First flight for RAAF’s first P-8A Poseidon

written by australianaviation.com.au | May 24, 2016
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The first RAAF P-8A about to land at Boeing Field. (Josh Kaiser)

The first Boeing P-8A Poseidon for the RAAF has made its first flight, completing the short hop from Renton, where it was built, to Boeing Field where its mission systems equipment is being installed, on May 6.

The aircraft, wearing 11 Squadron RAAF markings and the temporary US registration N940DS, took off from Renton at 1:31pm local time, landing at Boeing Field 1hr 53min later, flight tracking website Flightaware shows.

It is due to be ferried to Australia “in late 2016 following post-production checks and acceptance”, Defence said in a statement on May 24.

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P-8s are built on a separate final assembly line at Boeing’s Renton facility in Washington State, where all 737s and their variants are assembled, before they are ferried to nearby Boeing Field, Seattle for mission systems fit-out.

The RAAF is acquiring up to 15 P-8As to replace, along with the unmanned MQ-4C Triton, the AP-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft.

Acquisition of an initial eight P-8As was approved in 2014, while in February the 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.

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“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 first P-8A aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force leaves Renton Field for Boeing Field in nearby Seattle, marking its transfer from Commercial Airplanes to Boeing Defense, Space & Security for final completion.
Taking off from Renton. (Boeing)
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Taxiing at Boeing Field. (Josh Kaiser)

9 Comments

  • Hayden Roberts

    says:

    great to see the orions replacement underway!

  • SK

    says:

    nice aircraft

  • Dan

    says:

    Despite Defence Ministers comments I am still confused as to how many P8’s we have actually contracted?Especially poignant given we are in an election year, Given Labor’s last effort at Defence funding during the Gillard, Rudd years is testament enough to be concerned.

  • Raymond

    says:

    Dan, I concur that when it comes to Labor and defence funding, there is cause for concern.

    As far as RAAF P-8 aircraft are concerned, a total of 15 are to be acquired. Of these, 12 have been approved, and I understand that 8 are currently under contract.

  • Jason

    says:

    There are 8 currently on contract in two batches of 4.
    Four more have been approved by the Government but have not been contracted yet.
    Three more are being carried as options.

  • Dan

    says:

    Thank you Raymond and Jason for clarifying that. Really seems to be a great aircraft with great systems growth potential. Looking forward to seeing them here in Australia over the next few years.

  • Oz

    says:

    Is there any news on which Contractor has won the 4 year sustainment contract for the RAAF P8 fleet?

  • Damon

    says:

    Great to see her finally flying!

  • Peter J Cesnik

    says:

    Vale Orions . served Australia well…welcome P-8’s

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