Tag Archives: P-8 Poseidon

Filling the I in the G-I-F-UK Gap

U.S. Navy Lockheed P-3C Orion aircraft from Patrol Squadron VP-49 at Naval Air Station Keflavik, Iceland, 1971. (U.S. Navy Photo)

Going back to the first act of Red Storm Rising, American ASW aircraft based in Iceland was a mortal thorn in the side of the Red Banner Fleet’s submarines headed to the Atlantic. Originally established by the U.S. Army Air Force as Meeks Field in 1942 during the occupation of Iceland in WWII, by 1951 Naval Air Station Keflavik was up and running and remained in operation until it was closed in 2006 following the thaw in the Cold War.

Now civilian-run Keflavik Airport for the past 14 years, occasional NATO Air Policing units visit off and on to keep roaming Russian Bears away and, since 2016, Navy P-3s have increasingly passed through while new hangars have been constructed to accommodate P-8 Poseidons.

And, in an underreported story, ADM Robert Burke, commander of both U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa (CNE-CNA) and Allied Joint Forces Command (JFC) Naples, said it was possible a squadron of Poseidons could operate from Keflavik again.

Meanwhile, the 100th Posiedon has arrived

 

169347 Boeing P-8A Poseidon of USN VP-30 June 13 2019 Eger

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

From NAVAIR:

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.

More here.

Hail, Poseidon

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.

169347 Boeing P-8A Poseidon of USN VP-30 June 13 2019 Eger

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.

With the bear at the door, Iceland taps its NATO coin on the bar

A view of the U.S. Naval Air Station Keflavik, 19 August 1982. In the foreground are the ramp areas and facilities of the U.S. Air Force 57th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, with other facilities in the background. The two aircraft in the foreground are Lockheed P-3Cs of U.S. Navy patrol yquadron VP-26 Tridents. Also visible are three USAF McDonnell Douglas F-4C/D Phantom II fighters. In the background are three Lockheed HC-130 Hercules´, a Lockheed C-141B Starlifter, a Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker and a Boeing E-3A Sentry.

A view of the U.S. Naval Air Station Keflavik, 19 August 1982. In the foreground are the ramp areas and facilities of the U.S. Air Force 57th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, with other facilities in the background. The two aircraft in the foreground are Lockheed P-3Cs of U.S. Navy patrol yquadron VP-26 Tridents. Also visible are three USAF McDonnell Douglas F-4C/D Phantom II fighters. In the background are three Lockheed HC-130 Hercules´, a Lockheed C-141B Starlifter, a Boeing KC-135A Stratotanker and a Boeing E-3A Sentry.

The Icelanders only kinda considered themselves part of Denmark in the days leading up to World War II and maintained their own armed police on a quasi-military footing complete with Krag rifles and Madsen LMGs for defense against invasion. There was a brief period of semi-independence after the Germans rolled into Denmark on 9 April 1940 that lasted a month until a battalion of British Royal Marines showed up with the RN in tow on 10 May to peacefully occupy the windswept island nation, swapping out for the nominally neutral Americans a year later.

With the Icelanders declaring independence in 1944 and the war ending the next year, the Americans made a formal basing request in October 1945, to which PM Ólafur Thors rejected. Then came a stormy few years that saw the Keflavik agreement which led the Americans to withdraw in 1947, Iceland’s only full scale public riot (over its entry to NATO), and the founding of Naval Air Station Keflavik (NASKEF) in 1951 after the Americans came back in force.

Iceland was a reluctant and pretty socialist Cold War ally (there was even open conflict between the Icelandic Coast Guard and the RN during the long-running Cod Wars in the 1960s and 70s), so once the Soviets disappeared NASKEF became superfluous and closed in 2006 (along with the less publicized SOSUS station at Hafnir), leading the Yanks to go home once again though a handful of Air National Guard F-15Cs come back every so often as part of a semi-annual rotation with other NATO fighter elements.

Now, it seems the green light has turned back on to allow a permanent U.S. Navy presence at Keflavik in the form of several Boeing P-8 Poseidon sea control aircraft. 

The Navy has allocated around $21.4 million in its 2017 budget to renovate the aging base in order to be able to station  P-8s at the facility.

“The security environment in Europe, including in the North Atlantic, has changed for the past 10 years and Icelandic and US authorities agree on the need to reflect this in a new declaration,” states Foreign Minister Alfreðsdóttir.

Seems like everything old is new again.

And with that, I give you the Viking War Chant for Iceland’s returning soccer team.

Confessions Of A US Navy P-3 Orion Maritime Patrol Pilot

Ran across an excellent piece over at Foxtrot Alpha on the real life experience of being a P-3 Orion/P-8 Poseidon pilot. Its long but really worth it. Ive been inside a Charlie variant on the ground and briefly in the air but the article really gives you a feel for it.

 

110406-N-EB835-001 NAVAL AIR STATION JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 6, 2011) Three P-3C Orion aircraft with heritage paint schemes are positioned on the tarmac next to the Navy's next generation of anti-submarine warfare and long-range maritime patrol aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, rear left, and the unmanned Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) aircraft, center. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist William Lovelady/Released)

NAVAL AIR STATION JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 6, 2011) Three P-3C Orion aircraft with heritage paint schemes are positioned on the tarmac next to the Navy’s next generation of anti-submarine warfare and long-range maritime patrol aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon, rear left, and the unmanned Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) aircraft, center. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist William Lovelady/Released)

On capabilities:

“Overall, the P-3C and provide very useful capabilities to a commander. For example, a Carrier Strike Group (CSG) commander could task an Orion to screen the carrier from submarine threats while passing through a geographical choke point. The next day, the very same crew and aircraft could re-arm with AGM-65’s and provide overwatch of an enemy nation’s port, engaging any small craft that might depart to threaten the carrier. The next day, the same crew and aircraft can launch on an ISR mission, mapping possible mobile surface to air missile (SAM) sites to determine whether launchers or radars are present, all while staying safely outside of these air defense emplacements’ range. The flexibility and capability inherent to a modern P-3C brings a great deal to the fight. ”

On black ops:

“I should tell you that it has long been a Maritime Patrol Community rumor that a ‘black’ P-3B flown by the CIA over China shot down a MiG with a Sidewinder. This was allegedly in the 1960s. I have zero information to back that claim up but author David Reade in the book Age of Orion makes claims that this incident occurred. I suppose we’ll never know what really happened. By the time the truth is allowed out, anyone who flew these planes or operated them in such a manner will be long gone.”

On pucker moments:

“I was flying with a junior copilot while my commanding officer rested in the bunk back in the rear of the aircraft. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a bright red flash and jumped in my seat as I heard an alarm scream. I looked to see what was wrong with the aircraft, but the light and alarm were gone as quickly as they had came. As I turned to ask my flight engineer “was that a fire warning,” the fire warning tone blared for one second and the fire light on the #3 engine lit up….”

More here: