The U.S. Navy’s first operational squadron of P-8A Poseidon aircraft returned home to Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla. on Wednesday, completing a busy and historic deployment to the Pacific theater.
The VP-16 squadron, known as the “War Eagles,” departed for Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan in November 2013. While on deployment, the squadron conducted anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare missions utilizing the aircraft’s intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities.
“From the very beginning of deployment, the P-8A far exceeded any expectation that we had, said CDR Daniel Papp, VP-16 squadron commanding officer. “We could not be happier with the P-8A’s performance. We got more out of the capability and we did more on station with this aircraft than I have seen in my entire career. It’s a great aircraft.”
The squadron played a part in the search for the missing Malaysia flight MH 370 in addition to stopping at various host nations and regional air shows and participating in community service events.
“There is an immense amount of pride within VP-16 knowing that we had the honor of being the first to bring the P-8A to the pacific theater,” Papp said.
Boeing has delivered 14 P-8As to the Navy to date and is currently on contract to deliver 53 aircraft. The service intends to acquire 117 aircraft to replace its aging fleet of P-3 Orions.