Introduction: The Boeing P-8A Poseidon is one of the most modern aircraft in the service of the United States Navy, and represents a new generation of ASW aircraft which combines the most modern technology available with a reliable and trustworthy platform that is in service with the United States and its allies.
History: The Lockheed P-3 Orion was, and remains, the ubiquitous the maritime patrol aircraft, and has served for decades in the air arms of many countries. However, by the mid-1980’s, the United States Navy was looking for a replacement, and held a competition to which Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and Lockheed put forward their proposals. Boeing submitted a modified version of their then-new 757 airliner and McDonnell Douglas submitted a variant of the MD-80/90 family which was in production at the time, powered by propfans. Meanwhile, Lockheed submitted a very heavily modified version of the P-3, called the P-7. The aircraft had a lengthened fuselage and wingspan, with an enlarged tail as well. In addition to this, it received General Electric T407-GE-400 turboprops, as well as the most modern sensors and weapons systems. Despite having much potential, the end of the Cold War brought with an almost complete end to the Soviet submarine threat, as well as reduced defence budgets. With its main prey having almost been made extinct, and with not enough support from home, the project was cancelled by 1990, the P-3 being deemed suitable enough to carry on with its role with the environment present at the time. However, the aircraft was ageing and a replacement was still necessary. By the mid-1990’s, studies were under way for a replacement. In 2000, another competition was opened, to which Lockheed submitted a new-build version of the P-3 called the Orion 21, Boeing submitted the 737MMA and a rather optimistic BAE Systems submitted their Nimrod MRA.4, though they eventually pulled out in 2002. In 2004, Boeing was selected as the winner of the program, being designated as P-8A the following year.
McDonnell Douglas MD-80/90 MPA
Below: A P-3 Orion follows its replacement, the P-8 Poseidon. The P-3 is going to be completely replaced by the P-8, which represents a new generation of maritime patrol aircraft, and a significant improvement over its predecessor.
Description: The P-8 is based off of the Boeing 737-800 airliner, but uses the wings of the 737-900, modified and strengthened to carry Harpoons, as well as being modified with raked wingtips. The aircraft shares 86% commonality with its civil cousins, and is produced at the same factory in Renton, being fitted out with mission equipment at Boeing Field. The Poseidon is capable of flying up to 1,200 nautical miles unrefuelled, with up to four hours on station time, though an in-flight refuelling receptacle is mounted above the flight deck, allowing the Poseidon to operate over vast distances. The P-8 does not use a MAD sting to detect submarines, as these work best at lower altitudes. Acoustic methods of detection, mainly through sonobuoys, are used, as the aircraft is intended to carry out its mission from higher altitudes than previous generations of aircraft in order to be less detectable by the target. In addition to this, these sensors will be complemented by the use of the High Altitude ASW Unmanned Targeting Air System (HASSW UTAS), a system which uses algorithms paired with a MAD that can be mounted on an air-launched drone, which still allows for the magnetic detection of a submarine, whilst allowing the Poseidon to operate at high altitudes. This is further enhanced by the use of HAAWC, essentially a Mark 54 torpedo with a wing kit, which allows the Poseidon to drop torpedoes from up to 30,000 feet and from standoff ranges. An APS-137D(V)5 synthetic aperture radar is mounted in the nose, which was slightly extended to accommodate it. In 2021, it was announced that this system would be replaced by the superior AN/APY-10, which provides superior radar imaging and target tracking capabilities, room for updates and a small size and weight when compared to its predecessor. In addition to this, a retractable MX-20HD electro-optical/infrared sensor turret is mounted under the nose. Below the exhaust pipe of the APU in the tail is an AN/AAQ-24(V) DIRCM, which protects the aircraft against IR homing missiles. An AN/APS-154 Advanced Airborne Sensor can also be mounted under the forward fuselage of the aircraft, which can map, track, scan and classify targets nearly at the same time, with near 360˚ coverage. Target information from this system can be used to provide information to other aircraft via datalink, allowing them to engage these targets, but be guided by the P-8. The P-8s can also act as part of a networked system to detect targets, with drones such as the RQ-4 Triton detecting a target and passing on information to the Poseidon which then engages it. This is in addition to the ability to send and receive information with other surface and airborne assets, both of the US and other countries.
Service: The P-8A Poseidon was rolled out in 2009 and reached IOC in 2013. The first operational deployment of the type came that year, when VP-16 was deployed to Kadena Air Base, as part of a prescheduled deployment, but once which came amidst heightened tensions with the PRC. In 2014, two P-8s were despatched to Perth in order to aid the multinational search for MH370. The following year, P-8s were used to help in the search of SS El Faro, which had sank in bad weather. From 2022, the fleet has been involved in the monitoring of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, using their ISR capabilities to monitor military activities at sea and on land. In addition to its service with the USN, the Poseidon has been successful on the export market, serving in the air arms of: Australia, India, Norway and the United Kingdom, as well as being ordered by Germany, South Korea and likely Canada as well.
Primary Function : Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti-surface Warfare (ASuW), Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)
Contractor : Boeing Defense, Space and Security
Propulsion : 2 CFM 56-7B engines with 27,300 lbs. thrust each
Length : 129.5 feet (39.47 meters)
Height : 42.1 feet (12.83 meters)
Wingspan : 123.6 feet (37.64 meters)
Maximum Gross Takeoff : 189,200 pounds (85,820 kilograms)
Airspeed : 490 knots (564 mph) true air speed
Ceiling : 41,000 feet (12,496 meters)
Range : 1,200 nautical miles radius with four hours on station
Crew : Nine
Armament : Split between hardpoints on the wing and in the internal bay
· Mark 54 torpedoes
· HAAWC (a Mark 54 torpedo with a wing kit)
· AGM-84 Harpoon
· AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER
· AGM-158C LRASM
· MALD decoys
· JDAM (proposed)
· GBU-53/B StormBreaker (proposed)
· Various mines (including Quickstrike)
Conclusion: I believe that this would make for a good addition to the US tree when the time comes, providing a decently sized weapons payload alongside the weapon systems of the utmost modernity. The aircraft will be especially effective in game if datalink systems are added, which would allow the Poseidon to spot and track targets with great precision, and then guide munitions onto them. I will have to keep a look out for new updated about the aircraft, so things may change in this suggestion. If I missed anything, please feel free to post information below so that I may update the suggestion, any help is appreciated.
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