The US Navy is to take delivery of its fifth P-8A Poseidon maritime multi-mission production aircraft from Boeing as part of low-rate initial production (LRIP) contracts awarded in 2011 and 2012 for the supply of 24 P-8A jets.
Under the LRIP contracts, the company will also provide aircrew and maintenance training for the navy, as well as logistics support, spares, support equipment and tools.
Boeing vice president and P-8 programme manager Chuck Dabundo said: "This is our final P-8A delivery of the year; we’ll ramp up to 12 deliveries, including P-8I aircraft for India in 2013."
US Navy P-8A integrated product team lead captain Aaron Rondeau said: "As we transition to the P-8A and prepare for initial operational capability in 2013, the US Navy is successfully flying the first production planes at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida."
The company is currently installing mission systems and performing evaluations on the next three Poseidon aircraft in Seattle, Washington, while two other aircraft are in final assembly phase in Renton, Washington.
The US Navy is expected to receive sixth production P-8A aircraft from Boeing in early 2013.
Designed to support long-range anti-submarine warfare missions, the P-8A is armed with torpedoes, depth charges, harpoon anti-shipping missiles and other weapons to support shipping interdiction and engage in an electronic intelligence role.
Based on the fuselage design of the next-generation 737-800 and wings of the 737-900 aeroplanes, the surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft can also be used to conduct broad-area, maritime and littoral operations for the navy.
The Boeing-led team for the construction of the P-8A aircraft includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems and GE Aviation.
The navy has plans to procure a total of 117 Boeing P-8A aircraft to replace its existing turbo-prop P-3 Orion fleet.
Image: Boeing-built fifth P-8A Poseidon aircraft for the US Navy takes off. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.