Home » Weapons » Arms Trade » Is Boeing Proposing a P-8-Lite?

Is Boeing Proposing a P-8-Lite?

by John Reed on February 14, 2012

So Boeing says its considering shrinking the P-8 Poseidon submarine hunter into a smaller airplane to replace P-3 Orion fleets around the world, according to a Defense News article from the Singapore Air Show.

My question is, what aircraft does Boeing have in mind? I mean, the company has spent a ton of time over the last couple of years pitching the 737-based P-8 as an ideal long range ISR platform for a ton of missions beyond sub hunting; almost a manned-UAV. But that aircraft sounds like it might be too big for the mission, based on what Boeing tells DN. Company officials say that Poseidon-lite, if you will, doesn’t need to have the torpedoes and other antisubmarine gear that the P-8 carries. Instead, the plane simply needs ISR gear. Wait, that sounds like a UAV, more specifically, like Northrop Grumman’s BAMS.

So what does Boeing have that’s smaller than a 737 (not including fighters)?

The V-22 Osprey? Perhaps, but that feels like a stretch. I’d guess the company is hoping to use someone else’s airplane and charge the government to “integrate” the ISR systems aboard the jet, kind of the way that Northrop Grumman does with Boeing-made 707s that serve as the E-8 JSTARS.

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

“We are looking hard at either a mid-sized platform or scaling down the P-8, and hopefully we will make a decision [whether to proceed] later this year,” said Jeff Kohler, vice president of Boeing Military Aircraft, ahead of the Singapore Airshow opening Feb. 14.

The Boeing executive said his company is in discussions with two or three potential platform providers in the regional jet size market.

Boeing is currently developing the 737-based P-8 for the U.S. Navy and export customer India but said a smaller offering would better suit nations that do not require all the capabilities Poseidon will have to offer when it enters service in 2013.

“P-8 has tremendous capabilities, but not every country has requirements for anti-submarine warfare or torpedoes,” Kohler said. “They need ISR. The entire mission system is a Boeing product … The U.S. Navy is working with us to improve essentially something you can scale into different size aircraft.”

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{ 110 comments… read them below or add one }

blight_ February 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm

What savings will they realize? If all it can do is spot, do you just wait for backup to arrive?


FormerDirtDart February 15, 2012 at 10:25 am

How about the fact that most maritime surveillance aircraft rarely prosecute targets. A very large portion of the mission they are acquired for is counter smuggling, fishery enforcement, and anti-piracy.


blight_ February 15, 2012 at 10:30 am

For now. On paper, those would be missions that would otherwise go to the Coast Guard. However, the Coast Guard is unlikely to win much procurement pie.


FormerDirtDart February 15, 2012 at 11:30 am

As the target is foreign sales, those very missions would seem a more likely priority than hunting subs.


blight_ February 15, 2012 at 11:48 am

Fair enough. Aircraft coastal patrols can cover more area quickly than a fleet of small boats. It would make sense for stuff like the Somalia mission, but there's a shortage of land bases.

Dan Gao February 15, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Coasties already have their new Ocean Sentry MPAs.

My guess is that this is just one of those concepts that gets kicked around, half-considered, and forgetten within a few years.

But I wouldn't mind being proven wrong.


FormerDirtDart February 15, 2012 at 3:39 pm

This product is not targeted at US sales

Nicky February 14, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Maybe a Mini P-8 can be made out of a Boeing 737. It is possible that a Boeing 737 can be modified to do the work of a P-3, P-8. You do have Pilots who can fly it and you do have users who would like to have a compact P-8 made out of a Boeing 737.


Belesari February 14, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Always wondered why you couldnt use a C-130J.


blight_ February 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Goes to Lockmart instead of Boeing. Wah, wah….


Rabbit February 15, 2012 at 1:06 am

The impression I got from the article is that they're trying to get a smaller plane and the C-130 is one big-boned lady.


jumper February 15, 2012 at 9:04 am

C-130 is less efficient than the existing P-3… it's got a very heavy structure and more or less the same engines.


