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P-8A Makes First Deployment to Okinawa

Poseidon patrols the Pacific

The U.S. Navy has deployed the new P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft to Kadena Air Base on the island of Okinawa in Japan.

The inaugural deployment is being conducted by Jacksonville, Fla.-based Patrol Squadron 16 (VP 16).  The VP-16 “War Eagles” deployment brings six Boeing P-8As to the western Pacific to support the U.S.  7th Fleet.

“We are well trained and well prepared for this deployment, and excited about the opportunity to demonstrate the Poseidon’s exceptional capabilities,” said Cmdr. Bill Pennington, VP-16’s commanding officer.

The twin-engine P-8 is the replacement for the venerable Lockheed Martin four-engine turbo-prop P-3 Orion, which first deployed in 1962.  The P-3 was based on the Lockheed Electra passenger aircraft, while the newer P-8 is based on the Boeing 737 jetliner.

P-8A Okinawa

Patrol Squadron 16 (VP -16) P-8A Poseidons 429 and 435 refuel at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Japan. The squadron’s landing at NAF Atsugi was part of the Poseidon’s inaugural operational deployment. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kegan E. Kay

“We are well trained and well prepared for this deployment, and excited about the opportunity to demonstrate the Poseidon’s exceptional capabilities,” said Cmdr. Bill Pennington, VP-16’s commanding officer.

During this deployment, VP-16 will share the flightline with P-3Cs of the VP-46 “Grey Knights”, based at Whidbey Island, Wash.

According to Capt. Mike Parker, commander of Task Force 72, the Poseidon will demonstrate its ability to operate effectively alongside the P-3C during high-tempo deployed operations with other units from the United States and partner nations.  “Our interoperability will only get better with Poseidon,” said Parker.

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Capt. Edward H. Lundquist, U.S. Navy (Ret.) is a senior-level communications professional with more than...