Home » Aviation » VIDEO: Navy P-8As Use RIMPAC to Collaborate with Indian Navy, Practice in High-Traffic Environment


VIDEO: Navy P-8As Use RIMPAC to Collaborate with Indian Navy, Practice in High-Traffic Environment

A Patrol Squadron 47 P-8A Poseidon returns to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise, July 24. US Navy photo.

OFF THE COAST OF HAWAII – A U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon flying at low altitude spent the better part of three hours pulling hairpin turns and looping through the airspace, working in a grid to drop sonobuoys that would listen for sounds in the water and help the aircraft close in on an “enemy” submarine below.

Lt. Meredith Trezise, the squadron’s tactics officer and the mission commander for the flight, took the information she had at hand and plotted out on her computer where she wanted to drop sonobuoys to locate and then track the submarine below – a U.S. submarine simulating an enemy diesel sub. Her plots sent a suggested flight pattern to pilots Lt. Chris Dennis and Lt. j.g. Nick Seeberger in the cockpit, who then wove the plane back and forth over the Pacific. Naval Air Crewman 1st Class (AWO1) Scott Thomas Wagner listened to the feed from the sonobuoys and watched as his computer translated noise in the water column into colorful graphs – which led to new locations to drop more sonobuoys, and more hairpin turns for the pilots.

The airplane eventually rose a few thousand feet, allowing an Indian Navy P-8I to swoop down and take over the mission, listening in to those sonobuoys already in the water to help find the sub and engage it if directed.

Though this collaboration occurred during an intermediate stage of the 2018 Rim of the Pacific exercise – where the aircrews all knew where the submarine was supposed to start out and where and when it might pop up its periscope – the collaboration points to an important capability in the vast Pacific Ocean, where Chinese, Russian and even North Korean submarines pose a potential hazard to U.S. and allied ships.

The Navy invited USNI News to join the Golden Swordsmen of Patrol Squadron (VP) 47 on a July 19 mission during RIMPAC, to understand the role of the airplanes in theater anti-submarine warfare, to get a feel for life aboard the planes, and to see the international partnership up close.

In this particular mission, the crew said, both the U.S. and Indian navies knew where the submarine below should be at various points in the exercise, allowing them to instead focus on interoperability: were they both seeing the same picture below? Could they both hear and see information from the sonobuoys the American crew dropped? Could they communicate from one plane to another, passing off the mission seamlessly? And, importantly, could they share the same airspace safely while deconflicting by flying at different altitudes?

The answer to all of the above appeared to be yes. By the end of RIMPAC, the U.S. and Indian planes were sharing high-end missions, an Australian P-8A squadron joined in as a major step towards the Royal Australian Navy declaring final operational capability on their new planes, and the U.S. and Australian P-8s not only prosecuted submarines but also dropped Harpoon missiles on a decommissioned U.S. ship during a sinking exercise (SINKEX).

Commander of Submarine Force for U.S. Pacific Fleet Rear Adm. Daryl Caudle told USNI News during a July 25 interview at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam that the aircraft play an important role in managing the entire theater anti-submarine warfare picture.

“One of my main objectives is building a more lethal anti-submarine enterprise. So lethality is a theme that stems down from our secretary of defense and the National Defense Strategy, down through the Pacific Fleet commander, all the way down to me as the submarine force commander. And to build lethality, you have to have capabilities, you gotta have highly trained people, and speed is important. Submarines move around at a certain speed, but airplanes move around at a much faster speed,” he said.
“So when we detect adversary submarines, to be able to employ aircraft onto that contact information just greatly enhances the legs, the speed and the lethality that we can employ against that. So the P-8 adds an entirely new dimension for us to be able to do that mission and is just an incredible capable aircraft. The mission space greatly enhanced over the P-3. … The information system’s greatly enhanced.”

A submariner himself, Caudle joked that the P-8 crews in the Navy are “considered to be the second best – next to a submarine – at this mission.”

A crew from Patrol Squadron (VP) 47 conducts a mission to locate and track a submarine on July 19 during the 2018 Rim of the Pacific exercise in Hawaii. USNI News photo.

