The Boeing [NYSE: BA] P-8I team began fabricating the first part for the Indian navy's first long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft on Dec. 6 in Wichita. The P-8I, based on the Boeing Next-Generation 737 commercial airplane, is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon that Boeing is developing for the U.S. Navy.
Employees at Spirit AeroSystems - where all Boeing Next-Generation 737 fuselages, nacelles and pylons are designed and built - cut the P-8I's first part, a bonded aluminum panel that later will be installed on the fuselage's upper lobe to support an antenna. The panel and other fuselage components will come together on Spirit's existing Next-Generation 737 production line.
"Today marks the P-8I program's move from the design phase to the build phase," said Leland Wight, Boeing P-8I program manager. "We're on schedule and the Indian navy is looking forward receiving its first plane."
Spirit will ship the P-8I fuselage to a Boeing Commercial Airplanes facility in Renton, Wash., in mid-2011 for final assembly. After that, Boeing Defense, Space & Security employees will install mission systems and complete testing prior to delivery to India.
"P-8I fuselage sections are designed and built using the same processes we use on the commercial 737," said Mike King, Spirit AeroSystems Fuselage Segment senior vice president/general manager. "We've built seven P-8A fuselages to date and continue to increase efficiency as we move forward."
Boeing will deliver the first of eight P-8I aircraft to India within 48 months of the original contract signing, which took place in January 2009. India is the first international customer for the P-8.
The P-8I will provide India with speed, reliability, persistence and room for growth to satisfy the country's maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare requirements now and well into the future. The aircraft features open system architecture, advanced sensor and display technologies, and a worldwide base of suppliers, parts and support equipment.
Boeing, the world's leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft combined, has significantly expanded its footprint in India both in the civil aviation and defense market.Boeing is partnering with India's leading technology and manufacturing companies to build a supply chain out of India. The company also has opened a Research and Technology center in Bengaluru to collaborate with India's technical talent for research in aero structures, materials and network systems. Boeing India's corporate office is located in New Delhi. For more information on Boeing India, visit www.boeing.co.in.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is one of the world's largest defense, space and security businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a $34 billion business with 68,000 employees worldwide. Follow us on Twitter: @BoeingDefense.