Boeing delivered the 18th P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft on Oct. 15 to the US Navy ahead of schedule, further expanding its fleet. The P-8A joined previously delivered aircraft being used to train Navy crews at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., in preparation for the next deployment.
The second operational squadron — the VP-5 ‘Mad Foxes’ — is currently conducting missions operating out of Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. Prior to VP-5’s arrival in Japan, the VP-16 ‘War Eagles’ were deployed for seven months before returning to the U.S. in July 2014. While deployed they completed 600 sorties and 3,500 flight hours.
The P-8 is the first new maritime patrol aircraft to enter Navy service in more than 50 years. While on deployment Navy crews are flying anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare; intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance; maritime domain awareness; search and rescue; carrier strike group coordination; and theater security cooperation missions throughout the Western Pacific.
The P-8A is a revolutionary, low-cost solution and key component of the naval aviation mission offering greater payload capacity, higher operating altitude and easily upgradeable systems. Boeing is using a first-in-industry in-line production process to build P-8A aircraft to military specifications, while leveraging the same processes and tooling that produces 737 commercial aircraft. The result is that the Navy is receiving the maritime patrol aircraft it needs, on cost and on schedule.
Overall, the Navy plans to acquire 117 P-8As to replace its P-3 fleet. Currently, Boeing is on contract to build 53 aircraft. The first P-8A production plane arrived at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., in March 2012.