Thursday, April 15, 2010

First P-8 Poseidon arrives at Pax

Randy Hepp
The U.S. Navy’s newest maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, theP-8A Poseidon, touches down at Pax River Saturday. The first test aircraft, known as ‘‘T1,” flew from the Boeing facilities in Seattle to Pax River for continued flight testing.
The first P-8A Poseidon test aircraft arrived at Pax River Saturday following a six-hour, 55-minute flight from Boeing’s Seattle facilities.

The aircraft was recently assigned to Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Zero (VX-20). VX-20 Government Flight Test Director Cmdr. Jim Reining, along with VX-1 Operational Test Director Cmdr. John Verniest, and Boeing’s P-8A Chief Pilot Chris Dobb, delivered the aircraft referred to as ‘‘T1.”

T1 began formal Navy flight testing at the Boeing facility in Oct. 2009. The Integrated Test Team (ITT) spent the past six months executing ground and flight tests while maximizing the expertise of Boeing P-8A engineers and technicians.

‘‘It was an exciting moment to watch the first P-8A Poseidon touch down at Pax River today,” said Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Manager (PMA-290) Capt. Mike Moran. ‘‘The maritime patrol and reconnaissance platform is in great demand throughout the world and this flight put us one step closer to delivering Poseidon to the Fleet. I cannot be more proud of our team as they work to ensure this aircraft will meet our war fighters’ requirements.”

Moran said that the program continues to meet all performance criteria and is on track for initial operational capability in 2013.

‘‘The ITT, along with all Boeing’s Seattle production and maintenance team, has worked very hard to get the aircraft to Pax River to complete the planned test program,” said Reining. ‘‘The ITT is grateful for the strong support from PMA-290 and Boeing management and is excited to get to work testing at Pax River.”

The Poseidon ITT, comprised of two Navy test squadrons (VX-20 and VX-1) and Boeing, will utilize T1 to evaluate the P-8A’s airworthiness and expand its flight envelope.

The program’s other two flight test aircraft, T2 and T3, will transfer to Pax River later this year. These aircraft will focus on extensive mission systems and weapons system testing, ensuring the P-8A’s ability to carry out the anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations.

The Poseidon will replace the P-3C Orion as the Navy’s premier maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft. Its advanced mission systems, software and communications technology will allow the fleet to carry out the same missions as the Orion, but with greater situational awareness that will enhance mission success.

(Article submitted by Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Program.)