Sunday, September 16, 2007

Airliner for Australian Maritime Patrol

P-8A Poseidon (formerly the Multimission Maritime Aircraft or MMA)On 20 July the Australian Minister for Defense announced that Australia will spend $4B on the P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol and Response Aircraft (MPRA) to replace the AP-3C Orion. The interesting part of this is that the MPRA is a modified Boeing 737 airliner.

The RAAF has already ordered the Boeing Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning & Control aircraft (AEW&C) , which is also based on the 737. The P-8A requires more modifications for an internal weapons bay and under wing pylons (to carry about the same amount as an F-111).

Schematic of the P-8 internal layout from WikipediaIt is likely the aircraft will also be used for electronic surveillance and signals interception (SIGINT and ELINT). The aircraft have a lot of room, compared to the typical military aircraft, to carry rack mounted supercomputers for real time processing of signals and to act as a flying web server to distribute information to other aircraft, ships and vehicles.

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