Boeing [BA] and Lockheed Martin [LMT] both gobbled up military aircraft sales during Thanksgiving week, with Norway announcing plans to buy five Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance planes and Lockheed Martin receiving a contract for 90 more F-35 Lightning II fighter jets for U.S. and foreign customers.
According to a translated press release, Norway’s defense ministry said Nov. 23 that it plans to buy the P-8As to replace its aging fleet of six P-3 Orions and three DA-20 Falcons. The purchase, which includes sensors, support systems and new anti-submarine weapons, is expected to cost about $1.15 billion. The ministry hopes to take delivery of the new aircraft in 2021 and 2022.
The “P-8A Poseidon is a formidable platform for monitoring our oceans, and will provide both Norwegian and allied civil and military authorities with a sound basis for decisions,” the ministry’s release says. “With modern sensors and weapons, the new Poseidon aircraft continue and improve this capability.”
If the sale receives all required government approvals, as expected, Norway will join several other existing or planned P-8 customers. Australia plans to buy 15 P-8As, the first of which arrived at its new home at Royal Australian Air Force Base Edinburgh on Nov. 24. Australia is acquiring the Poseidons and up to seven Northrop Grumman [NOC] MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft to replace its aging AP-3C Orions.
The Indian Navy has received eight P-8I Neptunes and ordered four more. The United Kingdom indicated in July that it plans to buy nine P-8As for its Royal Air Force. The U.S. Navy is buying buy 117 P-8As and has taken delivery of 48 so far.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon announced Nov. 25 that Lockheed Martin has been awarded a $7.2 billion contract for 76 F-35As, 12 F-35Bs and two F-35Cs. Of those, 44 F-35As, nine F-35Bs and both F-35Cs will go to the U.S. Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy, respectively. Foreign customers will receive the remaining 32 F-35As and three F-35Bs.
The F-35 award also covers several other items, including redesign and management work to account for “diminishing manufacturing and material shortages,” and “changes to correct deficiencies resulting from concurrency between systems development and demonstration and production,” the Pentagon said.
Separately, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted Nov. 27 that his cabinet has “resolved unanimously” to buy another 17 F-35s, boosting the total purchase for the Israeli Air Force to 50 jets.