In 2012, Boeing transitioned to a critical phase of its P-8I programme for India—flight test. With a delivery date set, the word came that additional P-8I flight testing was required, including weapons separation testing, without any change in the delivery schedule. The additional flight testing demanded installation of test specific instrumentation during production, which meant additional work for an already busy factory team. The P-8 is designed to carry weapons both under the wing and in a weapons bay. Jeanette Croppi is a Boeing Test and Evaluation Test Program Manager was tasked for this challenge. “For P-8I we had to do something we’ve never done before—drop simulated weapons from the wing of a commercial airplane and nobody’s ever done that before in the Boeing Company,” said Croppi. The P-8I team surprised everyone watching this unique program, including each other.
Editor’s Note: During January 2009, India’s signed an agreement with Boeing for the supply of eight P-8Is at a total cost of $2.1 billion to replace Tu-142M maritime surveillance aircraft. India has received the first P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft from Boeing in the US which will be used for training the Indian Navy crew. It is understood that two more are likely to be handed over in 2013.