The US Navy’s 50th P-8A Poseidon (P-8A), the next-generation long-range maritime patrol aircraft has been delivered by Boeing at the Naval Air Station (NAS) in Jacksonville, Florida.

Under the P-8A programme, the latest addition is part of a total requirement for 117 of the 737-based anti-submarine warfare jets for the US navy.

Following its deployment, the P-8A will not only replace the traditional P-3 Orion aircraft, but will also enhance an operator’s efficiency to conduct anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, as well as intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.

"This is the first time a navy combat aircraft has been built from the ground up on a commercial production line."

US Navy Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft programme manager and captain Tony Rossi said: “The P-8A is special. This is the first time a navy combat aircraft was built from the ground up on a commercial production line.

“We’ve leveraged commercial expertise and experience, and a highly reliable airframe, the 737, which has reduced production time and overall production costs.”

So far, the P-8A programme has cut down P-8 costs by more than 30% since the initial contract award, as well as having saved over $2.1bn for the US Navy.

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Rossi further added: “Together, we and our industry partners are transforming today's maritime patrol and reconnaissance force for the evolving threats and diverse mission requirements.

“This replacement for the P-3C builds on lessons learned while enhancing those capabilities with unique features, such as an electro-optical / infrared (EO / IR) sensor turret and increased acoustic processing capability with 64 passive sonobuoys, 32 multi-static sonobuoys and concurrent passive and active processing.”

The US Navy’s fleet transformation from the legacy P-3C aircraft to the P-8A aircraft is expected to be completed by fiscal 2019.