Tom February 15, 2012 at 9:18 am

A C-130J wouldn't be less expensive than a 737.


Cranky Observer February 15, 2012 at 10:13 pm

What about the C-27J? IIRC Boeing gave up their interest in that project, but possibly it could be picked back up.



blight_ February 15, 2012 at 10:33 pm

It wasn't Boeing. It was the DoD:

Air mobility studies
have also shown significant excess capacity in the U.S. airlift fleets. As a result we are reducing
the airlift fleet by:
Retiring 27 aging C-­‐5As, resulting in a fleet of modernized 52 C-­‐5Ms and 222 C-­‐17s
Retiring 65 of the oldest C-­‐130s, resulting in a fleet of 318 C-­‐130s
Divesting 38 C-­‐27s

Significant excess capacity? I guess if you break it down in terms of overall tons you can move around..ignoring the fact that not all of your airlift is forward deployed, and you can't put C-5's and C-17's everywhere, and closer to the front C-130s are bigger than the C-27's. Unless you intend to offset C-27 divestures with C-130s…but they're not. Maybe they will replace the older C-130's with new C-130's as well?

Or long term, we need to replace C-130; but we need to decide if its replacement should be smaller than C-130 (filling the C-27 niche) or bigger (maybe big enough to move a single Bradley, just as the C-130 could move a Sheridan?). If you can get another aircraft to move Bradleys, it makes strategic airlift that much easier.


Lance February 16, 2012 at 12:17 am

Both a C-27 and C-130J would not have the loiter time and speed a 737 has so going back to props it be better to make more P-3s then.

A F-18 some want to be also would be a poor choice since it lack range and loiter time a larger multi-engine AW plane would have.


Praetorian February 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Huh someone must of heard you at L.M. Belesari

Quote from Greg Waldron Flight Global :
proposed new variants of the C-130J Hercules, the C-130XJ and C-130 Sea Hercules. The C-130XJ would be 10-15% less expensive than the existing C-130J, as previously reported by Flightglobal. Lockheed would achieve the savings by removing the C-130J’s electronic warfare suite, defensive countermeasures and freight handling system.

The Sea Hercules would incorporate P-3C Orion capabilities into a C-130 airframe and be optimised for maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare duties.



Tom February 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm

A 15% cheaper C-130J would still be significantly more expensive than the 737 used for the P-8. A 737 costs in the neigborhood of $30 million. A C-130J costs in the neighborhood of $60 million.


blight February 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Plus the obligatory costs of opening a new production line specifically with less parts, or siphoning off parts off the main assembly line in such a sequence that they ship without the parts that go to the Sea Hercs. Unless you want to build out C-130J's and then send them right back to the factory and remove parts, or open an entirely new line for what is essentially the same aircraft.


FormerDirtDart February 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm

A 737 costs in the neighborhood of $60 million (or more). The 737-100 cost over $30 million when they stopped building them several decades ago.


blight_ February 15, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I imagine we might not get the volume order discounts that an airline would. It would depend on our ability to haggle with Boeing…

Dewayne February 15, 2012 at 8:30 pm

C130 Sinks like a Rock in a ditch or water landing


blight_ February 15, 2012 at 9:10 pm

Don't most aircraft? We ditched seaplanes a long time ago.


JWood February 16, 2012 at 4:58 pm

The Columbians ditched a herk off the NJ coast in the 70s. The Coast Guard had to go out and shoot it full of holes so it would sink.


jamesb February 14, 2012 at 10:39 pm

He, he, he……

The C-27J?


Guest February 23, 2012 at 12:01 am


Oh wow, still laughing…


Lance February 15, 2012 at 12:14 am

A V-22 would be counter productive since it be a P-3 turboprop essentially. Though I doubt the P-3 wont be gone soon since the P-8 is slowly coming into service. the 737 is a excellent platform to use Ive flown in them and they are nice plane to use. A MD-80 would be the only smaller alternative.


jumper February 15, 2012 at 9:07 am

The MD-80 has been out of production for over a decade.


