TYPE: Maritime surveillance twinjet.
PROGRAMME: Design study for 737 MMA (Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft) revealed 18 April 2000 as potential replacement for Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion and EP-3E Aries II. Based on C-40A, combining 737-800 wing and 737-700 fuselage, latter with internal weapons bay beneath forward section and former with hardpoints for air-to-surface missiles. Full range of maritime patrol equipment envisaged, including enlarged nose accommodating Raytheon AN/APS-137 search radar, up to seven operators' consoles and rotary sonobuoy launcher, plus additional fuel in aft baggage hold.
Maximum T-O weight 77,565 kg (171,000 lb); maximum transit speed 490 kt (907 km/h; 564 mph); mission radius 2,000 n miles (3,704 km; 2,301 miles). US Navy awarded US$493,000 concept exploration study contract to Boeing in July 2000; this followed in September 2002 by US$7 million contract for Phase 1 of component advanced development (CAD), during which air vehicle performance validated and mission system parameters were developed and analysed. Subsequently, in February 2003, a further contract, worth US$20.5 million, was awarded for Phase 2 of CAD, including additional performance analysis and continuing development of the associated mission system. Similar contracts went to Lockheed Martin, which proposes an Orion derivative for the MMA.
On completion of Phase 2, Navy will award single contract for the system development and demonstration (SDD) programme. Downselect is expected in early 2004, with low-rate initial production beginning in 2009, followed by service entry in 2012.
Boeing is also offering a version of the 737 for the joint German-Italian MPA-R programme, which could result in a contract for a total of 24 aircraft. Selection of a winner is set for 2003, with contract award following in 2004 and Boeing is seeking 'harmonisation', so that it can offer a single proposal to satisfy both the MMA and MPA-R requirements.