By Lt. j.g. Charles Sundal
In late January, Patrol Squadron (VP) 45 and VP-4 set out to test and successfully fire two AGM-84D Harpoon missiles in an assessment of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft's ability to coordinate weapon launches from separate aircraft.
The flights were not only a demonstration of the P-8A's weapon system, but also a successful test of the aircraft's robust communication and coordination systems as well.
VP-4, stationed at NAS Whidbey Island, Washington, flew one of their P8-A's down to NAS Jacksonville just a week before the planned shot date.
This short amount of time was used primarily for coordinating safety of flight and establishing a plan of attack.
"The importance of inter-operability cannot be overstated," said VP-45's Lt. j.g. Tanner Anjola.
"It's not very often that we get to work with our west coast counterparts, so mission planning and pre-flight coordination became paramount."
In a net-centric warfare environment, coordination between aircraft becomes paramount in establishing an advantage over an adversary.
This coordinated harpoon shot displayed the P8-A's ability to establish a network and dominate a battlespace all while maintaining plane-to-plane communications in a complex environment.
The usage of various communications systems, including a robust datalink network, gives Poseidon crews a substantial leg-up in both situational awareness and maintaining the communication infrastructure that is vital to preserving connectivity in the modern fleet battlespace.
Before January, the most recent Harpoon shot for VP-45 came in August 2016 during the biennial Rim of the Pacific multinational maritime exercise, which takes place near the Hawaiian Islands.