YouTube – P-8A Poseidon
2 x 27,000 lbs. ea.
129 ft. 5 in.
123 ft. 6 in.
The P-8A Poseidon is the aircraft picked by the U.S. Navy to replace their aging land based maritime patrol aircraft.
It was around 1985 when the U.S. Navy asked aircraft manufacturers for bids on a new aircraft to be used for anti submarine warfare, anti surface shipping, and reconnaissance. Ideally it would have lower operating costs than the aircraft it was replacing. Bureaucratic issues delayed serious consideration of the aircraft for about 15 years.
The competitors for the new aircraft contract were BAE, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing. Another four years passed before Boeing was selected to produce the new aircraft designated the P-8A Poseidon. The Navy changed the requirements for the aircraft, and that produced further delays. It was not until 2009 that the first P-8A prototype took to the sky. Testing of the aircraft was completed and the Navy officially received it on March 4, 2012.
The new aircraft has the latest avionics and computerized sensor systems. It is capable of being armed with depth charges, torpedoes, and anti-shipping missiles.
Rather than produce an entirely new aircraft, Boeing used the fuselage and wings from existing 737 models for the P-8A Poseidon. To save money, the new aircraft is being built with all structural military modifications on the same production line as commercial aircraft. In the past, completed commercial aircraft would be sent to another facility for structural changes and to install their military equipment.
The P-8A Poseidon differs from its commercial cousin in that it has sensors, weapons, a bomb bay, and military avionics. The air frame of the P-8A is reinforced and lengthened. The wingtips are also different than the base aircraft. Additional internal fuel storage is provided in six fuselage tanks.
As of this writing some 122 P-8A Poseidon aircraft have been produced, with the U.S. Navy operating some 100 of the aircraft. The Navy hopes to gradually replace their current maritime aircraft with the P-8A Poseidon as they become available. The Navy would like to eventually deploy 138 of the new aircraft.
In January of 2019 it was announced that Boeing received US$2.46 billion for an additional 19 P-8A Poseidon aircraft. Ten of the aircraft will be going to the U.S. Navy, four to the U.K. and five to Norway. Deliveries should be completed by early 2022. Australia, India and New Zealand are also operating the aircraft.
March 1, 2019: The U.S. Dept. of Defense has awarded a US$428 million contract to Boeing “to support long-lead material and activities for P-8A aircraft”. The contract involves four aircraft for New Zealand, six for South Korea, and six for the U.S. Navy, with work to be completed by June of 2020.
July 11, 2019: Boeing received US$23,375,361 for logistics support of England’s P-8A Poseidon aircraft. Included is initial acceptance and breakdown of four aircraft and provision of training with an eight-month detachment to the U.K. to establish initial operational capability as well as subsequent full operational capability, scheduled aircraft maintenance, support equipment maintenance, engineering reach back and technical assistance. Completion is expected by December of 2020.
Nov. 1, 2019: The Naval Air Systems Command has awarded Boeing a US$17,630,211 modification to a previously issued basic ordering agreement. “This modification exercises an option to perform 27 modifications in support of the Increment 3 Block 1 retrofit requirement for P-8A Poseidon aircraft for the Navy and the government of Australia. The Increment 3 focuses on network ready open architecture and net-enabled weapons. The program consists in the integration of the Harpoon Block II+ anti-ship missile and Link 16 datalink, targeting improvements, and various communications upgrades.” Estimated completion is September of 2021.
Jan. 9, 2020: The Naval Air Systems Command has awarded Boeing US$42,297,380 for “integrated logistics services and site activation support of P-8A Poseidon aircraft for the U.S. Navy and the government of Australia”. Work is expected to be completed in September of 2021.
March 6, 2020: The Naval Air Systems Command has awarded Boeing US$800 million for “long lead material and activities in support of Lot 11 P-8A Poseidon aircraft (8 Navy, 4 New Zealand, and 6 Republic of Korea)”. Work should be finished by June of 2020.
March 30, 2020: The U.S. Navy awards Boeing a US$1.5 billion contract for the production of 18 P-8A Poseidon aircraft. Eight of the new aircraft will go to the U.S. Navy, six to South Korea and four to New Zealand.
April 10, 2020: The Defense Logistics Agency Aviation has awarded Northrop Grumman US$12,671,415 for selector antenna in support of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft program. Using customers are the U.S. Navy, Royal Australian Air Force, Korea, Norway, New Zealand and United Kingdom. Work will be done in Maryland with a completion date of Feb. 13, 2025.