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UK Buys Boeing P-8 Poseidon Surveillance Aircraft in $18b Defense Boost


Boeing P-8 Poseidon Surveillance Aircraft

Bulking up its military spending due to concerns over ISIS and Russia, the UK announced that it placed an order with Boeing for nine P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft. In order to beef up Britain’s defense capabilities, Prime Minister David Cameron stated in his Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) speech that the British government expects to spend $270 billion on defense equipment over the next decade-$18 billion of which will be going towards purchasing aircraft such as the nine Boeing P-8 Poseidons.

“Boeing is far and away the biggest winner out of SDSR,”
said Sandy Morris, an analyst at Jefferies, of the $270 billion defense spending plan, which revealed a 7% increase on the Defence Equipment Plan released earlier this year.

The new batch of Boeing P-8 Poseidons will be used to protect the Royal Navy’s nuclear missile submarine and aircraft carrier fleets.

Based on the popular 737 airliner, the Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft completed its maiden flight in July 2011. With a fuselage based on the 737-800 and the wings of the 737-900, the P-8 Poseidon has greater gross weight dimensions than the 737-800. The wings are engineered with hardpoints for ferrying air-to-surface missiles and the internal weapons bay is located under the forward fuselage section.

Backed by two CFM International CFM56-7B27A high-bypass turbofan engines rated at 120 KN each, the P-8 Poseidon exhibits a cruising speed of 500 knots (926 kilometers/hour) and a loitering speed of 180 knots (333 kilometers/hour).

For sensors, the P-8 Poseidon is fitted with L-3 Communications Wescam’s MX-20HD digital electro-optical and infrared (EO/IR) multispectral sensor turrets. The gyro-stabilized MX-20HD can house up to seven sensors, allowing for infrared, CCDTV, image intensifying, laser rangefinding, and laser illuminating capabilities.

The new British P-8 Poseidon aircraft will be designed and manufactured at Boeing’s Washington State facility with minor contributions from the UK. Redditch, England-based GKN Aerospace will supply the windscreens for the maritime patrol aircraft and Dorset, England-headquartered Cobham will supply electrical systems.

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