Boeing to perform RAAF aircraft fleet deeper maintenance in South Australia

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Boeing Defence Australia (BDA) has begun a major maintenance project that would overhaul the Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) fleet of P-8A Poseidon aircraft— a major coup for the company and a first-of-its-kind in Australia. 

Aircraft units are routinely returned to the original manufacturer after around 72 months of service in a process called deeper maintenance. The RAAF fleet is slated to undergo the program at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia, bypassing the need to send the aircraft back to the United States. 

Darryn Fletcher, director of commercial derivative aircraft at Boeing Defence Australia, said the company has proven credentials in conducting deeper maintenance in Australia on the E-7A Wedgetail F/A-18A/B Classic Hornet and F-111. 

“Taking on the planned deeper maintenance program is a considerable extension of BDA’s local P-8A credentials, a boost to Australian capability, and ensures enhanced mission readiness for the ADF’s high-demand P-8A fleet,” Fletcher said

The RAAF fleet’s deeper maintenance program prioritises the rapid modification of an existing hangar at RAAF Edinburgh, which is the home of the P-8A fleet. 

“A new purpose-built hangar will be commissioned in 2025 but, with deeper maintenance scheduled to commence this year, we were part of a group led by Defence and including RAAF and local industry, to modify a hangar on base to accommodate the extended facilities required for deeper maintenance,” Fletcher said. “This enables us to meet our contractual obligations without sending the aircraft interstate and keeps all P-8A servicing under one roof.”

In September 2021, BDA signed an initial $60 million agreement to provide deeper maintenance for the life of the P-8A fleet in September 2021.