The mission is not an easy one. Though there are ships, submarines, P-8s and helicopters all working in tandem to hunt enemy submarines, they can just as easily get in each other’s way as they can help each other – one wrong move or miscommunication in the air could lead to a sonobuoy being dropped on a friendly helicopter, for instance. Events like RIMPAC, that not only get the full spectrum of U.S. assets together for sub-hunting but also loop in partners’ and allies’ ships and aircraft, are invaluable for the sailors who hunt subs for a living.

“If you’re in the air on the aircraft, that’s the best training you’re going to get. Putting yourself in an environment where the stakes are a little bit higher – where you are with other countries and you’re with hundreds of different assets that could actually benefit you or hurt you in certain scenarios – given those types of conditions, it puts you at a heightened situational awareness, puts you at a heightened condition of wanting to complete the mission, the task, and do everything you can at a more successful rate, if you will,” Wagner, the sensor operator, told USNI News.
“Just by being out there with other countries, you want to be the proud person coming home with the prize; you want to do your job at the next better level that you can.”

Going forward, he said, “the advantage is, knowing that when we have to do this in a real-world scenario, there’s already a kind of script to go along with it. We know we can rely on them, they can rely on us to pass the information backwards and forwards that’s going to lead us to the end-game that we have to succeed at.”

Trezise, the tactics officer, said that “across most forces, the principles of anti-submarine warfare are pretty similar, so if we might execute things in a slightly different way our ultimate goal is the same.” Still, seeing the “seamless” operation together that day was encouraging, in case she was ever called upon to work with the Indian Navy in a future deployment to the Pacific.

“It’s definitely beneficial because, especially with the Indians having a P-8, our planes are almost identical. They have some slightly different capabilities than we do, but we know exactly on station how they’re processing their buoys, how they’re processing their contact, so it’s pretty easy to put ourselves in their shoes,” she said.

A P-8A Poseidon flies behind a KC-135 Stratotanker with the 121st Air Refueling Wing in the sky above southeastern United States July 26, 2018. The Poseidon had just finished being refueled by the Stratotanker. U.S. Air National Guard photo.

VP-47, based out of Whidbey Island, Wash., has 12 crews that tend to always fly together, allowing the pilots and the tactics officers in the back to get a good feel for how each other like to approach the mission. The squadron typically deploys in a hub-and-spoke model – a deployment to Japan might include detachments setting up in multiple air bases in Japan and perhaps into the Philippines, though operational needs could send the squadron anywhere if called upon. Missions vary in length – the July 19 mission at RIMPAC took about 30 minutes to arrive on station and lasted about five hours total, but some missions could take two hours to arrive on station and last 10 hours or more, crew said.

The P-8A is a modified Boeing 737; rather than passenger seats in the back, the middle section of the plane contains computers and workstations. The back is filled with two large chambers that load and drop passive and active sonobuoys – much like a revolver – as well as a single-drop spot if a specialized type of sonobuoy or a torpedo needed to be launched.

Crew said the Navy’s upgrade to the P-8A from the P-3 Orion before it has created a more comfortable ride – fewer aircrew get airsick looking at computer screens during the long missions, though that can still be a challenge in turbulent conditions. And being a Boeing 737 derivative also means some of the niceties of the passenger plane – such as the oven a commercial airline crew would use to heat up in-flight meals. The VP-47 crew said the oven is most often used for things like pizza roles and other reheatable foods, but some have gotten creative – Trezise and Wagner told stories of using the oven to make cookies and brownies, casseroles and even a roasted turkey breast for the crew during longer flights.

  • DaSaint

    Would love to learn the specific differences between the P-8I and the P-8A.

    Ok, just did some research. An ‘additional rear radar’ and a MAD. Don’t know why we didn’t require a MAD on our birds.

    • Ser Arthur Dayne

      I read once that a major reason there was no MAD on the P-8 (at least our P-8) is that it’s not designed to operate as low to the ocean as the P-3, and has a much lower “swooping” capability (although still possible, just not the same) than the P-3. As the MAD only detects subs from a certain (low) altitude, and to effectively use it you have to be swooping around down low to the ocean etc. it wasn’t put on. The P-8 is designed much more as a cruising plane and even the weapons were designed for higher-altitude deployment (ie, HAAWC winged torpedo etc.) … I am not really sure why the Indians insisted on the MAD — maybe their tactics and procedures value it more? But from reading a few different sources, it’s not seemingly a huge deal.

