Category Archives: Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Group

Posts about Patrol and Reconnaissance Group and other VP related information

Last of the Orions are leaving Hawaii

As first reported by Hawaii News Now  on Monday, February 27th, 2017, 7:05 pm PST
Original Article with video and pictures posted HERE

Article By Jim Mendoza, Reporter

KALAELOA (HawaiiNewsNow) –
After more than 50 years in Hawaii, a fleet of planes that were once considered workhorses for naval surveillance operations will soon be flown for the final time over the islands.

Starting in 1964, dozens of P-3 Orion aircraft were stationed across Oahu, first at Barbers Point and then at the Kaneohe Marine base.

“It did a number of missions,” said retired Navy flight engineer Doug Gillette. “From anti-submarine warfare, shipping surveillance, sea and air rescue, VIP runs.”

In addition to its surveillance duties, the aircraft also carried weapons. Gillette, for example, spent 24 years flying on the [turboprop] planes, including combat missions over Vietnam and in the first Gulf War.

During the Cold War, P-3’s scoured the oceans for Soviet subs.

“Besides the submarines out of Pearl Harbor and destroyers looking for them, P-3 Orion guys were out there looking for them as well,” said Brad Sekigawa, a historian at the Naval Air Museum Barbers Point.

Despite their storied history, the Navy says it is phasing out Orions for a more modern jet aircraft.

“Parts will be sold to foreign nations that still operate the P-3, and the rest will probably be mothballed and then probably later scrapped,” Sekigawa said.

At their peak, there were about 50 P-3’s stationed in Hawaii. A year ago, 1,000 personnel were attached to Hawaii’s remaining three P-3 squadrons.

The last squadron leaves Thursday[2 Mar 2017], taking 300 sailors and the final four Orion aircraft with it.

“It is sad because when you talk about availability and what it can do, it’s a great airplane,” Gillette said.

“It did its job very well,” Sekigawa added.

After the Navy’s P-3 Orions leave Hawaii for the last time you’ll still be able to see the planes. Two decommissioned P-3s are already on display at Barber’s Point Naval Air museum.

To view more photos of the P-3 Orion fleet on your mobile device, click here.

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Patrol Squadron FOUR Returns from Aloha Deployment

WHIDBEY ISLAND, Washington – The first wave of “Skinny” Dragons from Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 returned home Thursday, Sept. 1 from a demanding, yet highly successful trisite deployment.

For the first time since 1964, that return home was not made to Hawaii, but instead to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island.

In the midst of deployment, the Skinny Dragons executed a permanent duty station change (PDSC) from Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii to Whidbey Island, Wash., with many families moving in advance of the squadron’s return. Despite the challenges that come with executing a move, VP-4 personnel committed each day to ensuring that their last P-3C Orion deployment was a resounding success.

The VP-4 “P-3 Sundown” or “Aloha Deployment” as it became known, involved the Skinny Dragons operating out of 12 different countries in three vastly diverse areas of responsibility (AORs). In fact, on June 13 VP-4 launched six P-3C aircraft from five different detachment sites to six different missions within 24 hours.

According to Cmdr. Christopher Smith, VP-4’s commanding officer, the commitment from aircrew, maintenance and support personnel were astounding throughout the entire deployment.

“The Skinny Dragons are finishing a very successful deployment that saw us deployed to several locations around the world. This deployment was a significant milestone for our squadron as 2016 marks 50 years of flying the P-3C Orion for Patrol Squadron 4,” remarked Smith. “This summer was a great opportunity to honor the fine heritage of our squadron and the history of the mighty P-3C Orion.”

Those already in Whidbey Island eagerly await the arrival of the rest of their squadron who will trickle home in waves over the next two weeks.

Smith commented that it is certainly bittersweet to leave the island paradise of Oahu, but the Skinny Dragons are excited for the move to the Pacific Northwest and are enthusiastic to join Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing (CPRW) 10. In addition, he added that the local community and sponsors from CPRW- 10 have been instrumental and the PDSC undoubtedly would not have been possible without their help.

“VP-4 is extremely excited to join the Whidbey Team and we have been welcomed with open arms at every step of our transition,” expressed Smith. “The local community, on and off base, has been aware of our arrival for over a year and has continuously worked to make our transition a seamless one. I am overwhelmed with the support we have been given and I am very grateful.”

The next step for VP-4 is a transition from the P-3C Orion to the P-8A Poseidon. As the first of the three Hawaii-based Orion squadrons to transition, VP-4 is focused on a successful integration into CPRW-10 and continues their standard of excellence in maritime aviation throughout the transition.

The Skinny Dragons will begin the first portion of P-8A training in October with the “Pro’s Nest” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 30, the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS), who will provide a detachment of personnel to NAS Whidbey Island. After the New Year, VP-4 personnel will travel to the FRS in Jacksonville, Florida to complete the rest of their training.

Thankful for the support of CPRW-10 and the Whidbey Island community, VP-4 looks forward to bringing the Aloha spirit to the Pacific Northwest and their next chapter in maritime aviation.
By LTJG Matthew Johnston, VP-4 Public Affairs

Original  article with images is located here:


Patrol Squadron Four Begins ‘Aloha’ Deployment

Story by LT j.g. Matthew Johnston, VP-4 Public Affairs Officer

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII (NNS) — P-3C Orion planes from Patrol Squadron (VP) Four, departed Kaneohe from Marine Corps Base Hawaii for the last time, March 18. The Skinny Dragons of VP-4 began a challenging tri-site deployment to three different areas of responsibility (AORs).

