Providing an update to the Boeing P-8 POSEIDON maritime patro, aircraft programme at Farnborough 2016 this week, Steve Tripp, responsible for global sales and marketing for Boeing Military Aircraft, emphasised the fact that the programme’s unique ‘in-line production’ features has resulted in the world’s, “most advanced ASW/ASuW (Anti-Submarine Wafare/Anti-Surface Vessel Warfare) aircraft," being on cost, on schedule and has already saved over US$2.1 billion. “The aircraft are built from the ground up as P-8s but leverage all the benefits of Boeing 737 heritage,” he explained.
Capt. Tony Rossi, US Navy (USN), the P-8A programme manager, added that the result is, “a truly multi-mission, multi-role aircraft, providing a wide range of capabilities from Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) to ASW and offering full flex in terms of equipment and operators for mission requirement changes.”
The USN has 80 POSEIDONs currently on contract and has so far received 42, including all the low rate initial production (LRIP) aircraft, on a delivery schedule that, “has averaged about one month earlier than anticipated,” according to Rossi. Current production rate is running at about one and a half aircraft a month and the fleet has already achieved some 10,000 sorties and 55,000 operational flying hours, he added.
The Royal Australian Air Force has eight aircraft on contract, of which the first is scheduled for delivery later this year, according to Tripp. Four further aircraft have been approved and funded by the Australian government. India, meanwhile, has received all eight of the P-8Is it ordered and is understood to be close to exercising the option for a further four contained in the original contract.
In a widely anticipated announcement at Farnborough, outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed the UK has committed to the procurement of nine P-8s, worth in excess of £3 billion over the next ten years. In addition to the aircraft, Boeing will provide a £100 million training facility for the UK POSEIDONs at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland.
Capt. Rossi confirmed that unit cost savings of over 30% have been achieved between the first LRIP aircraft and the current Lot 7. Tripp added that those cost savings are reflected in the prices being offered to new customers, including India and the UK.
Picture shows a P-8A POSEIDON and a P-3 ORION over NAS Patuxent River, MD.