One month into deployment, CAC-8 and CAC-12 of VP-5 Mad Foxes are well on their way to proving the P-8’s counter-narcotic utility in Central America
As reported by Jax Air News, Combat Air Crews (CACs) of Patrol Squadron (VP) 5 deployed to Cooperative Security Location (CSL) Comalapa to become the first squadron to employ the P-8A Poseidon in counter-narcotic operations in support of Operation Martillo.
VP-5 “Mad Foxes” in fact relieved VP-9 “Golden Eagles” and the aging P-3C Orion aircraft that had been the U.S. Navy’s primary maritime patrol and reconnaissance asset for more than 50 years. For decades, the Orion proved a reliable and versatile patrol aircraft capable of long endurance missions.
According to VP-5 press release, one month into deployment, CAC-8 and CAC-12 of VP-5 are well on their way to proving the new aircraft’s counter-narcotic utility in Central America. As often as the crews were launched, drug shipments have been intercepted, including the seizure of a self-propelled semi-submersible (SPSS) watercraft laden with 2,200 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of over $150,000,000.
“These missions often keep us flying long hours through the middle of the night, but knowing I’m part of the effort to keep drugs out of the United States is a great feeling,” said AWO2 Christopher James.
The Mad Foxes are currently on a split site deployment in the U.S. 4th and 6th Fleets and will return home in April 2018.
The P-8A Poseidon’s structural design is based on the Boeing 737 airframe and is capable of faster transit and longer ranges.
Boeing was awarded the contract to develop the P-8A June 14, 2004, and the P-8A program went through a preliminary design review in November 2005.
The P-8A program achieved initial operational capability in December 2013, when the first P-8A squadron (VP-16) deployed to Kadena, Japan.
During the last four years, the P-8A has been incrementally replacing the P-3C in operational squadrons, with the few remaining Orion squadrons slotted for transition. In that time, the Poseidon has already demonstrated its effectiveness as an anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms.
Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Hammond / U.S. Navy and Navyav8r17 via Wikipedia
Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com