The theme, ‘Aloha Deployment,’ was adopted by VP-4 and its meaning is two-fold. VP-4 says Aloha and Mahalo to their Hawaii home and will be saying Aloha to the P-3C in favor of the P-8A Poseidon.

Since 1964, VP-4 has a long and decorated history as a permanent fixture in Hawaii, so leaving is certainly bittersweet.

Upon return from deployment, VP-4 will execute a permanent duty station change to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Washington, and transition to the P-8A. The Skinny Dragons began flying the Orion 50 years ago, and the transition to the Poseidon is the next step in ensuring they remain the Navy’s premier maritime squadron.

“This deployment is an exciting time for our squadron and our families,” said VP-4 Commanding Officer Cdr. Jon Spore. “Between the move to Whidbey Island and the upcoming transition to the P-8A Poseidon, we have a lot to look forward to, but remain focused on our immediate goal of completing our last P-3C Orion deployment. That being said, our time in Hawaii was very special and we look forward to making new memories in a new location and with a new aircraft.”

Patrol Squadron Four is the first of three Hawaii-based squadrons to make the move to Whidbey Island and transition to the P-8A, and they will continue their standard of excellence in the new aircraft. The Skinny Dragons are motivated to face that challenge, however, their focus is currently on the deployment and executing the mission.

“VP-4 has enjoyed great success for many years in Hawaii. Our Sailors from today and years gone by have fantastic memories of serving in the Aloha State,” remarked VP-4 Executive Officer Cdr. Christopher Smith. “While it’s bittersweet to leave, we look forward to starting our next chapter in our new home after this deployment. We fondly say Mahalo to this wonderful community for all the great memories.”

After flying the P-3 for 50 years, the Skinny Dragons are committed to ensuring this last Orion ‘Aloha Deployment’ is a resounding success that sees them all return home safely.

For more news from Commander, Naval Air Forces, visit

Coordinated check conducted on a P-3C Orion

150609-N-MV308-001 KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (June 9, 2015) Sailors assigned to the Skinny Dragons of Patrol Squadron (VP) 4 perform a man-on-the-stand coordinated check on a P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. Coordinated checks are done on a routine basis to ensure proper functioning of the aircraft and continued mission readiness and performance. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amber Porter/Released)

JMSDF Detachment visits Kaneohe Bay

LT Jan R. Krsak
Public Affairs Officer
VP-4 Kaneohe Bay, HI

On Monday, September 21 2015, The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Detachment 50 from Patrol Squadron 5 arrived at Marine Corps Base Hawaii. JMSDF Patrol Squadron 5 is based in Naha Air Base on the island of Okinawa and currently flies the P-3 Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft. Over a span of 4,500 miles, the squadron managed to bring two aircraft and full maintenance support. JMSDF will be working in conjunction with Patrol Squadron 4 (VP-4) for about three weeks aiming to foster international relations and cohesiveness between the JMSDF and United States Navy.

On Friday, September 25, the JMSDF conducted a local area familiarization flight with one of VP-4’s combat air crews. “I was impressed with their professionalism and crew cohesiveness. I was also fascinated by how well maintained and clean their aircraft was.” Said LT Jack Turner, a pilot assigned to VP-4.

The detachment is projected to conduct a torpedo exercise and joint coordinated operations with U.S. Navy ships and aircraft. The exercises designed to continuously contribute to honorable international relations between the JMSDF and United States Navy.

Japan navy

Patrol Squadron Four conducted a search and rescue mission September 2015

The U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy and good Samaritans aboard a fishing boat helped rescue a sailing vessel that was taking on water Wednesday, September 9th approximately 30 miles north of the island of Maui. At around 11:45 a.m., the 36-foot Honey Cutter enroute from Hawaii to San Diego sent a SOS message that stated the vessel had suffered a keel fracture and was taking on water.

The Coast Guard requested help last week from Patrol Squadron Four based in Kaneohe Bay and good Samaritans on board the Captain Kenneth, located approximately 40 miles from the Honey Cutter. The Navy’s P-3C Orion arrived on scene and quickly established communications with the distressed vessel. The crew remained overhead for several hours and coordinated the arrival of the Captain Kenneth to the scene. The efforts of the aircrew helped ensure a successful meet up and tow with the two boats. Were it not for the capabilities and training of the aircraft and crew, the distressed boat may have capsized into the ocean stranding the crew. The Honey Cutter crew said they were prepared to abandon ship and were manually dewatering the vessel. The Captain Kenneth arrived on scene and was able to start towing the Honey Cutter at around 11 p.m. No injuries have been reported.

-LT Krsak
Patrol Squadron Four PAO.

VP-4 P-3

Japan considering sale of P-1 maritime patrol planes to UK

Kawasaki P-1Japan is reportedly planning to sell Kawasaki P-1 submarine-hunting patrol planes to the UK.

The planes could replace the UK Royal Air Force’s Nimrod jets and would be Japan’s first major military deal outside the Asia-Pacific region, if finalised.

Any possible deal could reach $1bn and would be a major step forward in Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s initiative to export arms after decades of self-imposed restrictions, Reuters reported.