Trooper2 February 15, 2012 at 10:15 am

I'm not suggesting that this is a good idea, but the B707 used for JSTARS (IOC '91) went out of production in '79… they re-used old airframes.


blight_ February 15, 2012 at 11:52 am

It probably made more sense considering how many 707s were available for spare parts. Not sure if the same economics work for the MD-80.

It is annoying that we cannot devise ways to move electronics to new aircraft and lose the advantage of off-the-shelf or being able to use the partstrain of in-production Boeing aircraft. At some point, they must keep lines open just to supply niche parts for the military, which defeats the purpose of going off the shelf in the long term.


Ron February 15, 2012 at 1:34 am

The P-8 is based on Boeing's 737-800NG platform if i'm not mistaken. A smaller, lighter version would simply mean transferring all the tech to the 737-700NG platform which is the basis of the 737 AWACS frames sold to Australia, South Korea and Turkey. This would make sense of the comment about not needing a bomb bay, as the 737-700's shorter air frame couldn't accommodate one.


Allen February 15, 2012 at 2:16 am

So wait, let me see if I can understand this…..The P-3 has for generations been the backbone of USN long-range ASW and anti-surface patrol and interdiction. The ability to carry weapons on-board means it can prosecute the contacts it has made, and not wait for who knows how long for an armed aircraft/ship/sub to arrive.

So the P-3 replacement now proposed is…..an unarmed recon plane??? Yeah…can see that in a shooting war "have made contact with an Akula….anyone there? Ooops…now he's gone"


guess February 15, 2012 at 3:19 am

No as far as understandable the US Navy is still planning on getting the armed 737 based P8. This sounds like a cheaper smaller export version for those countries who want a patrol aircraft.
Personally seems pretty reasonable, maybe we could get some for the coast guard


tiger February 15, 2012 at 10:17 am

This project has taken some 20 years to get this far. On the bright side there are fewer Russian subs to look for today. Most are rusting, half floating toxic waste dumps. Of those that work, only about a dozen put to sea a year.


Dan Gao February 15, 2012 at 11:15 am

Not exactly. What is being proposed here is just a stripped down variant for export purposes. The P-8s for the Navy will be capable of being just as heavily armed as the Orion.


STemplar February 15, 2012 at 2:36 am

I think they probably would be looking at Canadair or Embraer model regional jets.


Pretor February 15, 2012 at 5:11 am

Something like the Embraer R-99?


Thomas L. Nielsen February 16, 2012 at 2:09 am

Or the Antonov An-74MP?

[Ooops.....was that my out-loud voice?]

Regards & all,

Thomas L. Nielsen


Tom February 15, 2012 at 9:23 am

Long-range large cabin business jets would be the most likely option. The EMB-170/175/190/195 family would also work, but I could see Boeing wanting to avoid giving Embraer or Bombardier the work since the are somewhat of competiton in the Commercial airplane market and Dassault would probably be avoided since they are owned in part by EADS, so I'd be looking at a Gulfstream then as the most likely candidate. Basically we're talking about a P-8 lite, but something a good bit higher end than all the ISR stuff being put on King Airs and the like now.


Cunninglinguine February 15, 2012 at 10:08 am

What about 717/MD-95? It's out of production now, but since cost is apparently the issue, it might be cheaper in the long run to buy used airframes for conversion. Boeing would love that since it's keeping the airframe in-house.


sbays1 February 16, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Boeing Finance is a large holder of B717 airframes with the SWAAirtran merger freeing more up. There are approx. 150+/- out there. And Boeing can always replace the airliners with B737NG's or Max versions.


Nicky February 15, 2012 at 10:10 am

What I was thinking was the original 737 that was built and currently flown by Southwest Airlines.


FormerDirtDart February 15, 2012 at 10:16 am

They don't make them anymore. And, the air-frames in use are not viable for conversion due to heavy fatigue from the high cycle rate of commuter use.