      • DaSaint

        I’d rather have it than not. At some point there will be low altitude prosecutions and it could serve as a final tool for detection. Don’t know the cost though. And it would be interesting to ascertain whether the Brits, Aussies, and Norweigans specified it for their P8s.

        It appears from public sources that BAE is developing a deployable UAV for the P-8 with a MAD capability. Ironic.

        • Duane

          Not ironic … it makes a great deal of sense to use a deployable drone for low altitude sensing. Preserves the larger areal sensor coverage, better fuel economy and range, and longer airframe life that go with high operating altitudes.

          Indeed, teaming of manned and unmanned aircraft is the “wave of the future”, as it used to be said of past technological innovations.

        • USNVO

          It is a much more nuanced argument than just high altitude versus low altitude.
          – Subs have become less and less vulnerable to MAD detection as they have evolved with lower magnetic signatures. That trend will continue if for no other reason than submarines don’t want to set off magnetic mines.
          – MAD is highly problematic depending on the latitude, earths surface, wrecks, the submarine’s course, and the cycle of the sun. So there are times it is of no value, but it effects the design of the aircraft every day.
          – Submarines builders have been developing SAMs that can be fired at low flying aircraft and Helos. Now they may not be widespread yet, but it is just a matter of time. So the ability to use MAD with impunity is a wasting asset.
          – Tactics have evolved. Operating from high altitude maximizes time on station, self-defense, sensor reach, and minimizes possibility to alert the sub. Better sonobuoys provide better location data minimizing the need to use MAD for verification (note that MAD was always a means of improving attack position, not a search sensor so it actually makes much more sense to put it on a Small UAV than the aircraft if you have guided, glider deployed torpedoes.). Stand-off weapons allow much more precise positioning of attacks without need to get low and lose the picture.
          – It is cheaper. You don’t need to design it into the airframe, you don’t have to carry it around, you don’t have to fix it, you don’t have to train on it, you don’t need to use up life on the airframe as often flying low, you can use less fuel to complete the mission, etc.

          So in the trade space of the aircraft design, the USN decided it wasn’t worth it. Besides MAD, the P-8I also has a tail radar for 360 degree radar coverage as well which the P-8A doesn’t have. The Indians decided they needed MAD and 360 radar coverage and were willing to trade other things for that, the USN wasn’t.

          • DaSaint

            Thank you USNVO for that very detailed explanation. I have a much better understanding of the breadth of the decision.

      • Duane

        Yup … the Navy believes that its high altitude sub detector system makes up for not having the low altitude MAD system. Higher operating altitudes increase the areal sensor coverage, reduces fuel burn (increases range and endurance), and increases airframe life (less turbulence up high).

        • Leroy

          And also leaves the P-8 very vulnerable to LR sea-based SAMs. You’ll always be above the radar horizon, and some Russian and Chinese systems can reach out very far. There are advantages to operating low, especially in wartime.

      • Ed L

        We seen American Naval Aviation heading towards only one or 2 Airframes on the Carriers. Is there and osprey ASW version in the works

        • Ser Arthur Dayne

          I 101% agree the “standardization of the Carrier Air Wing” was/is a total joke, and while the F/A-18 Super Hornet I guess helped with some of the F/A-18 “Legacy” Hornets numerous limitations, still … it seems to me an Enterprise/Nimitz air wing of F-14s, F-18s, EA-6Bs, S-3s, ES-3s, E-2s & SH/MH-60s, is better than an entire Hornet-based wing. I mean I don’t know anything about anything but I do know we had some amazing aircraft and they were amazing at different things… You also hit the nail on the head, we have basically no subhunting capability other than the MH-60R … and while I’m sure it’s a great helo, it’s not even on the same playing field compared to the Viking’s range, weapon load, sonobouys, loiter time, etc. Plus the Viking can do aerial refueling, AND had an ELINT version, and could even be configured for ASuW/ISR etc. And this doesn’t even consider the fact the F-14 was/is *completely* better than the F-18 in many aspects, a modernized F-14 would not even be fair. —- As for the Osprey, I know they’re giving it the COD job, and I believe it was considered for the refueling job? (but they decided on the tanker drone I think?) — I am not sure about an ASW Osprey version being made, but I think it’d be a great idea!

