Boeing and the U.S. Navy recently celebrated deployment of the first P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to Kadena, Japan. The Navy now can effectively deploy P-8As for operational missions, tracking and targeting enemy submarines and ships.
The key program milestone followed the Navy’s announcement in late 2013 that the P-8A had achieved “initial operational capability.”
U.S. Navy Seventh Fleet Commander, Vice Admiral Robert Thomas, said he has been impressed with the P-8A’s performance to date during its inaugural deployment.
“Across every mission set, from anti-submarine warfare to intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, P-8A capability represents a significant improvement over the P-3C, providing the opportunity to detect, track and report on more targets than ever before,” Thomas said. “This aircraft is a game-changer.”
Overall, the Navy plans to purchase 117 of the Boeing 737-based P-8A aircraft to replace its P-3 fleet. Boeing currently is on contract for 37 P-8As and has delivered the first 13. All 2013 deliveries were on or ahead of schedule.
According to Boeing vice president and P-8 program manager Rick Heerdt, the P-8A program is truly a team effort. Boeing Commercial Airplane employees in Renton, Wash., build the aircraft in-line before their Military Aircraft teammates take over and install and test the mission systems prior to delivery to the Navy.
Additionally, the P-8 Fleet Integration Team at Naval Air Station Jacksonville is supporting the transitioning squadrons with training by using the P-8A Integrated Training Center (ITC). Boeing’s Training Systems and Government Services division currently provides aircrew training devices, electronic classrooms and courseware to the ITC.