Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon test aircraft T-1 has successfully completed its first flight.

The multi-mission aircraft performed a series of flight checks, reached a maximum altitude of 25,000ft, and landed after three hours and 31 minutes in the air.

US Navy programme manger, Mike Moran said that today’s flight was a clear demonstration of the programme’s commitment to delivering this critical capability on time.

“This is a significant accomplishment for the P-8A team, as it moves us one step closer to delivering the next maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft to the warfighter,” said Moran.

Prior to take-off, the P-8A team completed a limited series of flight checks, including engine starts and shutdowns. During the flight, test pilots performed airborne systems checks including engine accelerations and decelerations, autopilot flight modes, and auxiliary power unit shutdowns and starts.

The integrated navy / Boeing team will begin formal flight testing of the P-8A during the third quarter of this year. Before that, Boeing will paint the aircraft, install additional flight test instrumentation and conduct a series of ground tests.

The P-8A, a derivative of the next-generation 737-800, is built by a Boeing-led industry team that includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Spirit AeroSystems and GE Aviation. The team currently is assembling and testing the first five P-8As.

The navy plans to purchase 108 P-8As to replace its fleet of P-3C aircraft. Initial operational capability is planned for 2013.