A UK Ministry of Defence spokesperson was quoted by media sources as saying: “We will continue to assess future requirements ahead of a decision in the next strategic defence and security review in 2015.”

An undisclosed Japanese source said: “If the UK gives it serious consideration, then the P-1 will garner attention internationally.”

However, the UK has not confirmed its plans regarding the procurement of maritime patrol planes, having abandoned an order for nine BAE Systems-built aircraft in 2010 because of delays and rising costs.

Kawasaki Heavy spokesperson Teppei Kobayashi said: “We are not aware of the discussion so we can’t comment.

“In general, it is a matter of national policy, so if there is a decision that results in an order, we will follow that.”

Since the lifting of restrictions on military exports in April, the Japanese Defence Ministry has been considering deals to sell submarines to Australia and sea jets to India.




Reposted from:



Navy’s newest plane to deploy for first time in hands of Jacksonville NAS-based squadron

Stepping aboard the classy new aircraft, you notice the first-class leather seats and expect to see a flight attendant waiting to show you to your seat.



But though it uses the same airframe, this is not your average Boeing 737. It is the P-8A, the Navy’s newest eyes, ears and muscle in the air — and its first operational squadron is right here in Jacksonville.

Squadron VP-16 out of Jacksonville Naval Air Station, also known as the War Eagles, will deploy with the new birds for the first time when they head to the Western Pacific in December.

The P-8A Poseidon is replacing the Navy’s aging fleet of P-3 Orions, introduced in the early ’60s.

“It’s like going from flying a tractor to a Cadillac,” according to Lt. Cmdr. Bryan Hager, who has flown both.

Gone are the glass gauges and rigid confines of the P-3s. For the first time, pilots and crew will have seats that recline and bathrooms.

Check out more photos of the plane here

The cockpit resembles a computer lab complete with a heads-up display. All of this, pilots say, free them up to concentrate on other problems and threats that may appear.

“It really increases a pilot’s situational awareness,” Lt. j.g. Christi Morissey, a P-8A pilot, said.

The plane actually makes her a better pilot, she said.

The benefits of the new plane are obvious. Chief among them are speed and altitude. The jet-powered P-8A can fly farther, faster and higher than its aging, propeller-driven predecessor.

This gives the plane more time over the target area because it takes less time to get there.

“We can get somewhere so much quicker,” Hager said. “If you’re heading to a target that’s 1,200 miles away, it will take a P-3 four hours to get there. The P-8 can be there in less than three.”

Though it can do the job better, the job description remains the same. The Poseidon’s job will be anti-submarine, anti-surface, reconnaissance and intelligence duties.

Equipped with the newest technology, and resembling a flying computer lab, it can send video, photos and information to commanders in real time.

But it also packs a punch.

Among its armaments is the AGM84D Harpoon missile that can take out nearly anything that floats, according to Lt. Kenny Vanhook, assistant aircraft maintenance officer. “It’ll do some serious damage.”

In case of attack, the aircraft is also outfitted with a new laser deterrent system which diverts surface-to-air missiles by creating a distant heat source to attract their sensors.

The most critical advantage to the U.S. Navy, however, may be the cost savings in the age of sequestration, recent spending cuts affecting the military.

The Navy was considering the idea of reproducing the P-3, but Lockheed Martin, the builder of the P-3, no longer had the manufacturing facility. The P-8 on the other hand, is being produced in its civilian form — the 737.

In addition, the P-8 requires only nine crewmen, compared with the P-3’s 11.

But perhaps most important, the revered P-3s were showing their age. The planes were requiring more maintenance time for less flying time.

“You could take off with all four engines working and land with only two,” Vanhook said.



From Orion to Poseidon – The MPRF way ahead

By Lt. Cmdr. Gabe Mauldin, Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Group (CPRG)/CPRG Pacific

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) — The Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (MPRF) is transitioning into a new type/model/series (TMS) for the first time in 50 years.

To make this transition a success, the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) and industry leaders are working to sustain the legacy P-3C and EP-3E while the P-8A TMS is being introduced to the fleet.

The last time the MPRF Community transitioned to a new TMS was in 1962 with the delivery of the first P-3A to Patrol Squadron (VP) 8. As in the past, the key to a successful transition is constant communication and cooperation across all levels of the NAE and industry. The following highlights are evidence of the success of these efforts.

The fleet transition to the P-8A Poseidon is progressing well and on schedule. In Jacksonville, Fla., the Fleet Replacement Squadron, VP-30, MPRF Weapons School and P-8A Fleet Introduction Team have been busy facilitating the transition of the first three fleet squadrons from P-3C to P-8A. VP-16 achieved Safe for Flight (SFF) in January 2013 and is progressing through the Inter-Deployment Readiness Cycle (IDRC) in preparation for the first P-8A deployment in December. VP-5 achieved SFF and began their IDRC in the beginning of August, and VP-45 just started transition upon returning from their last P-3 deployment in June.

Over the last year, Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 1 successfully completed P-8A
Initial Operational Test and Evaluation supported by multiple detachments, exercises and real-world operations. As expected, the aircraft (based on the Boeing 737) has been extremely reliable. The mission systems have performed well and the aircrews are rapidly becoming more adept at flying and employing the aircraft while the maintenance team is developing the skills required to repair and maintain this modern aircraft.

