Intended to replace the P-3 Orion and derivatives, the P-8A Poseidon is a United States Navy long-range anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW), and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft. It possesses extensive sensors and communications for maximum interoperability with U.S. and allied forces; there are even discussions of establishing interoperable communications with Russian systems in coalition operations. The aircraft can patrol the open ocean, littoral, and land.
In ASW, the P-8 is likely to cooperate with MH-60R helicopter or its SH-60B or SH-60F predecessors, as well as surface ASW vessels, and possibly friendly submarines. It can provide over-the-horizon guidance to RIM-156 Standard SM-2 missiles in over-the-horizon ASuW attack.
Airfarme and Power
A derivative of the Boeing 737 commercial transport aircraft, the P-8A is powered by the CFM56-7 engine, which also powers the Australian and Turkish "Wedgetail" Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft and C-40 Clipper transport.
- 27,300 pounds of takeoff thrust per engine
- 30 million flight hours
Northrop Grumman’s Electronic Systems sector will provide the electro-optical/infrared (EO/IR) sensor, the directional infrared countermeasures system, and the electronic support measures system. Northrop Grumman’s Mission Systems sector will develop data links for the P-8A.
The aircraft is equipped with the upgraded AN/APS-137D(V)5 maritime surveillance radar and signals intelligence (SIGINT) system developed by Raytheon. The system was redesignated AN/APY-10 in June 2006. Complementing the P-8 with LSRS will be a radar-carrying MQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle, the Broad Area Maritime Surveillance system. A further
Smaller and lighter than its predecessor, the new radar is installed on the enlarged nose fairing. The AN/APY-10 radar provides Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) mode capability for imaging, detection, classification and identification of stationary ships and small vessels and for coastal and overland surveillance, and high resolution Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar (ISAR) mode for imaging, detection, classification and tracking of surfaced submarines and small, fast moving vessels that operate in coastal waters. It is unclear, however, how this system relates to the Littoral Surveillance Radar System (LSRS), recently designated the AN/APS-149.(LSRS), whose shape may be the reason the airframe was changed from a Boeing 737-700 to a 737-800, which has a longer fuselage apparently better suited for the LSRS antenna.
The SAR provides multiple resolution strip map and spot SAR operation, and allows high resolution for target identification, battle damage assessment and for weapons targeting. Periscope detection uses high scan speeds, high pulse repetition frequency, high resolution mode with advanced sea clutter rejection.
The P-8A will also be fitted with the CAE Advanced Integrated Magnetic Anomaly Detection (MAD) System. The aircraft will carry a rotary sonobuoy launcher with pneumatic ejection, being developed by EDO Corporation.
Raytheon is also offering its GPS Anti-Jam, identification friend or foe, and Towed Decoy Self-Protection suites. Northrop Grumman is supplying the Electronic Warfare Self-Protection (EWSP) suite which includes the Terma AN/ALQ-213(V) Electronic Warfare Management System (EWMS),/ The AN/ALQ-213, in turn, controls:
- Northrop Grumman Directional Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) set
- Northrop Grumman radar warning receiver
- BAE Systems countermeasures dispenser system.
Terma is a Danish firm, which originally developed the EWMS for the F-16 Fighting Falcon.
GE Aviation will supply both the Flight Management and Stores Management systems on the P-8A. The Flight Management System provides a open architecture that is compatible with the CNS/ATM gateway  to air traffic control . The Stores Management System provides a system for the electronic control of integrated weapons management, such as setting the depth at which a sonobuoy will monitor.
Bomb capability includes the guided Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM). Since the P-8 flies more efficiently at altitude than the traditional low altitude to drop antisubmarine torpedoes, experiments to marry JDAM guidance with a lightweight torpedo. The combination, called Longshot, would allow high-altitude drops both from the P-8 and the older P-3 Orion.
The aircraft can cruise at high altitude at nearly 926km/hr (500kt) and loiter at a speed of 333km/hr (180kt) over the sea at a low altitude of 60m.
The Royal Australian Air Force, which now operates P-3s, is likely to acquire P-8s. All current P-3 users are candidates, including Argentina, Canada, Chile, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, Spain and the United Kingdom, although there is competition for the European users
- Raytheon, Raytheon P-8A MMA Radar Receives New AN/APY-10 Nomenclature
- Terma protects the new U.S. Navy P-8A Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft
- ARINC Incorporated, CNS/ATM Gateway
- "Longshot: A Swooping HAAWC for Torpedos", Defense Industry Daily, 31 May 2007
- "P-8i: India’s Navy Picks Its Future High-End Maritime Patrol Aircraft", Defense Industry Daily, 14 February 2010