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First Poseidon takes flight from Renton Municipal Airport
The first Boeing P-8A Poseidon production aircraft completed its first flight earlier this month, taking off from Renton Municipal Airport and landing three hours later at Boeing Field in Seattle.
The P-8A is the first of six low-rate initial production aircraft Boeing is building for the U.S. Navy as part of a $1.6 billion contract awarded in January.
The successful flight marked the completion of final assembly in the company’s Renton factory and transition to mission system installation and checkout in Seattle, according to a company press release. Boeing will deliver the aircraft to the Navy next year in preparation for initial operational capability, which is planned for 2013.
“This is the first P-8 that will go directly to the fleet in Jacksonville, Fla., so the aircraft’s first flight is an important milestone for the Boeing team and our Navy customer,” said Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president and P-8 program manager. “We’re on plan to get LRIP-1 to the Navy in 2012.”
“As the Navy’s replacement for the P-3 Orion, the P-8A Poseidon represents the next generation of maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft,” said Capt. Michael Moran, program manager for Naval Air Systems Command’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft program office, in a press release. “The fleet is actively preparing to receive the LRIP-1 aircraft and begin the transition.”
The Navy plans to purchase 117 of the Boeing Next-Generation 737-based P-8A anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to replace its P-3 fleet.
In order to efficiently design and build the P-8A aircraft, the Boeing-led team is using a first-in-industry, in-line production process that draws on the company’s Next-Generation 737 production system. All aircraft modifications unique to the P-8A are made in sequence during fabrication and assembly.
A derivative of the Next-Generation 737-800, the Poseidon is built by a Boeing-led industry team that includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems, BAE Systems and GE Aviation.