The supply chain is expanding to meet the demands of a new aircraft and the community is constantly learning to ensure that the P-8A is poised for success when it deploys this winter. While there have been many challenges as the P-8A executes test and fleet introduction simultaneously, the P-8A program continues to be a model of effective planning and execution. The airframe and mission systems are a significant technological leap forward and provide commanders with a reliable platform hosting advanced technology sensors.

Legacy Platforms

As the P-3C and EP-3E continue their trek toward the end of their life cycle, many challenges need to be overcome, including parts obsolescence, increased levels of support for legacy components, and a shortage of flight line assets. In 2007, MPRF “red stripe” events, which grounded aircraft due to “fatigue tracking metrics beyond acceptable limits,” left the community with 49 mission aircraft to support the high operational demand across the globe and at home.

More than 50 percent of the P-3 fleet was out of reporting (OOR) due to the red stripe. Massive sustainment efforts have been made and we are beginning to see a real return on our investment as aircraft are returned to service. In FY14, we plan on reducing the amount of our P-3C inventory OOR for depot-level sustainment events and technological modifications by more than 10 percent, and we plan to reach P-3’s required number of Primary Aircraft Assigned by the end of FY15. We expect to have sufficient ready-for-tasking assets to meet deployment and training requirements until platform sundown, but P-8A delivery must proceed as planned to ensure there is no gap in coverage for Global Force Management.

Our cost savings efforts have been effective and multiple cost reduction initiatives have allowed the aging force to operate efficiently and effectively. Recently, initiatives to improve Engine Driven Compressor maintenance and place our APS-137 Receiver Exciter Processor and Transmitter under a Performance Based Logistics contract with Raytheon have helped reduce cost by 11 percent. With more than 50 years of faithful and dedicated service complete, the mighty P-3C Orion is prepared to finish its service to the Navy at full speed.


One of the most complicated pieces of the MPRF transition is manpower. When the transition is completed, the MPRF community will consist of the P-8A Poseidon teamed with the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system. The P-8A/MQ-4C combination will be responsible for all the missions currently covered by VP, Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadrons (VQ), and Patrol Squadron Special Projects Unit (VPU) today. The MPRF transition is a unique manpower story and a challenge – the P-3C is being replaced by two new TMSs – but all manpower is being sourced from within the legacy community. The restructuring has already begun with the consolidation of the VQ and VPU last year, and the continued transition of P-8A squadrons in Jacksonville. Unmanned Patrol Squadron 19, the first MQ-4C squadron, is currently scheduled to begin its standup with an officer-in-charge in late FY14.


The MPRF Community has almost fully recovered from the 2007 red stripe and is quickly transitioning to the new P-8A. The successful turnaround since 2007 can be directly attributed to the NAE and industry leaders working towards a common goal of recovery and eventual transition to the next generation of maritime patrol aircraft, both manned and unmanned.

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P-8 Briefing at VP-4 reunion

From John Larson:

p-8 poseidon

Sept. 9, 2013

Greetings everyone,

I attended the VP-4 reunion this past weekend in Seattle, WA. We were scheduled to get a tour of the Boeing Redding plant where the P-8 is being assembled. Since we had such a large group, we were not allowed at the plant for security reasons.

So we had a briefing at the Museum of Flight at Boeing Field. The Boeing rep was a former TACCO in VP-4. He was in VP-4 during the late 1990’s. Some of this info will be a repeat of what I put out before.

So far VP-30, VP-16, and VP-5 have P-8’s. 10 planes have been delivered and they have flown 6000hrs and 1000 operational and training sorties since Feb 2012. VP-16 will deploy to Kadena, Okinawa this coming Dec.

The Mission systems are: updated multi-mode radar (7 modes), electro optics, ESM, acoustics; can monitor 64 sonobuoys. It has self-protection = chaff and flares. It missions will be ASW, ASuW, ISR, Maritime, and C-3.

The aircraft will carry 126 sonobuoys. There are 3 launchers that can hold 10 buoys each. They are pressurized; don’t have to depressurize the plane. There are individual tubes to launch buoys too. The new sonos will be more accurate and Boeing says there is no need for a mad boom now.

There is a weapons bay aft of the wings. It can hold 5 MK-52 torpedoes. There are 4 wing stations that will hold harpoon missiles.

There is a laser under the tail that is used for protection against inbound missiles.

The airplane has two engines generators and the apu has one. It will have 150% of the power required.

The aircraft will have 9 crew members, 3 pilots, 2 nfo, and 4 aw’s. There are 21 seating positions. There are 3 inertial systems on the plane. The NAV was referred as the second TACCO.

The engines are CFM-56 engines with 27,300 lbs. of thrust. Fuel flow at 200 ft. is 5500 lbs./hr. and at 20000 ft. it will be 5200 lbs./hr. The max ceiling is 41000 ft. and low altitude is 200ft. It has a range of 1200 miles with 4 hrs. on station. Max speed is 490 kts. Flt time will be 12 hours without in-flight refueling. With refueling it will be 22 hrs., that is based on the oil consumption on the engines. The Max gross weight will be 189,200 lbs.

The Navy will get 117 aircraft. The first 37 will be delivered thru 2015. They were allocated before sequester. Each aircraft costs $126 million. Each squadron will get 6 aircraft. They will be based at Jacksonville and Whidbey Is. Kaneohe will go away and will become a detachment site. Jax will convert first.

