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US completes operational transition from P-3C to P-8A

21 October 2019
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The final operational deployment for the P-3C was concluded on 9 October, with the return to NAS Whidbey Island of VP 40 ‘Fighting Marlins’. Source: US DoD

The US Navy (USN) has completed its operational transition from the Lockheed P-3C Orion to the Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, the service has announced.

The final deployment for the P-3C concluded on 9 October with the return of Patrol Squadron (VP) 40 'Fighting Marlins' to its homebase at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island. With its welcome home ceremony, VP 40 brought to an end more than 60 years of operational service by the P-3.

The USN has a programme of record of 117 P-8A aircraft (compared to 250 P-3Cs), of which 72 will be stationed at NAS Jacksonville and 45 at NAS Whidbey Island.

Seven East Coast squadrons are located at NAS Jacksonville in Florida, with six to be located at NAS Whidbey Island (VP 40 will complete the process in the coming months). While the USN plans to transition over to the P-8A for all its VPs by the end of 2020, a number of P-3Cs may remain in service after the date with the Special Projects Patrol Squadron.

Squadrons located at Wing 11, NAS Jacksonville, comprise VP-30 responsible for P-8A and Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicle training, with P-8A operational units made up of VP-16, VP-5, VP-45, VP-8, VP-10, and VP-26. Those located at Wing 10, NAS Whidbey Island, comprise VP-4, VP-47, VP-9, VP-1, VP-40, and VP-46.

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