Boeing P–8A Poseidon

Product Type:

Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and
Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) Aircraft

Using Service (US):


Program Status:

Full Rate Production (FRP)

Prime Contractors:

Airframe: The Boeing Company
Engines: CFM Int'l (GE Aviation and Snecma)

The P–8A Poseidon

About the P-8 Poseidon:

The Boeing P–8A Poseidon, also known as the Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft, is a long-range anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft capable of broad area, maritime, and littoral (close-to-shore) operations. The Poseidon is an all-weather commercial derivative of the Boeing 737-800 ERX. The P-8A has the fuselage of a 737-800 and the wings of a 737-900. The P-8A is powered by two CFM International CFM56-7B high-bypass turbofan engines, each providing 27,000 pounds of thrust.

The aircraft is equipped with the Raytheon AN/APY-10 maritime, littoral and overland surveillance radar. The AN/APY-10 will be fully integrated into Boeing's Mission Control and Display System for control, display and data distribution on the P-8A. According to Raytheon, the radar is the only system of its type to provide ultra-high resolution imaging modes for maritime and overland operations.

The P-8A is the replacement system for the P-3C Orion and the U.S. Navy plans to purchase a total of 109 production aircraft (37 LRIP + 72 full rate production) + 5 development aircraft. The Poseidon will sustain and improve the armed maritime and littoral ISR capabilities of the U.S. Navy in traditional, joint, and combined roles to counter changing and emerging threats. The P-8A will have a substantial role in Sea Power 21 and will satisfy several mission requirements in Sea Shield, Sea Strike, and FORCEnet.

The P-8A made its first flight on April 25, 2009 and full-scale testing of the airframe was completed in January 2011. Initial Operational Capability (IOC) was achieved on November 29, 2013. The first production aircraft made its initial flight on July 7, 2011 and was officially delivered to the Navy on March 4, 2012. As of June 2015, 25 production aircraft have been delivered. On January 3, 2014, the P-8A was approved for Full Rate Production (FRP). At Farnborough Air Show in July 2014, the Navy announced that its fleet P-8As "are performing exceptionally on deployment."

Boeing assembles the P-8A Poseidon at its 737 assembly facility in Renton, Washington. Notable companies involved in manufacturing the P-8 Poseidon are Boeing (System Development and Integration), CFM International (CFM56-7B turbofan engines), Spirit AeroSystems (fuselage and airframe tail sections and struts), Northrop Grumman (AN/AAQ-24 DIRCM countermeasures system; AN/ALQ-240(V)1 Electronic Support Measures (EMS) system; and data links), Raytheon (AN/APY-10 Maritime Surveillance Radar and SIGINT; GPS Anti-Jam, Integrated Friend-or-Foe (IFF), and towed decoy self-protection suites; broadcast info system and secure UHF Satcom); GE Aviation (Flight Management and Stores Management Systems); and BAE Systems (Mission Computing and Display System, Flight Deck Panels, and Data Diode).

In January 2009, Boeing signed a contract with the Government of India to deliver eight P-8I "Neptune" long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft to the Indian navy. The P-8I is a derivative of the P-8A and is designed specifically for the Indian navy. Boeing delivered the first three P-8Is to India during 2013 and will deliver the remaining five by the end of 2015. An option for four additional aircraft was included in the original contract.

In January 2011, Boeing received a $1.6 billion contract for the low-rate initial production (LRIP) of the first 6 aircraft, including funding for spares, logistics, and training devices. In July 2013, Boeing was awarded a $2.0 billion contract by the U.S. Navy for 13 P-8As. The contract runs through April 2016. On February 25, 2014, Boeing was awarded a contract valued at $2.1 billion to build 16 P-8A Poseidons through April 2017.

In February 2014, the Government of Australia announced its decision to purchase eight P-8As + options for four additional aircraft in a $3.6 billion deal. The P-8A will replace Australia's aging AP-3C Orions. The first aircraft will be delivered in 2017 with all eight aircraft fully operational by 2021.


The P-8A carries AGM-84K SLAM-ER missiles, Mk 54 torpedoes, depth charges, bombs, and naval mines. The aircraft is also be able to drop and monitor sonobuoys.

Price/Unit Cost:

The unit cost of a P-8A Poseidon is $171.57 million (flyaway cost in FY 2015). Of this amount, the airframe - including the two CFM56-7B engines - makes up $129.27 million while the avionics package costs $33.11 million.

