May 15 (UPI) — The U.S. Navy’s 100th P8-A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft was built and delivered, manufacturer Boeing Co. announced this week.
The plane is a modified version of Boeing’s 737-800ERX, developed for the U.S. Navy, and is also in use by the India’s Navy, the Royal Australian Air Force Britain’s Royal Air Force. The Royal Norwegian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force and South Korea’s navy have ordered the plane as well.
Boeing was awarded a $1.6 billion contract modification in March to produce 18 additional P-8A Poseidon aircraft. The deal funds production of eight P8-As for the U.S. Navy, four for New Zealand and six for South Korea.
The P-8A is also valuable in humanitarian assistance missions.
In October 2019, a project funded by the Royal Australian Air Force tested the plane’s extended search and rescue capability off the coast of Naval Air Station Patuxet River, Md. Using a UNIPAC III Search and Rescue Kit, the experiment revealed the P-8A could provide survivor assistance to 100 people, up from 16, in a single sortie.
Armed with torpedoes and anti-ship missiles, the aircraft serves in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare capacities, as well as in shipping interdiction missions. The plane is also capable of dropping and monitoring sonobuoys, and can operate with in synchronization with Northrop Grumman’s MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle.
“We’re honored by the Navy’s faith and confidence in our employees and the P-8 system,” said Stu Voboril of Boeing in a statement on Thursday. “Our focus has been, and will be, on delivering the world’s best maritime patrol aircraft, bar none.”