Boeing confirms P-8A Poseidon airframe’s structural integrity

By Arun Kumar, IANS,

Washington : Boeing has confirmed the structural integrity of the airframe of P-8A Poseidon, a variant of which the Indian Navy is buying in a $2.1 billion deal with the US aerospace major.

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Boeing Thursday announced that it Jan 7 completed full-scale static testing of the airframe of P-8A Poseidon being built for the US Navy. The series of tests, which began in May 2009, confirmed the airframe’s structural integrity.

“The structure performed as we expected throughout testing, allowing us to efficiently expand the P-8A’s flight-test envelope,” said Chuck Dabundo, Boeing vice president and P-8 programme manager.

“Our static test plan was successful thanks to the combined efforts of Boeing’s design, analysis, and test teams and our US Navy customer.”

S1 — the programme’s full-scale static ground-test vehicle-underwent 154 different tests in which it sustained loads equal to or greater than those expected to occur during operational flights, with no failure of the primary structure, Boeing said.

During 74 of the tests, the airframe was subjected to 150 percent of the highest expected flight loads. More than 4,000 installed strain gauges and calibrated parts captured data for analysis.

In September, the Boeing P-8A team will begin refurbishing S1 to prepare it for live-fire testing at Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake, California. Boeing will begin fatigue tests on its second ground-test vehicle, S2, later this year.

The US Navy plans to purchase 117 of the P-8A anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft to replace its P-3 fleet. Initial operational capability is planned for 2013.

The plane is a derivative of the Boeing Next-Generation 737-800.

India is the first international customer to acquire eight P-8I long-range maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, planes, a variant of the P-8A Poseidon,

Boeing will deliver the first of eight P-8I aircraft to India by early 2013 — 48 months after the original contract signing.

(Arun Kumar can be contacted at [email protected])