The plane flew June 21 from Renton Field, where it is assembled, to Boeing Field in Seattle, where mission systems will be installed. It is the first of six low-rate initial production aircraft for the Navy, part of a $1.6 billion contract awarded in January.
For more news and information on the swiftly-changing defense industry, please sign up for the Breaking Defense newsletter. You can also catch us on Twitter @BreakingDefense.
The Navy plans to buy 117 of the 737-based aircraft. The P-8 is designed to hunt and kill submarines as well as surface ships. On top of that, it is designed to replace the prop-driven P-3 and serve as one of the Navy‘s primary intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.
“This is the first P-8 that will go directly to the fleet in Jacksonville, Fla., so the aircraft’s first flight is an important milestone for the Boeing team and our Navy customer,” said Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president and P-8 program manager.
This plane should be delivered to the Navy next year. The Indian Navy plans to buy eight P-8I long-range aircraft for $2.1 billion.