The fuselage are built in Wichita, KS and shipped by rail to the plant at Renton, WA. The wings, engines and tail are put on there. The plane goes to Boeing Field where the systems are installed and the plane is completed.

The Indian Navy is acquiring 8 aircraft. They wanted to have a MAD boom incorporated. Boeing had to make changes to the APU in the tail to make it work.

In the future the P-8 could control UAV’s from the plane. This doesn’t apply to the Global Hawk UAV. Also there might be UAV’s that could launch from the P-8. They would unfold their wings and fly under control from the P-8. The plane has CAT 3 landing capabilities, but the Navy will not certify the plane or keep the pilots or plane current. CAT 3 allows the pilot land in very low visibility. Also the plane has in-flight refueling capability. But the Navy is not going to do that for a couple of years.

It was interesting and informative to listen to the presentation.


John Larson

Last Cold Warrior Deploying to WESTPAC

From VP-62 Public Affairs

NAVAL AIR STATION JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (NNS) — As Patrol Squadron Six Two (VP-62) begins the first ever mobilization of a Reserve P-3 squadron, one of the Reservists heading to Japan is also one of the last Cold War anti-submarine warfare operators still serving in the Navy.

Before getting on the plane, Master Chief Naval Aircrewman (NAC/AW) Spence Cunningham took a moment to look back on his 32 years of Naval Aviation experience.

I joined the Navy via the Delayed Entry Program in February 1981 and left for Boot Camp in Orlando in August of 1981. I completed the Anti-Submarine Warfare Operator pipeline (Non-Acoustic) in August 1982 and received orders to the Pelicans of VP-45. I completed three deployments between 1982 and 1986. I was screened and selected for instructor duty at VP-30, where I taught the Update 2, 2.5 and 3 versions of the Orion.

I completed the shore tour at VP-30 and an opportunity to work on the P-7 program was a good one, so I separated in August of 1990 and received orders to the Broadarrows of VP-62. I left active duty as an AW1. When I joined the squadron, the annual training periods consisted of the squadron setting up shop in Bermuda and we covered that ASW sector until all the Reservists completed their two-week requirements. The squadron was the last Reserve VP squadron to operate fully out of NAS Bermuda in 1991. After that, operations moved to a detachment form of annual training, where crew and maintenance formed small units and went forward to various sites like Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico; Sigonella, Sicily; Manta, Ecuador; Keflavik, Iceland and Comolapa, El Salvador, to name a few.

While I have been attached to VP-62, I have held many positions from NATOPS ‘Bluecard’ instructor to detachment CPO (chief petty officer) and up to Command Master Chief. All the while, maintaining combat aircrew qualifications to answer the call if needed.

I reached the 30-year high year tenure mark for Master Chief in February 2011, and I decided to transfer to the Volunteer Training Unit versus retirement. I decided to continue to serve, because I love what I do in the P-3 and I want to give the benefit of my experience to those junior operators that are the future of maritime patrol.

I have been very fortunate that the civilian positions I have held had a direct relationship to my Navy Reserve job. I have held positions with several local Jacksonville defense contractors that have supported the training efforts of the P-3 force that have included curriculum development, specifically the Block Mod Update and ASUW Improvement Programs for the P-3. I was also an initial member of, and later managed the Revision and Maintenance effort for the P-3 Fleet Replacement Squadron, VP-30.

Presently, I am the lead instructor for the Acoustic Track Contract Instructor cadre at VP-30. I lead ten civilian instructors in executing the initial P-3C Acoustic Operator curriculum for acoustic AWO trainees. We are responsible for completing all ground phase requirements that include classroom instruction, aircraft demonstrations, part-task trainer periods and Tactical Operational Readiness Trainers (TORT) which are full tactical crew scenarios.

I have been a sensor operator from the beginning. Actually, I completed my pipeline training as a SS-3 operator, but the needs of my first squadron dictated (by my Shop Chief) my On-The-Job (OJT) conversion to operating the acoustic sensor. I got a two-week course on acoustic analysis and departed on my first deployment to Sigonella, Sicily. I am the last AW to earn a 7821 NEC by OJT before the instruction changed that required completion of a formal curriculum to earn NECs.

All of my efforts overseas have had their moments. My first deployment had an erupting Mt. Etna that covered NAS Sig in a 1-inch layer of ash. That affected the Engine Driven Compressors (air conditioning) on the aircraft which meant many a flight was conducted in a minimalist fashion when it came to being comfortable.

That same deployment, Mummar Qadaffi set his line of death and we were flying armed patrols in support of Sixth Fleet carriers crossing the line. The Marines were car-bombed in Lebanon during that deployment, and once again we were flying armed patrols. VP-45 flew on multiple Soviet submarines from Victors and Charlies, to Tangos and Foxtrots. The squadron set a record for the most submerged contact time to date during that 1983 deployment.

My second deployment was my first as a newly minted Sensor One. I cut my chops on the challenging Soviet Echo II that entered the Mediterranean Sea through the Straits of Gibraltar. That was a first class ASW challenge considering the sensors we were using back then. I was successful by turning over hot contact to the following crew, but to say I was nervous was an understatement.