          • I would argue that the Super Hornet / Growler mix is a definite improvement over the old collection of F-14’s, F/A-18’s, A-6’s, A-7’s, and EA-6’s. First, you’ve replaced 4 different airframes with 1, giving you massive efficiencies in maintenance and simplifying planning. Second, every plane is now capable of BVR A2A and all-weather A2G and can switch between the two while in flight, massively improving your flexibility and reducing the number of planes needed per mission.

            Sure the F-14 would be a bit better as a fighter and the A-6 a bit better as a bomber – but the air wings only had 1-2 squadrons of each. Meanwhile, you can have 4-5 squadrons of Super Hornets that can fill both roles. Can you really say that the F-14 or the A-6 would be 2-3x as good as the Super Hornet?

            The old air wing mix was the product of the technology and strategic picture of the 1960’s. Electronics were too limited to permit true multirole aircraft and everything was being designed to counter a very specific threat (the USSR). But in many ways it was actually a step backwards from the carrier tactics developed towards the end of WWII, where the importance of true multirole aircraft was recognized and the fleet was moving towards an fighter-bomber airwing.

          • Ser Arthur Dayne

            If I say odd numbers are better than even numbers, will you provide a lengthy disagreement as to why evens are in fact superior? I am sensing a trend here….

          • The trend is that I don’t make long posts when I agree with what you write. Check your upvotes.

  • Ed L

    An American nuclear submarine pretending to be a diesel boat. That’s rich for sure. Were there no AIP or Diesel submarines available? Diesel subs are sneaky and while on Batteries can be as lethal as a nuc boat. Season submariners and surface targets have a great dislike for diesels boats. I will not see Duane reply to this posting. P-8A? Will it eventually take over from the EP-3? EP-X was canceled

    • Graeme Rymill

      There were two conventional subs at RIMPAC 2018. Neither of them were AIP subs though. The South Korean Navy sent the Bak Wi, a variant of the Type 209 German design. The Australians sent HMAS Rankin, a Collins class submarine.

      • Ed L

        Upon reading there were To many give me’s on that exercise.

    • Duane

      The RIMPAC 2018 exercise was conducted in Hawaii. No AIP sub has the range/endurance for anything but coastal patrols, and cannot make a cruise to Hawaii from anywhere.

      • Graeme Rymill

        A surface cruise to Hawaii is very possible for an AIP submarine. A Type 214 submarine can travel 12,000 miles on the surface.

        • Duane

          Type 214 is a hybrid diesel electric boat, not a straight AIP. The Type 214 has a submerged range of only 420 nm combined battery and AIP submerged at 8 knots, or 1,248 nm submerged at a dead slow 4 knots.

          On diesel it has a max surfaced speed of only 12 knots, but the published max range of 12,000 mi. is not at max speed but only at much lower than max cruise speed (about half speed, or 6-7 knots). To travel a minimum 3,000 to 3,500 nm from either the west coast of North America or from east Asia to Hawaii at 6 knots would entail an entirely impractical 21 to 25 days cruise. Physically possible, but impractical … and deadly in a submarine traversing in contested seas.

          That is why either pure AIP boats or hybrid AIP/diesel boats are worthless for anything but coastal patrols … and even in coastal patrolling their extremely low speeds makes them nearly worthless on anti shipping missions. Even the old WW2 era diesel boats could cruise at 20+ knots on the surface all day every day clear across the Pacific, at least until they entered contested seas during daylight hours.

          • Graeme Rymill

            “Type 214 is a hybrid diesel electric boat, not a straight AIP.” Straight AIP? Where does that exist in the real world? The German Type 212 and 214 and the Swedish Kockum AIP (Gotland class etc.) submarines all rely on diesel engines for surface propulsion. “Straight AIP” designs are either yet to be built or are experimental. Conventional non-nuclear submarines transit to operational areas mainly by traveling on the surface as this is their fastest, most efficient method. Having AIP as an auxiliary power source for underwater use doesn’t change this fact. Your statement that “AIP submarines….cannot make a cruise to Hawaii from anywhere” is simply wrong. Your statement that “WW2 era diesel boats could cruise at 20+ knots on the surface all day every day clear across the Pacific” is also wrong. You have quoted their maximum surfaced speed. In reality they would transit to their patrol areas at their most economical speed to maximize the fuel endurance. The Balao (an improved Gato class) class, for example, could travel 11,000 nautical miles at 10 knots.

