P-8A aircraft gets green light to enter full rate production
On the heels of the P-8A Poseidon squadron’s inaugural deployment, the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Office (PMA-290) recently announced it entered the full-rate production (FRP) phase of its development.
The approval, reached Jan. 3 from the FRP Milestone Decision Authority will allow the program office, resource sponsor, acquisition community and industry to continue to deliver the P-8A to the fleet with the required capabilities needed to ensure the squadrons are getting a stable and efficient system.
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"This significant milestone approval moves the program from low-rate into full-rate production, and allows us to manufacture the remaining aircraft over the next several years with an opportunity for a cost-effective procurement," said Cmdr. Tony Rossi, the integrated product team lead for the P-8A program.
Aligned under the Naval Air Systems Command, the program's current objective is to deliver 117 aircraft to the fleet. Thirteen of 37 Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) aircraft have already been delivered to fleet squadrons, with all deliveries on or ahead of schedule. As the Naval Fleet Forces transition to the P-8A, from the P-3C, the Sailors will use these LRIP and future FRP aircraft to train and participate in operational missions.
Currently, Patrol Squadron 16 (VP-16), who deployed in December, is equipped with LRIP aircraft. VP-16 and the second squadron with LRIP P-8As will receive their next upgrades through increments 2 and 3, which are the follow-up phases for capabilities for the P-8A aircraft and weapons systems. The next significant milestone for the P-8A program is initial operational capability (IOC) for Increment 2, which is scheduled for 2016, Rossi said.
The P-8A’s current configuration, Increment 1, consists of the following capabilities: persistent armed anti-submarine warfare (ASW), an integrated sensor suite, and significant improvement in situational awareness. Increment 2 will consist of multi-static active coherent acoustics, automated identification system, and high-altitude ASW weapon capability.
"This FRP milestone is a testament to the incredible effort and dedication of the P-8A team to deliver the P-8A to the fleet as planned,” said Capt. Scott Dillon, PMA-290 program manager. “The team has accomplished a lot over the last six months, from passing the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation period this summer to achieving IOC this fall and the P-8's first operational deployment this winter. We are moving forward with a successful start to 2014 with the announcement of FRP. The high-quality work of the P-8A team has made this milestone possible. We look forward to having continued successes within the program."
Source : Naval Air Systems Command