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25 Jan 06. Boeing today announced plans for a new 737 signals intelligence (SIGINT) aircraft that can be used for airborne intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and also advanced network-centric communications.

Boeing’s new SIGINT aircraft concept is a variant of its 737-based P-8A Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft which is currently being developed for the US Navy, it said in a statement Wednesday.

“We think this affordable variant not only provides the US Defense Department with options for current and future airborne ISR requirements, but also is adaptable to any international SIGINT mission sets,” said Boeing vice president for maritime systems, Tony Parasida.

“A key advantage of this new programme is that the 737 SIGINT aircraft will leverage the P-8A’s advanced mission system architecture, mature design, and contractor logistics support and training systems approach. For customers that means reduced operating and maintenance costs over the entire life cycle of the system,” he said.

The Boeing 737 SIGINT variant will have increased mission capability, operational readiness and combat radius relative to legacy aircraft.

The design also has built-in growth capacity so payload capacity can easily be increased or upgraded to accommodate future customer requirements.

Boeing said its Maritime Systems Industry team, currently working on the P-8A programme, will be involved with the 737 SIGINT variant as well.

Additional partners likely will be added to the team to help address future customer requirements, it added.

P-8A team members include Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Smiths Aerospace and CFM International.

The P-8A, a military derivative of the 737-800 aircraft, is the Navy’s replacement platform for the P-3C. Its primary mission is to provide persistent anti-submarine warfare.

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