First P-8A Poseidons Report
By Lt. Andrew Orchard of
Commander, Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force 7th Fleet.
Misawa, Japan -- December 2, 2013 -- (NNS)
-- The Navy's newest, most advanced maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft,
the P-8A Poseidon, arrived in Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan for its inaugural
deployment Dec. 1.
The War Eagles of Patrol Squadron 16 (VP 16) deployed with
six P-8As Poseidons in support of 7th Fleet maritime patrol and reconnaissance
operations in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Cmdr. Bill Pennington Jr. takes off on a P-8A
Poseidon from Naval Air Station Jacksonville
The deployment marks a milestone in the transition of U.S.
Navy Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Forces (MPRF). For the first time since
the Navy received the P-3A Orion in 1962 a new aircraft will be operated by a
deployed patrol squadron.
The P-8A Poseidon is the most advanced, long-range anti-submarine
and anti-surface warfare aircraft in the world. A true multi-mission aircraft,
it also provides superior maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance
(ISR) capability. The Poseidon is built on the proven Boeing 737 airframe, the
most commercially operated aircraft in the world. The transition to the Poseidon
brings with it enhanced safety and reduced maintenance.
Based in Jacksonville, Fla., VP-16 began the transition to
become the first P-8A squadron 18 months ago, shortly after returning home from
a six-month deployment to Kadena Air Base. The War Eagles achieved U.S. Navy
safe for flight status in January 2013 and were certified ready for deployment
in November 2013.
"I couldn't be prouder of what the War Eagles have been able
to accomplish during the squadron's transition to the P-8A," said Cmdr. Bill
Pennington, VP-16's commanding officer. "We are well trained and well prepared
for this deployment, and excited about the opportunity to demonstrate the
Poseidon's exceptional capabilities."
The deployment of the P-8A Poseidons to Japan is part of a
phased replacement of the propeller driven P-3C Orion now serving in U.S. 7th
Fleet operating area. Deploying alongside VP-16 will be the VP-46 Grey Knights
from Whidbey Island, Wash., who will operate the venerable Orion.
"In December, we will demonstrate the ability of the Poseidon
to operate effectively alongside P-3C during high-tempo deployed operations,"
said Capt. Mike Parker, commander of Task Force 72. "I also look forward to P-8A
integrating seamlessly with our international partners and allies. Our
interoperability will only get better with Poseidon," added Parker.