Thinking_ExUSAF February 15, 2012 at 10:53 am

Just google "regional airliners" for candidate platforms, even going back to the venerable "Dash-8" and C-12s for at least a partial implementation. The larger examples are very credible airframes with the payload and power generation capacity (particularly if you add an APU or similar) to carry a very full suite of modern day ISR equipment.


FormerDirtDart February 15, 2012 at 12:06 pm

I agree. There are a large number of regional turboprops and regional jets that would be suitable.

I also think that something akin to a "roll-on/bolt-on" package could be of use for medium cargo aircraft. Allowing a common platform. Something like the US Army's concept when the multi-mission tactical transport/future cargo aircraft, back before it got staffed to death.


Nicky February 15, 2012 at 12:30 pm

What about developing a lite P-8 from the Boeing 737 AEW&C. The other option is to use the Boeing 737 MAX or the Boeing 737 Next Generation. The lite, compact version would be perfect for countries who want to replace the P-3 with something in similar size as well.

tiger February 15, 2012 at 10:20 am

I think this is a sales trial balloon. Overseas users of the P-3 have no desire to buy the P8.


Dan Gao February 15, 2012 at 11:17 am

Really? And your source for this is…? Two customers (India and Australia) have already signed on, I'd say the Poseidon has a very bright future in terms of export sales.


tiger February 15, 2012 at 11:30 am

Japan is building there own. The Kawasaki P-1. Many in NATO still use the French built Breguet Atlantic.


Dan Gao February 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm

So? Subtract one nation from the potential customer list. That only leaves about….Canada, New Zealand, Britain, Brazil, Italy, South Korea and so on. Still a massive market to tap into.


emm February 16, 2012 at 5:53 am

Ah, Britain….. Sic Transit Nimrod – for those with a classics ed

Yes, could see us taking a P-x or P8 Lite Gawd knows we need it….

jamesb February 15, 2012 at 10:53 am

Cost too much money….

And Countries aren't in a hurry to buy American anymore…..
Look at the airlines…..


tiger February 15, 2012 at 11:24 am

Your right. Japan is building a replacement in house. The Kawasaki P-1


blight_ February 15, 2012 at 11:49 am

Something about buy local, create jobs and the like.


Johnny Appleseed February 15, 2012 at 11:10 am

I think the biggest issue is that you can't land a modified 737 on the deck of an aircraft carrier.


tiger February 15, 2012 at 11:13 am

Which why I miss the S-3 units.


Dan Gao February 15, 2012 at 11:17 am

You can't do that with the Orion either….


Riceball February 15, 2012 at 11:45 am

Just wait and I'm sure that the Navy will come out with a 2 seat SF-18 and replace the C-2s with a CF-18 since the Navy has been working hard at consolidating platforms. And yes, I'm being sarcastic.


Riceball February 15, 2012 at 11:43 am

Not really an issue since they've never intended for them to fly off of carriers, their predecessor, the P-3, never did either. These planes are designed for long range maritime/ASW/ISR patrols from land bases independent of a carrier battle group so carrier capability was never part of the criteria for the platform chosen.


blight_ February 15, 2012 at 11:46 am

Meh. There's an upper limit to what the Nvay can do with carrier-deployability. Carriers are important; but the navy shouldn't be stymied by having every aircraft in its inventory carrier-deployable.


@saurabhjoshi February 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm
blight_ February 15, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Thought India was already in the bag with P-8I.

Diet P-8 is supposed to be mostly anti-surface…but don't the Pakistanis have submarines?


Emetu November 18, 2012 at 5:27 am

I do like articles like these. Just a pity that it is just cebels that get the opportunity like this. I fly for a hobby and own a small KR2 expeamental plane(Dave King, a Mango pilot used to own this plane about 13 years ago). I did spend some time in various aircraft cocpits and would love the oppertunity to fly a 737 in a simulator.


JimDorschner February 15, 2012 at 12:27 pm

There are numerous older 300,400, 500 and 600 series Boeing 737's out there that are no longer profitable for airline operations. Given the P-8 is set in a highky modified 737-800, it would be realtively easy to install variants of it's advanced mission systems and avionics into completely refurbished older 737 airframes.


blight_ February 15, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Sure, but what is the long term consequence of buying older airframes?


