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P-8 reshuffling may affect cost

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posted on Apr, 8 2014 @ 05:37 PM
In the 2015 budget, the US Navy removed 8 P-8A aircraft from their purchasing plans. While the Navy says they have not changed their plans for the fleet, and still require 117 aircraft, unless Congress puts them back into the budget at some point Boeing has said that the cost per unit will almost certainly have to be increased. With the removal of the 8 aircraft the current buy would put 109 aircraft into the fleet by FY19.

The fact that the aircraft are partially built on the commercial 737 line will mitigate any cost increase somewhat. The current Navy budget estimates put the fly away cost per aircraft at $271M. There is no estimate yet as to how much that would increase without the 8 aircraft in it.

Boeing is currently working on increment two improvements for the aircraft, which will be standard starting in FY16. The improvement would allow wide area ASW searches, as well as an automatic identification system to identify ships on the surface.

The US Navy insists that its decision to exclude eight Boeing P-8 Poseidon anti-submarine warfare aircraft from its fiscal year 2015 budget request will not affect its plan to transition to a fleet of the type.

However, Boeing says a reduction of eight aircraft orders would likely cause P-8 unit prices to climb."There is no impact on the transition plan," says Martin Ahmad, the USN's P-8 deputy programme manager. "The transition has not changed as a result of those aircraft at all."

Ahmad made his comments at the Navy League's Sea-Air-Space Exposition near Washington, DC, on 8 April.

The USN's budget proposal, which still requires Congressional approval, calls for the service to buy eight Poseidons in FY2015: down from an original plan to order 16. The service now plans acquire 109 P-8s through FY2019.

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