          • Duane

            Hybrid AIP boats detract from the performance of straight diesel electrics .. the engine itself, and the fuel storage reduce hull volume for diesel engines and diesel fuel storage …. hence overall huge degradation in performance. AIP subs are all hype … all hat and no cattle as they say in Texas.

            A straight diesel electric is much superior in performance to a hybrid AIP. The only advantage offered by a hybrid AIP is longer submerged endurance … but at a huge cost in reduced speeds, both submerged and surface. In real war, being stuck at just a few knots submerged speed is a huge disqualifier for a practical attack submarine. And no submarine can operate today on the surface during wartime.

  • Leroy

    Why aren’t P-3Cs with hours left on them (or even SLEP’d) being transferred over to the USCG so they can do maritime and even ASW patrol off the coasts of the U.S. thereby freeing up far more advanced P-8As for duties overseas? Change some laws if you have to (not sure) but it would just make sense. Especially if we get into a war and ASW assets are needed elsewhere in greater numbers, especially after we lose some to combat action. I’m thinking the SCS or PG, Black Sea. Pick your (ocean) poison!

    • Curtis Conway

      The US Coast Guard could grow as a Proactive Measure and place assets in places that provide Presence missions in the sea, and in the air. The nature of their mission sets would be somewhat different because they are Law Enforcement, and that can take place on an International level. Grow the National Security Cutter (NSC) fleet. Add the P-3C fleet (or provide P-8A Poseidons), and keep the P-3s going to our Allies. The WESTLANT Patrol Area would be a case in point. The NSC is a Presence, and anti-piracy, fisheries protection, and Deputy to other Law Enforcement Entities around the globe, but a poor ASW asset as currently equipped. It could be turned into one using the FFG(X) ASW suite of equipment (SQQ-89 ASW analysis & displays, tail, VDS and datalink for MH-60R).

      • Leroy

        In WW2, the CG did submarine patrol duty. No reason to think they wouldn’t do the same thing today, so we are in agreement. They need ASW capable aircraft and ASW capable ships. Especially to protect vital harbors and transit routes to and from our sub bases for SSNs, SSGNs and SSBNs – for delousing purposes. Oh, don’t forget drones. They need surface, air and subsurface ones. Again, to focus on protecting our coasts from always increasing, multiple sea/air/subsurface threats. If a war comes, the Navy will be plenty busy overseas.

        • Curtis Conway

          All US Navy Surface Combatants equipped with an SQS-53 sonar is very capable of ASW platforms. That includes all CG-47 Cruisers, DDG-51 Destroyers. The LCS with ASW modules will work ok . . . if it works, at least in the Littorals. The new FFG(X) will have an excellent suite of ASW equipment, and helo.

      • Leroy

        Don’t forget – the Chinese are using their CG as a Navy in disguise.

        • Curtis Conway

          YES . . . with no less than two 10,000 ton Cutters intimidating everyone they meet. Our Aegis Cruisers are just under that size. Perhaps it is time to build a nuclear, BMD capable, double ender, guided missile Cruiser. All this Ford Class at $12 Billion a copy is hooey, compared to the capability over a Nimitz at $2.5 Billion each. Our legislators are smoking something . . . or a lot of that treasure is going somewhere else. That is $8.5 Billion per Ford CVN copy going where? They are not that more capable!

          • Leroy

            100% agree. Nimitz-class with a few upgrades to radar, weapons, comms, crew accommodations (women) would have worked out fine. Think of all the extra ships the USN could have bought!

          • .Hugo.

            intimidating everyone like this?
            .
            mirrormediaDOTcomDOTtw/assets/images/
            20171023192621-17e6fbf33bfbaa008ff058
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            .
            ooops…..that’s the japanese coast guard actually. 🙂

        • .Hugo.

          what’s wrong to convert the same hull from older navy ship to a cutter? do you see the same naval weaponry onboard?
          .
          some roc coast guard cutters are converted navy vessels and can be fitted with anti ship missiles too, are they more closer to your description as “navy in disguise” instead?
          .
          the philippine navy is using retired u.s. cg cutters as “frigates”, so what are they in disguise? 😀
          .

