Boeing on 11th November celebrated the opening of a new P-8 aircraft production facility near Boeing Field in Seattle. The refurbished factory gives Boeing and its P-8 teammates the space they need to install mission systems and conduct tests on aircraft for current and future customers.
“The new factory is a great fit as Boeing transitions to building production aircraft, in part because it allows us to incorporate a leaner workflow,” said Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president and P-8 program manager. “We’ll complete work on the P-8A Poseidon aircraft for the U.S. Navy and the P-8I aircraft for the Indian navy in this facility, and plan to use this space for future P-8 customers’ aircraft as well.”
The U.S. Navy plans to purchase 117 P-8A anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to replace its existing P-3 fleet. Initial operational capability is scheduled for 2013. The Indian navy signed a contract for eight P-8I aircraft in January 2009. Boeing will deliver the first P-8I within 48 months of contract signing, and the remaining seven by 2015.
Boeing Commercial Airplanes employees assemble the P-8 aircraft — which are based on the company’s Next-Generation 737 commercial airplane — in Renton, Wash. Following final assembly, the P-8s make a short flight to Boeing Field. Inside the new facility, Defense, Space & Security employees will complete systems installation and testing prior to customer delivery.
Boeing is using a proven in-line production process to efficiently design and build the aircraft. All aircraft modifications unique to the P-8 are made in sequence during fabrication and assembly. Implementing established best practices and common, commercial production-system tools enables the team to reduce flow time and cost while ensuring quality.
As part of the U.S. Navy System Development and Demonstration contract Boeing received in 2004, the team is building and testing six flight-test and two ground-test aircraft. The first three flight-test aircraft are completing testing at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.
The P-8 is built by a Boeing-led industry team that includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems, GE Aviation and BAE Systems.