Two U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft have arrived at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan to begin the first deployment for the service’s new information, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft, the Navy announced on Monday.
The aircraft are assigned to Patrol Squadron Sixteen (VP-16) “War Eagles” based at Kadena.
“I couldn’t be prouder of what the War Eagles have been able to accomplish during the squadron’s transition to the P-8A,” said Cmdr. Bill Pennington, VP-16’s commanding officer in a statement.
The War Eagles will eventually field six P-8As, replacing the aging P-3 Orion aircraft currently at Kadena.
“The deployment of the P-8A Poseidons to Japan is part of a phased replacement of the propeller driven P-3C Orion now serving in U.S. 7th Fleet operating area. Deploying alongside VP-16 will be the VP-46 Grey Knights from Whidbey Island, Wash., who will operate the Orion,” read the statement.
The Navy plans to acquire 117 P-8As based on the Boeing 737 airframe. Though largely an ISR aircraft, the P-8s can be armed with anti-surface missiles and torpedoes.