The U.S. Navy announced awarded Boeing $1.6 billion contract for the production of six P-8A Poseidon under the Low-Rate Initial Production (LRIP) phase of the P-8A multi-mission maritime aircraft (MMA) program. This first LRIP contract also includes spares, logistics and training devices. Production of the first LRIP aircraft will begin this summer at Boeing’s Renton, Washington facility. The 737 fuselage and tail sections will be built by Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kan., then transferred to Renton where all structural features will be incorporated in sequence during fabrication and assembly.
Update: February 25, 2014: The U.S. Navy exercised options to procure 16 P-8A Poseidon Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft full rate production Lot I aircraft and 16 Ancillary Mission Equipment kits for the U.S. Navy. The Boeing Company was awarded $2.070 Billion in award modification to fulfil the delivery by April 2017.
According to Capt. Mike Moran, PMA 290 Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Manager, Poseidon is on track to meet the original 2013 Initial Operational Capability (IOC) at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida. The U.S. Navy plans to purchase 117 production P-8A aircraft to replace its P-3 Fleet with a Navy version of the Boeing 737 jetliner. Three of the six flight test aircraft, built as part of the System Development and Demonstration contract awarded to Boeing in 2004, are in various stages of testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md. The Integrated Test Team has conducted sonobuoy releases and counter measures deployments.
Recently, one of two static test planes completed full scale testing on the P-8A airframe. The first static test aircraft underwent 154 different tests with no failure of the primary structure. The second aircraft will begin fatigue testing this year.
The P-8A’s flight management system and the stores management system has been developed by GE Aviation Systems in Grand Rapids, Mich. (formerly Smiths Aerospace). The cabin has as many as seven operator consoles. The Poseidon’s mission systems include MX-20HD digital electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) multi-spectral gyro-stabilized sensor turrets provided by from L-3 Communications Wescam in Burlington, Ontario. The radar used on board is an upgraded APS-137D(V)5 maritime surveillance radar integrated with signals intelligence (SIGINT) system, both provided by Raytheon. This radar supports synthetic aperture radar (SAR) operating mode, for imaging stationary ships and small vessels and for coastal and overland surveillance, and high resolution imaging synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) for imaging surfaced submarines and fast surface vessels operating in coastal waters. Also supporting the anti-submarine warfare mission is the integrated magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) System developed by CAE Inc. The Navy plans to arm the P-8A with the MK 54 lightweight anti-submarine torpedo. The Electronic Warfare Self-Protection (EWSP) suite integrated by Northrop Grumman integrates the AN/ALQ-213(V) electronic warfare management system (EWMS) from Terma, directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) set with radar warning system and BAE Systems countermeasures dispenser.