Boeing Defense, Space & Security reported it delivered a P-8A Poseidon aircraft to the U.S. Navy, the fifth of that series based on the Boeing Next-Generation 737 that the OEM has supplied in a low-rate initial production program, as part of contracts placed last year and earlier this year. Each jet carries an estimated price of $280 million.

Boeing DS&S is an operating unit of The Boeing Co., headquartered in St. Louis. As part of the low-rate initial production program, Boeing is providing the Navy with training programs for the P-8A Poseidon aircrew and maintenance teams, as well as logistics support, spares, support equipment and tools. In full production, Boeing would supply 122 of the new jets.

The P-8A Poseidon is a long-range aircraft capable of “interoperability” — networkable communications with fighter aircraft, ballistic antimissile systems, carrier strike groups, satellite communications, and other systems — for use in anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. It will carry torpedoes, depth charges, anti-ship missiles and other weapons, and will be able to drop and monitor sonobuoys.

Boeing said the aircraft’s “advanced mission system” ensures its maximum effectiveness in “the future battle space” that it notes would include broad-area maritime and littoral operations. In addition to warfare, the P-8A Poseidon will be used to interdict shipping interdiction and to engage in an electronic intelligence.  It will influence how the U.S. Navy's maritime patrol and reconnaissance forces train, operate, and deploy, Boeing predicted.

"This is our final P-8A delivery of the year,” according to Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president and P-8 program manager. “We’ll ramp up to 12 deliveries, including P-8I aircraft for India, in 2013.

"Our in-line production approach, which draws on processes developed on the company's commercial and military programs, has been key to our ability to increase production rates while reducing costs," Dabundo stated.

Currently, the next three Poseidon aircraft are having their mission systems installed and checked in Seattle, and two more are in final assembly in Renton, Wash.

Boeing will deliver its sixth production P-8A to the Navy in early 2013. The Navy will purchase 117 P-8A aircraft to replace its current P-3 fleet.

"As we transition to the P-8A and prepare for Initial Operational Capability in 2013, the U.S. Navy is successfully flying the first production planes at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.," explained Capt. Aaron Rondeau, leader of the U.S. Navy P-8A Integrated Product Team.