          • Leroy

            Float more ships. Send them into the SCS. They will give U.S. aircraft, subs and ships more targets to practice on. Practice and destroy! : )

          • .Hugo.

            if that’s your logic, then the u.s. has provided many targets for china to practice. no wonder at least 2 u.s. carrier strike groups were unaware that they have been trailed by chinese submarines within weapon range until the chinese subs popped out much later. 😀
            .

          • Leroy

            lol! Yeah, they had no idea you were there (and no U.S. SSN in trail). You funny! : )

          • .Hugo.

            sure with no evasive or challenge to the chinese subs, they have no idea that the subs were there.
            .
            actually i found it funny too. 🙂
            .

          • Leroy

            I’m sure some 688 Skipper is out there, remembering the incident, and laughing too.

          • .Hugo.

            sure, laughing at the surface fleet when no one has detected the chinese subs. 🙂
            .

          • Leroy

            Subs don’t talk to ANYONE, not even their fellow surface action group units. But did they have your loud, ugly and antiquated sub being tracked by their sonar? Do wales fart after a large meal? lol!!

          • .Hugo.

            don’t know about whales in “wales” anyway, but certainly no surface vessel has taken any action when being followed by a chinese sub in weapon range. 🙂
            .

          • Leroy

            Did I spell a word wrong? Oh well. Anyway, what do you want the ship to do, sink the Chinese sub? Well, we’re not at war yet but if I were Skipper, that’s EXACTLY what I’d do. Call it road rage! : )

          • .Hugo.

            that’s just a joke, you can take it lightly, hehe….
            .
            when a foreign submarine is threatening the safety of the fleet, should the vessels not chase it away? why will the u.s. navy give warning to a foreign surface vessel sailing too close to the fleet even in peace time then?
            .
            please, just don’t contradict yourself more.
            .

          • Curtis Conway

            The “navy in disguise” is a Chinese concept. The US Coast Guard is not ‘in the Department of Defense’ until belligerency has been formalized. The US Coast is Law Enforcement! They have more bilateral mutual cooperation agreements than most other entities in the US government.

          • .Hugo.

            the uscg is under the dept of homeland security (in peacetime), and the dhs is responsible to maintain internal security of the u.s., when at war the uscg will be under the command of the u.s. navy. in fact, the uscg is one of the armed forces of the u.s.
            .
            the chinese coast guard is under the armed police, and the ap is responsible to maintain internal security of china. yet regardless of peacetime or wartime, the chinese coast guard is always just the coast guard.
            .
            i guess we can now see which coast guard is in fact “navy in disguise”. 🙂
            .

      • USNVO

        And it would all be FREE!

        The USCG can’t even get a Heavy Icebreaker funded, lets start there before spending a bazillion dollars and limited people on something that isn’t required.

        • Leroy

          A dozen or so planes would hardly cost “a bazillion dollars”. Six on each coast. In wartime the number could be expanded – maybe with Orions from the Boneyard, maybe with an MPA a little downgraded from the P-8 if needed say in 20 years (who knows when a major war could erupt – even Type 1000 airframes have time limits). A Gulfstream perhaps. Very doable and cost-effective.

          • USNVO

            Your idea of cost effective and the real world definition appear to be at odds with each other.

        • Curtis Conway

          No, it’s not going to be free. The price of a Ford class will purchase 3-4 Lighting Carriers, and they can handle anything but a peer engagement, and we don’t need eleven new Fords to do that. The FFG(X) is perfect for reducing cost, increasing population of a cost effective multi-mission assets to address our Small Surface Combat problem. If I could just get that V/STOVL AEW&C aircraft problem fixed this would be so much easier, but the powers that be seem to want the EXPENSIVE route . . . so . . . Don’t Preach To Me About FREE. We are being taken to the cleaners by the best, who are already in a position to do so.

    • USNVO

      Well, it could be;
      – the USCG has neither the budget or the personnel to operate any P-3Cs
      – P-3Cs don’t meet the USCG mission requirements
      – P-3Cs are more expensive than their existing aircraft
      – there aren’t any P-3Cs with hours left on them anyway
      – there isn’t a submarine threat to the US Coast
      – P-8As are already forward deployed and don’t do much but training on the US coasts.
      Pick any of the above. The USCG and the Nation have much better things to do with their resources than waste them flying old P-3s.

