By Lt. j.g. Justin Sabelhaus
VP-16 Public Affairs Officer
The "War Eagles" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 16 returned to the deserts of Nevada in November to gain valuable experience practicing the P-8A Poseidon's overland capabilities - while integrating with multiple non-maritime assets. VP-16 is preparing for an upcoming deployment and is actively engaged to broaden the experience levels of the aircrew. Overland Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) is one of the many capabilities of the Poseidon that enables the Navy's Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (MPRF) to support combatant commanders around the globe.
For a week this past November, the War Eagles detached a crew to NAS Fallon, to perform overland ISR with other assets of the US Navy. Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 8 utilized various platforms from different communities to assist in simulating a multi-platform wartime environment. F/A-18 Hornets and Super Hornets, EP-3 Aries, and the E-2 Hawkeyes all worked in conjunction with the P-8A to execute tasked missions as part of Air Wing Fallon.
VP-16's role in Fallon was to provide imaging from the MX-20 camera and emitter intelligence, in conjunction with the EP-3 Aries, to provide a real time surface and air picture of how the battle space was developing during the exercise.
The information provided by the P-8A was relayed to fighter assets to provide the battle space picture that allowed them to achieve successful "kills" on simulated targets.
The Poseidon was an invaluable tool, ensuring the F/A-18s maintained situational awareness during high stress evolutions that required real time information.
The opportunity to work in conjunction with other platforms provides Poseidon aircrews more experience in working in a combined/joint environment, allowing missions to be successfully achieved both safely and efficiently.
As the Poseidon continues to fulfill the important role of overland ISR, participating in events such Air Wing Fallon helps to ensure the P-8A community will continue to be deployable worldwide and can complete any tasked mission.
Lt. j.g. Cero, a naval aviator on the crew stated, "It was valuable to get hands-on experience within a mission set that we did not execute regularly. Additionally, we do not have an opportunity to work with other platforms in such a challenging work environment on a regular basis."