My appreciation for the job was not fully realized until my third deployment to the island of Bermuda. The Soviets consistently deployed the “Yankee” class submarines between Bermuda and the east coast of the United States. Our job was to stay “on-top” around the clock while they were present. One submarine decided to test the theory by straying further west. We were on-top and were given authorization to let them know we were there. We did this by going active and after a few hours of relentless pinging, the Yankee moved back. During debrief, the crew was told that an entire B-52 wing had moved inland during that excursion. I was stunned at the information. Here it was that a lowly Naval Aircrewman 2nd Class’s efforts in running his sensor was standing between a Yankee and its missiles and the East Coast. Doing this job was just “fun” up until then. It still is, but I never considered the broader implications of what I do on the aircraft and I have never forgotten that since.

This is my first mobilization as a Reservist. I have been in a hardware unit the entire time. Since I was tied to Combat Aircrew Readiness, performing an Individual Augmentee position was possible, but not encouraged given the limited number of Sensor One operators VP-62 has.

My expectations on this deployment are what any acoustic operator worth his or her salt should be, tracking submarines. Being primarily an Atlantic Fleet operator, I look forward to working in the western Pacific against some very challenging submarines found in that area of the world. I relish the challenge and look forward to sharing my experience with some young fleet operators out there, not to mention getting to experience liberty in the exotic countries of the Western Pacific.

I am the last of the Cold Warriors that are still actively flying in the P-3. I have acoustic sensor experience that runs the gamut from AN/AQA-7 paper grams to the current AN-USQ-78B Acoustic Processor Technical Refresh (APTR). I have hours upon hours of on-top time of a multitude of submarines in many of the world’s oceans. This is what I have spent the last 30 years of my life doing and I cannot think of any other job I’d rather perform. I have certainly had an exceptional run and I have to give a lion share of credit to the Reserves to enable me to enjoy the best of both my worlds. It is time for me to hang my flight suit up after this deployment and I will miss the flying. But most of all I will miss those Sailors in VP-62. I am grateful to serve among such a group of dedicated professionals. I am humbled and appreciative of the privilege.

For more news from Patrol Squadron 62, and the WESTPAC deployment visit

VP-16 ‘War Eagles’ Hold Change of Command

By Ltjg. Christi Morrissey, USN

Cmdr. William C. Pennington, Jr. relieved Cmdr. Molly Boron as commanding officer of Patrol Squadron SIXTEEN (VP-16) on May 23 in Hangar 117 at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.

VP-16 is a Navy Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) squadron stationed in Jacksonville, Fla. The War Eagles are the first operational squadron to transition from the P-3C Orion to the P-8A Poseidon, having achieved their ‘safe for flight’ qualification in January of this year. The newest MPRA aircraft in over 50 years, the P-8A is a modified Boeing 737 designed to take over the war-fighting capabilities of the P-3C. Their primary missions include Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW), and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR).

The grandson of Katherine Anne Wijas and the late Edwin A Wijas of Palatine, Ill., Pennington graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science in Weapons and Systems Engineering. He was awarded his Naval Aviator Wings of Gold in July 1998 and has completed flying tours at NAF Washington DC, VP-4 in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, VP-30 in Jacksonville, Fla. and VP-40 in NAS Whidbey Island, Wash.

Additional tours include assignment to Commander, U.S. SEVENTH Fleet staff onboard USS BLUE RIDGE (LCC-19) home ported in Yokosuka, Japan, a short stash at Naval Personnel Command, and as Deputy Executive Assistant to the Director, Air Warfare (OPNAV N88) on the Chief of Naval Operations Staff at the Pentagon.

Pennington assumed executive officer duties at VP-16 in May 2012 during the squadron’s ‘sundown’ P-3C deployment in Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. Upon their return, VP-16 turned in their aircraft and began training on the new airframe. Cmdr. Pennington assisted Cmdr. Boron in steering the War Eagles through a rigorous transition syllabus, overcoming unforeseen obstacles encountered in bringing a new type model online. Together, their guidance and direction resulted in the squadron receiving outstanding marks during their safe for flight inspection and official qualification earlier this year.

He commended the War Eagles’ former commanding officer.

“I want to congratulate Skipper Boron on an impressive tour leading the War Eagle team. Her unmatched commitment to her sailors and aircrew elevated her command to new heights as she successfully led them through the historic transition to the P-8A.”

Cmdr. Boron took control of the War Eagles in May 2012. During the ceremony, she imparted some words of wisdom and encouragement to her former squadron.

“President Roosevelt made famous an old African proverb ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick. You will go far.’ As VP-16 prepares to take the P-8 on deployment at the end of the year, I see them continuing to be the quiet professionals, dutifully learning their trades, honing new skills and capabilities. When those six Poseidons and 12 Combat Air Crews head west, their war fighter skills and hidden power projection will become America’s ‘big stick’ in the Pacific.”

Pennington assumes command of VP-16 in the midst of a 12-month inter-deployment readiness cycle preparing to lead the squadron on the first P-8A operational deployment to Kadena Air Base. As the new commanding officer, Pennington takes control of nearly one billion dollars of Naval aircraft and will lead over 200 sailors during the next year. He is joined by new executive officer Cmdr. Daniel Papp of Chicago, Ill.,0,579247.story


No permanent VP presence at MCB Kaneohe Bay with P-8A?

Navy Publishes Notice of Intent to Prepare Supplemental EIS for P-8 Basing
Story Number: NNS121114-10

From Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Public Affairs

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) — A Notice of Intent (NOI) will be published in the Federal Register Nov. 15 announcing the Navy’s intent to prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the introduction of the P-8A Multi-Mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) to the U.S. Navy Fleet.

