Boeing has released two photos of the first Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft undergoing final assembly at the manufacturer’s Renton facility just outside Seattle.
The first photograph, taken on March 11, shows the wings being joined on the aircraft, while the second photograph shows the tail being added.
Acquisition of eight P-8As for the RAAF was approved in 2014, while the recently released Defence White Paper’s accompanying Integrated Investment Program (IIP) revealed that, “Eight Poseidon aircraft will be introduced in the early 2020s, with seven additional aircraft to be acquired in two tranches to bring the total to 15 aircraft by the late 2020s.”
Approval of the first of those additional tranches of P-8s was subsequently announced by Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne at the RAAF’s Air Power Conference in Canberra in March.
“The first of the Poseidons is expected to be delivered late this year and 12 aircraft will be in service by 2022,” Senator Payne told the Air Power Conference.
The P-8A is based on the Boeing 737-800 commercial aircraft. The fuselage is built at Sprit AeroSystems as a dedicated P-8A alongside the commercial 737 fuselages in Wichita, Kansas while final assembly is on a specific P-8A line at Boeing’s 737 factory in Renton, Washington State. Mission and sensor systems are then installed at Boeing Field, Seattle