Saturday, August 01, 2009

A long limp to the finish ....

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.
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.

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.
A good aircraft to replace a good aircraft. Evolutionary progress. So far, so good.


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