WASHINGTON DC (GDC) – Boeing just landed a massive $1.5 billion order for 18 aircraft from the US Navy for an aerial patrol plane capable of sinking ships, the P-8 Poseidon.
With the order valued at $1.5 billion, the unit price for each aircraft is approximately $83 million.
The list of missions the P-8 is capable of varies from engaging anti-submarine warfare to conducting aerial surveillance missions, making it one of the few converted passenger jet airliners capable of firing military weapons.
Though it performs and functions more like a naval ship than a commercial jet, Boeing’s P-8 Poseidon is actually the military variant of the manufacturer’s popular 737-800 Next Generation aircraft.
Instead of flying passengers or cargo, a task routinely performed by the civilian 737, the P-8 has warfighting capabilities through its deployable onboard armament of weapons that can sink ships and submarines, in addition to its advanced onboard surveillance set up to track maritime and ground-based activity.
Currently in use, the P-8 much like its 737 counterpart has seen international success with naval military forces in Australia, Norway, India, the United Kingdom.
Eight aircraft will go to the US Navy with the remaining aircraft split with the South Korean Navy and New Zealand Royal Air Force receiving six and four, respectively. The two countries purchased Boeing’s submarine hunter through the Department of Defense’s Foreign Military Sales program.
The advantage of the Poseidon is its armament, with the aircraft capable of carrying torpedoes, cruise missiles, and harpoons capable of hitting maritime and ground-based targets.
The weapons are kept in a bomb bay in the aircraft’s fuselage and dropped by the pilot when the situation requires.
Unlike its counterparts, the P-8 features longer wings with raked winglets capable of carrying wing-mounted torpedos.
The P-8 can also fly for around 10 hours uninterrupted, with a maximum range of over 5,000 nautical miles.
Boeing has built over 100 P-8 Poseidons with the majority of the builds going to the US Navy.
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