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US NAVY demands POSEIDON to hit the skies fastER

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  • US NAVY demands POSEIDON to hit the skies fastER

    SOURCE:Flight International
    US Navy asks Boeing to accelerate P-8A deliveries
    By Andrew Doyle

    The US Navy has asked Boeing to make good on a four-year-old promise to accelerate deliveries of P-8A Poseidon long-range maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, following last December's grounding of around a quarter of its Lockheed P-3C Orions.

    "We're working with the navy right now on a capacity analysis to understand what the possible rates out of the factory are," says Boeing Integrated Defense Systems P-8A programme manager Bob Feldmann. "There's a gap in capability that needs to be filled."

    Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice-president P-8A Mo Yahyavi says the manufacturer believes it can build "18-24 airplanes per year" for the USN and international customers. The navy has ordered 108 aircraft for service-entry from 2013, to be delivered at a rate of 13 a year.

    Boeing on 9 June achieved the power-on milestone for the first P-8A development aircraft, which is also the first 737 to be assembled on a third, ITAR-controlled moving assembly line set up at the company's factory in Renton, Washington.

    In 2004, the P-8A won the USN's multi-mission maritime aircraft contract based on Boeing's lowest-priced bid, and a promise that the manufacturer could accelerate the in-service date by up to one year.

    Boeing is for the first time attempting to integrate production of a military airliner derivative with its commercial assembly lines, rather than roll-out a "green" aircraft for modification. The P-8A combines the fuselage of the 737-800 with the wing of the longer -900, but its airframe is strengthened to cope with sustained g-loadings.

    "Rather than building a green airplane, flying it someplace, cutting it up and trying to make it into a military aircraft, our approach is radically different on this programme," says Feldmann. "We decided to build to the navy requirements and design-in from the ground up, so that the aircraft is built with a bomb bay and all the structure, duct work and wiring in it."

    The P-8A's bomb bay doors were designed by Boeing IDS in Long Beach, California, but are manufactured in St Louis and installed by 737 fuselage-supplier Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas.

    "We've got a complete fuselage here with the bomb bay doors in it," says Yahyavi. "We're building a fully provisioned military aircraft in the heart of the Boeing commercial production system."

    Assembly of the first test aircraft is expected to take around 90 days, compared with 10 for a commercial 737, but Boeing expects to reduce this to 45 days for production P-8As. Five development aircraft are being constructed, two of which will serve as the static- and fatigue-test articles.
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  • #2
    after this year the only base on the east coast that will house them is NAS Jacksonville..... NAS Brunswick should be closing soon and all of their remaining units are moving down to FL..