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Based on a modified and strengthened Boeing 737-800 commercial airframe, but with the stronger 737-900 wings, the aircraft’s primary function once operational will be to rapidly deploy at long range to detect and deter any activity by unwelcome visitors at sea – be that a submarine or surface vessel. To perform these tasks, the twin-turbofan P-8A has impressive speed, range and endurance and can, therefore, be in the air quickly and stay on station for long periods. Moreover, the aircraft is equipped, as standard, with a powerful computer-processing capability linked to state-of-the-art sonobuoys, sensors, digital communications, radar and weapon systems. One example of this is the AN/APY-10 synthetic aperture radar, which can detect objects in the

water and on the ground. The aircraft’s MX-20HD electro-optic/infrared sensor suite and electronic surveillance system are also able to operate over land and sea. This means that the aircraft can undertake long-range search-and-rescue missions around the UK coastline, as well as prosecute some overland surveillance tasks. Gale points out that, due to the open computing architecture and app-based approach, “you can configure the aeroplane to do very different tasks simply based on how you boot it up”.

The Royal Air Force will begin operating the P-8A maritime patrol aircraft by the end of this decade

INTEROPERABILITY IN MIND These capabilities will enhance and supplement the systems of other advanced future aircraft due to be delivered to the RAF over coming years. This is particularly exciting with regard to the introduction of the F-35B Lightning II, as well as remotely piloted air INSPIRATION AND INNOVATION AIR POWER 2016

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RAF Air Power 2016 – Inspiration and Innovation  

An official publication of the Royal Air Force

RAF Air Power 2016 – Inspiration and Innovation  

An official publication of the Royal Air Force