The first Boeing P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft due for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) has completed its maiden sortie.
The aircraft, which is based on the 737 commercial airliner, flew from Boeing’s Renton production facility to nearby Boeing Field, says the RAAF in a statement.
As with P-8As operated by the US Navy and P-8I Neptunes operated by the Indian navy, the aircraft’s mission system will be installed at Boeing Field. It will fly to Australia in late 2016.
Canberra ordered eight P-8As under the AIR 7000 programme. It has options for four additional examples.
The type will replace the RAAF’s fleet of Lockheed Martin P-3 aircraft. Flightglobal’s Fleets Analyzer shows that the RAAF operates 15 P-3Cs, the average age of which is 33.5 years.
Canberra also intends to obtain the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned air vehicle to complement the new type.