America’s P-8 Poseidon Submarine Killer: The Plane North Korea, Russia and China Hate
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The Boeing P-8 Poseidon (formerly the Multimission Maritime Aircraft or MMA) is a military aircraft developed for the United States Navy (USN). The aircraft has been developed by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, modified from the 737-800ERX. The P-8 conducts anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and shipping interdiction, along with an early warning self-protection (EWSP) ability, otherwise known as electronic support measures (ESM). This involves carrying torpedoes, depth charges, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and other weapons. It is able to drop and monitor sonobuoys. It is designed to operate in conjunction with the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton Broad Area Maritime Surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle.
The P-8 is operated by the U.S. Navy, the Indian Navy (as the P-8I Neptune), and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). The aircraft has been ordered by the UK’s Royal Air Force (RAF), and the Royal Norwegian Air Force (RNoAF).
The Lockheed P-3 Orion, a turboprop ASW aircraft, has been in service with the United States Navy since 1962. In the 1980s, the Navy began studies for a P-3 replacement, the range and endurance of which were reduced due to increasing weight and airframe fatigue life limitations. The specification required a new aircraft to have reduced operating and support costs. In 1989, the Navy awarded Lockheed a fixed-price contract to develop the P-7, but this was canceled the following year. A second competition for a replacement began in 2000. Lockheed Martin submitted the Orion 21, an updated new-build version of the P-3. Boeing’s proposal was based on its 737-800 airliner. BAE Systems offered a new-build version of the Nimrod MRA4, a British jet-powered maritime patrol aircraft. BAE withdrew from the competition in October 2002, recognizing that without a production partner based in the United States, the bid was politically unrealistic. On 14 May 2004, Boeing was selected as the winner.
In June 2004, the U.S. Navy awarded a development contract to Boeing. The project was planned to be for at least 108 airframes for the Navy. More orders are possible from the other nations operating over 200 P-3s. Project value is expected to be worth at least $15 billion. Raytheon, Northrop Grumman, Spirit AeroSystems, GE Aviation Systems, Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, CFMI, BAE Systems, and Marotta are major subcontractors. In July 2004, the Navy placed an order for five MMA aircraft, and the first flight-test aircraft was to be completed in 2009. On 30 March 2005, the P-8A designation was assigned to the aircraft.
Design phase and testing
Rollout of the P-8 on 30 July 2009
The P-8 is to replace the P-3 Orion. At first, it will be equipped with legacy P-3 systems, but later upgrades will incorporate more advanced technology. The Government Accountability Office credited the incremental approach with keeping the project on schedule and on budget. The Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) deleted the requirement for the P-8A to be equipped with magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) equipment as part of an effort to reduce weight by 3,500 lb (1,600 kg) for improved endurance and range. A hydrocarbon sensor detects fuel vapors from diesel-powered submarines and ships.
The P-8’s first flight was on 25 April 2009. The second and third P-8s had flown and were in flight testing in early August 2010. On 11 August 2010, the US approved the P-8 for low-rate production. A P-8 released sonobuoys for the first time on 15 October 2010, dropping six sonobuoys in three separate low-altitude passes. In 2011, it was found that the P-8’s ice detection system was defective due to the use of counterfeit components; allegedly these computer parts were poorly refurbished and sold to subcontractor BAE Systems as new by a Chinese supplier.
