The US Navy has ordered an additional 16 Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft on 26 February 2014. The purchase worth 2.4 billion US dollars will bring the total fleet up to 53 aircraft.
So far 13 P-8As have been delivered, with the first patrol executed in December 2013 by a pair flying with VP-16 (Patrol Squadron 16) from Kadena Air Base in Japan. The Navy’s total requirement is a 117 Poseidons to replace the aging Lockheed P-3 fleet.
Based on Boeing’s Next-Generation 737-800 commercial airplane, the P-8A is aimed to enhance the service’s anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. A crew of nine, including five system operators, man the maritime patrol aircraft. Like with most new airplane types the Poseidon suffers from several issues limiting its effectiveness for now.
Boeing assembles the P-8A aircraft in the same facility where it builds all its 737 aircraft to save on manufacturing costs. The aircraft manufacturer works together with CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems, BAE Systems and GE Aviation for the engines and special mission gear such as the AN/PY-10 radar (Raytheon) and hydro-carbon sensors to detect ships and submarines. Standard weapons on board are torpedoes and depth charges, which can be supplemented by anti-ship missiles.
Source: Boeing with additional reporting by AIRheads’ editor Marcel Burger