One of three P-8A test aircraft completed several sonobuoy launches last Friday, October 15. This event marks the first time the new Poseidon has launched sonobuoys since it began testing at NAS Patuxent River this summer.
A total of six sonobuoys were involved in three low altitude launches at the Atlantic Test Range. The range provides airspace for safe operating clearance of test missions.
Each P-8A employs a rotary launch system that uses three launchers with the capacity to hold 10 sonobuoys each and the capability of launching single and multiple shots. The system can accommodate any sized sonobuoy and the storage capacity of 120 is 50 percent greater than the P-3.
This event is just one integral part of the P-8A’s overall weapons system testing mission. Initial operating capability on the P-8A is scheduled for 2013 at NAS Jacksonville, Florida.
The P-8 Poseidon (formerly the Multimission Maritime Aircraft or MMA) is a military aircraft currently being developed for the United States Navy. It is intended to conduct anti-submarine warfare and shipping interdiction and to engage in an electronic intelligence (ELINT) role.
This will involve carryingtorpedoes, depth charges, AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and other weapons. It will also be able to drop and monitor sonobuoys. It is designed to operate in conjunction with the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle. The P-8 is being developed by Boeing’s Defense, Space, & Security division from the 737-800.