Wednesday, 1 April 2020

$1.5 Billion P-8A Poseidon contract for Boeing

Photo Boeing
It has been confirmed this week that the US Navy is going ahead with a much anticipated $1.5 billion production contract for the next 18 P-8A Poseidon aircraft from Boeing.

This deal includes eight aircraft for the U.S. Navy, six aircraft for the Republic of Korea Navy and four aircraft for the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

The Republic of Korea Navy and Royal New Zealand Air Force acquired the aircraft through the Foreign Military Sales process and will receive the same P-8A Poseidon variant designed and produced for the U.S. Navy. The Royal New Zealand Air Force is expected to begin receiving aircraft in 2022 and the Republic of Korea Navy is expected to begin receiving aircraft in 2023.

The P-8 is a long-range multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft that is based on Boeing's 737 Next-Generation aeroplanes, with some extra bits of military kit.  These extras include maritime weapons, bomb bay, pylons for weapons, two weapons stations on each wing and can carry 129 sonobuoys. The aircraft is also fitted with an in-flight refuelling system to facilitate much longer missions on patrol over friendly, or indeed unfriendly skies. The P-8 can fly high -up to 41,000 ft and get to the area of interest fast with a speed of up to 490 knots.

As the P-8 is based on a popular commercial aircraft it also saves money on spares, overhauls and maintenance and Boeing's modern open mission system architecture and commercial-like support enhances affordability for air forces around the world. Of course, on the downside, the aircrafts vulnerabilities are already widely known in the industry and with Boeing's software updates,  the US manufacturer could easily send a patch through that could ground the plane indefinitely should it choose to do so.
Photo Boeing
Photo RAF

P-8 Technical Specifications
Propulsion Two CFM56-7 engines providing 27,000 lbf thrust each
Length         129.5 ft (39.47 m)
Wing Span 123.6 ft (37.64 m)
Height         42.1 ft (12.83 m)
MTGW           189,200 lbs (85,820 kg)

Boeing Support

In light of the current medical crisis, the US manufacturer has taken additional steps to support the coronavirus COVID-19 recovery and relief efforts. These include:

Boeing will begin using its 3D printing capabilities at several facilities across the United States to manufacture face shields to help protect those who are on the front lines of fighting the virus. Our initial production goal is to produce thousands of face shields per week followed by subsequent production increases. Boeing has additive manufacturing machines in St. Louis, Missouri; El Segundo, California; Mesa, Arizona; Huntsville, Alabama and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that will be used for this initial response, as long as those facilities remain in operation, consistent with federal, state and local health orders and the health and safety of Boeing employees.

We have also offered the use of our Dreamlifter, one of the largest cargo carriers in the world, to help transport critical and urgently needed supplies to healthcare professionals. We’re coordinating closely with government officials on how best to provide our support.

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