Description: The Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) is a US Navy program intended to provide replacement for the aging P-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft fleet. Anti-Submarine Warfare will be the core capability of US Navy's MMAs, with other key capabilities to be added to the MMA airframe such as anti-surface warfare, joint operations with unmanned platforms and sensors, land attack, surveillance, etc. The all-digital MMA will be more capable and will provide higher availability than current P-3s.
Lockheed-Martin team offered an improved version of proven P-3 aircraft powered by 4 PW150A turboprop engines. Boeing team offered a modified B737 airliner powered by two CFM56-7B27A engines (F108 military designation). Boeing team solution was selected for the MMA program in June 2004. According to current figures, only 108 of the more capable MMA aircraft will be needed to replace several hundreds of P-3 aircraft. On June 14, 2004, the US Navy awarded Boeing a $3.89 billion system development and demonstration contract as the prime contractor for the MMA program. The team led by Boeing includes: CFM International (50/50 Snecma/General Electric), Northrop-Grumman, Raytheon, and Smiths Aerospace.
The total estimated value of the MMA program stands now at approximately $20 billion including the procurement of 108 737 MMAs. The System development and demonstration phase which includes production of seven test aircraft will run until 2012. The production phase is scheduled to take over a decade. Boeing will provide the B737-800ERX airframe as the basis for the MMA aircraft.
In addition to provide the airframe, Boeing will act as the system integrator. CFM International will provide the CFM56-7B27A engines that will power the 737 MMA while providing the electrical output to support flight deck and mission system operations. Northrop-Grumman will provide the electro-optical/infrared sensor, the directional infrared countermeasures system, and the electronic support measures system. Raytheon will provide an upgraded APS-137 maritime surveillance radar system and signals intelligence (SIGINT) solutions. The new system is an upgraded APS-137D(V)5 maritime surveillance radar priced at approx. $30 million/unit. Finally, Smiths Aerospace will provide the flight management system and the stores management system. The flight management system provides an open architecture along with a growth path for upgrades. The stores management system permits to accommodate current and future weaponry.
On September 30, 2004, the Boeing MMA proposal passed the critical design review following three days of intensive system requirements review by the US Navy. The critical design review is deemed to be a critical milestone needed to get the US Navy's green light for the system development. The Boeing-led team completed the three-month high-speed wind tunnel testing on March 18, 2005. The testing program logged more than 1,300 hours of simulated flight. In addition, Boeing also released that the US Navy was given P-8A designation to the MMA aircraft.
On June 2, 2005, Boeing changed the P-8A original wingtip design from a blended winglet to a commercial backswept wing tip. The entry into service date of the first P-8A aircraft was also delayed one year from 2012 to 2013. In April 2006 Boeing unveiled a new Long-range Maritime Patrol Aircraft based on its P-8A/737 design to meet the requirements of the Indian Navy. India needs call for eight reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft by 2010. In early 2010 the program's scope was increased from 113 to 122 aircraft. The P-8A program achieved initial operational capability (IOC) on November 28, 2013. As of December 2013, the program's scope was decreased from 117 to 109 aircraft.
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