P-8 Entering Production Phase

By Guy Norris
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology

The second phase will also see the P-8A equipped with modified sonobuoys for high-altitude ASW warfare, as well as the high-altitude ASW weapon capability (Haawc) system. This is a Mark 54 torpedo fitted with a GPS-guided wing and tail kit that will enable the weapon to be launched from altitudes up to 30,000 ft. Boeing received a $19.2 million Navy contract to design and build the Haawc air launch kits early in April.

Increment 2—slated to enter initial operational capability (IOC)—in early fiscal 2016, will be followed by a third upgrade that will introduce a “net-ready” systems architecture for more flexible software-based enhancements and net-enabled anti-surface warfare weapons and targeting. IOC for Increment 3 is fiscal 2020. Under a $138 million effort running through fiscal 2017, Boeing is also conducting an engineering analysis of the Raytheon Advanced Aerial Sensor (AAS) long-range, high-resolution surveillance radar on the P-8A. The AAS is an electronically-scanned active array radar with a 40-ft.-long antenna housed in a pod under the forward fuselage.

The first P-8A fleet deployment is “on track” for December 2013 when aircraft from Patrol Sqdn. 16, based at NAS Jacksonville, Fla., are due to begin operating out of Kadena AFB, Okinawa.

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