Defining the Future of Flight: 1997 -- present

On the Front Lines

Boeing products on the front lines of defense included helicopters, military cargo carriers, new aircraft, refueling tankers, airlifters and breakthrough technologies.

The new P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft, a derivative of the 737-800, began production on May 14, 2004, when the U.S. Navy awarded a $3.89 billion contract to the Boeing-led industry team, including CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and Smiths Aerospace. The aircraft is intended to replace the Navy's aging P-3Cs. On Nov. 26, 2009, the first P-8A Poseidon test aircraft, T1, entered the U.S. Navy flight-test program. By 2012, the program's three flight-test aircraft will log more than 2,000 flight hours of developmental testing.

First KC-767 tanker for Italy rolls out
First KC-767 tanker for Italy rolls out

New ways of providing defense included the Sea-Based X-Band (SBX) Radar, a key component of the Ground-based Midcourse Defense (GMD) program that was officially dedicated on July 26, 2005, by the Boeing-led SBX industry team and the Missile Defense Agency. On Aug. 26, 2005, a Boeing F-15E fighter launched a hypersonic strike demonstrator vehicle called HyFly. The solid rocket booster successfully ignited and accelerated the HyFly to a speed of greater than Mach 3.

The first of four Italian Air Force KC-767As, advanced aerial refueling tankers, made its first flight across the Atlantic Ocean to the Paris Air Show on June 10, 2005, and the first KC-767 Tanker slated for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force made its inaugural flight Dec. 21, 2006. On Jan. 26, 2008, a KC-767 tanker successfully refueled an F-15E at night, and on Feb. 19, Boeing delivered the first of four KC-767s to Japan's Air Self-Defense Force.

EA-18G Growler makes first flight in St. Louis
EA-18G Growler makes first flight in St. Louis

Deliveries continued on the Navy's C-40A Clipper transport, a derivative of the 737-700C, and the EA-18G Growler, a variant of the combat-proven F/A-18F Super Hornet , was developed for the U.S. Navy as a replacement for its current airborne electronic attack aircraft, the EA-6B Prowler. The Growler flew for the first time on Aug. 16, 2006, approximately one month ahead of schedule. On Sept. 25, 2007, Boeing delivered the first production EA-18G Growler to the U.S. Navy. The first EA-18G Growler in fleet service joined the Electronic Attack Squadron Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., in June 2008.

The C-17 Globemaster III reached its million-hour milestone during a mission March 20, 2006, evacuating injured U.S. troops from Iraq. In June 2008, Congress allocated $3.6 billion for 15 C-17 Globemaster III airlifters for the U.S. Air Force, extending C-17 production through 2010, and in September 2008, an international consortium of 10 NATO members, Sweden and Finland ordered three C-17 Globemaster IIIs.

On April 16, 2008, Boeing delivered its first Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) to the U.S. Air Force, and by September 2008, Boeing had delivered 200,000 (JDAM) tail kits. In July, the German government ordered production of LJDAM and integration support on Tornado aircraft, marking the first international sale of the LJDAM weapon system.

On Jan. 23, 2008, the first 737 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft modified in Australia for Project Wedgetail made its successful functional check flight. In 2009, it passed an important milestone when it was successfully refueled in the air by a KC-10 tanker flying 25,000 feet above Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Troops on the ground were further assisted by the delivery of the 25,000th Combat Survivor Evader Locator (CSEL) radio to the Department of Defense Sept. 10, 2009.

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