Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Janes Defence Weekly Magazine July 27, 2011

The US Navy expects to continue reaping efficiency savings from an optimised production line for a new fleet of maritime patrol aircraft, the programme manager has told Jane's. Boeing is using an in-line production process to build the P-8A Poseidon whereby all modifications specific to the military derivative are made in sequence during fabrication and assembly. The P-8A is based on the company's 737 commercial airliner. "In our first low-rate initial production [LRIP] contract, we saved about USD20 million per airplane over the initial estimates," said Captain Michael Moran, the Poseidon programme manager. "We were able to really benefit from that commercial production line." Boeing is expected to deliver six LRIP I aircraft to the navy next year under a USD 1.6 billion contract awarded in January. Capt Moran said the navy expects to sign a contract for LRIP 2 by September. "We arc seeing some reductions in cost even between LRIP I and LRIP 2." he added. Meanwhile, the first P-8A production-model aircraft - part of the LRIP 1 batch - completed its first flight on 7 July, the company announced. The successful flight marked LRIP I completion of final assembly in the company's Renton, Washington, factory and the transition to mission system installation and checkout in Seattle.