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NAVAIR: P-8A Poseidon Ready for Deployment

P-8A Poseidon, operated by Patrol Squadron (VP-16) in February, 2013. US Navy Photo

P-8A Poseidon, operated by Patrol Squadron (VP-16) in February, 2013. US Navy Photo

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.

A Harpoon AGM-84D Block IC missile, which was released from a P-8A Poseidon (not visible), directly hits a Low Cost Modular Target (LCMT)at the Point Mugu Sea Test Range in California June 24. Bottom photo: A LCMT at the Point Mugu Sea Test Range is shown after the Harpoon successfully strikes it. US Navy Photo

A Harpoon AGM-84D Block IC missile, which was released from a P-8A Poseidon (not visible), directly hits a Low Cost Modular Target (LCMT)at the Point Mugu Sea Test Range in California June 24. Bottom photo: A LCMT at the Point Mugu Sea Test Range is shown after the Harpoon successfully strikes it. US Navy Photo

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Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.