The US Navy's P-8A Poseidon integrated test team (ITT) has successfully carried out air-to-air refuelling (AAR) ground testing.
The testing was conducted at a level pitch and flight pitch in order to simulate the different stages of AAR.
During the seven-day testing period conducted at a Boeing facility in Seattle, US, ITT loaded more than 400,000lb of fuel onto the aircraft.
These tests will help to reduce the risks related with the in-flight AAR demonstration scheduled for 2016.
The P-8A multi-mission maritime aircraft (MMA) is expected to deploy with the AAR capability within the next two years. It will use the flying boom, or the method of refuelling currently used by the US Air Force.
A derivative of Boeing's next-generation 737-800 commercial aircraft, the P-8A can be deployed for long-range anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions.
The navy plans to use the P-8A to replace its ageing fleet of turbo-prop P-3 Orion aircraft. Approximately 117 P-8A MMA aircraft are expected to be purchased by the navy.
Boeing, which is currently under contract for 53 P-8As, is building the aircraft in collaboration with CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems, BAE Systems, and GE Aviation.
In January this year, Boeing delivered the 21st P-8A aircraft to the US Navy. The initial operational capability (IOC) of P-8A was achieved in November 2013.
Image: ITT carried out AAR ground testing with the aircraft both at a level pitch and flight pitch. Photo: courtesy of Naval Air Systems Command / Boeing.