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New Zealand's First P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft Is Now Officially in the Works

Boeing recently announced that it kicked off the building process of New Zealand’s first P-8A aircraft by laying the keel of the plane.
Boeing P-8A aircraft 9 photos
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New Zealand aims to better equip its defense forces and upgrade its maritime patrol and response capability by replacing its current fleet of aging P-3K2 Orion planes with four Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft. And the keeling process of the first unit has just begun at the Spirit AeroSystems facility in Kansas, where Boeing designs and builds important parts such as 737 fuselages, nacelles, and pylons.

As explained by Boeing, the keel beam on the P-8 is different from the typical 737 keel beam, as the former’s keel includes unique aspects such as the integration of an internal weapons bay.

The panel of the aircraft as well as other fuselage components will be built on Spirit’s existing 737 production line. Next, the P-8A fuselage will be shipped to a Boeing facility in Renton, Washington, for final assembly. After all these stages are completed, Boeing Defense, Space & Security will proceed with installing mission systems. The P-8A will of course go through extensive testing as well before being delivered to New Zealand.

Boeing hopes to complete the P-8A aircraft and have it delivered later this year.

The four P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft will help New Zealand’s defense forces extend their reach into the Pacific and beyond, as stated by Rosemary Banks, New Zealand’s ambassador to the U.S.

Boeing’s P-8 is described as a multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft that excels at anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and search and rescue missions. It can fly at altitudes of up to 42,000 ft (almost 12,500 m) and Boeing boasts of it featuring the most advanced weapon system in the world. It is also engineered to last for 25 years/25,000 hours in the most challenging maritime flight regimes.

The P-8 comes in two variants, the P-8I, which is flown by the Indian Navy, and the P-8A Poseidon, flown by the U.S. Navy, U.K.’s Royal Air Force, the Australian Royal Force, to name its most important customers. New Zealand will soon make that list, too.

press release
 

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