      • Leroy

        You are a peacetime thinker. I believe in planning for war.

        • USNVO

          Sorry, you’re just someone who can think of an impossible plan. The USN should have 24 Carriers and Amphibious lift for 3 full Divisions! See, I can do it too! Just because something could be done doesn’t mean it should be done. Until you come up with an achievable plan within the constraints of the real world, you are just fantasizing.

          • Leroy

            Carriers and ships are expensive. Already paid for P-3s would not be. I say make use of them, usage that would let primary Navy assets like P-8A concentrate on worldwide ops while the CG takes some pressure off by patrolling less hostile (now) U.S. waters.

            Kinda like when the Navy started going after drug-runners when their mission started to deteriorate in the 90s with the “peace dividend”. The USN had no problem poking their nose into CG matters in order to justify funding. And it was wise.

            Likewise the USCG being prepared to supplement USN ASW assets in the event of war would also be wise. After all, ASW is a skill that can’t be learned overnight if we end up in a war, say with China. As with Fram filters, pay (a little) now or pay (A LOT) later!

          • USNVO

            It Burns! It Burns!

            Do you really have no clue on how expensive things are? What are you a teenager that still drives on your parent’s insurance policy?

            OK, to do your impossible plan with “Free” aircraft, first you would need aircrew and ground support. Next, since the aircraft are largely shot (why do you think the USN Is trying to transition so fast?) and in need of major structural upgrades, that will require a load of cash as well. Then they need to be upgraded to do the USCG mission, fly in national airspace, etc. More upgrades. Now, you need to establish entirely new training pipelines, spares inventories, depots, etc. Don’t forget a line item for sonobuoys, more flight time, fuel, etc. I assume you are getting rid of some of the existing USCG fleet (oops, did you plan to keep them around too? OK, so instead of something like a 50pct increase, triple the number of pilots and flight crew).

            Gee, I hope none of this impacts the USCG budget and other missions. After all they are free.

            As for your alternate history, the USN started supporting USCG operations in the late 80s during the Cold War, when Reagan was president. Which for the P-3s was fine since they have lots of time available when not deployed and they have been doing the same types of thing on deployment for the last 30 years. It doesn’t really work the other way because the USCG operate at capacity doing their regular mission.

            Now, if you really wanted a cost effective way to have the USCG conduct ASW, you could develop a roll on roll off ASW capability for the USCG C-130s (Lockheed already claims they can do it) and have USNR dets train on using them. Simple, easy, fast. Much better than giving them clapped out P-3s.

            But even then, what are you willing to give up for that because there is no free lunch. You need to buy the kits, store and maintain them, train the operators to maintain proficiency, increase C-130 flight hours, repurpose reserve dets because there is no top line relief in either budget or personnel.

            Wishful thinking an impossible plan makes. Even when the planes are “Free”

          • Leroy

            Let Congress transfer some Navy money over to the CG. That should take care of it. There is no room for parochial thinking or spending in today’s DoD budget environment. You obviously are not a strategic thinker.

          • So it’s “strategic thinking” to take a bunch of obsolescent ASW assets, transfer them from an organization that is equipped to operate them to an organization that is not, and then pay for this pointless exercise by taking money away from the ASW-trained organization’s modernization budget? I’m sure that will totally result in a more efficient and more capable force.

          • Leroy

            Yes, the transfer and training for a limited number of aircraft – say 12, maintenance could be done by contractors since they would stay stateside, would make lots of sense. If it comes to war, the USN will need all the help it can get protecting the approach lanes to its harbors as well as maintaining surveillance over hundreds of sq miles of bordering ocean. Naturally in war the GC’s role would increase, so they, as well as the USN, would need more aircraft. Consider this P-3 allocation as comparable to the UK’s “Seedcorn” program they ran with the USN after they foolishly crushed their Nimrod MPAs.

          • But under your plan the USN isn’t getting any help – instead, it is losing money for its P-8 fleet so that the USCG can operate an insignificant number of obsolete aircraft. You frame it as paving the way for wartime mobilization, but that makes no sense as it would be far easier to expand existing USN squadrons rather than non-existent USCG squadrons.