Total Cost - Life of Program (LoP):

The total procurement cost of the P-8A program is $24.47 billion (official DoD estimate) + $8.23 billion in research and development (RDT&E) funds, which means the total estimated program cost is $32.70 billion (numbers are aggregated annual funds spent over the life of the program and no price/inflation adjustment was made). This figure excludes military construction (MILCON) costs in support of the program in the amount of $367.7 million.


The P-8 Poseidon provides Maritime Patrol, Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW), and armed Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) in maritime and littoral areas above, on and below the ocean's surface.

FY 2015 DoD Program:

Supports the Full Rate Production (FRP) of nine P-8A aircraft + support equipment and spares, and provides advance procurement for FY 2016 aircraft. FY 15 procurement funds in the amount of $2,271.1 million have been provided + $306.0 million for RDT&E. P-3C Orion retirement rates.

FY 2016 DoD Program:

FY 2016 procures 16 P-8A aircraft, support equipment and spares, and provides advance procurement for future aircraft. FY 16 procurement funds in the amount of $3,278.5 million have been requested + $247.9 million for RDT&E. The P-8A capabilities to meet the ASW, ASuW, and ISR objectives will be delivered incrementally to the aircraft requiring continued research and development while FRP continues for the baseline aircraft.

For more information, click to view the FY 2016 Navy P-8A Procurement Budget.

Sources: U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), The Boeing Company,
CFM International, and Pratt & Whitney.

Specifications Armament DoD Spending FY2016 Budget

Last Update: June 5, 2015.

By Joakim Kasper Oestergaard Balle /// (

External Resources:

Boeing: P-8A Poseidon

CFM International: CFM56-7B Turbofan Engine
Raytheon: AN/APY-10 Maritime Surveillance Radar

YouTube: Boeing P-8 Poseidon | YouTube

Fact Sheet: Not Available

Total P-8A Poseidon Program Cost:

 $32.70 billion  ($24.47B procurement + $8.23B RDT&E)

P-8A Poseidon Procurement Objective:

  114 aircraft  (109 production + 5 development)

P-8A U.S. Defense Budget Charts:

DoD Spending on the P-8A Poseidon in FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014, FY 2015 and FY 2016
DoD Purchases of P-8A Poseidon Aircraft in FY 2012, FY 2013, FY 2014, FY 2015 and FY 2016
Defense Budget Data

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DoD Spending, Procurement and RDT&E: FY 2012/13/14 + Budget for FYs 2015 + 2016

DoD Defense Spending, Procurement, Modifications, Spares, and RDT&E for the P–8A Poseidon

Download Official U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Budget Data:

Purchases of P–8A Aircraft (NAVY) RDT&E: P-8A MMA (NAVY)
Modification of P–8A Aircraft (NAVY) Spares and Repair Parts (NAVY)

Aircraft Specifications: P–8A Poseidon

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Primary Function: Anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW)
Prime Contractor: The Boeing Co.
Power Plant: 2x CFM International CFM56-7B turbofan engines
Thrust: 27,000 pounds (each engine)
Wingspan: 117.2 ft (35.72 m)
Length: 129.5 ft (39.47 m)
Height: 42.1 ft (12.83 m)
Weight (Empty): 77,200 lbs (35,018 kg)
Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW): 189,200 lbs (85,821 kg)
Speed: Cruise: 440 kts/506 mph (815 km/h); Max: 490 kts/564 mph (908 km/h)
Service Ceiling: 41,000 ft (12,497 m)
Range: 1,200 nm/1,381 miles (2,224 km) radius with four hours on station
Crew: Nine (dual-pilot cockpit + five mission crew + relief pilot and in-flight technician)
Price/Unit Cost: $171.57 million flyaway cost (in FY 2015)
First Flight: April 25, 2009
Initial Operational Capability (IOC): November 29, 2013

Armament/Weapons: AGM-84K SLAM-ER; Mk 54 torpedoes; Depth charges; Bombs; and Naval mines

Raytheon AN/APY-10 Maritime Surveillance Radar
Northrop Grumman AN/ALQ-218 Tactical Jamming Receiver
Terma AN/ALQ-213(V) Electronic Warfare Management System (EWMS)
Northrop Grumman AN/AAQ-24 Directional Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) System
Northrop Grumman APR-39B(V)2 Radar Warning Receiver
Northrop Grumman AN/ALQ-240(V)1 Electronic Support Measures (EMS) System
BAE Systems AN/ALE-47(V) Countermeasures Dispenser
Raytheon AN/ALE-50 Towed Decoy
L-3 Wescam MX-20HD Electro-Optical Turret
Rockwell Collins DF-430 Multi-Mission Direction Finder

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