The first P-8a Poseidon arrived at NAS Patuxent River, and so begins, hopefully, the replacement of the P-3 Orion as the premier Maritime Patrol Aircraft of the US Navy.
From Navy Times:
By Andrew Tilghman – Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Apr 13, 2010 9:09:42 EDT
The first P-8A Poseidon aircraft landed at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., on Monday, the latest milestone for the aircraft that will replace the P-3 Orion as the fleet’s primary patrol and reconnaissance plane.
The Poseidon came from the Boeing’s Seattle-area facilities, where it began flight testing about six months ago.
The Navy’s first P-8A squadron is scheduled to be operational by 2013.
The P-8, a militarized version of the Boeing 737, is primarily designed for hunting submarines, but it will also have extensive intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. The P-3s it will replace are spending a majority of their deployed missions doing ISR over Iraq and Afghanistan, Navy officials said.
The Navy plans to buy 117 P-8As and hopes to have a fleet replacement squadron up and running in 2012, Navy officials said.
“It was an exciting moment to watch the first P-8A Poseidon touch down at Pax River today,” said Capt. Mike Moran, Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft program manager (PMA-290). “The maritime patrol and reconnaissance platform is in great demand throughout the world and this flight put us one step closer to delivering Poseidon to the Fleet. I cannot be more proud of our team as they work to ensure this aircraft will meet our warfighters’ requirements.”
AW1 Tim has opposed this platform since it’s inception. It has been my point of contention that the better choice would have been to reopen the P-3 Orion production lines, which, at that time, were still available. The P-8 has suffered numerous delays, design changes, and is still unable to do some things the P-3 can, and cannot operate as low or as flexibly as the Orion. I simply do not believe that th P-8 is a viable replacement, but it’s not my decision to make.
That being said, at least it’s SOMETHING. The way the US Navy, and the VP-Mafia has abused it’s assets is unforgivable. We are over-working the remaining P-3 airframes we have, we have reorganized the squadrons practically out of existence as such, and it’s debatable if war came whether we could swiftly deploy the MPA & ASW assests (and even CONDUCT ASW missions effectively) with the organization as it stands.