ESM For P-8A Poseidon Receives Official Nomenclature

Northrop Grumman announced on 04OCT12 the Electronic Support Measures (ESM) system for the U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft has officially been designated the AN/ALQ-240(V)1. According to the press release:

“The awarding of the official nomenclature to our ESM system for the P-8A is significant for Northrop Grumman and the P-8A program and supports transition to production,” said Paul Kalafos, vice president of Northrop Grumman’s Surveillance Systems business unit. “The system will contribute to a powerful maritime surveillance capability for the Navy.”

The AN/ALQ-240(V)1 electronic support measures system will provide a significant increase in capability for operations in the complex maritime battlespace. The adaptive tuning, precise direction finding and geolocation capabilities of the ALQ-240(V)1 will allow P-8A aircrews to detect and identify radar and other electronic threats to the aircraft and Navy vessels.

To date, Boeing and its team, which includes Northrop Grumman, have delivered three production P-8As to the Navy. Initial operational capability is scheduled for 2013.

In addition to the AN/ALQ-240(V)1, Northrop Grumman provides the P-8A platform’s proven early warning self-protection system, commonly referred to as EWSP, and the embedded global positioning system/inertial navigation system.

With the US announcing that it is prepared to start sharing defense technology with India, it will be interesting to see what ESM India’s P-8Is receive when they are delivered in 2013. So far, the only differences reportedly include “an aft-facing radar (to operate independently of the forward-facing Raytheon AN/APY-10 surface search sensor), providing aerial target-tracking capability,” according to Jane’s.

Despite the slight differences, the P-8I will still be compatible with the use of depth charges, the AGM-84H SLAM-ER stand-off cruise missile and will be capable of dropping naval mines. India has requested the sale of the Boeing AGM-84L Harpoon II anti-ship missile and the Raytheon Mk 54 lightweight torpedoes for its P-8Is. It is unclear whether the latter would be supplied with the company’s Fish Hawk wing-kit to increase their launch envelope and range.

India has ordered eight P-8I aircraft with options on four more. Handover of the first to the IN is on track for 2013, Boeing said, with the rest by the end of 2015. According to senior IN officials, all eight will be deployed to the Eastern Naval Command.

Based on the Boeing 737 commercial airliner, the P-8A/I has a crew of nine (including five mission system operators) and an operating range of more than 2,000 km with a four-hour on-station endurance.

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