With three deployments completed since the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft be- came operational, Navy operators and
acquisition officials are pleased with the performance,
readiness and availability of the aircraft and are proceeding with more orders and upgrades.
The P-8A achieved initial operational capability in
December 2013 with a deployment to the Western Pacific
by Patrol Squadron 16 (VP- 16), followed in sequence by
VP- 5 and VP- 45. Two more squadrons, VP- 8 and VP- 10,
have traded their P-3C Orions for P-8As and a sixth, VP-
26, returned from its final P-3C deployment on Sept. 4 to
begin the transition. The six West Coast P-3C VP squadrons will begin the transition in 2016. Soon, the P-8A will
be deployed to the Persian Gulf.
“The P-8A Poseidon represents the most advanced
maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft flying
today,” said RDML Kyle Cozad, commander, Patrol
and Reconnaissance Group, and Patrol and
Reconnaissance Group Pacific, a P- 3 pilot and veteran
of seven P- 3 deployments. “It will serve as the future of
airborne maritime patrol and reconnaissance for
decades to come. When fully fielded, the P-8A will
successfully recapitalize and exceed the broad area
anti-submarine warfare [ASW],
anti-surface warfare and intelli-
gence, surveillance and reconnais-
sance capability resident in the
legacy P-3C Orion.
“While the aging P-3C AIP
[Anti-surface Improvement Pro-
gram version] remains a capable
aircraft, the P-8A’s superior reliabil-
ity, high speed and technological
advances are game changers in the
maritime patrol and reconnais-
sance arena,” Cozad said. “During
the P- 8’s initial fleet introduction
and operational deployments, it
has demonstrated a nearly 100 per-
cent mission completion rate.”
That mission completion rate is largely because of
the reliability of the Poseidon.
“The reliability of the engines and airframe ensures
that we have a very high ‘ready for tasking’ rate,” said
CDR John Weidner, commanding officer of VP- 45
since May, who made a deployment to the Western
Pacific in the P- 8 and previously made four deployments in the P- 3. “This allows the Navy to accomplish
missions from multiple sites simultaneously and with
a very high mission completion rate. All systems performed at or above what was expected of a P- 8. In particular, the communications systems performed extremely well.
“The P- 3 has been in the service for decades and
requires a significant level of maintenance on the
engines, especially as the aircraft becomes older,” he said.
“This is not the case for the P- 8. The engines are very
reliable and require very little unscheduled maintenance.
The fact that the P- 8 has numerous mission systems does
correlate to the requirement for more man-hours to support avionics systems. We are properly manned to support the shift from the engine and airframe focus of a P-
3 to an avionics focus on the P- 8.”
The Navy’s P- 8 maritime patrol aircraft
impresses operators in the Western Pacific
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
Bullish on Poseidon
In three deployments, the P-8A Poseidon demonstrated its ability
to meet Combatant Commanders’ requirements.
■ Deployed P-8As achieved a nearly 100 percent mission completion rate.
■ Engine and airframe reliability and mission and communications
systems were praised by commanders
■ The P- 8’s success is being attributed to the Navy’s acquisition