Boeing's [NYSE: BA] P-8A Poseidon program will enter full production, following a $2.4 billion contract award from the U.S. Navy for 16 additional aircraft that will bolster maritime patrol capabilities.
The order, which will take the total fleet to 53, marks a transition from preliminary low-rate production.
Boeing has delivered 13 P-8As to the Navy, which deployed its first patrol squadron to Kadena, Japan in December 2013 and has been conducting operational missions since then.
"This milestone is a testament to the incredible effort and dedication of the team to deliver the P-8A to the fleet as planned," Navy P-8A program manager Capt. Scott Dillon said. "The future of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance community has begun to make history with the P-8As already delivered to the fleet. These full-rate production aircraft will give us the opportunity to deliver the best system through a cost-effective procurement contract."
Based on Boeing's Next-Generation 737-800 commercial airplane, the P-8A will enhance the service's anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. Overall, the Navy plans to purchase 117 P-8As to replace its P-3 fleet.
"This contract reflects the success of the program and enables us to continue delivering an advanced, cost-effective maritime patrol aircraft to the Navy," added Rick Heerdt, Boeing vice president and P-8 program manager. "We delivered eight P-8s, all on or ahead of schedule in 2013, and we intend to keep that streak going in 2014."
Boeing assembles the P-8A aircraft in the same facility where it builds all its 737 aircraft. The Poseidon team uses a first-in-industry in-line production process that draws on Boeing's Next-Generation 737 system and has resulted in cost and schedule savings.
Source: The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA)
Date: Feb 26, 2014