DUBAI: Boeing guns for more militarised 737s

Dubai
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Boeing foresees a big market for the militarised variants of the 737 commercial aircraft.

In a media briefing on the sidelines of the Dubai air show, Boeing's Egan Greenstein, senior manager of business development, surveillance and engagement, discussed the outlook for the P-8 maritime patrol aircraft and 737 airborne early warning & control (AEW&C) aircraft.

Internationally, the company sees global demand for 75 P-8s, and listed Australia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Norway, and Italy as candidates for the aircraft. The US navy plans to purchase 117 P-8A Poseidons, and on 1 January 2009, the Indian navy signed a contract for eight aircraft to be delivered before 2015.

turkish air force 737 aew&c, billypix

 © Billypix

Boeing also sees an opportunity to sell more than 15 Boeing 737 AEW&C aircraft. It listed India, the UAE and Japan as possible buyers.

All three of these prospective deals are at very early stages. The UAE appears to favour the Northrop Grumman E-2D Advanced Hawkeye for its AEW&C requirement, but industry sources are uncertain as to when a decision will be made. Japan is for the time being content with its E-767 AEW&C aircraft, but Boeing sees the 737 AEW&C as a replacement for the country's E-2C Hawkeyes.

Greenstein also sees a large market for replacing variants of the venerable 707 variant in US military service. He said over 25 E-3 Sentry AEW&C aircraft will need to be replaced in the coming years, in addition to over 50 special missions aircraft based on the 707.

A Turkish Air Force 737 AEW&C aircraft is on static display.