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Patrol aircraft now has engines

Boeing reached another milestone June 21 at its Renton plant when two engines were installed on the Navy’s first P-8A Poseidon.

The assembly is reportedly on schedule, according to a Boeing press release. Whidbey Island Naval Air Station is awaiting arrival of the Poseidon, a submarine hunter and surveillance aircraft.

Following final functional checks, the Boeing-led Poseidon industry team will conduct initial engine runs. The company will deliver the first test aircraft to the Navy in 2009.

Engine installation is the culmination of efforts by Boeing and partner CFM International to leverage “lean” practices from commercial industry to maximize efficiency. Lean is the optimal way of producing goods through the removal of waste and implementing flow, as opposed to batch and queue.

In what Boeing calls an unprecedented collaboration, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems and Boeing Commercial Airplanes are working together to build the P-8A, a military derivative of the 737-800, on a new final assembly line. The factory’s third line takes advantage of the manufacturing processes and performance of the highly-reliable, next-generation 737.

The CFM engines, with 27,300 pounds of thrust, have industry-leading dispatch reliability in excess of 99.99 percent, the press release continued. CFM delivered the engines to Boeing in early May.

The Navy plans to purchase 108 P-8As to replace its fleet of P-3C aircraft. Initial operational capability is slated for 2013. The P-8A will provide increased capability in long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

The Poseidon will replace the P-3 Orions at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.

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