JimDorschner February 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm

The target here is offshore sales, particularly but not limited to existing P-3 users, and is not restricted to used 737's. P-8 Light could also be built in a new 737-700 BBJ-based long range airframe, providing commonality with 737-based AEW&C aircraft now entering service. Potential customers include Canada, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Norway, Israel, Indonesia. In terms of consequences of using older airframes, given new wings and engines and new electical systems/plumbing older 737's could last many more decades. Hard to say what the price would be compared to a new-build 737-700ER with a less capable P-8 sensor suite, but likely much cheaper.


itfunk February 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm

This is part of the coming wave of outsourcing.

Boeing needs to make more money from a shrinking pie and the way to do it is shed US jobs. Build the Aircraft cheaper off-shore and install some equipment then charge the government about the same price.


TASM February 15, 2012 at 1:31 pm

How about the Lockheed S-3 Viking? Good range, endurance, payload, sensors and can take off from aircraft carriers. Oh, wait …


Robert A. Fritts February 19, 2012 at 9:29 pm

And a bunch of very used and a bunch of barely used Vikings are sitting in protective wrap along South Kolb road in Tucson already.


Byron Skinner February 15, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Good Morning Folks,

Looks like Boeing got caught with to low of a bid and now wants to change the product. Well why not just cancel the whole bid and go with the Avenger. The Avenger (Predator C) at $12-15 million per airframe vs. the P-8 at $1.6 billion for six airframes appears to be in the $200-300 million each price range would seem to be a far better deal. The Avenger also has the advantage of also be a carrier aircraft. This should be a no brainer switch.

Byron Skinner


William C. February 15, 2012 at 3:15 pm

You're comparing of a UAV for reconnaissance and light attack work to an anti-submarine aircraft. There is a major difference between the two.

This isn't replacing the actual P-8, it's just something Boeing is considering.


Dan Gao February 16, 2012 at 11:18 am

The P-8 works just fine and is one of our only major acquisition projects that has been moving along without any cost or technical issues. We don't need any brilliant ideas to screw this one up.


Will February 15, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Aviation Week is reporting that "Lockheed Martin has turned the P-3’s mission systems into a roll-on, roll-off solution that can be installed into C-130s. The C-130 roll-on, roll-off mission system for maritime surveillance has been around for some years already. But Lockheed Martin how now developed a roll-on, roll-off solution that allows one to effectively install the P-3’s anti-submarine warfare mission system and other equipment, such as sonar buoys, onto the C-130." They're calling it the SC-130J Sea Hercules.


blight_ February 16, 2012 at 12:27 am

Are we going to call it the Harvest Hawk principle? Turn specialized platforms into stage-zero bolt ons?


Belesari February 15, 2012 at 6:38 pm

When i said use the C-130J i ment use it like the old P-3. Could you build something like Harvest hawk but for the Maritime role. Plug and play. This would allow more flexability and cheaper over all operating cost outside of the already large cut you get from operating a turboprop as oppossed to a jet turbine.

Cost savings come in fuel and maintanence time and cost.

How about also using the C-3/E-2 hawkeye frame? Could build a plug in system for it and also build a plug in system to let it refuel F-18's so you dont have 2 F-18's trying to refuel 3 other f-18 all of which have shitty range….


blight_ February 16, 2012 at 12:22 am

I'd love to see Boeing go all-out with a contract to replace as many of our tankers and noncombat aircraft with a 737 as possible. JSTARS, tankers…alternatively, Lockmart could try the same with the C-130. It'd be the contract of the century. Think of the gravy!


emm February 16, 2012 at 5:47 am

What happened to the old viking airframes? Davis-Monthan?


