p8 poseidon sub hunter

The Boeing P-8 Poseidon (formerly the Multimission Maritime Aircraft or MMA) is a military aircraft developed for the United States Navy (USN). The aircraft has been developed by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, modified from the 737-800ERX.

The P-8 conducts anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and shipping interdiction, along with an electronic signals intelligence (ELINT) role. This involves carrying torpedoes, depth charges, SLAM-ER missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and other weapons. It is able to drop and monitor sonobuoys. It is designed to operate in conjunction with the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime Surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle. The aircraft has been ordered by the Indian Navy as the P-8I Neptune, and theRoyal Australian Air Force. The Royal Air Force also intends to order the P-8. (

In June 2004, the US Navy announced the selection of the Boeing multimission maritime aircraft, 737 MMA, and awarded a contract to Boeing for the system development and demonstration phase of the programme for the US Navy’s next-generation maritime surveillance aircraft. The aircraft was given the designation P-8A in March 2005.

It is expected that up to 117 P-8A MMA aircraft are to be purchased by the navy to replace the fleet of 196 P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft which are approaching the end of their operational lives. The initial operational capability (IOC) of P-8A was achieved in November 2013.

P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft

The US Navy started a two-year requirement study in 1997 for the replacement of the Navy’s P-3C Orion, and the Defense Acquisition Board initiated a number of concept studies between 2000 and 2002.

An assessment of the proposals by the USN led to contracts being placed with Boeing and Lockheed Martin in 2002 for the component advanced development phase.

The Australian Government announced the acquisition of eight P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in February 2014. The $4bn contract also includes an option for four additional aircraft. The new RAAF aircraft performed a four-hour flight in the vicinity of the naval air station in April 2015. Delivery of the first P-8A will take place in 2017 and all eight aircraft will achieve full operational capability in 2021.

Proposal details from Boeing and Lockheed Martin

Boeing submitted proposals based on the 737-700 aircraft and Lockheed Martin’s proposal was based on the Orion 21, a new version of the P3. The industrial team led by Boeing includes Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Smiths Industries, CFM International, GE Aviation and Spirit AeroSystems.

Boeing built a 737 BBJ2 (Boeing Business Jet) technology demonstrator aircraft to demonstrate the aircraft and on-board systems capabilities. Two functional mission system consoles were installed on the aircraft.

In December 2003, the aircraft completed a tour of US Navy bases and naval air stations in Brunswick, Maine, Jacksonville, Florida, Norfolk, Virginia, Kaneohe, Hawaii and Whidbey Island, Washington.

The demonstrations included maximum power take-off and climb to 12,500m (41,000ft), manual reversion manoeuvres with no hydraulics, maximum rate of descent at more than 3,050m/min (10,000ft/min), tactical manoeuvres at an altitude of 200ft, simulated single-engine manoeuvres and performance landing achieving a stopping distance of less than 610m (2,000ft).

The selection of the Boeing 737 MMA was announced in July 2004 with the contract award covering the manufacture of five trial aircraft during the next eight years. One aircraft each has been allocated for airworthiness tests, static tests and fatigue tests, and two aircraft for testing the mission systems.

Boeing P-8A Poseidon test aircraft T-1 conducts a test flight

The preliminary design review (PDR) was successfully completed in November 2005. The critical design review was completed in July 2007. Boeing began production of the first of five test aircraft in December 2007. The first flight of the P-8A test aircraft T1 was completed in April 2009. The first mission systems test flight of the T2 was successfully completed in June 2010. The test aircraft T3 completed its first flight test in July 2010.

Full-scale static testing on the airframe of the first ground-test vehicle S1 was completed in January 2011. The fatigue tests on S2, the second ground-test vehicle, began in late 2011. The first P-8A production aircraft completed its maiden flight in July 2011.

Boeing 737-based design

The aircraft design is based on the proven fuselage of the 737-800 and the wings of the 737-900. The P-8A aircraft has increased gross weight capability compared with the 737-800.

In June 2005, Boeing announced that the design of the P-8A’s wingtips has been changed from the blended winglet to a backswept wingtip. In June 2006, Stork Aerospace of the Netherlands was awarded the contract for manufacturing the backswept (or raked) wingtips.

The internal weapons bay is installed beneath the forward section of the fuselage. The 737-900-style wings are built with hardpoints for carrying air-to-surface missiles.

The 737 MMA is assembled at the Boeing production facility in Renton, Washington, US. The 737’s fuselage and tail sections are built by Spirit AeroSystems in Wichita, Kansas, before being transferred to Renton, where all the unique 737 MMA aircraft structural features are incorporated in sequence during fabrication and assembly.

The quality and performance acceptance flight testing of the aircraft was conducted from Renton Field and final installations and checkout of the mission system and special flight test instrumentation was conducted at the Boeing Field. The aircraft then ferried to naval air station at Patuxent River, Maryland, for flight test.

P-8A Poseidon cockpit and flight management systems

The flight management system and the stores management system were developed by Smiths Aerospace. The Smiths Aerospace flight management system is based on an integrated open architecture and will be compatible with the installation of future upgrade systems.