          • Leroy

            Not taking money from P-8, taking a couple of billion (or so) from the entire Navy budget. It would benefit the nation’s defense, even if it might take away – what, a couple of LCS? And besides, a USCG P-3C wouldn’t only be used for ASW. MPA involves a lot more than just sub-hunting.

          • Leroy

            Obsolete? Take a look at how many world navies still use the Orion! SLEP it, add updated gear and you’d have a very effective MPA. One that would serve a vital wartime mission (and the planes are already paid for – except for minimal costs to SLEP/update).

          • So now your “free” planes require a complete overhaul and installation of new combat systems – this plan just keeps getting better.

          • Leroy

            SLEP is relatively cheap, new-buy is not! Make good use of that which is already paid for. As for new combat systems, that can be kept to a minimum. This won’t be a plane used on the front line, it will be a plane used over friendly oceans necessitating weapons, sensors need not be top-of-the-line … just good enough.

          • If you want these to be actual wartime assets, just good enough is not going to cut it. What sort of enemy submarines do you think are going to successfully make the several thousand mile journey to US waters? The old easy to find ones? Or the stealthy new ones?

          • Leroy

            By just good enough that’s what I mean – good enough sensors to track the latest Russian or Chinese submarines. Radar nothing fancy. The rest whatever is being used now. That would suffice. Upgradable of course, as most systems today are – via software.

          • So “just good enough” now means “top of the line.” Okay.

          • USNVO

            You present a totally unworkable plan within the real world constraints. If you think you are a strategic thinker, then no, I am not a strategic thinker.

          • Leroy

            lol! One should always strive not to be called a “Herbert”.

          • Secundius

            In 2017, Donald Trump increased the USCG budget to ~$18-Billion USD. Then “Turned Around” by reallocating ~14% of the USCG budget to pay for his “Moronic Border Wall”. Which cancelled out a 12th NSC and any prospects of the USCG in acquiring New Icebreakers to replace those we already have. Even the “John S. McCain Defense Authorization Act” of 2019, Doesn’t have provisions for a 12th NSC and/or New Icebreakers…

          • muzzleloader

            Leroy, I work in the Naval aviation community, and believe me when I say that the P-3 is near the end of its service life. Yes the Orion was a very capable platform, but it is 50 years old. The last airframes were built in1990, and they are very maintenance intensive. It is high time for a replacement, so the P-8 is right on time. As for the Coast Guard, they have a budget too, and there is no room in it to operate big , complex, and old aircraft like the Orion.

          • Leroy

            ” … the P-3 is near the end of its service life.”

            Is that why Taiwan just bought 12 of them for close to $2B last November? Do you think they think the plane will only fly 2 – 3 more years (vice 30+) after their BUNOs were obviously SLEP’d and upgraded?

            Is that why NASA still flies the “B” (or perhaps it’s NOAA)? No, if they can keep B-52s flying, they can keep P-3s in the air, especially with LM’s re-wing kit (think that production ceased, but sure it could be restarted – new wings for old P-3s). And then there’s Iran. Can they keep their P-3s flying but we can’t? Pakistan? Germany? Japan, Canada, Argentina? I could go on. No, too many still in-service overseas for me to conclude the plane is dead, or can’t be recycled and used effectively for all MPA mission sets. I disagree with you.

          • muzzleloader

            Well Leroy, you should take your argument to Sec. Mattis, or the CG commandant. Who knows?

          • Leroy

            OK!

    • Howard Long

      I am an old maritime operator on Shackleton patrol aircraft. 35 sqn South African Air Force. These were taken out of service in 1985 and since then we have been flying c 47 Turbo Dakota’s. I am sure our Air Force could do with a couple of your P3 B or C

      • Leroy

        They are there for the taking, but given the hostile political climate in South Africa, where it seems a genocide is beginning, it probably won’t happen.

  • B2

    “three hours pulling hairpin turns and looping through the airspace”

    LOL. “Hairpin”? Cmon…

    “stories of using the oven to make cookies and brownies, casseroles and even a roasted turkey breast for the crew ” Pot brownies? LOL

    Yep VP weenies at their best. Did they tell you about getting per diem, too?

    Not like flying the 5 wet tanker at night overhead the CVN no divert, or flying around in orbits waiting to deliver JDAM after two aerial pitstops on a KC and 3 piddlepacks!

    Naval Aviation is varied aint it?