P-8A Poseidon joins U.S. 4th Fleet

A P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft joined the U.S. Navy’s 4th Fleet by arriving at Cooperative Security Location (CSL) Comalapa, El Salvador on June 23.

The Boeing-built P-8A Poseidon, one of the Navy’s newest aircraft is the platform that is currently replacing Lockheed Martin’s aging P-3C Orion.

Capable of surveillance and reconnaissance while simultaneously conducting long range maritime and littoral operations, the P-8A is scheduled to begin deployments in the U.S. 4th Fleet area of responsibility late next year. In preparation, a crew from the “Tridents” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 conducted a distinguished visitor orientation flight on the Poseidon aircraft.

Led by Capt. James W. Robinson, deputy commodore at Command Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing (CPRW) 11, and Cmdr. Michael Borelli, VP-26 commanding officer, the P-8A arrived a day early to prepare for distinguished visitors and orientation flights.

The P-8A is a derivative of a modified Boeing 737-800ERX airliner, featuring a high-bypass turbo fan jet engine with a fully connected, open architecture mission system. An advanced mission system ensures maximum interoperability in support of operational efforts, the navy said.

For over 10 years, the P-3C has been flying out of CSL Comalapa to support counter-narcotic and counter-illicit trafficking operations. The new aircraft will continue to support Joint Interagency Task Force-South missions out of CSL Comalapa.

The P-8A Poseidon is expected to make its first deployment to CSL Comalapa and U.S. 4th Fleet late in 2017.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet supports U.S. Southern Command’s joint and combined military operations by employing maritime forces in cooperative maritime security operations in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.