RAAF’s first P-8A Poseidon aircraft completes maiden flight

25 May 2016 (Last Updated May 25th, 2016 18:30)

The first of the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon aircraft has completed its maiden flight.

P-8A RAAF

The first of the Royal Australian Air Force's (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon aircraft has completed its maiden flight.

The flight saw the aircraft flying from Renton Airfield to Boeing Field in Washington, US, where the P-8A's mission systems will be installed.

The $5.4bn P-8A programme aims to replace the AP-3C Orion aircraft for manned maritime patrol and response operations.

The P-8A will be primarily used for detection of naval surface and submarine threats, surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as to assist in search-and-rescue operations.

Defence Aerospace Division head air vice marshal Catherine Roberts said: "This major acquisition is creating opportunities for Australian defence industry to participate in maintenance and to develop training facilities and infrastructure.

"Aircraft production includes around $25m of high-tech production work undertaken by local subsidiary, Boeing Aerostructures Australia."

"This major acquisition is creating opportunities for Australian defence industry to participate in maintenance and to develop training facilities and infrastructure."

The 39.5m-long P-8A Poseidon has a maximum takeoff weight of 85,820kg and a wingspan of 37.6m.

Powered by two jet engines, the aircraft can travel at a maximum speed of 907km/h with a maximum range of 7,500km.

The P-8A Poseidon comes with advanced sensors and mission systems such as an advanced multi-role radar, high-definition cameras, and an acoustic system with four times the processing capacity of Air Force's current AP-3C Orions.

Following the post-production checks and acceptance, RAAF pilots will fly the aircraft to Australia later in the year.


Image: The first P-8A aircraft for the RAAF leaves Renton Field for Boeing Field in nearby Seattle. Photo: courtesy of Australian Government / Department of Defence.