SEATTLE: The U.S. Navy and Boeing unveiled the next maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, during a rollout ceremony July 30 at Boeing’s manufacturing facility in Seattle.
“This is a tremendous day to recognize the outstanding efforts of the U.S. Navy, Boeing and the entire industry team on a job extremely well done,” said Rear Adm. Bill Moran, commander, Patrol Reconnaissance Group. “It has been more than forty years since the maritime patrol community has seen a new aircraft; delivery of this aircraft cannot come soon enough.”
The admiral said the aircraft’s greater situational awareness, open systems architecture and higher operating altitude will bring a greater punch to the fight, across all warfare mission areas and will be a significant force multiplier.
The Poseidon will replace the P-3C Orion as a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. It will maximize the experience and technology of the Orion but with significant growth potential, greater payload capacity, advanced mission systems, software and communications.
“The P-8A Poseidon program is an outstanding example of evolutionary acquisition at work. We have established a very solid baseline for initial operational capability, while concurrently making upgrade increments for future insertion as technology matures,” said Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Manager Capt. Mike Moran.
“The team has worked hard to stay on schedule and within cost in this developmental effort; we all should be extremely proud of the results.”
Boeing was awarded a contract in 2004 to deliver five test vehicles. This acquisition phase provides three flight test aircraft, one full-scale static loads test airframe, and one full-scale fatigue test airframe. The Navy plans to purchase 117 production aircraft.
All five test aircraft are in various stages of assembly and ground test; two of the flight test aircraft have already successfully flown as part of a Boeing relocation and system flight check process. Testing on the static loads airframe is underway and the Navy will begin formal flight testing later this year.
In April, the Australian Department of Defence signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Defense to join a cooperative partnership in the development of follow-on capabilities to be added to the Poseidon after it enters the fleet in 2013.