The P-8A Poseidon is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations.
A derivative of the Next-Generation 737-800, the P-8A combines superior performance and reliability with an advanced mission system that ensures maximum interoperability in the future battle space.
Boeing was awarded a $3.89 billion contract for the system development and demonstration (SDD) phase of the program on June 14, 2004. SDD activities include developing and integrating all the necessary software and onboard mission systems and developing training systems. The P-8A is expected to significantly transform how the Navy’s maritime patrol and reconnaissance force will train, operate and deploy.
The initial SDD contract included building five test vehicles: three flight test aircraft (T1, T2 and T3), one full-scale static test airframe and one full-scale fatigue test airframe (S1 and S2). The contract included an option for two additional test vehicles (T4 and T5), which has since been exercised. One additional flight test aircraft (T6) also was added to the contract.
In November 2005 the Navy announced that the P-8A preliminary design review (PDR) was the best major weapons system PDR it had ever reviewed. A successful critical design review was completed in July 2007.
The team started production on the first test aircraft on Dec. 11, 2007, at Spirit’s facility. Fuselage assemblies come together on Spirit’s existing Next-Generation 737 production line. Spirit delivered the first fuselage to Boeing in late March 2008 and final assembly of the aircraft began the same day in Renton, Wash. The P-8A made its first flight on April 25, 2009. Full-scale static testing of the P-8A’s airframe was completed in January 2011. The Navy has surpassed 2,500 flight-test hours in the P-8A test aircraft.