Boeing AEW&C and P-8 update
The AEW&C Programme
Boeing Field (BFI) once use to be a haven for the long delayed and problem plagued 737 AEW&C programme, but after five years of rigorous flight testing, they’re starting to leave the nest. The first AEW&C was a normal 737-700 off the line from Renton and was modified at BFI to its current state. The first AEW&C had its first flight in 2004, but problems with the electronics systems delayed official delivery to the first customer, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), by years.
There are three customers for the 737 AEW&C; Australia, Turkey, and the Republic of [South] Korea. The RAAF has five “Wedgetails,” one of them currently in Honolulu flying with a Boeing callsign. Turkey, who has four planes, calls theirs the “Peace Eagle,” and still has one plane, which will be eventually registered as 06-001, at BFI. The most recent AEW&C recipient is the Republic of Korea Air Force (RoKAF). Their first AEW&C, or “Peace Eye,” flew with its modifications for the first time in June of this year and is currently residing at BFI for further evaluations before heading over to South Korea. The RoKAF has three Peace Eye's being modified in South Korea which were fairly recently delivered stock 737-700’s. There are supposedly three more 737 AEW&C’s are on order; two for the Turkish Air Force and one for the RAAF.
The P-8 Poseidon programme
Since the first flight of the P-8A Poseidon on 25 April 2009, there are currently three fully assembled (airworthy) P-8A’s for the United States Navy. Two of these planes, YP001 and YP003, or T-1 and T-2, are at Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland for flight testing with the US Navy. One P-8A, YP004, or T-3, remains on the Boeing integrated defense systems ramp at the southwest corner BFI awaiting its second flight. If history is any guide, this plane will fly four or five test flights before joining T-1 an T-2 at NAS Patuxent River
As of 28 July 2010, one P-8A being assembled at Renton’s 4-20 building. It’s in the final stages of assembly and should be rolled out of the factory very soon. There are also two non airworthy test frames, YP002 and YP005, or S-1 and S-2, also in the 4-20 building at Renton still undergoing static and fatigue tests.
The first Indian Navy P-8I, the only other customer of the P-8, will start assembly sometime this year. The Indian Navy will take delivery of their first P-8I in 2011, while they’ll get an additional seven in 2015. The United States Navy has a total of 105 P-8A's on order.