A U.S. Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon launched sonobuoys for the first time on Oct. 15, Naval Air Systems Command announced Thursday.
The P-8A launched six sonobuoys in three low altitude launches. Each Poseidon can carry 120 sonobuoys (50 percent more than the P-3 it is replacing) and has a rotary launch system that uses three launchers with the capacity to hold 10 sonobuoys each and launch single and multiple shots.
The 737-based Poseidon is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. A sonobuoy is a sonar device used to track submarines.
The Navy has been testing three Poseidon aircraft at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., since this summer. The aircraft is scheduled to enter operations in 2013.