Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Boeing begins work on Indian P-8I

Fabrication of the first P-8I maritime patrol aircraft for India began Dec. 6 at a Boeing facility in Wichita, Kan., the company reported. The aircraft is the first of eight that will be built for the Indian Navy - the first international customer for the new plane.

India signed its deal with Boeing for eight P-8Is on Jan. 1, 2009, and the final design review was completed in July of this year. The first aircraft is due for delivery by January 2013, with the remaining seven to come by 2015.

Boeing began manufacturing the first of eight P-8I aircraft for the Indian Navy, on Monday, at the Spirit AeroSystems facility in Wichita in Kansas. The long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, based on the Boeing 737, is a version of the P-8A Poseidon being developed for the US Navy.

According to a statement issued by Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems’ workers ‘ cut the P-8I’s first part, a bonded aluminum panel that later will be installed on the fuselage’s upper lobe to support an antenna’.

Spirit AeroSystems builds the fuselage, nacelles and pylons of the 737 for Boeing and ‘the panel and other fuselage components will come together on Spirit’s existing Next-Generation 737 production line’. The statement quoted Spirit AeroSystems Fuselage Segment senior vice president/general manager, Mike King, as saying, “P-8I fuselage sections are designed and built using the same processes we use on the commercial 737. We’ve built seven P-8A fuselages to date and continue to increase efficiency as we move forward.”

Boeing says it will deliver the first aircraft to India by January, 2013.

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