The U.S. Navy's first new advanced maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, Boeing's P-8A Poseidon, have arrived in Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, military officials said Monday, Dec. 3.
P-8A Poseidon arrives in Japan. Photo, courtesy of the U.S. Navy.
The P-8A is a replacement for the aging P-3C, and marks the first time since 1962 that the Navy has deployed a new aircraft to be operated by a patrol squadron for maritime surveillance.
Initial deployment comes following the Naval Air Systems Command's (NAVAIR) recent announcement that the P-8A achieved initial operational capability (IOC).
“There has never been a greater need for a new patrol and reconnaissance aircraft now that the aging P-3 is nearing the end of its life cycle," said Rear Adm. Matt Carter, commander patrol and reconnaissance group for NAVAIR.
The P-8A is a multi-mission military derivative using the Boeing Next-Generation 737 airframe, with the fuselage of a 737-800 and the wings of a 737-900. Powered by CFM56-7 engines, the P-8A features flight management and storage management systems from GE Aviation and a directional infrared countermeasures system supplied by Northrop Grumman.
Carter said the P-8A, along with the Triton unmanned aircraft system (UAS) will strengthen situational awareness for maritime surveillance pilots as countries continue to build and purchase "advanced, quiet and extremely hard to find submarines."
Another four aircraft are due to arrive in the region this week, as the War Eagles of Patrol Squadron 16 (VP 16) deployed with a total of six P-8As. Based in Jacksonville, Fla., the VP-16 is currently phasing the P-3C out of its fleet to become the first P-8A squadron.
"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."