India will be the first international customer of the Boeing P-8I Poseidon, a variant of the P-8A Poseidon, US Navy's newest maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft showcased by the Boeing Company.
Ceremonially rolled out on Thursday at the Boeing facility in Renton, Washington, the P-8A, a derivative of the Next-Generation 737-800, is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations.
"The P-8A Poseidon will equip the US Navy with the most advanced multi-mission maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft in the world," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Integrated Defence Systems.
"The Poseidon is also the latest in a decades-long Boeing tradition of working closely with the Navy and other customers to deliver a wide range of platforms that meet their most critical mission requirements."
As the replacement for the US Navy's P-3C Orion aircraft, the P-8A will provide greater payload capacity, significant growth potential, unprecedented flexibility and interoperability, and advanced mission systems, software and communications, Albaugh added.
"The P-8A programme is an outstanding example of evolutionary acquisition at work," said Capt. Mike Moran, US Navy maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft programme manager.
India is buying eight P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft for the Indian navy at a total cost of $2.1 billion with each aircraft costing about $220 million. These aircraft would replace Indian Navy's aging Tupolev Tu-142M maritime surveillance turboprops.
Boeing will deliver the first P-8I to India by 2013 and the remaining seven by 2015. Interest has been expressed by many other countries, including Australia and Italy.
The P-8A for the US Navy is built by a Boeing-led industry team that includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems and GE Aviation.
The team currently is assembling and testing the first five P-8As as part of the programme's System Development and Demonstration contract, awarded in 2004.
The integrated Navy/Boeing team will begin formal flight testing of the P-8A later this year. The US Navy plans to purchase 117 P-8As, and initial operational capability is planned for 2013.