The Parvus DuraVIS 4300 and 3006 display systems are used inside the Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft. The P-8A’s flight display systems were tested to the same shock (15 gsawtooth) and random vibration profiles (0.022 g²/10 Hz to 0.0026 g²/2,000 Hz) that would be required if they were moved to harsher environments, ensuring the highest standard of ruggedized durability. This robust system design philosophy has led to follow-on projects with single- and multi-core processors onboard the AC-130, CP-140, and P-3. Source

The cabin is fitted with up to seven operator consoles.

In March 2008, Boeing selected L-3 Communications Wescam to supply the MX-20HD digital electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) multispectral sensor turrets for the P-8A Poseidon. MX-20HD is gyro-stabilised and can have up to seven sensors, including infrared, CCDTV, image intensifier, laser rangefinder and laser illuminator.


Ideal for: ISR -High-Altitude; Long-Range Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) and Persistent Surveillance missions
Installations: Fixed-wing, Rotary-wing, UAV, Aerostat

Features & Benefits

Multi-Sensor Imaging/Lasing Payload Options:

  • Currently supports up to 7 sensors simultaneously
  • Superior HD imaging resolution from Electro-Optical (EO) and Infrared (IR) cameras
  • 3 laser illuminator divergence options

Enhanced Local Area Processing (ELAP):

  • Real-time image enhancement for EO day, EO night & IR

High-Performance IMU & MX-GEO Software Suite:

  • IMU & MX-GEO work to create accurate target location
  • MX-GEO automatically aligns to the aircraft
  • Robust automatic image focus

Uncompromised Stabilization:

  • 5-axis gimbal with internal IMU
  • All payloads are fully stabilized

MX-Series Commonality:

  • Common operator interfaces and Line Replaceable Units (LRUs)
    • Ease & familiarity of use
    • Simplified interchangeability
    • Efficiencies in product support and technology enhancements



The aircraft is equipped with the upgraded APS-137D(V)5 maritime surveillance radar and signal intelligence SIGINT system developed by Raytheon. The system was redesignated AN/APY-10 in June 2006. The AN/APY-10 radar is installed on the enlarged nose fairing.

AN/APY-10 radar Raytheon’s AN/APY-10 multi-mission radar – maritime, littoral and overland surveillance radar is a new design and will be fully integrated into Boeing’s Mission Control and Display System (MCDS) on the Poseidon. It is also the only system of its type to provide ultra-high resolution imaging modes for both maritime and overland operations. (

The AN/APY-10 radar provides the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) mode capability for imaging, detection, classification and identification of stationary ships and small vessels and for coastal and overland surveillance, as well as the high-resolution imaging synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) mode for imaging, detection, classification and tracking of surfaced submarines and small, fast-moving vessels that operate in coastal waters.

Is the Navy’s P-8A Poseidon jet evolving into a multi-sensor strategic reconnaissance platform?

The U.S. Navy’s P-8A Poseidon — a long-range maritime-patrol and submarine-hunting version of the Boeing 737-800 single-aisle passenger jet — may be evolving into a multi-sensor strategic reconnaissance aircraft that eventually could rival other surveillance planes like the Navy EP-3 and the Air Force RC-135.

The Navy awarded a $60.8 million contract to Boeing last week for several enhancements to the P-8A aircraft command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (C4ISR) capabilities. Boeing makes the Poseidon.

These enhancements would make the P-8A far more versatile than simply long-range ocean patrol and anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Among the upgrades under this contract is Minotaur, which most likely involves an integrated sensors, computing, and communications system to enable P-8A aircrews to gather and process surveillance information for transmission to shore and surface operators.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see the P-8A evolve beyond its original maritime patrol and ASW roles. The Navy, in fact, refers to the plane as a multi-mission aircraft, not just an ocean-surveillance plane. Posted on August 9, 2016 read entire article


The SAR provides multiple-resolution strip map and spot SAR operation, and allows high-resolution for target identification, battle damage assessment and weapons targeting.

Periscope detection uses high-scan speeds, high-pulse repetition frequency and high-resolution mode with advanced sea clutter rejection.

Raytheon is offering the new global positioning system anti-jam, integrated friend or foe and towed decoy self protection suites along with a broadcast information system (BIS) and secure UHF satellite communications.

The P-8A is also fitted with the CAE advanced integrated magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) system. The aircraft carries a rotary sonobuoy launcher with pneumatic ejection, being developed by EDO Corporation. The data links are being developed by Northrop Grumman Information Technology Division in Herndon, Virginia.

[IMG]Pneumatic ejection sonobuoy launcher holes

Weapons on the multimission maritime aircraft

P-8A with Harpoon attached to hard point12688452274_979b4c7a27_b

The integral bomb bay can carry free-fall bombs, Raytheon Mark 54 torpedoes and depth charges. Air-to-surface missiles are installed on the underwing hardpoints.

The US Navy armed the P-8A with a development of the MK 54 torpedo that can be fired from high-altitude. The first MK 54 torpedo was successfully test fired by the P-8A Poseidon in October 2011.

