Boeing successfully flew a Indian Navy-bound P-81 for the first time today as it lifted off from Renton Field at 12:02 P.M. PST.
The large aircraft was airborne for two hours, 31 minutes until landing at Boeing Field in Seattle, WA.
While in the air it managed to climb to a height ceiling of 41,000 feet. Notable is that company officials stated that it was not yet equipped with mission systems, something which was waiting to be installed after a successful flight.
Boeing released the following in a company statement, “The P-8I will provide India with the necessary speed and reliability to satisfy the Indian Navy’s maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare requirements,” said Dinesh Keskar, Boeing India president.
According to Boeing, the P-81 designed for utilization in the Indian Navy is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon that Boeing is in the middle of developing for the United States Navy. Both planes are based on Boeing “Next-Generation” 737 commercial aircraft.
A program manager of the P-81 project said, “Flying the first P-8 for an international customer is a key milestone for our entire team,” said Leland Wight, Boeing P-8I program manager. “We have transitioned to P-8I production, and remain on track to deliver the first aircraft to the Indian Navy in 2013.”
The P-81 can be used as a long-range reconnaissance aircraft and in anti-submarine warfare. The construction of the aircraft for the Indian Navy is the result of a contract awarded in January, 2009. Within the contract, there lies an option for the construction of four additional aircraft.
Photo Credit: Boeing.