The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is a military aircraft that is currently being developed by Boeing Defence, Space and Security for the United States Navy. Formally known as the Multimission Maritime Aircraft (MMA), the P-8 is modified from the Boeing 737-800.
The operational testing of the maritime patrol aircraft will take 6 – 12 months. After the tests are completed, the P-8 is expected to become operational in September 2013.
The P-8’s purpose is to carry out anti-submarine warfare and engage in electronic intelligence role. The P-8 will carry torpedoes, anti-ship missiles, and other weapons. The P-8 will substitute the P-3C Orion as a long-range reconnaissance, intelligence, surveillance, anti-surface warfare and anti-submarine warfare aircraft. The aircraft has the capacity to carry out maritime and broad-area operations. P-8 will advance the Navy’s proficiency in long-range maritime patrol.
The US Navy ordered 5 MMA aircraft in 2004. After the P-8 passes the operational tests, initial production of P-8s will begin.
David Robinson, business development director for Boeing's P-8 announced several future upgrades and improvements for the P-8:
- The aircraft will be equipped with a new Multi-static Active Coherent system that will enable the aircraft to look for enemy submarines over a vast area.
- The P-8 will have the Automatic Identification System that allows the aircraft to access ships' transponders and take a close look at enemy submarines.
- The aircraft will have design improvements that will enable it to take over some missions currently assigned to the US Navy’s Lockheed EP-3 Aries.