The U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command started its initial production phase of the P-8A Poseidon with a six-plane $1.6 billion contract order to initiate Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) at the Boeing Plant 3 facility in Renton, Washington. This first LRIP contract includes spares and logistic and training devices.
“In 2004, the U.S. Navy and the Boeing Airplane Company made a commitment to deliver the next generation maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft to support a 2013 Initial Operational Capability (IOC),” said Capt. Mike Moran, PMA 290 Program Manager. “This contract and these aircraft keep that commitment on track.”
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, Maryland. The Integrated Test Team conducted a number of successful sonobuoy releases and countermeasures deployments at PAX River.
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 U.S. Navy plans to purchase 117 production P-8A aircraft to replace its fleet of Lockheed Martin P-3 Orion aircraft. The IOC of the P-8A is planned for implementation at NAS Jacksonville, Florida.—Steve Pace