MK 54 torpedo being dropped from P-8A

Countermeasures of the P-8A Poseidon

Northrop Grumman is supplying the electronic warfare self-protection (EWSP) suite which includes a Terma AN/ALQ-213(V) electronic warfare management system (EWMS), a Northrop Grumman directional infrared countermeasures (DIRCM) set, a Northrop Grumman radar warning system and a BAE Systems countermeasures dispenser system.

Northrop Grumman gets ready to install two-color electro-optical sensors P-8A missile-defense system


Electro-optics experts at Northrop Grumman Corp. will begin upgrading the sensors in the airborne missile-defense system aboard the U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol jet under terms of an order announced Friday.

Officials of the U.S. Naval Air Systems Command at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, Md., awarded a $7 million delivery order to the Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems segment in Rolling Meadows, Ill., to start installing two-color infrared sensors in the P-8’s AN/AAQ-24 Directional Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) system.

The order calls for engineers from the Northrop Grumman Electronic Systems Land and Self Protection Systems Division to provide supplies and services to develop software to upgrade the current P-8A AN/AAQ-24 DIRCM electro-optical subsystem with two-color infrared missile warning sensors.

Using two-color sensors in the DIRCM missile-defense system is intended to improve’s the system’s effectiveness against modern shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles that have low-intensity and difficult-to-detect plumes. Posted on January 26, 2015 read entire article

IRCM in the timeline below:


Aircraft performance and engines

The aircraft can cruise at high altitude at nearly 926km/h (500kt) and loiter at a speed of 333km/h (180kt) over the sea at 60m.


The aircraft has two CFM International CFM56-7B27A high-bypass turbofan engines, each rated at 120kN.

The same model CFM56-7 engines power the Boeing 737 airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, in production for Australia and Turkey, and the US Navy’s C-40 Clipper transport.

The engine has logged more than 30 million flight hours and maintains a proven high-reliability figure of merit of 0.003% in-flight shut down rate for every 1,000 hours of flight.

Additional fuel tanks are installed in the aft baggage hold, providing a total maximum fuel capacity of 34,096kg.

P-8A aircraft orders and deliveries

In July 2007, the Australian Government was given ‘first pass approval’ to participate in the cooperative development of the P-8A Poseidon. The P-8A would replace the Royal Australian Navy’s fleet of P-3C Orion aircraft. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed for production and development of the aircraft in March 2012.

[IMG][IMG][IMG][IMG][IMG][IMG]Indian Navy P-8I Source:

In January 2009, India placed an order for eight P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft. The P-8I is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon that will be custom built for India. Boeing opened a new production facility at Seattle in November 2010 to support the manufacturing of the P-8A and P-8I. The production of the P-8I began in December 2010. Deliveries to Indian Navy began in December 2012 and will conclude by 2015.

[IMG][IMG][IMG]One of the main distinguishing components of the aircraft P- 8I from the P-8A is the presence of magnetic anomaly detector (MAD) – AN / ASQ-508A company CAE. It is located in a long white radome in the rear of the plane. Source: defence.pkIndian Navy’s P-8I design

In January 2011, the US Navy placed a $1.6bn low-rate initial production (LRIP) contract for six P-8A aircraft. The contract also includes provision of spare parts, logistics and training devices. Boeing was awarded a $1.7bn LRIP contract for seven aircraft in November 2011. A $1.9bn contract for 11 P-8As was placed by the US Navy in September 2012.

The first aircraft was delivered to the US Navy in March 2012. Boeing delivered six P-8A aircraft by January 2013. The US Navy received 14 P-8A aircraft by July 2014 and the 18th P-8A Poseidon in October 2014.

In February 2014, Boeing received a $2.4bn contract from the US Navy for the delivery of 16 P-8A Poseidon aircraft. Boeing delivered a total of 21 P-8A Poseidon aircraft to the US Navy as of January 2015.


U.K. Buys Boeing Patrol Planes, Attack Helicopters in More Than $6 Billion Deal: Here


Map with P-8 operators in blue
Map with P-8 operators in blue
  • Indian Navy – 8 P-8I aircraft ordered; deliveries began in December 2012, with six delivered by November 2014.
 United States
  • United States Navy – to acquire 122 aircraft. 28 P-8s were delivered through August 2015

Specifications (P-8A)

Data from U.S. Navy, Boeing, and others

General characteristics

  • Crew: Flight: two; Mission: seven
  • Length: 129 ft 5 in (39.47 m)
  • Wingspan: 123 ft 6 in (37.64 m)
  • Height: 42 ft 1 in (12.83 m)
  • Empty weight: 138,300 lb (62,730 kg)
  • Useful load: 19,800+ lb (9,000+ kg)
  • Max. takeoff weight: 189,200 lb (85,820 kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × CFM56-7B turbofan, 27,000 lbf (120 kN) each



AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER AGM-84 HarpoonMark 54 torpedo


  • Raytheon APY-10 multi-mission surface search radar
  • (Advanced Airborne Sensor surface search radar and SIGINT package to be follow on system


Updated Aug 14, 2016

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