Boeing Moving Ahead
With P-8A Production
The P-8A Poseidon is a long-range
anti-submarine warfare (ASW),
anti-surface warfare, intelligence,
surveillance and reconnaissance
(ISR) aircraft capable of broad-area,
maritime and littoral operations.
The P-8A is being developed for the
U.S. Navy by a Boeing-led team comprising CFM International, Northrop
Grumman, Raytheon, GE Aviation,
BAE Systems and Spirit AeroSys-tems. The Navy plans to purchase
117 P-8As to replace its P-3C Orions.
In January 2011, Boeing received a
$1.6 billion contract for low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the first six
aircraft, spares, logistics and training
devices. Initial operational capability
is slated for next year. In November
2011, Boeing received a $1.7 billion
LRIP award for seven P-8As.
A P-8A Poseidon test aircraft conducts a test flight from Naval Air Station
Patuxent River, Md., in October 2011 during which it made the program’s first
launch of an Mk54 torpedo over the Atlantic Test Range.
The first test aircraft began formal
testing at Boeing Field, Seattle, in late
2009 and ferried to Naval Air Station
Patuxent River, Md., in April 2010,
to continue testing. Six P-8A test aircraft currently are in flight test.
Boeing’s first production P-8A was
delivered to the Navy March 4. The
second was delivered July 17 and a
third in September. The Navy will
receive two more by year’s end. The
last of the six planes from the January 2011 LRIP contract will be delivered in early fiscal 2013. The aircraft
from the second LRIP contract will
be delivered during fiscal 2013.
James Detwiler is Boeing’s P-8A
business development manager.
The P-8A is a new lease on life for the entire maritime patrol community, as you [get] some significant increases in sensor capability. So the
ability of the U.S. Navy to conduct the operations that they are presently
doing, and anticipate doing in the future, is going to be greatly enhanced.
One of the takeaways of working this program, something that differentiates the P-8A from other commercial derivative military aircraft, is the fact
that we have a first-of-kind inline production. In the past, when you want to
take a commercial aircraft and make it into a military one, you’d have to
essentially produce it on a commercial line, take it to a chop shop, where you
would disassemble it and then put on what you want and then reassemble it.
Well, we actually build the P-8A from the ground up as a military aircraft on the same commercial production lines, using the same commercial
production system. We are using the same workforce and the same suppliers and it makes it very efficient and very cost effective for us to produce
these aircraft in the quantities we are.
Overseas, the Indian Navy is on contract for eight aircraft plus four options,
and then the Royal Australian Air Force is in a cooperative program with the
U.S. Navy, which will ultimately lead to a contract with their Air Force as well.
The P-8A is a true multirole, multiplatform aircraft. It provides the U.S.
Navy with a scalable and flexible platform with which to conduct ASW
and ISR missions.
The P-8A also excels from a performance standpoint in its ability to get
quickly to an on-station tasking area and operate in higher altitudes that
are required if you have mountain terrain. The P-8A was also designed,
from the outset, to function in rough terrain and weather conditions. You
really have the ability to do both missions much better than its