The Supplemental EIS will address the potential environmental impacts of new home basing alternatives and updated P-8A MMA program information.

In September 2008, the Navy completed the Final EIS for the Introduction of the P-8A into the U.S. Navy Fleet, which evaluated the environmental impacts of home basing 12 P-8A MMA fleet squadrons (72 aircraft) and one Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) (12 aircraft) at established maritime patrol home bases. On Jan. 2, 2009, a Record of Decision (ROD) was issued that called for basing five fleet squadrons and the FRS at Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville, four fleet squadrons at NAS Whidbey Island, and three fleet squadrons at Marine Corps Base (MCB) Hawaii Kaneohe Bay, with periodic squadron detachments at NAS North Island (Alternative 5).

To meet the Navy’s current and future requirements and maximize the efficiency of support facilities, simulation training equipment, and on-site support personnel, the Navy now proposes to analyze additional alternatives for P-8A aircraft home basing. The Navy has determined that a dual-siting alternative, rather than home basing the aircraft at three locations, may best meet current requirements. The two potential home base locations for the P-8A MMA are NAS Jacksonville and NAS Whidbey Island.

Home basing at two locations would result in an increase in aircraft and personnel at NAS Jacksonville and NAS Whidbey Island compared to the 2008 ROD. There is no new facility requirement for additional aircraft at NAS Jacksonville. Additional aircraft at NAS Whidbey Island would result in an expanded facility footprint. Under a dual-siting alternative, a presence in Hawaii would be maintained with a continuous presence of two aircraft filled by rotating detachments at MCB Hawaii Kaneohe Bay. The two-aircraft detachment would result in fewer personnel and a reduced facility footprint at MCB Hawaii Kaneohe Bay when compared to the 2008 ROD. There would be no change to the periodic squadron detachment operations at NAS North Island, as described in the 2008 ROD.

No decision has been made to change the 2008 Record of decision. When the Supplemental EIS is complete, the SECNAV can decide to homebase at two locations, or to continue implementing homebasing at three locations in light of the updated information.

During the 45-day public comment and agency review period following release of the Draft Supplemental EIS, anticipated in the summer of 2013, the Navy will schedule public meetings to discuss the findings of the Draft Supplemental EIS and to receive public comments.

The public meetings will be held near each of the home basing locations. Dates, locations, and times for the public meetings will be announced in the Federal Register and local media at the appropriate time.

The Navy has established a public web site for the Supplemental EIS: [<>]. This public web site includes up-to-date information on the project and schedule, as well as related documents associated with the Supplemental EIS and 2008 Final EIS. To be included on the Navy’s mailing list for the Supplemental EIS (or to receive a copy of the Draft Supplemental EIS), interested individuals may submit an electronic request through the project web site under “mailing list” or a written request to: P-8A MMA EIS Project Manager (Code EV21/CZ); Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Atlantic, 6506 Hampton Blvd, Norfolk, VA 23508.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

‘War Eagles’ take P-8A on first detachment | Jax Air News

‘War Eagles’ take P-8A on first detachment | Jax Air News.

Posted: September 26, 2012 – 5:26pm
Members of the VP-16 "War Eagles" gather in front of a new P-8A Poseidon aircraft currently being built at The Boeing Company in Renton, Wash. Sept. 14. The group travelled to Washington to tour Boeing facilities and to learn more about the new aircraft the squadron is flying.

Photo courtesy of VP-16
Members of the VP-16 “War Eagles” gather in front of a new P-8A Poseidon aircraft currently being built at The Boeing Company in Renton, Wash. Sept. 14. The group travelled to Washington to tour Boeing facilities and to learn more about the new aircraft the squadron is flying.

Lt. j.g. Nikee Giampietro

The newest addition to the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance community, the P-8A Poseidon, took flight for its very first detachment by a fleet squadron during a visit to the Boeing facilities in Seattle, Wash. Sept. 14.
VP-16 sent 21 aircrew, maintenance and support personnel on this momentous occasion. The “War Eagles” have been busy training since July, learning how to operate and maintain the P-8A. This detachment gave the squadron a unique opportunity to see the aircraft from the beginning stages of production to testing the newest improvements to mission equipment that will be incorporated in future upgrades.
The War Eagles started at Boeing’s Weapon System Integration Lab, known as the WSIL. The lab represents the brainpower of the P-8A mission systems. It contains a mock replica of the Poseidon interior and was the first place Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Eleven and VP-30 instructors trained before NAS Jacksonville’s Integrated Training Center was complete.
At the WSIL, Boeing employees, including many former P-3C aircrew, work on current and future P-8A technologies. Their prior military experience gives them unique insight into how aircrew operators work and think.
Their mission is to continuously test the P-8A software and systems, looking for any malfunctions that need to be corrected. They also focus on new features that make the system more intuitive to the operators, allowing the mission to be completed as efficiently as possible.
The aircrew were excited to see all of the new updates the aircraft will soon receive as well as the exposure to the “behind-the-scenes” of how the mission systems are designed.
The maintenance and support personnel were eager to fly the simulator as well as get some hands-on experience and learn what their fellow “War Eagles” do operationally.
PS3 Cori Shea said, “It’s interesting to see how much effort goes into how the airplanes are designed. There’s so much more to the process than I ever imagined.”
After seeing the future of the P-8A, the VP-16 personnel headed to Renton, Wash. to see where every 737 and P-8A begins – the Boeing production lines. Boeing representatives Carl Lang, David Robinson, and James Detwiler led an eye-opening tour throughout the facilities. Lang first showed the main production line where all of Boeing’s 737 commercial aircraft are assembled and painted before being sent out for final testing. The tour then moved over to the P-8A line to show the similarities and differences in the process.
For many personnel, the most exciting part of this tour was being able to see the aircraft in various states of assembly, knowing that they are the first aircraft VP-16 will proudly fly during their first operational deployment with the P-8A.
The tour concluded at the Boeing Military Facility, where the aircraft is sent to have all of the mission equipment installed after it is fully assembled.
Lt. Ryan Burke said, “Seeing the aircraft in this state was a good learning tool for the aircrew. It gave us the chance to see how things are connected and flow together, which gives us a better understanding of how to operate the equipment.”
The information learned on this tour gave VP-16 an appreciation for all of the hard work that has been put into the aircraft design, production and mission system integration. Although it was a short detachment, the Sailors and officers of VP-16 view it as a sign of great things to come for squadron. VP-16 is scheduled to complete their transition to the P-8A by the end of the year and will commence pre-deployment training in January.



