Construction of Australia’s first P-8A Poseidon armed maritime patrol aircraft has begun.
Spirit AeroSystems in the USA started production on the 737 military derivative in October.
With major assembly now underway, the first unit is scheduled for delivery to Boeing early next year.
RAAF Air Commodore Adam Brown visited the Spirit factory to see the in-line modifications on the first Australian P-8A.
“Our new P-8 will be the first of a new generation of maritime surveillance for Australia,” he said.
“We’re particularly excited and proud to get what we think is the best maritime patrol aircraft in the world coming to service in our air force.”
RAAF Air Commodore Adam Brown visited Spirit to see the inline modifications on the first Australian P-8A. During his visit he signed his name on the fuselage of the first Australian P-8A.
Duane Hawkins, Spirit senior vice president of Boeing, Defense & Regional Jet Programs, said Spirit was proud to be on the P-8A program providing this important capability to the Royal Australian Air Force.
“Spirit has a unique capability to build military-specific aircraft in the same 737 commercial production line that is producing 42 airplanes a month,” Mr Hawkins said
“We are able to use decades of experience building the 737 on military derivative programs, which makes the P-8A more affordable and the highest quality possible.”
BELOW: Watch video of official visit to Spirit aircraft factory where Australia’s first P-8A Poseidon is currently under construction.
Spirit is responsible for building 70 per cent of the 737-800 aircraft, including military-specific in-line modifications, before it is sent to Boeing’s final assembly facility where all aircraft structural features unique to the P-8A are incorporated.
Australia has agreed to purchase eight P-8A aircraft.
The US Navy has contracted for 62.
To date, 31 have been delivered.