A P-8A Poseidon flying alongside a Lockheed P-3 Orion, close to Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland, 2010
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America's p8 Poseidon submarine killer the plain North Korea Russia and China hate as trans Pacific relations assume new prominence in the 21st century the p8 will remain one of a number of means by which the United States and other operators assert their presence over international waters in the event of conflict they would also serve a vital role hunting down marauding submarines and tracking the movements of surface adversaries these qualities explain why the Dussel looking patrolled plane is in such heavy demand around the world there is a decent chance you have already flown on one of the US navy's key new aircraft or rather the 737 airliner it is based on the p-8a Poseidon maritime patrolled plane may not be as sexy as an f-35 stealth fighter but in some ways it is far closer to the forefront of international flashpoints in the Pacific Ocean maritime patrol planes are essential for tracking the movement of ships and especially submarines across vast oceanic waters and potentially sinking them in the event of hostilities hunting submarines from the air however is an air power intensive job that requires numerous airframes spending thousands of flight hours flying long-distance patrol patterns over the ocean since 1962 the US Navy has operated the p3 Orion patrolled plane based on the four engine l88 electra airliner the turboprop-powered aircraft could spend the dozen hours flying low over the ocean to drop sonar buoys scan the water for metallic hills of submarines with its magnetic anomaly detector mad and potentially launched torpedoes after 55 years of able service however the p3 s have accumulated thousands of service hours in their hulls are growing fatigue in 2004 the US Navy selected the jet powered Boeing p8 Poseidon to succeed the aging p3 development proceeded relatively smoothly in part due to the use of a pre-existing airframe in the decision to phase in the p8 s advanced systems in a series of increments rather than delivering them all at once this led the p8 unit costs to actually come in under budget at 150 million dollars per aircraft the p8 is based on the 737-800 ERX short to medium-range airliner it typically has a flight crew of three and boosts stronger power generators for its onboard electronics the poe sidon reportedly offers a much smoother ride than the Orion thanks to its broader swept wings and flight computers Orion crews were often lushy aided by the strong turbulent they're low altitude flight operations required while the p8 does have a strength and held to operate at low altitude though a reduced fuel efficiency compared to the p3 it's designed to perform most of its operation from high altitude where the thinner atmosphere allows for greater fuel efficiency and a better vantage for some of its sensors a Poe Sidon can loiter overhead at speeds as low as 200 miles per hour and can stay on station for extended times due to its in-flight refueling capability however with a maximum speed of 564 miles per hour it can also – 200 miles per hour faster than the p3 aircraft it is replacing the post islands primary payload is its diverse array of sensors these include an AP white n multimode synthetic aperture radar which not only can track a position of ships over hundreds of miles away but possesses a high resolution mode which can spot submarine periscopes poking above the waves and even identify different classes of ships an MX 2011 Freret turret provides a shorter range search option while in al q 240 electronics support measure ISM derived from a system onboard the AR 18 G growler functions as an electromagnetic sensor particularly useful in tracking the positions of radar emitters a recent addition is the advanced airborne sensor a dual sided ISA radar that can offer 360 degrees scanning on targets on land or coastal areas in which is potential applications as a jamming or even cyber warfare platform a number of key systems on the PN are designed to track submerged submarines a rotary launcher system in the rear of the p8 can dispense sonar buoys into the water a recent upgrade allows p-8s to employ new multi static active coherent buoys that generate multiple sonar pulses over time allowing for greater endurance and search range the p8 also has its own acoustic sensor and even a new hydrocarbon sensor that can sniff for fuel vapor from submarines however the p8 lacks the tail mounted man sensor of the p3 Orion useful for detecting the metallic hell's of submarines while flying a blow altitude various reasons have been offered for its removal the Matt weighed too much at 3,500 pounds it did not fit with the high altitude search profile I love the p8 or the new sensors on the p8 rendered it unnecessary however the US Navy is reportedly developing a variant of the anair launched her own called high altitude unmanned targeting a system which can carry a mad sensor and transmit its findings back up to the p8 five operator stations on the port side of the plane carry multifunction displays that can be configured to display whatever sensors and controls are most useful into the circumstances the P aids computers are designed to fuse the data into a single coherent picture for the operators and can then push the