By VP-47 Public Affairs
After 52 years flying the venerable P-3C 'Orion', the "Golden Swordsmen" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 47 have completed the transition to the Navy's premier anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft, the P-8A 'Poseidon'.
In February, the Golden Swordsmen completed a deployment in the 7th Fleet and relocated from Kaneohe Marine Corps Base, Hawaii to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Washington.
This relocation was more accurately a return since from 1960 to 1965, VP-47 called NAS Whidbey Island home.
"While we may no longer fly seaplanes, the Golden Swordsmen are honored to return to the beautiful waters of Whidbey Island," said VP-47 Commanding Officer Cmdr. James Imlah.
VP-47s return last February marked the beginning of the squadron's transition to P-8A.
The transition was divided into three phases which began with classroom and simulator training in Whidbey Island, followed by simulator, flight and maintenance instruction at VP-30 at NAS Jacksonville, Florida, and finally, a return to Whidbey Island for the final phase involving advanced tactical aircraft employment.
Upon completion of P-8A training, VP-47 went through a series of rigorous tests, drills and inspections to ensure that all squadron personnel were prepared for a multitude of aircraft and ground emergencies unique to P-8A operations.
Once these inspections were complete, the squadron was deemed "Safe for Flight", which certified the squadron to conduct autonomous operations with the new aircraft.
This is the fourth distinct aircraft type flown in its 73-year history. Previous aircraft flown include the PBM-3D/PBM-5 Mariner, P5M-2/SP-5B Marlin, and the P-3A/B/C/UII/UIII/AIP 'Orion'.
The Golden Swordsmen will now begin readiness and training events prior to the first VP-47 P-8A deployment. While preparing for deployment, VP-47 will participate in Homeland Defense operations, exercise support and continue to refining squadron anti-submarine warfare warfighting capabilities.
The P-8A aircraft is a militarized version of the Boeing 737-800 designed predominately for anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.