The US Navy awarded Boeing a $1.98 billion contract for 13 additional P-8A Poseidon aircraft, continuing the modernization of U.S. maritime patrol capabilities that will ultimately involve more than 100 P-8As. Boeing announced the deal on August 1, 2013.
The US Navy has now ordered 37 of the 117 P-8As it is expected to buy. To date, 10 have been delivered. Based on the Boeing Next-Generation 737-800 commercial airplane, the P-8 provides anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. The P-8 is replacing the Navy’s P-3 aircraft.
Boeing assembles P-8As in the same facility where it builds all its 737s. The Poseidon team uses a first-in-industry in-line process that takes advantage of the efficiencies in the Next-Generation 737 production system. After initial assembly, the P-8A aircraft enter a separate mission system installation and checkout facility for final modifications and testing.
Initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) was completed in March; the US Navy announced July 1 that the P-8A program had passed IOT&E and the P-8A was ready for fleet introduction.
US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) received its eight of 14 upgraded Lockheed P-3 Orion on July 18th, 78 days ahead of delivery schedule, from Lockheed Martin.
During the so-called Mid-Life Update (MLU) the manufacturer replaces all fatigue life-limiting structures with enhanced-design components; and incorporates a new metal alloy that is five times more corrosion resistant than the original material. This way the operating costs of the P-3 are reduced. The MLU solution removes current aircraft flight restrictions and extends the structural service life of the P-3 up to 15,000 hours, adding more than 20 years of operational use.
Worldwide the Lockheed P-3 Orion is extensively used for maritime patrol and reconnaissance, homeland security, hurricane reconnaissance, anti-piracy operations, humanitarian relief, search and rescue, intelligence gathering, and antisubmarine warfare.
During fiscal year 2012, the CBP P-3 fleet seized or disrupted more than 117,765 pounds of cocaine valued at more than $8.8 billion, totaling 21.1 pounds seized for every flight hour, valued at $1.5 million for every hour flown.