Navy awards $1.9B for 3rd phase of P-8A production

On the heels of the U.S. Navy announcing on Sept. 21 its plans to buy 11 P-8A Poseidon Multi-Mission Maritime low rate initial production (LRIP) Lot III aircraft from Boeing, the fourth production aircraft was delivered to the fleet Oct. 9.

“The delivery of the fourth LRIP Lot 1 aircraft is a great way to start the month,” said Capt. Scott Dillon, Maritime, Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Office’s (PMA-290) program manager.

September was a multi-milestone month for the multi-mission program team, as this $1.9 billion contract modification announcement follows the delivery of the third LRIP Lot 1 aircraft, in addition to the program entering into the initial operational testing and evaluation period.

“This contract modification and the delivery of the newest LRIP aircraft to fleet operators, keeps the program moving in the right direction,” Dillon said. “I am proud of the P-8A team for all of these significant milestones occurring in one month – job well done.”

The P-8A integrated test squadron now consists of six test aircraft, the first three being instrumented test aircraft. These flight-test aircraft are being used for airworthiness testing and envelope expansion, mission systems testing, and stores separation testing. The remaining three are production representative aircraft used to support the conduct of operational test and evaluation. Pax River’s Air Test and Evaluation Squadron ONE (VX-1) is the Navy’s operational test squadron that will be focusing on completing developmental testing, preparing and participating in operational testing, and initiating fleet transition.

The P-8A Poseidon is the first Navy combat aircraft built from the ground up on a commercial production line, which also allows the program to reduce time and overall cost for the Navy.

Developmental testing to date indicates the aircraft meets program requirements and is on track for upcoming milestones, with the ultimate goal of initial operational capability (IOC) in 2013.

To date, the test aircraft have completed more than 600 sorties and 2,500 flight hours. Throughout this year and in addition to ongoing developmental flight test, the operational test squadron participated in several major 2012 exercises including the U.S. Navy’s Bold Alligator exercise in February; United Kingdom’s Joint Warrior exercise in April and this month; Australia’s Tactical ASW Maritime exercise in June; U.S. Navy’s Rim of the Pacific exercise in July and August; and U.S. Navy’s Valiant Shield in Guam last month.

“These exercises provide real-world tests of the P-8A’s capabilities and bring the Navy one step closer to IOC,” Dillon said. “The Navy-Boeing P-8A team can be very proud of these major program accomplishments and of their contribution to the Navy’s warfighting readiness.”

Source: Naval Air Systems Command
Date: Oct 17, 2012