Patrol Squadron 40 (VP-40) “Fighting Marlins” has received its ninth and final Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, completing the US Navy’s transition from the Lockheed P-3C Orion in its active-duty units.
The aircraft was handed over to the squadron at Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, near Oak Harbor, Washington, on May 14.
VP-40 began its transition to the Poseidon in November last year under the direction of VP-30 “The Pro’s Nest” at NAS Jacksonville, Florida. It started after the “Fighting Marlins” had completed the US Navy’s final active duty P-3C deployment and its final Orion – BuNo 162776 (c/n 185-5802) – had been transferred to the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida.
LT Alan Thornhill, a pilot with VP-40, said: “The P-8 operates very differently from the P-3, but the fundamentals of being a pilot remain the same… The aircraft has a lot more technology [than the P-3C] and can provide its pilots [with] an immense amount of information.”
The US Navy stated that “the first phase of the transition consisted of classroom, simulator and aircraft ground training over the course of two months, [taking] place at NAS Whidbey Island.”
The second phase introduced in-flight training, which was “executed as a three-month detachment to NAS Jacksonville that concluded with a fleet-model performance in the Conventional Weapons Technical Proficiency Inspection.” It also received training support and tactical instruction from other units based from Jacksonville, including VP-26 “Tridents” and the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Weapons School.
CMDR Matt McKerring, commanding officer of VP-40, said: “The hard work of our sailors and the sailors of VP-30 allowed us to complete this transition process so seamlessly… Once again, VP-40 has accomplished our mission successfully and on schedule regardless of any obstacles or challenges. After more than 50 years with the P-3C Orion, the “Fighting Marlins” are ready to tackle another 50 years with the P-8A Poseidon.”
The US Navy’s Poseidon fleet is split between two wings on the east and west coasts of the continental US. The east coast P-8A fleet is centred at NAS Jacksonville under Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11 (CPRW-11) and the west coast fleet is operated from NAS Whidbey Island by CPRW-10. The US Navy also operates the aircraft under Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 (VX-1) “Pioneers” and VX-20 “Force” at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland.
|US Navy active-duty P-8A Poseidon units at NAS Jacksonville and NAS Whidbey Island (as per AirForces Intelligence - June 3, 2020)|
|VP-1 "Screaming Eagles"||YB-XXX||VP-5 "Mad Foxes"||LA-XXX|
|VP-4 "Skinny Dragons"||YD-XXX||VP-8 "Fighting Tigers"||LC-XXX|
|VP-9 "Golden Eagles"||PD-XXX||VP-10 "Red Lancers"||LD-XXX|
|VP-40 "Fighting Marlins"||QE-XXX||VP-16 "Eagles"||LF-XXX|
|VP-46 "Grey Knights"||RC-XXX||VP-26 "Tridents"||LK-XXX|
|VP-47 "Golden Swordsmen"||RD-XXX||VP-30 "The Pro's Nest"||LL-XXX|