Boeing has announced that previously-delivered RAAF and US Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft will be retrofitted with extra workstations, so that each aircraft will now have six.
The P-8A’s ability to search for submarines, monitor surface ships, or participate in search and rescue operations is due largely to the mission crew workstations on board the aircraft.
P-8A aircraft currently are delivered with five workstations, all composed of dual monitors (including a touch screen) that can collect and report on data from sensors, sonobuoys, radar and an electro-optical/infrared camera.
These powerful data-crunching systems can support all of the various crew roles so that any station can serve any purpose as required to meet the mission, making the aircraft a formidable intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. Now it will become even more capable.
Boeing has been awarded contracts totalling $34.5 million to add a sixth mission crew workstation to previously delivered USN and RAAF P-8As, a total of 60 aircraft.
The addition will expand crew size from five active operators to six, increasing mission capability and versatility.
According to Fred Bruner, P-8 program manager, more operators means more functions can be performed, more functions means more data collected, and more data means increased mission effectiveness.
The retrofit also brings existing fleet aircraft up to the same crew configuration as on recent production aircraft, including the four aircraft to be delivered to the RNZAF, which already include a sixth workstation.
“Our ability to continue to enhance the P-8’s capabilities is really a reflection of our commitment to give our customers the product they need, when they need it,” Bruner said.
“By using this kind of evolutionary approach, we’ve been able to get the aircraft out there, performing at an incredibly high level, and now will add even more capability to support missions around the world.”