SEATTLE, March 7 (UPI) -- The first of 13 low-rate initial production P-8A Poseidon aircraft has been delivered by Boeing to the U.S. Navy under a 2011 award.
The handover took place in Seattle. The aircraft was flown to Florida, where it will be used for aircrew training.
"Delivering this capability to the warfighter is the ultimate goal and we're proud to be able to meet our commitment and hand over the P-8A 'keys' to the Navy fleet," said Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president and P-8 program manager. "This is a great day for Boeing, our supplier teammates and our Navy customer."
Boeing said it used an in-line production process to build the aircraft, with all P-8A-unique aircraft modifications made in sequence during fabrication and assembly.
The P-8A is a multi-mission aircraft and a derivative of Boeing's 737-800. Its missions will include anti-submarine and anti-surface vessel operations as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. Its cruise speed is 500 mph and its operational ceiling is 41,000 feet.
The Navy plans to acquire 117 of the aircraft to replace the P-3 now in use.
Operational capability is planned to begin next year.