P-8A MMA cutaway slide

P-8A Poseidon: cutaway

September 22/20: Sonobouy Rotary Launchers L3Harris Technologies won a maximum $21.7 million deal for P-8 aircraft sonobouy rotary launchers. L3Harris designs and manufactures pneumatic powered sonobuoy launching systems for maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare applications. The Boeing-built P-8A has been designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. Work will take place in New York. Performance completion date is March 18, 2024.

P-8 MMA, changed wing

P-8A Poseidon
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Maritime surveillance and patrol is becoming more and more important, but the USA’s P-3 Orion turboprop fleet is falling apart. The P-7 Long Range Air ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) Capable Aircraft program to create an improved P-3 began in 1988, but cost overruns, slow progress, and interest in opening the competition to commercial designs led to the P-7’s cancellation for default in 1990. The successor MMA program was begun in March 2000, and Boeing beat Lockheed’s “Orion 21” with a P-8 design based on their ubiquitous 737 passenger jet. US Navy squadrons finally began taking P-8A Poseidon deliveries in 2012, but the long delays haven’t done their existing P-3 fleet any favors.

Filling the P-3 Orion’s shoes is no easy task. What missions will the new P-8A Poseidon face? What do we know about the platform, the project team, and ongoing developments? Will the P-3’s wide global adoption give its successor a comparable level of export opportunities? Australia and India have already signed on, but has the larger market shifted in the interim?

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Stay in step with the P-8 Poseidon program, and have all DII materials instantly available by becoming a subscriber. This article brings into focus the complex implementation of the Navy’s new patrol aircraft, including:

  • Background on this third-round maritime patrol aircraft and its gamut of responsibilities including search and destroy, sea and land surveillance, missile attacks to land or sea, flexible response to emerging military doctrines
  • 12 photos, including aircraft design cutaways, weapons and surveillance systems
  • Recap of the head-to-head contract battle between Boeing and Lockheed
  • Insider quotes: “MMA will have to be flown high, low, fast and slow and remain on-station for very long periods of time while carrying a variety of weapon and sensor packages.”
  • News on key corporate players including Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, CFM International, Northrop-Grumman Electronic Systems, Raytheon, Smiths Aerospace, Spirit Aerosystems, and United Technologies
  • Participation by foreign buyers, including Australia and possibly India, Canada, et. al.
  • The changes that have split the maritime patrol aircraft market around the globe.

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