Boeing’s first production P-8A Poseidon completed its first flight on July 7, Boeing announced Tuesday.
The U.S. Navy plans to purchase 117 737-800-based P-8As to replace the P-3 Orion as its primary maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.
The airplane took off from Renton Municipal Airport, beside Boeing’s 737 final assembly plant, and landed three hours later at Seattle’s Boeing Field, where Boeing installs military systems in the aircraft.
Boeing is scheduled to deliver the plane to the Navy next year, with operations set to start in 2013.
“This is the first P-8 that will go directly to the fleet in Jacksonville, Fla., so the aircraft’s first flight is an important milestone for the Boeing team and our Navy customer,” Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president and P-8 program manager, said in a news release.
Boeing is building six flight-test P-8As and two ground-test aircraft under a separate contract. The first four flight-test aircraft are completing testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.