Riceball February 16, 2012 at 11:02 am

Doesn't matter, the P-3 & P-9 serve a different role from the S-3. While both are ASW platforms the S-3 was designed for localized ASW for the carrier battle group while the P-3 & P-8 are designed for long range maritime & ASW patrol from land bases.


blight_ February 16, 2012 at 6:30 pm

I'm surprised they aren't going to replace the Viking. Do they intend to depend on helicopters, UAVs, surface and submarine combatants?


FormerDirtDart February 17, 2012 at 2:06 am

P-3/P-8, SH/MH-60, F/A-18E/F
The S-3 was supposed to be replaced, along with its derivatives, and the C-2, E-2 (& originally ) by the Common Support Aircraft.(CSA). Last I read, the CSA is still an active program, but not moving along with any great haste.


blight_ February 17, 2012 at 9:12 am

Wait, Hornet for ASW?


blight_ February 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Looked up CSA and discovered some very interesting aircraft I'd not heard of before. A-3 Skywarrior?


Bigbadbull February 16, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Buy back all the 717's from Airtran now that they are Fully owned by Southwest and will most likely move the relatively young ( by airline standards) 717-to SW 737-800/MAX/ etc.


Former QMCS February 16, 2012 at 3:36 pm

The C-130 would work well. Navy Coastal Warfare loaded a Radar/Sonar Surveillance Center (RSSC) van into a USMC C-130 at MCAS El Toro in the 80s. The RSSC functioned with all the detection and tracking capabilities of the P-3. We tied the radar into the A/C radar and trailed the sonar antenna out the back. Sonobouys were implaced by just tossing them out the rear. The draw back was that we had to also load a generator because the C-130 couldn't supply power. Noisey as hell.


blight_ February 16, 2012 at 3:42 pm
blight_ February 16, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Once we plug-and-playitize our equipment, the platform won't be such a pivotal part of the buy. or at least, there will be less impediments to upgrading platforms, so we won't cheapen out with used leftovers from the commercial sector.


blight_ February 16, 2012 at 11:56 pm

So in addition to the -NG there is also the 737 MAX possibly in the pipe?

Darn you Boeing for having a smorgasbord of 737s in the works.


FormerDirtDart February 17, 2012 at 1:51 am

-NG discontinued, replaced by MAX (new engines)


blight_ February 17, 2012 at 9:12 am

Is that why the P-8 will be using 737-NG?


sbays1 February 17, 2012 at 10:42 am

The NG is still available for orders. The MAX is an upgrade program.


Andre Correa February 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm

I guess they're looking for Embraer and it's new coming KC-390, that'd be perfect to the task…


anthony February 22, 2012 at 7:37 am

The xx33 has been changed around so it can still be in option since it has been fully remodelled.


anthony February 22, 2012 at 7:42 am

One good drone to lead companie is more then we need.Remember every plane more with or without pilot is squal to 12 troops less if not more!!


Guest February 23, 2012 at 12:08 am

I would guess a 717 conversion from the Southwest-Airtran merger (though airframes are limited), a Gulfstream G550, or as was poked at before, the C-27J. Then again, LM recently proposed a C-130 fitted out with ro-ro MP/ASW gear in two specs: one with expendable stores (P-8 kit) and an ISR-only version. Boeing could still make/integrate the mission systems. No word on cost.


Praetorian March 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm
Praetorian March 2, 2012 at 1:00 pm
terry June 13, 2012 at 8:40 am

The key to this article is smaller airframe with less robust capabilities! C-130 does not give you a smaller airframe, C-130 is the same size as the P-8 with no weapons options! Why would you want the same size airframe with fewer capabilities? And to bring the C-130 to the capabilities of the P-8 you would have to heavily modify the C-130 which equals more money. Plus the roll-on and roll-off is not an advantage of the C-130, because the P-8 has the same ability


FormerDirtDart February 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm

We, our?


blight_ February 15, 2012 at 7:17 pm


I was under the impression P-8 and P-8I had some serious differences, including trading ASW capability. P-8 Lite would have its own tradeoffs. What's the commonality we're looking at here? Will the basic airframes be built on the same production line and siphoned off? Or three different lines where the size of the export order has no bearing on cost savings for the American buy?


