By MC1 Jay Pugh
Sailors assigned to the "War Eagles" of Patrol Squadron (VP)-16 showcased the P-8A Poseidon aircraft during the recent Singapore Air Show - Asia's largest aerospace and defense exhibition. The United States was the inaugural "featured country" this year.
VP-16 became the first maritime patrol and reconnaissance aviation squadron to transition to the Poseidon from the P-3 Orion in 2012. The squadron operates six P-8s that began its inaugural deployment to Japan in December 2013.
"We came to show the Navy's commitment to regional partners and allies, and to highlight the Navy's newest long-range, anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft. The air show is also a great opportunity to interact with visitors from across the region," said Cmdr. Dan Papp, executive officer of VP-16.
Built on the Boeing 737 airframe, the P-8A is the most advanced anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare aircraft in the world. A true multi-mission aircraft, it also provides superior maritime intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability.
Papp highlighted the P-8A's many technological advances over the legacy P-3C aircraft, which is nearing the end of its service life. The P-8A has a maximum speed of 490 knots, a ceiling of 41,000 feet, and provides a range of more than 1,200 nautical miles with four hours on station. It can deliver a number of weapons, including MK-54 torpedoes and Harpoon missiles, as well as 126 internal sonobuoys.
"The P-8 gets aircrew on station faster and flies higher en route which leads to fuel savings. We can go a longer range, carry a larger payload of sonobuoys for submarine warfare. The airframe is extremely reliable, which means maintenance issues are almost non-existent," said Papp.
"The aircrew's situational awareness far surpassed what we did as a P-3 crew. This leads to a distinct tactical advantage on station and leads to a greater awareness from a safety perspective."
The Sailors of VP-16 answered hundreds of questions from show attendees about the capabilities of the P-8A. Exhibitors included more than 60 of the world's top-100 aerospace companies, the largest number of exhibitors in the show's history - with more than 1,000 participating companies from 47 countries.
Other U.S. military aircraft displayed at the exhibition included two F-16 Fighting Falcons, two MV-22 Ospreys, a C-17 Globemaster, a KC-135 Stratotanker and a C-130J Super Hercules.
"It's been an honor for the War Eagles to participate. We've truly enjoyed the opportunity to showcase the Poseidon and our men and women who maintain and crew it," said Papp.