Boeing to begin modifying US Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft


According to information published by the US DoD on March 28, 2024, the U.S. Navy has commenced the enhancement of its P-8A Poseidon aircraft fleet by delivering the first plane for Increment 3 Block 2 upgrades to Boeing.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 Delivery of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft to Boeing. (Picture source: US DoD)


The P-8A is the Department of Defense’s only long-range full-spectrum ASW, cue-to-kill platform, with substantial armed ASuW and networked ISR capabilities. Increment 3 Block 2 provides a significant upgrade to the P-8A airframe and avionics systems, and includes new airframe racks, radomes, antennas, sensors, and wiring.

The modification incorporates a new combat systems suite with an improved computer processing and higher security architecture capability, a wide band satellite communication system, an ASW signals intelligence capability, a track management system, and additional communications and acoustics systems to enhance search, detection and targeting capabilities.

Increment 3 Block 2 related modifications will begin at Boeing’s Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul hangar at Cecil Airport in Jacksonville, Florida. The first fleet aircraft modification is expected to be complete in January 2025.

As of March 2024, U.S. Navy fleet squadrons have taken delivery of 119 P-8A aircraft. P-8A active duty and reserve squadron transition training is complete for all 14 fleet squadrons and one fleet replacement squadron.

About the aircraft

The strategic importance of the P-8A Poseidon extends beyond its advanced onboard systems. Its design incorporates the 737-800 airframe and -900 wings, along with a weapons bay and pylons, signifying a blend of commercial aviation efficiency with military precision.

The decision to forgo the magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) equipment as a weight-saving measure, opting instead for a hydrocarbon sensor to detect diesel-powered submarines and ships, highlights a shift towards modern technologies and tactics in maritime patrol​.