The Navy’s next-generation manned maritime information, surveillance and reconnaissance has been certified to enter regular service, according to a Naval Air Systems Command statement issued late Monday.
The P-8A Poseidon passed an Initial Operational Test and Evaluation that found the aircraft, “operationally effective, operationally suitable and ready for fleet introduction.”
“We are proud to add the P-8 to the Navy’s weapons inventory and the deployment cycle later this year,” said Capt. Scott Dillon, Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Office (PMA-290) program manager in a NAVAIR statement.
Six Poseidons assigned to Patrol Squadron Sixteen (VP-16) “War Eagles” are planned to deploy to Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan in December.
Based on the Boeing 737 airframe, the P-8 is slated to replace the P-3 Orions the navy currently uses for the ISR role. The Navy plans to buy 117 of the aircraft.
In addition to the surveillance role, the P-8 is an armed platform capable of firing missiles and deploying torpedoes.
On June 24, a P-8 successfully fired a Harpoon AGM-84D Block IC anti-ship missile in a test, according to NAVAIR.