By Kristine Wilcox, NAVAIR PMA-290
Spirit AeroSystems employees install the first piece of the P-8A Poseidon into a holding fixture during a ceremony at the factory Dec. 11. Spirit will build the fuselage and then ship it to Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Renton, Wash., where it will receive the wings and assemblies. This is the first of five test planes that will be built for the Navy. (Photo provided by Spirit AeroSystems)
NAVAIR PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Dec. 20, 2007) The U.S. Navy and its Poseidon industry team marked the beginning of the P-8A production at a ceremony hosted by Spirit AeroSystems Wichita, Kan., facility Dec. 11.
The P-8A is the first Navy aircraft to be produced on an existing commercial production line.
It has been a long time coming, but the P-8A is a reality, said Capt. Joe Rixey, Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft program manager. I cant be more proud of the partnership between the Navy and Poseidon industry team. They have worked hard to design an aircraft that will replace the legendary P-3C Orion and take our warfighters into the next generation of maritime patrol.
The team loaded the first P-8A fuselage component into a holding fixture on the factory floor during the ceremony attended by Navy program leadership, Spirit employees and representatives from Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.
The P-8A fuselage, a derivative of Boeings Next Generation 737-800, will be built at Spirit then shipped to Boeing Commercial Airplanes in Renton, Wash., for wing assemblies.
"Starting production of the first aircraft is a significant milestone for the P-8A program as we remain focused and committed to delivering this critical weapons system to the fleet on schedule," said Capt. Mike Moran, P-8A Poseidon program lead.
P-8A photo courtesy Spirit AeroSystems.
The P-8A, designed to replace the Fleets P-3C aircraft, is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance aircraft capable of broad-area maritime operations. It will be equipped with an advanced mission system designed for maximum interoperability in the future battle space. Initial operating capability is scheduled for 2013, with full operational capability planned for 2019.