Skip to comments.Boeing Team Begins Building India's Navy's First P-8I Aircraft
Posted on 12/07/2010 10:05:32 PM PST by ErnstStavroBlofeld
The Boeing P-8I team began fabricating the first part for the Indian navy's first long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft on Dec. 6 in Wichita. The P-8I, based on the Boeing Next-Generation 737 commercial airplane, is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon that Boeing is developing for the U.S. Navy.
Employees at Spirit AeroSystems -- where all Boeing Next-Generation 737 fuselages, nacelles and pylons are designed and built -- cut the P-8I's first part, a bonded aluminum panel that later will be installed on the fuselage's upper lobe to support an antenna. The panel and other fuselage components will come together on Spirit's existing Next-Generation 737 production line.
"Today marks the P-8I program's move from the design phase to the build phase," said Leland Wight, Boeing P-8I program manager. "We're on schedule and the Indian navy is looking forward to receiving its first plane."
(Excerpt) Read more at boeing.mediaroom.com ...
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So are the Indians going to field these before we do?
India will buy a total of perhaps eight aircraft. The US P-8 will be built in small quantites — not nearly enough to replace the P-3. ASW is just not sexy enough to garner the aircraft numbers needed in a tight budget.
Don’t think of it as just an ASW platform -
MPA - Maritime Patrol Aircraft.
With ISAR - it can sweep out large areas of ocean, looking for small craft seeking to sneak in (think of the drug smugglers bringing drugs via ocean routes in the GoM, Florida, etc.)
(In fact, in the 1990’s - it was often referred to as the MMPA - standing for “Multi-mission Patrol Aircraft” - to de-emphasize ASW and other Ocean missions.)
It is useful for surveillance of oceans ....but even the P-3C’s were being used in Afghanistan. That ISAR can help pick up trucks moving around where you don’t think trucks should be - and then you can direct a Predator (or other) to do a closer recon, and if necessary, take some sort of action!