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Australian P-8A Poseidon makes maiden flight

Australian P-8A Poseidon made a quick hop within Washington State for mission systems installation.

By Geoff Ziezulewicz
The Australian P-8A Poseidon aircraft has completed its maiden flight, the Ministry of Defense said Wednesday. Photo courtesy Australian Ministry of Defense
The Australian P-8A Poseidon aircraft has completed its maiden flight, the Ministry of Defense said Wednesday. Photo courtesy Australian Ministry of Defense

CANBERRA, Australia, May 25 (UPI) -- Australia's first P-8A Poseidon aircraft has completed its maiden flight, the Ministry of Defense announced Wednesday.

It was just a short hop between Renton airport to Boeing Field in Washington State, where the aircraft's mission systems will be installed.

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The $5.4 billion P-8A program will replace the country's AP-3C Orion aircraft for manned maritime patrol and response missions, the ministry said.

Its primary roles will include detection and response to naval surface and submarine threats, surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as assisting in search and rescue operations.

The P-8A is about 130 feet long with a 123-foot wingspan and a top speed of 563 mph, featuring a range of 4,660 miles.

It was acquired through a cooperative program with the U.S. Navy and has come in $260 million cheaper than the initial budget, the ministry said.

A Royal Australian Air Force crew will fly it home later this year following post-production checks.

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