See inside the modified Boeing 737 US Navy patrol plane the government just ordered $1.5 billion more of. Take a look at the P-8 Poseidon.

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See inside the modified Boeing 737 US Navy patrol plane the government just ordered $1.5 billion more of. Take a look at the P-8 Poseidon.

Boeing P-8 Poseidon

  • Boeing recently secured a $1.5 billion order from the US Navy for additional P-8 Poseidon aerial patrol aircraft.
  • First delivered to the Navy in 2012, the P-8 is a multi-role aircraft based on the Boeing 737 passenger jet capable of surveillance and anti-submarine warfare.
  • Its onboard armament can include torpedoes, harpoons, and cruise missiles allowing it to engage in warfare when required.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Boeing just landed a massive $1.5 billion order for 18 aircraft from the US Navy for an aerial patrol plane capable of sinking ships, the P-8 Poseidon.

Though it performs and functions more like a naval ship than a commercial jet, Boeing's P-8 Poseidon is actually the military variant of the manufacturer's popular 737-800 Next Generation aircraft.

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Instead of flying passengers or cargo, a task routinely performed by the civilian 737, the P-8 has warfighting capabilities through its deployable onboard armament of weapons that can sink ships and submarines, in addition to its advanced onboard surveillance set up to track maritime and ground-based activity.

Currently in use, the P-8 much like its 737 counterpart has seen international success with naval military forces in Australia, Norway, India, the United Kingdom.

Eight aircraft will go to the US Navy with the remaining aircraft split with the South Korean Navy and New Zealand Royal Air Force receiving six and four, respectively. The two countries purchased Boeing's submarine hunter through the Department of Defense's Foreign Military Sales program.

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With the order valued at $1.5 billion, the unit price for each aircraft is approximately $83 million.

Take a look at Boeing's airliner turned advanced warfighter.

Get the latest Boeing stock price here.

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While the Boeing 737 airframe dates back to the 1960s, the P-8 is a more recent innovation first conceived of in the 2000s with the US Navy giving Boeing the contract to develop a new naval patrol aircraft.

While the Boeing 737 airframe dates back to the 1960s, the P-8 is a more recent innovation first conceived of in the 2000s with the US Navy giving Boeing the contract to develop a new naval patrol aircraft.

Source: Boeing

The new aircraft to be produced by Boeing would replace the turboprop-powered P-3C Orion, a similar patrol aircraft with an airframe dating back to the 1950s.

The new aircraft to be produced by Boeing would replace the turboprop-powered P-3C Orion, a similar patrol aircraft with an airframe dating back to the 1950s.

Source: Boeing

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The build for the P-8 Poseidon would be based on a tried and true aircraft, the Boeing 737.

The build for the P-8 Poseidon would be based on a tried and true aircraft, the Boeing 737.

The US Navy already had experience with the 737, using it for VIP, troop, and cargo transport as the C-40, making the Poseidon a logical choice to replace the P-3C.

The US Navy already had experience with the 737, using it for VIP, troop, and cargo transport as the C-40, making the Poseidon a logical choice to replace the P-3C.

Read More: The US military has a fleet of modified Boeing and Gulfstream VIP private jets — here's what they do

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Unlike the C-40, however, the P-8 was designed to be a true warfighter that could not only provide intelligence on and surveil the enemy but attack if required.

Unlike the C-40, however, the P-8 was designed to be a true warfighter that could not only provide intelligence on and surveil the enemy but attack if required.

Source: Boeing

The list of missions the P-8 is capable of varies from engaging anti-submarine warfare to conducting aerial surveillance missions, making it one of the few converted passenger jet airliners capable of firing military weapons.

The list of missions the P-8 is capable of varies from engaging anti-submarine warfare to conducting aerial surveillance missions, making it one of the few converted passenger jet airliners capable of firing military weapons.

Source: US Navy

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Despite all the extra equipment on board, the P-8 is 60% identical to the 737 but it's the 40% difference that puts the Poseidon in a class of its own.

Despite all the extra equipment on board, the P-8 is 60% identical to the 737 but it's the 40% difference that puts the Poseidon in a class of its own.

Source: Aviation International News

The Navy received its first Poseidon in 2012 after an eight-year development program to create the flying naval patrol boat.

The Navy received its first Poseidon in 2012 after an eight-year development program to create the flying naval patrol boat.

Source: Boeing

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The jet-powered P-8 provided advancements from the P-3C in range, payload carrying capability, speed, and technology, providing the Navy with its newest airborne weapon.

The jet-powered P-8 provided advancements from the P-3C in range, payload carrying capability, speed, and technology, providing the Navy with its newest airborne weapon.

Source: US Navy

Inside the plane, the cockpit is the same as a traditional Boeing 737, though with a few optional extras including a fighter-jet style heads-up display.

Inside the plane, the cockpit is the same as a traditional Boeing 737, though with a few optional extras including a fighter-jet style heads-up display.
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Instead of rows of passenger seats in the back, the P-8 features monitors and screens for the flight crew to engage in surveillance, intelligence gathering, or search and rescue, depending on the mission.

Instead of rows of passenger seats in the back, the P-8 features monitors and screens for the flight crew to engage in surveillance, intelligence gathering, or search and rescue, depending on the mission.

