A militarized version of the Boeing 737 commercial aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon is intended to replace the U.S. Navy’s ageing P-3 Orion fleet as the service’s front-line anti-submarine warfare aircraft.
The P-8A has an active multi-static and passive acoustic sensor system, inverse synthetic aperture radar, new electronic support measures system, new electro-optical/infrared sensor and a digital magnetic anomaly detector.
Its nine-person crew includes a dual-pilot cockpit and five mission crew (plus relief pilot and in-flight technician). The P-8A has workstations with universal multi-function displays, and ready accommodation for additional workstations and workload sharing. The Poseidon is armed with an internal five-station weapons bay, four wing pylons, two centerline pylons, all supported by digital stores management allowing for carriage of joint missiles, torpedoes and mines.
Boeing was awarded the contract to develop the P-8A on June 14, 2004. The P-8A will be a derivative of a modified Boeing 737-800ERX airliner, bringing together a reliable airframe and high-bypass turbo fan jet engine with a fully connected, state-of-the-art open architecture mission system.
Coupled with next-generation sensors, the P-8A is intended to improve antisubmarine and anti-surface warfare capabilities. The P-8A program went through a preliminary design review in November 2005. The Navy plans to purchase 108 production P-8As. The first aircraft is scheduled to be delivered for flight test in 2009, with IOC planned for 2013.