VP-5 becomes first Squadron to employ the P-8 Poseidon in counter-drug ops

VP-5 BECOMES FIRST SQUADRON TO EMPLOY THE P-8 POSEIDON IN COUNTER-DRUG OPS

By Dario Leone
Nov 27 2017
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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.

VP-5 becomes first Squadron to employ the P-8 Poseidon in counter-drug ops

“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.

P-8A print
This print is available in multiple sizes from AircraftProfilePrints.com – CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS. P-8A Poseidon Air Test and Evaluation Squadron ONE (VX-1) Pioneers, JA955 / 167955. NAS Patuxent River, MD

Photo credit: Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Hammond / U.S. Navy and Navyav8r17 via Wikipedia

Artwork courtesy of AircraftProfilePrints.com


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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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