737-based maritime patrol jet replacing P-3 Orion
AUBREY COHE, Seattle Post-Intelligencer
By AUBREY COHEN, SEATTLEPI.COM STAFF
Published 08:29 p.m., Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Boeing delivered the first production version of its new maritime patrol jet for the U.S. Navy Tuesday.
The P-8A Poseidon, based on a Boeing 737-800 airliner, is set to replace the Navy’s P-3 Orion turboprop airplanes as the Navy’s anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. The Navy has ordered an initial batch of 13 — on top of the six flight-test and two ground-test airplanes — and ultimately plans to buy 117. The first ones are set to enter operational service next year.
“Delivering this capability to the warfighter is the ultimate goal and we’re proud to be able to meet our commitment and hand over the P-8A ‘keys’ to the Navy fleet,” Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president and P-8 program manager, said in a news release.
Rear Admiral Paul Grosklags, U.S. Navy Program Executive Officer for Air Anti-Submarine Warfare, Assault & Special Mission Programs, said the P-8A “will provide the users and operators a step increase in mission capabilities.”
After delivery in Seattle, Navy pilots flew the jet to Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., for use to train air crews. The flight-test P-8As are based at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
The basic aircraft goes through Boeing’s 737 production process, ending with assembly in Renton, Wash., and then heads to a facility near Boeing Field, in Seattle, for addition of military systems.
Boeing also has orders for eight P-8I variants for India’s navy. See photos of the P-8A, P-8I and Seattle production facility in the gallery [below].