BuNo 169347 Boeing P-8A Poseidon of USN VP-30, June 13, 2019, climbs over Biloxi Beach, Mississippi, outbound from Gulfport. Photo by Chris Eger
The Navy’s 100th P-8A “Poseidon” was delivered to Patrol Squadron (VP) 30 at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, May 14.
In July 2004, the Navy placed its initial order of P-8A aircraft to replace the venerable Lockheed Martin P-3C Orion, which has been in service since 1962. The Maritime Patrol community began the transition to the P-8A in 2012. The delivery of the 100th P-8A coincides with VP-40’s successful completion of the 12th and final active component squadron transition to the Poseidon.
The final transition concluded amidst a global pandemic, which could have halted or delayed the schedule, however, VP-40 remained on track.
“We finished up VP-40’s transition this month, and it has been a challenge. Despite the travel restrictions, the additional required procedures, and the aircraft transfers, VP-30 answered the call. The VP-30.1 detachment at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington was grinding every day to keep the transition on schedule,“ said VP-30 Commanding Officer Capt. T. J. Grady.
While kayaking around the Mississippi Sound a couple weeks back, I spotted this beauty in the sky, climbing out over Ship Island from Gulfport, and managed to get a snap.
While it has the profile of a Boeing 737 airliner, the U.S. Navy markings and underwing hardpoints quickly make it clear this bad boy is, in fact, a P-8A Poseidon sub buster. Specifically, it is Bu.No.169347 which was only delivered by Boeing’s Renton facility (as MSN 63197) to Uncle in June 2018. She is assigned to Patrol Squadron Thirty (VP-30), the “Pro’s Nest,” out of Jax, the Fleet Replacement Squadron for the P-8 program.
If the lifespan of the preceding P-3 Orion is any benchmark, #347 will likely still be around in the 2050s.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. j.g. Jessica Wright.
Above is an EADS HC-144B Ocean Sentry at Corpus Christi, Texas on Feb. 20, 2019. The Sentry is the navalised maritime patrol version of the CN-235 cargo plane made for the U.S. Coast Guard. The model recently was shifted from CGATS Mobile to Sector/Air Station Corpus Christi’s newest addition and has a number of upgrades from the earlier A-series that will allow aircrews to gather and process surveillance information that can be transmitted to other platforms and units during flight.
If the livery looks different, it is one of two modified in 2016 to celebrate the 100th year of U.S. Coast Guard aviation. The throwback scheme was carried by the bakers dozen Douglas RD-4 Dolphin seaplanes the Coast Guard flew from 1934 to 1943, with a dark blue fuselage, yellow on top of the wings, red and white on the tail, and silver metallic on the belly, underneath the wings, and for the engine cowlings and a stripe on the tail.
The Dolphin, a modification of Douglas’s 1930s Sinbad “flying yacht,” gave yeoman service in the 1930s and 40s in search and rescue and both the Army and Navy picked up a few of their own. Several saw WWII service.
Right side view of U.S. Coast Guard Douglas RD-4 Dolphin on water, men are about to be transferred to onto the aircraft from a burning motorboat which is to the right of the aircraft. 1936. NASM-XRA-4038
Only 58 were made and there was a flying example still airworthy in the early 1990s.
The last known surviving example of the venerable amphibian is at the Naval Air & Space Museum in Pensacola.