Boeing continues production of the P-8 Poseidon with the first jet appearing for the Royal Norwegian Air Force. Rob Edgcumbe caught it on the line for Global Aviation Resource and also nabbed a bonus sighting of a Royal Air Force jet on flight test.
I had heard that Boeing had rolled out the first P-8 for the Royal Norwegian Air Force from their Renton facility. Renton is the home of P-8 production, along with that of the 737 Max. The P-8s are assembled there and make their first flight to Boeing Field where the mission system installation work is undertaken. Then, further flight tests are carried out before acceptance testing from the customer and delivery. I took a trip over to Renton to see whether the jet for Norway had actually shown up on the flightline.
Renton has been pretty full in the last couple of years as Boeing continued to build the 737 Max despite the worldwide grounding. Once Renton was full, jets were parked all over the country, wherever Boeing could find spaces. The ramp on the east side of the runway was the one from which flight operations took place and on previous visits, a P-8 would usually be found on the southerly end of the ramp. This time though I was surprised to find two P-8s! One was the eighth jet for the RAF and the other was the Norwegian jet with its distinctive saint symbol on the fin. Most activity was around the RAF jet and the beacons were on but I hadn’t anticipated it might fly.
I headed back to Boeing Field and then discovered that the RAF jet had taken off. Since it would land at Boeing Field, I just had to wait for it to show up, which it duly did later in the day. They touched down quite early on the runway which was a little disappointing but it was not the end of the world since they would have to taxi back to the military test ramp which meant more shots anyway!
It is anticipated that Norway will take delivery of its first P-8 in 2022 while the Royal Air Force will eventually operate a force of nine aircraft.