Aviation News

April 24, 2011

Sixth Boeing P-8A Poseidon Takes Flight

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By: Brandon Farris
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US Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon takes off in 2010.
US Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon takes off in 2010. (Photo by Brandon Farris)
The sixth Boeing P-8A Poseidon test aircraft made its first flight this week, the first Poseidon to fly since Boeing and the US Navy announced a new $1.6 billion contract for the first six production jets.

The Poseidon’s design is based on the 737-800 commercial airliner. In addition to the dozens of extra fuselage-mounted antennas and sensors not seen on the passenger version, the P-8A is fitted with the stronger wings of the 737-900, which feature raked winglets instead of the traditional blended winglets found on the -800.

Development of the Poseidon came after the Navy determined their aging P-3 submarine hunters needed replacing. The US Navy plans to order as many as 117 of the jets, while India’s air force has ordered 13, designated the P-8I.

To put into perspective the age difference in the two aircraft, the P-3 had its first flight 1959; the P-8 had its first flight 50 years later.

The P-8 is being tested at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, with an estimated in-service date of 2013.