Following its rollout in early July, the first Boeing P-8A Poseidon for the Royal Norwegian Air Force performed its first flight on August 9 at the company’s Renton plant in the Seattle suburbs. The aircraft undertook a 2-hour 24-minute check flight that took it to a maximum altitude of 41,000 feet.
Following the successful flight, the aircraft is moving to the installation and checkout facility, where mission systems will be installed and further testing performed. The aircraft is due to be handed over to the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) later this year.
“This inaugural flight is an important milestone for Norway, and the Boeing team remains committed to delivering the P-8 fleet to the NDMA on schedule,” said Boeing P-8 Europe manager Christian Thomsen. “The P-8 is a capability that will help Norway improve anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and search-and-rescue missions, in addition to fostering valuable regional collaboration and interoperability with NATO nations.”
In RNoAF service the five P-8s on order will replace the current maritime patrol/surveillance fleet that consists of six Lockheed Martin P-3 Orions, which serve with 333 Skvadron at the joint military/civil Andenes airfield on the island of Andøya. The P-8s, however, are due to operate from the airfield at Evenes.
While still in the strategically important north of Norway, Evenes is on the mainland. Another dual-use airfield, it serves the communities of Narvik and Harstad, as well as being a reserve fighter base with an extensive hardened shelter complex. Under current plans the RNoAF intends to maintain a detachment of Lockheed Martin F-35As there, where they will maintain an air defense quick-reaction alert.