Armed airliner on duty for Navy

Published: December 4, 2013, 11:00 am, by Tom Roeder

navy 737The Navy announced this week that its new P-8A Poseidon, the world’s most heavily-armed airliner, has been deployed for the first time.

The P-8A, a military copy of the same plane used by Southwest Airlines, carries some interesting luggage. The 737-800 variant is armed with Mk-48 torpedoes and Harpoon missiles in addition to cruise missiles, bombs and mines. The crew of nine operates radar and sonar systems to detect and track enemy ships and submarines.

Six planes from a Florida-based squadron flew to Japan for the deployment, the Navy said.

“The deployment marks a milestone in the transition of U.S. Navy Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Forces (MPRF),” the Navy said. “For the first time since the Navy received the P-3A Orion in 1962 a new aircraft will be operated by a deployed patrol squadron.”

The Navy is proud of its new bird, even if it’s almost the same as the planes hauling travelers from Dallas to Orlando.

“The P-8A Poseidon is the most advanced, long-range anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft in the world. A true multi-mission aircraft, it also provides superior maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capability,” the Navy said. “The Poseidon is built on the proven Boeing 737 airframe, the most commercially operated aircraft in the world. The transition to the Poseidon brings with it enhanced safety and reduced maintenance.”

And at the request of High Ground reader Gary:

P-8A unit cost with research and development, $275 million (missiles are extra)

737-800 list price $89 million