Boeing nears $3.2 billion U.K. military deal
Boeing Co. moved a step closer to selling nine of its military surveillance jets to the U.K. in a proposed $3.2 billion deal announced by the U.S. government on Friday.
The U.K. wants to buy nine P-8A jets for maritime patrols and submarine hunting, filling 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 U.K. would become 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 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.
Boeing is increasingly reliant on military versions of its commercial jets for defense sales as orders dry up for combat planes such as the F-15. Export deals could help Boeing stretch production of the P-8 when the U.S. Navy’s planned 109-jet purchase concludes in 2022.
The U.S. State Department has cleared the proposed deal, which would be structured as a government-to-government sale, but it didn’t identify when the aircraft might be delivered. Other suppliers involved include ViaSat Inc. , Rockwell Collins Inc. , Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc. and Raytheon Co.