today’s delivery of our first P-8A is an important milestone in the modernization of Norway’s maritime patrol aircraft capability,” Sørfonden said.

Norway will spend roughly 11 billion kroner ($1.25 billion) on its P-8 aircraft, including additional equipment and support, a Norwegian official said.

For Boeing, the delivery underscores the importance of its defense business as the U.S. planemaker works to recoup billions of dollars from the overlapping coronavirus and 737 MAX safety crises.

The anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance P-8 is based on Boeing’s 737-800 Next Generation commercial jetliner.

Boeing has plans to reduce its monthly production rate of 737-based military derivatives to one aircraft per month from 1.5 beginning in April, the company said on Thursday.

Deliveries to New Zealand, Korea and Germany will take place in 2022, 2023 and 2024, Boeing said.

The remaining four P-8 for Norway were in “advanced stages of production” and will be delivered in 2022, Boeing said.

As ice caps recede and a broader swath of the Arctic Ocean is more navigable, Norway and other European nations have seen the need to improve sub-hunting and other capabilities to support the NATO mission.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle and Mike Stone in Washington; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Cynthia Osterman)

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