Alan February 15, 2012 at 7:25 pm

Blight –

Given the fact that this article is a "first heard" for me (and I'm out of the community), I really don't have a good answer for you about what a potential P-8 lite would have as far as airframe/capabilities are concerned.

So far as the actual production line goes, even if this winds up happening, I don't think it'll have much impact on the USN program. Remember, the $$$$ allocated for Poseidon is pretty much already in the system, so unless Congress decides to cut the order/part of it, or there are notable cost overruns (wouldn't surprise me) there's already a per unit cost associated which won't be impacted by any export sales.


blight_ February 15, 2012 at 10:34 pm



In Line 1; replace "we" with "the Department of Defense".
In Line 2; replace "our" with "the Department of Defenses".


blight_ February 15, 2012 at 10:35 pm

P-8 already removes the MAD, though I guess it's a cold war relic?


Alan February 15, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Not sure if "relic" is the right term, if the P-8's main role remained ASW (as with the P-3). Given the fact that MAD isn't effective outside of a VERY narrow swath, and the Navy's MPRA assets have been shifting more and more to an ISR role, this isn't much of a surprise.

I can remember, 10 years ago, the MPRA community stressing the need to get back to their basics/bread and butter of ASW proficiency. The removal of the MAD gear simply demonstrates the realization that they'll earn more kudos doing high visibility ISR operations than low visibility ASW. That said, when a Chinese sub popped up on the Kitty Hawk a few years back, I'm sure there must've been MUCH hand wringing that we really had no assets that could go out there and find the intruder. Maybe more focus on ASW isn't necessarily out of place?


blight_ February 16, 2012 at 12:16 am

My other question is whether or not MAD was eliminated because it had gone the way of the battleship. I /think/ the other ASW system is the sonobuoy, but then when you drop them, there's the retrieval issue; whereas MAD isn't expended.

Anybody know ALFS went anywhere? Could it be scaled up to be more effective and be deployed aboard a maritime aircraft?

Reading up on P-8, and as far as I can tell they are selling that APS-137 awful hard.

And while I was looking on Boeing's page, there is the P-8 AGS which is jockeying for JSTARS replacement. Nab the P-3 and the JSTARS at the same time? Ambitious.


blight_ February 16, 2012 at 12:26 am

"That said, when a Chinese sub popped up on the Kitty Hawk a few years back, I'm sure there must've been MUCH hand wringing that we really had no assets that could go out there and find the intruder. Maybe more focus on ASW isn't necessarily out of place?"

However, the P-8 buy might not save a CVN. That would require something carrier-borne, which we don't have. I think we're depending on our surface fleet to protect the carriers, whereas the Soviets could throw a bunch of aircraft at it. Unless we expect to always operate within range of airbases that can deploy an umbrella of P-8's…which might be behind our moves in the Philippines and Aus?


blight_ February 16, 2012 at 12:30 am

He's probably noting it in response to my Coast Guard comment.

HC-144 doesn't ISR capability that the P-8 is meant to have. Though that whole "Mission Pallet System" system makes me wonder why they don't just go the rest of the way with the plug-and-play trend that seems to be infecting the armed services.


FormerDirtDart February 16, 2012 at 9:59 am

The Department of Defense is not a potential costumer for this aircraft system.


blight February 16, 2012 at 11:09 am

Augh. Then replace "the Department of Defense" with "hypothetical export customers".

As India already has the P-8I; and this is a different package than P-8I?


Thinking_ExUSAF February 16, 2012 at 11:21 am

If you take away the offensive ASW capability of a P-8, do you have any idea what might be left? Also, perhaps a quick read on the aircraft specs for the P-8, and the B-737 of your choice would be informative. :-)

Boeing would NOT be looking to install in any 737 variant (since that is exactly what the P-8 is). They would be looking to go for the lighter/cheaper market and that would be found in the smaller jet and turboprop regional airliners.


Nicky February 16, 2012 at 11:37 am

What about using those regional jets you see at the Airport


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