data to friendly ships and airplanes this is a capability the US Air Force has been struggling to integrate into its new e3g radar planes the p3 is also designed to be especially compatible with Navy RQ foreign drones in the event of hostilities the Poseidon can carry five missiles depth charges or torpedoes and a rotary launcher in the rear hull and six more on under wing racks while the p3 had to fly low to deploy its torpedoes the p8 can use a special high-altitude air launch accessory to transform its mark 54 324 millimeter lightweight torpedoes into GPS guided glide bombs that can be dropped from altitudes as high as thirty thousand feet these shed their wings upon hitting the water and hone in on targets using onboard sonar Poseidon's can also carry harpoon AGM 180 for HK anti-ship missiles with a range of 150 miles some argue that the Poseidon could be turned into a sort of cut-rate b-52 bomber by fitting it with a variety of guided weapons such as the agm-158 long-range interrater missile the lr as a mentorship missile or small diameter bombs for precision ground attacks whether the Navy will choose to lean on the post ITINs multi-role capabilities or keep it focused on the anti-ship and surface ship mission remains to be seen flying maritime flashpoint the poseidon entered service with the US navy's vp-16 squadron of Kadena Air Base on Okinawa in 2013 and around 50 out of a plan 117 are now operational in US service the types patrol duties have placed it at the forefront of political disputes between the United States China and Russia it was already a long established and accepted custom for countries to intercept each other's patrolled planes over international airspace however this becomes risky when intercepting fighters perform unsafe maneuvers as part of their efforts to intimidate the observation planes such antics led to a collision between a Chinese fighter and an EP three observation plane in 2002 with fatal results for the Chinese pilot on August 19th 2014 a Chinese j11 fighter flew within 30 feet of a p8 flying more than 130 miles east of Hainan Island even performing a down roll over the 40 meter long planes nose this caused yet another in a long history of diplomatic spats between Washington and Beijing over the interception of the former's observation aircraft at the root of the problem is that Beijing lays claim to broad swaths of the South China Sea that are considered international waters by most of the rest of the world the United States maintains its right to fly over these waters and refuses to cease its patrols Chinese ships have been constructing artificial islands in recent years in an effort to reinforce their claims to certain areas which the US aircraft persist in monitoring you can see and hear the confrontation between the Chinese Navy and a p8 crew observing one of the artificial islands and videos on YouTube and other places Beijing has grown even more irate since the United States reached an agreement with Singapore in December 2015 allowing p8 aircraft to be based in the island city-state GA tests are also tangling with the Russian military on may 9th 2017 a Russian su-27 fighter buzzed within 20 feet of a Poseidon that was patrolling the Black Sea the p8 s in terms of practice chasing Russian submarines according to the aviation estate December 2016 post islands were engaged in hunting one or two carry a hunting Oscar class submarines in the Mediterranean maritime patrol aircraft are one of the few weapon systems that can routinely practice hunting their adversaries under operational conditions stopping just short of releasing weapons of course given the centrality of the maritime patrol mission in current international disputes in the Pacific the Persian Gulf and to a lesser extent the Baltic the P eight has attracted significant international louder's India already operates 8p8 is from Rancho Lee Naval Air Station in Tamil Nadu State these are modified with immense sensor in a tail Stinger as well as an extra HAP's 143 radar four more are on order for delivery by 2020 the p8 also has been a hit with Commonwealth countries Australia has begun receiving the first of 12 to 15 pa jizz to replace its ap 3c patrolled planes the United Kingdom has 9 p8 s on order and New Zealand announced this month that it approved the purchase of four Poseidon's for 1.46 billion dollar further afield at least three p8 has appeared to be part of a new 110 billion dollars arms deal with Saudi Arabia and Norway has five coming its way as well other countries reportedly considering the patrolled plane include Canada South Korea and Turkey as Trans Pacific relations assume new prominence in the 21st century the p8 will remain one of a number of means by which the United States and other operators assert their presence over international waters in the event of conflict they would also serve a vital role hunting down marauding submarines and tracking the movements of surface adversaries these qualities explain why the Dussel looking patrolled plane is in such heavy demand around the world Sabres Jean Robin holds a master's degree in conflict resolution from Georgetown University and served as a university instructor for the Peace Corps in China he has also worked in education editing in refugee resettlement in France in the United States he currently writes on security and military history for war is boring