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Smaller Aircraft Eyed for Foreign P-8 Variants

Feb. 13, 2012 - 07:53AM   |  
By ANDREW CHUTER   |   Comments
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SINGAPORE — Boeing said Feb. 13 it hopes to decide in the next few months whether to put a scaled-down version of the P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft’s mission system into a smaller platform.

“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.”

Kohler said he expected interest in the P-8 to pick up next year.

“The maritime environment in the Pacific has everybody’s attention right now. Several nations have asked the [Navy] and Boeing for a briefing, and we are working with the Navy to satisfy those requirements,” he said.

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