B oeing began manufacturing the first of eight P-8I aircraft for the Indian Navy, on Monday, at the Spirit AeroSystems facility in Wichita in Kansas. The long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, based on the Boeing 737, is a version of the P-8A Poseidon being developed for the US Navy.
According to a statement issued by Boeing, Spirit AeroSystems’ workers ‘ cut the P-8I’s first part, a bonded aluminum panel that later will be installed on the fuselage’s upper lobe to support an antenna’.
Spirit AeroSystems builds the fuselage, nacelles and pylons of the 737 for Boeing and ‘the panel and other fuselage components will come together on Spirit’s existing Next-Generation 737 production line’. The statement quoted Spirit AeroSystems Fuselage Segment senior vice president/general manager, Mike King, as saying, “P-8I fuselage sections are designed and built using the same processes we use on the commercial 737. We’ve built seven P-8A fuselages to date and continue to increase efficiency as we move forward.”
Boeing says it will deliver the first aircraft to India by January, 2013.