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Boeing Team to Perform Navy P-8A MMA Fire- Suppression Tests

ST. LOUIS, April 18, 2005 -- Survivability is critical for tactical aircraft, and the U.S. Navy's P-8A Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) is no exception.

To reduce the P-8As vulnerability to fires caused by damage from enemy threats, a team led by prime contractor Boeing [NYSE: BA] will evaluate a variety of fire-suppression systems for the aircraft's dry bays. These are areas adjacent to fuel tanks containing electrical and hydraulic lines, environmental control systems or engine bleed air lines.

"We have worked with our Navy partners to develop a live fire test program that takes advantage of the lessons learned during engineering and manufacturing development of the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet," said Dr. Andrew Hesketh, Boeing P-8A Test & Evaluation manager. "Reusable resources, or 'iron birds', will enable us to affordably validate our design approach during development testing. Later in the program we will test the production airframe and systems to demonstrate we are meeting requirements and using the most suitable and effective vulnerability protection system available for the aircrews."

The Navy will provide two "iron bird" test fixtures representing dry bay areas in the wing leading edge and the lower lobe of the forward fuselage. A gun will fire an explosive projectile to ignite a fire in the bay while inflicting only moderate damage to the test fixture.

Testing will be conducted from mid-April through mid-May at the Naval Air Warfare Center-Weapons Division, Weapons Survivability Laboratory in China Lake , Calif. These preliminary tests are designed to help prospective vendors and Boeing personnel evaluate the effectiveness of different solutions. Development and verification testing of the selected systems will continue through 2009. Full-scale live-fire testing is scheduled for 2012 using the P-8A static test aircraft.

Based on the data collected, Boeing will select one or more vendors to provide a fire-suppression system. To be considered, a system must extinguish a fire and prevent it from reigniting. Final test results will remain classified.

The Boeing-led team, which includes CFM International, Northrop Grumman [NYSE: NOC], Raytheon [NYSE: RTN], and Smiths Aerospace [LSE: SMIN.L] will produce five test aircraft during the program's SDD phase. Plans call for up to 108 aircraft to be purchased by the Navy to replace its aging fleet of P-3 aircraft.

A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses. Headquartered in St. Louis , Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $30.5 billion business. It provides network-centric system solutions to its global military, government, and commercial customers. It is a leading provider of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems; the world's largest military aircraft manufacturer; the world's largest satellite manufacturer and a leading provider of space-based communications; the primary systems integrator for U.S. missile defense; NASA's largest contractor; and a global leader in sustainment solutions and launch services.


Contact Info:
Ellen LeMond-Holman
Boeing Communications
office: (314) 777-0669
mobile: (314) 705-1661

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