Spirit AeroSystems Inc. (NYSE: SPR) said it has begun production of the Royal Australian Air Force´s (RAAF) first production P-8A aircraft.
Spirit started production on the 737 military derivative in October. With major assembly now underway, the first unit is scheduled to deliver to Boeing in early 2016.
The P-8A program is using a first-in-industry production process and its existing Next-Generation 737 production system to efficiently design and build P-8 aircraft. Spirit is responsible for building 70 percent of the 737 aircraft. The 737-800 fuselage receives military specific in-line modifications before it is sent to Boeing´s final assembly facility in Renton, Wash., where all aircraft structural features unique to the P-8A are incorporated in sequence during fabrication and assembly.
Australia has agreed to purchase eight P-8A aircraft. The US Navy is currently under contract with Boeing for 62 P-8As to replace its P-3 fleet and has delivered 31 aircraft to date. Boeing has also completed its initial contract with India to provide eight P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft to the Indian Navy.
Spirit AeroSystems, with headquarters in Wichita, Kan., USA, is one of the world´s largest non-OEM designers and manufacturers of aerostructures for commercial aircraft.