Boeing opens new Poseidon production facility

By Arun Kumar, IANS
Friday, November 12, 2010

WASHINGTON - Boeing has opened a new production facility near Boeing Field in Seattle for making P-8 aircraft, including eight P-8I maritime patrol aircraft ordered by the Indian Navy in a $2.2 billion deal.

The refurbished factory gives Boeing and its P-8 teammates the space they need to install mission systems and conduct tests on aircraft for current and future customers, the Seattle based company announced Friday.

“We’ll complete work on the P-8A Poseidon aircraft for the US Navy and the P-8I aircraft for the Indian Navy in this facility and plan to use this space for future P-8 customers’ aircraft as well,” said Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president and P-8 programme manager.

The Indian Navy signed a contract for eight P-8I aircraft in January 2009. Boeing will deliver the first P-8I within 48 months of contract signing and the remaining seven by 2015.

“The new factory is a great fit as Boeing transitions to building production aircraft, in part because it allows us to incorporate a leaner workflow,” Dabundo said.

The P-8I is a customised export variant of the P-8A for the Indian Navy. These aircraft would replace Indian Navy’s aging Tupolev Tu-142M maritime surveillance turboprops.

Armed with torpedoes, depth charges and Harpoon missiles and packed with long-range radars and sensors, the P-8Is will boost the Indian Navy’s anti-warship and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.

The P-8 is a militarised version of the 737-800, Boeing’s Next-Generation 737 commercial airplane, with 737-900-based wings. The airframe uses a 737-800-based fuselage that is similar to but longer than the 737-700-based C-40 Clipper.

The P-8 has a strengthened fuselage and 767-400ER-style raked wingtips, instead of the blended winglets available on 737NG variants. It also includes six additional body fuel tanks, three in the forward cargo compartment and three in the rear, for extended range.

The P-8 features the Raytheon APY-10 multi-mission surface search radar. The P-8I will feature an international version of the APY-10

The US Navy plans to purchase 117 P-8A anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to replace its existing P-3 fleet. Initial operational capability is scheduled for 2013.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes employees assemble the P-8 aircraft in Renton, Washington. Following final assembly, the P-8s make a short flight to Boeing Field.

Inside the new facility, employees of Boeing Defence, Space & Security, one of the world’s largest defence, space and security businesses, will complete systems installation and testing prior to customer delivery, Boeing said.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at )

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