P-8A aircraft

Exelis has been awarded two production contracts from Boeing to develop and deliver sonobuoy launchers and carriage, as well as release systems in support of the US Navy’s P-8A Poseidon maritime multi-mission aircraft programme.

Under the contracts, Exelis will deliver rotary, single-shot sonobuoy pneumatic launchers and pneumatic carriage and release equipment.

Boeing has recently received a $2bn low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot IV contract from the US Navy for the delivery of 13 P-8A aircraft.

The Exelis-built sonobuoy launching system (SLS) has been designed to provide high-performance airborne launching capability for aircrews.

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By GlobalData

The P-8A Poseidon is based on the Boeing’s 737 commercial aircraft and is fitted with an upgraded APS-137D(V)5 maritime surveillance radar and signal intelligence SIGINT system to support broad-area, maritime and littoral operations for the navy.

Exelis electronic attack and release systems business defence systems director Pete Martin said: "Unlike conventional launch devices, the Exelis SLS employs compressed air, rather than electro-explosive charges, to deploy payloads."

"Unlike conventional launch devices, the Exelis SLS employs compressed air, rather than electro-explosive charges, to deploy payloads."

Featuring AN/APY-10 radar, the aircraft will be used by the US Navy to conduct long-range anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

The aircraft is capable of cruising at a speed of 333km/hr over the sea at a low-altitude of 60m and can fly at a high-altitude at nearly 926km/h using two CFM International CFM56-7B27A high-bypass turbofan engines.

Work under the contracts will be carried out at the Exelis facilities in Amityville, New York, US while the SLS deliveries will start in October 2014.

The Boeing-led team for the construction of the P-8A aircraft includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems and GE Aviation.

Image: A US Navy’s P-8A aircraft performing mission as part of exercise Bold Alligator 2012. Photo: courtesy of US Navy, by mass communication specialist 3rd class Daniel J Meshel/Released.

Defence Technology