RENTON, Wash., July 21 (UPI) -- Boeing's first P-8A Poseidon production aircraft completed its first flight, taking off from Renton Field and landing at Boeing Field in Seattle.
The P-8A is the first of six low-rate initial production aircraft Boeing is building for the U.S. Navy as part of a $1.6 billion contract awarded in January.
The successful flight marked LRIP-1's completion of final assembly in the company's Renton factory and transition to mission system installation and checkout in Seattle.
Boeing will deliver LRIP-1 to the Navy next year in preparation for initial operational capability, which is planned for 2013.
"This is the first P-8 that will go directly to the fleet in Jacksonville, Fla., so the aircraft's first flight is an important milestone for the Boeing team and our Navy customer," said Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president and P-8 program manager. "We're on plan to get LRIP-1 to the Navy in 2012."
The Navy plans to buy 117 of the Boeing Next-Generation, 737-based P-8A anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to replace its P-3 fleet.
This is the first P-8A to include a new CFM56-7BE engine configuration that is now standard on all delivered Next-Generation 737s. The configuration is an improved design that includes high- and low-pressure turbine modifications.
Coupled with drag reduction improvements that Boeing started phasing into 737 production this year, it will result in lower fuel consumption and maintenance cost savings.