The US Navy has taken delivery of the first of 13 P-8A Poseidon maritime multi-mission production aircraft from Boeing, which will provide increased mission capabilities for the users and operators.
The delivery is part of a low-rate initial production (LRIP) contract awarded to Boeing by the US Navy in 2011, for the supply of 11 P-8A aircraft, including provision of spare parts, logistics and training devices.
Following the delivery, the first production aircraft was flown to Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, US, where it will be used for aircrew training purposes.
The Poseidon is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence aircraft capable of conducting broad-area, maritime and littoral operations.
P-8A has been designed to support anti-submarine warfare, shipping interdiction, engage in an electronic intelligence role and to operate in conjunction with the broad area maritime surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle.
The aircraft design is based on the fuselage of the next-generation 737-800, wings of the 737-900 and is integrated with upgraded APS-137D(V)5 maritime surveillance radar and signal intelligence SIGINT system.
The multi-mission, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft can carry torpedoes, depth charges, Harpoon anti-shipping missiles and other weapons.
The Boeing-led team for the construction of the P-8A aircraft includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems and GE Aviation.
The team is currently testing six flight-test and two ground-test aircraft at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, US and has accomplished more than 1,500 flight hours till date.
The navy has plans to purchase 117 P-8A aircraft to replace its existing turbo-prop P-3 Orion fleet and the initial operational capability is scheduled for 2013.
Image: US Navy's P-8A Poseidon maritime multi-mission aircraft will replace its existing turbo-prop P-3 Orion fleet.