The office of the US Dept of Defense’s office of test and evaluation has found the Boeing P-8A Poseidon isn’t yet mission effective and has some key “deficiencies” in its systems.
The section on the P-8 in the office of T&E head, Dr Michael Gilmore’s annual report into major programs was based on operational testing of the aircraft conducted between September 2012 and March 2013, and found problems with the aircraft’s radar performance, sensor integration and data transfer.
In the report, Gilmore said that “Many of these deficiencies” led him to determine the P-8A “is not effective for the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission, and is not effective for wide area anti-submarine search” when subject to realistic combat testing.
Despite his report claiming the aircraft is not yet ready for deployment, the US Navy deployed six P-8As to the western Pacific region at Atsugi Naval Base in Japan late last year. A January 10 statement by 7th fleet commander VAdm Robert Thomas said the aircraft “represents a significant improvement” over the older P-3C Orion, “providing the opportunity to detect, track and report on more targets than ever before.”
The US Navy has taken delivery of 13 P-8As out of a requirement for 113 aircraft, and is currently converting its third squadron to the type. The P-8 is also the nominated manned successor to the RAAF’s AP-3C Orion maritime reconnaissance aircraft.