Here's a naval crew member using the plane's onboard cameras to monitor Chinese activities in the South China Sea, a geopolitical hotspot where territorial disputes are rife among the region's nations.

Here's a naval crew member using the plane's onboard cameras to monitor Chinese activities in the South China Sea, a geopolitical hotspot where territorial disputes are rife among the region's nations.
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The South China Sea has become a popular area of operation for the P-8, which the Navy uses to keep an eye on Chinese activity. The Chinese fired a laser at one of the planes in January though no crew were injured.

The South China Sea has become a popular area of operation for the P-8, which the Navy uses to keep an eye on Chinese activity. The Chinese fired a laser at one of the planes in January though no crew were injured.

Source: Foreign Policy and Navy Times

Aiding in its surveillance and anti-submarine warfare mission is 129 sonobuoys that are kept on the aircraft using for tracking ships and submersible vehicles.

Aiding in its surveillance and anti-submarine warfare mission is 129 sonobuoys that are kept on the aircraft using for tracking ships and submersible vehicles.

Source: Boeing

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The harmless devices are dropped from the fuselage and provide sonar data back to the aircraft via radio frequencies in the same way a patrol ship would to find enemy submarines lurking in the depths below.

The harmless devices are dropped from the fuselage and provide sonar data back to the aircraft via radio frequencies in the same way a patrol ship would to find enemy submarines lurking in the depths below.

For all the sophisticated surveillance featured on the Poseidon, the aircraft also allows for the use of the most rudimentary form of equipment, the human eye.

For all the sophisticated surveillance featured on the Poseidon, the aircraft also allows for the use of the most rudimentary form of equipment, the human eye.
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Two large windows are built into the fuselage on each side of the aircraft to allow for manual searching whether it be surveillance or search and rescue efforts.

Two large windows are built into the fuselage on each side of the aircraft to allow for manual searching whether it be surveillance or search and rescue efforts.

With the US not currently fighting a war at sea, the aircraft is mostly used for its surveillance and intelligence gathering capabilities, aiding search and rescue operations during recent high-profile disappearances at sea.

With the US not currently fighting a war at sea, the aircraft is mostly used for its surveillance and intelligence gathering capabilities, aiding search and rescue operations during recent high-profile disappearances at sea.
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Two P-8s aided in the search for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft operating as flight MH370 which remains missing to this day...

Two P-8s aided in the search for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 aircraft operating as flight MH370 which remains missing to this day...

Source: US Navy

And two P-8s were also deployed to Argentina when one of the nation's submarines, the ARA San Juan, went missing while on patrol. The patrol ships were unable to find the sunken submarine.

And two P-8s were also deployed to Argentina when one of the nation's submarines, the ARA San Juan, went missing while on patrol. The patrol ships were unable to find the sunken submarine.

Source: US Navy

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The advantage of the Poseidon is its armament, with the aircraft capable of carrying torpedoes, cruise missiles, and harpoons capable of hitting maritime and ground-based targets.

The advantage of the Poseidon is its armament, with the aircraft capable of carrying torpedoes, cruise missiles, and harpoons capable of hitting maritime and ground-based targets.

Source: US Navy and Defense News

The weapons are kept in a bomb bay in the aircraft's fuselage and dropped by the pilot when the situation requires.

The weapons are kept in a bomb bay in the aircraft's fuselage and dropped by the pilot when the situation requires.

Source: Defense News

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Unlike its counterparts, the P-8 features longer wings with raked winglets capable of carrying wing-mounted torpedos.

Unlike its counterparts, the P-8 features longer wings with raked winglets capable of carrying wing-mounted torpedos.

Source: Aviation International News

The P-8 can also fly for around 10 hours uninterrupted, with a maximum range of over 5,000 nautical miles.

The P-8 can also fly for around 10 hours uninterrupted, with a maximum range of over 5,000 nautical miles.

Source: Aviation International News

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Should it need to stay out longer, however, the aircraft can also be refueled while in the air.

Should it need to stay out longer, however, the aircraft can also be refueled while in the air.

Source: Boeing

Boeing has built over 100 P-8 Poseidons with the majority of the builds going to the US Navy.

Boeing has built over 100 P-8 Poseidons with the majority of the builds going to the US Navy.

Source: Boeing

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Other customers include Australia, Norway, India, the United Kingdom and now, New Zealand and South Korea.

Other customers include Australia, Norway, India, the United Kingdom and now, New Zealand and South Korea.

Source: Boeing

Here's the UK receiving its first Poseidon.

Here's the UK receiving its first Poseidon.

Source: Boeing

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The Royal Air Force purchased nine P-8s to be based in Scotland and patrol the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.

The Royal Air Force purchased nine P-8s to be based in Scotland and patrol the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Source: Boeing

Another large customer, the Royal Australian Air Force has orders for 12 Poseidons to aid in its maritime patrol and surveillance efforts.

Another large customer, the Royal Australian Air Force has orders for 12 Poseidons to aid in its maritime patrol and surveillance efforts.

Source: Royal Australian Air Force

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During its tenure for the US Navy and foreign militaries, the P-8 Poseidon has proved to be just as valuable as the ships on the sea, a veritable flying patrol boat.

During its tenure for the US Navy and foreign militaries, the P-8 Poseidon has proved to be just as valuable as the ships on the sea, a veritable flying patrol boat.