Australia’s prime minister has taken delivery of the air force’s first Boeing P-8A surveillance and anti-submarine aircraft. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull says the plane that landed at the Canberra air force base on Wednesday will take a front-line role in preventing asylum seekers from reaching the Australian coast by boat.
The Royal Australian Air Force will receive 12 of the modified Boeing 737 jets by March 2020 for 5 billion Australian dollars ($3.8 billion). The plane will take over the coastal surveillance role that the Lockheed P-3 Orion has carried out since 1968.
Australia expects a new wave of asylum seekers to come from Indonesia by boat after a weekend announcement that the United States had agreed to resettle up to 1,600 of Australia’s refugees.