P-8 Poseidon MMA: Long-Range Maritime Patrol, and More
September 2/16: South Korea may join the US Navy, India, and Australia in operating the P-8A maritime patrol aircraft, according to defense ministry officials. If given the go ahead, Seoul may purchase four of the aircraft to help expand their surveillance and anti-submarine warfare capabilities following submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) tests by North Korea. The aircraft can fly at altitudes up to 41,000 feet and are capable of striking enemy submarines immediately upon detecting them with weapons such as the MK 54 torpedo.
Maritime surveillance and patrol is becoming more and more important, but the USA’s P-3 Orion turboprop fleet is falling apart. The P-7 Long Range Air ASW (Anti-Submarine Warfare) Capable Aircraft program to create an improved P-3 began in 1988, but cost overruns, slow progress, and interest in opening the competition to commercial designs led to the P-7’s cancellation for default in 1990. The successor MMA program was begun in March 2000, and Boeing beat Lockheed’s “Orion 21” with a P-8 design based on their ubiquitous 737 passenger jet. US Navy squadrons finally began taking P-8A Poseidon deliveries in 2012, but the long delays haven’t done their existing P-3 fleet any favors.
Filling the P-3 Orion’s shoes is no easy task. What missions will the new P-8A Poseidon face? What do we know about the platform, the project team, and ongoing developments? Will the P-3’s wide global adoption give its successor a comparable level of export opportunities? Australia and India have already signed on, but has the larger market shifted in the interim?
P-8A Poseidon: Platform & Capabilities
P-8: Upgrades & Variants
The P-8’s BAMS Companion: Kicking It Up a Notch
P-8A Poseidon Program
Program Goal & Competitors
US P-8A Program Budgets
US Numbers and Basing
P-8A Industrial Partners
P-8A Poseidon: Contracts & Key Events
FY 2015 – 2016
FY 2002 – 2006
Appendix A: India’s Interest & Broader Export Potential
Additional Readings & Sources
Background: P-8 Aircraft
Background: P-8 Components & Complementors
Background: Multimission Maritime Aircraft Program
Market & Competitors
News & Views
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