Boeing has started the first phase of New Zealand’s first P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft assembly.
Boeing’s P-8A team and Spirit AeroSystems employees have laid the keel beam on the country’s first Poseidon aircraft at the Spirit AeroSystems facility where all Boeing 737 fuselages are assembled.
Rosemary Banks, New Zealand’s ambassador to the United States, said: “Today’s keeling ceremony is the beginning of a new era for New Zealand’s maritime patrol and response capability.”
The final assembly of New Zealand’s first P-8A will be completed in a Boeing Commercial Airplanes facility in Renton, Washington.
New Zealand has ordered a total of four P-8A maritime patrol aircraft. New P-8A Poseidons will replace the country’s older P-3K2 Orion aircraft fleet.
The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is an American maritime patrol aircraft, a militarized version of the Boeing 737-800ERX (a Boeing 737-800 with 737-900-based wings). The P-8 operates in anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, and has capabilities in maritime reconnaissance.
Initially, the aircraft was developed for use by the US Navy (USN). But now the P-8 Poseidon is also operated by the Royal Australian Air Force, the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force and the Royal Norwegian Air Force.