The U.S. Navy expected to confirm a contract July 30 with Boeing for three additional P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, which will be used for the operational test and evaluation phase of the program.A good aircraft to replace a good aircraft. Evolutionary progress. So far, so good.
The aircraft are the first incremental addition to the baseline contract which covered five airframes – three flying and two ground test – for the P-8A development phase.
The P-8A is scheduled to achieve initial operating capability in late 2013 and full fleet deployment in late 2018. “Every six months the plan is to transition another squadron from P-3s to P-8s,” Navy patrol and reconnaissance group commander Rear Adm. Bill Moran says. “We’ve got enough life left to get us through to that full transition in late 2018.”
The Navy has a stated requirement for up to 117 P-8As, up from around 108 when the program was first awarded, and will use them to replace the 164 P-3s currently in service.
The P-8A incorporates a strengthened 737-800 fuselage and tail, with a beefed-up wing based on the design of the stretched -900 version. The fuselage is also unique in that it incorporates a weapons bay in the aft lower fuselage. The P-8A also has weapons stations under the wing and raked wingtips in place of winglets.
Saturday, August 01, 2009
As the P-3 fleet wheezes, coughs, and generally collects dust praying for luck to keep giv'n ... at least there is hope on the horizon ... though 2018 is a LONG way away.