First Operational P-8A Squadron Prepares for Deployment; Fleet Transition Continues


Five years ago, in the midst of managing fatigue-life issues with our P-3 fleet, we developed a plan to transition the fleet to the P-8A Poseidon beginning in spring 2012. I’m pleased to report today that P-8 transition is well underway at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., in accordance with the plan we laid out.

With the hard work and support of our fleet, the Naval Air Systems Command, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and industry team, the Navy accepted the first six low-rate, initial-production P-8s on or ahead of schedule, with the last LRIP Lot 1 aircraft delivered on Jan. 31. Furthermore, Boeing is on contract to deliver seven additional LRIP Lot II aircraft over the next year.

Our Fleet Replacement Squadron, VP-30, commenced “training the trainers” in April 2012, and our first fleet squadron, Patrol Squadron 16 (VP-16), began P-8 Fleet Introduction Training in July 2012 after returning from a deployment. VP-16 aircrews and maintenance personnel successfully completed P-8 transition on schedule and the squadron was certified “Safe-for-Flight” to operate P-8s from its home port last month. The squadron is training to build advanced combat readiness in its P-8s in preparation for deploying to the Western Pacific with six P-8s in December.

via First Operational P-8A Squadron Prepares for Deployment; Fleet Transition Continues.

None too soon. Read the whole thing to see the parlous state of the P-3 fleet. And if you read my piece on the Falklands, you’ll know just how devastating the lack of patrol aircraft was to the Argentinians.

The P-8 has been a remarkably smooth program compared to so many others. Why? Because it was extremely tightly focused, and the trend to gold plating/multi-missioning was held in check. NavAir wanted a P-3 replacement, and wanted it to be as cheap as possible. They held the line on that, and got what they asked for.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “First Operational P-8A Squadron Prepares for Deployment; Fleet Transition Continues

  1. I think they will regret not having MAD gear, but it could be added later. I think there’s prolly room for it, but it would have been better to have it from the beginning.

    But, since we won’t have a Navy in 2016, it may not matter anyway. Know anywhere I can learn Chinese quick and cheap?

  2. SFC Dunlap 173dRVN (Ret)

    Although I’m quite partial to Turbines (turboprops), I have to give the USN their due in choosing such a time proven airframe. Not having to “re-invent the wheel” in Defense procurement is always a good thing.

    • The Lockheed Electra was the base airframe for the P-3 and it had already shown its worth as a short haul airliner. Long range ASW aircraft has been one shining point for the Navy for a long time. I just wish they had mounted MAD gear as well. I think they will regret the lack.

  3. SFC Dunlap 173dRVN (Ret)

    @QM – Of course, why would not one re-equip with all previous equipment?? It would save money having the MAD gear installed up front as opposed to down the road.

  4. I’d say the smooth development was also due to a focus on “evolution, not revolution.”
    Now. About that tanker for the Air Force… ;)

    • Openess and fairness and non-cronyism in contracting lead to that disaster. The entire development of the KC-X program should have been two AF Colonel’s in the A-Ring over morning coffee, circa 1999:

      COL X: We need to start a replacement program for the KC-135.

      COL Y: Let’s have Boeing slap a boom on the 767 and buy a couple hundred.

      Fin.

      But the almost quarter century since then has seen the program cost any number of billions of dollars, not one penny of which has gone to actually buying an airplane, but rather, deciding which airplane to buy.

      And this same insane procurement puzzle lead to the AF’s disastrous attempt at an end-around that became the crooked leasing fiasco, which lead to two, count ‘em, two contested competitions.

    • NaCly Dog

      This is the primary mechanism by which complex societies collapse. It takes more and more effort to do the same thing. The law of diminishing returns catches up with an entire culture.

      This sunny, optimistic book was written in 1988. Paraphrasing: “We have no worries about collapse because of strong interlocking blocks of power. America is strong, the Soviet Union is strong, as is the European community.”