Next USN Maritime Patrol Plane Makes First Flight

P-8A Poseidon 'T-1' (BuNo 167951) (N541BA) makes its first flight at Boeing Field, WA 4/25/09
Photo: Boeing

4/29/2009 - NAVAIR Patuxent River, MD - P-8A Poseidon, the Navy’s next maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, took to the skies for the first time April 25. The first test aircraft, designated T1, successfully completed a series of flight checks in Seattle. The aircraft took off from Renton Field and landed 3 hours and 31 minutes later at the nearby Boeing Field.

“The Fleet is ready for the P-8A Poseidon,” said Rear Adm. Bill Moran, Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Group. “It has been 50 years since the Navy introduced a new maritime patrol aircraft, so seeing T1 fly for the first time marks an incredible milestone for the Poseidon program and for the maritime patrol and reconnaissance community. I can assure you that all of our young pilots and aircrew are watching with anticipation as Poseidon readies for flight test and Fleet introduction.

”Industry partner Boeing used the flight as an opportunity to complete runway taxi tests and a limited series of flight checks that included engine starts and shut downs prior to takeoff. Boeing test pilots took the aircraft to 25,000 feet and completed several airborne systems checks including engine accelerations, decelerations, autopilot flight modes and powering the auxiliary unit up and down.

Prior to the start of the integrated flight test program, Boeing will install additional flight test instrumentation, conduct a series of ground tests and apply the Navy’s paint scheme. Formal testing of the Poseidon begins third quarter of this fiscal year.

“T1’s first flight is a clear demonstration of the program’s commitment to delivering this critical capability on time and the result of a tremendous effort by the joint Navy/Boeing team,” said Capt. Mike Moran, Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft program manager. “I commend Boeing for putting its ‘A-Team’ in place on this program and enabling the Navy to leverage Boeing’s experience, expertise, and, more importantly, dedication to make this aircraft a reality.

”As the aircraft readies for test, the Poseidon program also moves toward the next milestone in the acquisition process. Last month, the Honorable John Young, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, gave the program approval to begin procuring long lead items required in anticipation of a Low Rate Initial Production decision. LRIP is a phase in the acquisition process that allows the program to produce aircraft in a limited quantity for testing and evaluation.

The Poseidon is designed to replace the P-3C Orion as a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.

It maximizes the experience and technology of P-3C capabilities to meet the Navy’s requirements to develop and field a maritime aircraft equipped with an open systems architecture, significant growth potential, greater payload capacity and higher operating altitude.

Boeing was awarded a contract in 2004 to deliver five test vehicles. This acquisition phase provides three flight test aircraft (T1, T2 and T3), one full-scale static loads test airframe (S1), and one full-scale fatigue test airframe (S2). Currently, all five are in various stages of assembly and testing at either Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kan., where the fuselages are manufactured, or at Boeing in Seattle.

The Navy plans to purchase 108 production aircraft. Initial Operational Capability is slated for fiscal year 2013.

Source: USN Press Release

Home - About - New - Archive - Gallery - Units - Patches - Books - Videos - Links - Site Index
All original content Copyright © 2006 - 2008 The North Spin