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."
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.