April 11, 2008 Boeing has begun final assembly of the first P-8A Poseidon, the long-range anti-submarine plane that will replace the P-3 Orion. The US Navy plans to purchase 108 P-8As, and initial operational capability is scheduled to begin in 2013. The P-8A will have anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
Spirit AeroSystems delivered the P-8A fuselage to Boeing, where it was fitted with wires, tubing, and other small parts, on Boeing’s new, more efficient assembly production line. The wings will be joined to the body later this year.
"The Navy expects us to meet each and every commitment, and achieving this milestone demonstrates that the P-8A team is up to the task, "said Bob Feldmann, Boeing vice president and P-8A program manager. "Our Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Spirit AeroSystems teammates deserve credit for their outstanding performance and teamwork in building the wings and fuselage for the first test aircraft."
The P-8A is being built by a Boeing-led team that includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems and GE Aviation. Delivery of the first test aircraft to the Navy, and first flight, is scheduled for 2009.