The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is the US Navy's next generation long-range maritime patrol, anti-submarine warfare, anti-shipping, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. In 2011 the US Navy awarded a contract for six initial production P-8A Poseidon aircraft. The first operational aircraft was delivered in 2012. The US Navy plans to purchase a total of 117 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to replace the previous Lockheed P-3 Orion fleet, that are approaching the end of their operational life. Australia and India also ordered this new aircraft.
The P-8A is a derivative of the ubiquitous commercial Boeing 737-800 and has a wings of the 737-900. It is larger than the previous Lockheed P-3. The Poseidon has additional fuel tanks in the aft for extended range. It is worth mentioning that it's maximum fuel capacity is 34 t and gives it a flight endurance of 4 hours on station.
The new aircraft is powered by two high-bypass CFM International CFM56-7B turbofan engines. The turbofan engines were deliberately selected, as they are more powerful, more fuel efficient and have a number of other advantages. The same engines are used on Australian and Turkish Boeing 737 airborne early warning and control aircraft, as well as the US Navy's C-40 Clipper transport. The Poseidon is not the only maritime patrol aircraft to use the jet engines. The British Nimrod has filled a similar role for decades. Despite that the Poseidon can loiter at a speed of 333 km/h over the sea at an altitude of only 60 m.
This maritime patrol and ASW aircraft will have up to 7 operator consoles in it's cabin. Aircraft will have electro-optical and infrared sensor turret, maritime surveillance radar, signal intelligence system. It's radar is capable of detection, classification and identification of ships, small vessels and surfaced submarines. It also has costal surveillance capability. The P-8A will be also fitted with advanced magnetic anomaly detection system for submarine tracking. The Poseidon can be used for search and rescue operations.
The Boeing P-8A Poseidon will carry lightweight Raytheon Mk.54 anti-submarine torpedoes. It may also carry other torpedoes, missiles, free-fall bombs, depth charges, mines, or sonbuoys in it's rotary integral weapon bay, located beneath the forward section of the fuselage. Air-to-surface and air-to air missiles, such as Harpoon anti-ship missiles, SLAM or AGM-65 Maverick land attack missiles, and AIM-9 Sidewinders or AIM-120 AMRAAMs will be carried on the underwing hardpoints.