Code One Magazine: Golden Orion

Code One Magazine: Golden Orion.

Exactly three months after delivery of the first P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft, US Navy aircrews from Patrol Squadron 8 found themselves deployed to Bermuda—and stepping into the brightest of world spotlights.

On 23 October 1962, four aircrews from VP-8 and four aircrews from Patrol Squadron 44 (VP-44) began enforcing President John F. Kennedy’s blockade of Cuba to prevent Soviet missiles from reaching Cuba. The P-3 crews patrolled the Atlantic sea lanes to locate and track Soviet cargo ships carrying intermediate range ballistic missiles or missile launch support equipment.

By the time the Cuban Missile Crisis ended a few days later, a VP-44 crew achieved international recognition of sorts when their aircraft was photographed flying close surveillance over the Russian freighter Anasov on its return to the Soviet Union. Anasov was the only Russian vessel that refused to uncover the large oblong objects lashed to its deck. The Orion crew was able to verify that the objects were indeed crated missiles, and the ship was allowed to proceed.

The P-3 came about as a response to Navy Type Specification #146 issued in 1957 for a new land-based antisubmarine warfare, or ASW, aircraft to replace the Lockheed P2V Neptune land-based maritime patrol aircraft and the Martin P5M Marlin flying boat. Very specific requirements pertaining to delivery schedule and cost constraints dictated the need for adapting an off-the-shelf aircraft design for the maritime patrol mission.

The competitors were Martin, Consolidated, and Lockheed, three companies that had been building patrol aircraft for the Navy for more than three decades at that point. The French Atlantique, developed with the help of US Navy funds, did not meet the stated range requirement and was eliminated from the competition.

The Lockheed proposal highlighted the Electra airliner’s turboprop engines and its capability for high-speed transit at high altitudes, low speed, low-altitude handling qualities, and fuel economy. Because the Electra was designed to operate from commercial airports, the Navy did not have to alter any runways. The Lockheed Model 185 retained the wings, tail, and Allison T56-A-1 turboprop engines of the Electra. The new design called for the Electra’s fuselage to be shortened by seven feet, and a weapon bay for mines, conventional or nuclear depth charges, or torpedoes was added.

Lockheed was named as the winner of the competition on 24 April 1958, and the contract was awarded that May. A design problem with the Electra’s propeller and engine mount that resulted in several crashes—a phenomenon called whirl mode—had not surfaced at this point. Once the issue was identified, Lockheed briefed the Navy on proposed fixes, and the service was satisfied. Development continued.

The first aircraft was actually the third production Electra with a mockup of a magnetic anomaly detection, or MAD, boom installed at the rear of the aircraft. The MAD equipment, originally developed in World War II, gives aircraft crews the ability to detect large metal objects under water. The greatly improved MAD gear in the P-3 is a primary method the crew uses to locate submarines. The demonstrator was an aerodynamic prototype only and still had the airliner’s passenger windows. It was first flown on 19 August 1958, and Lockheed crews made eight flights. This aircraft was again modified into a full-up prototype of what was then designated P3V-1.

The first flight of YP3V-1 prototype came on 25 November 1959 at the Lockheed plant in Burbank, California, where most of the aircraft would be built. The nickname Orion was officially adopted in late 1960, keeping with the Lockheed tradition of naming aircraft after mythological figures or celestial bodies. The first preproduction P3V-1 was flown on 15 April 1961 from the Lockheed plant in Burbank, California.

The Orion represented a new approach to the ASW mission. It was a more spacious aircraft than previous patrol aircraft, with room for a crew of up to a dozen, along with a galley and rest bunks. It was pressurized and air conditioned. The P-3 had enough electrical power to incorporate advanced sensors and avionics. It was the world’s first dedicated maritime patrol aircraft to be powered by turboprop engines. The Orion also had a significantly better weapons system than its predecessors.

The Orion test fleet consisted of six aircraft. Navy Bureau of Inspection and Survey trials—what today is called operational test and evaluation—took place from April to June 1962 at what was then known as the Naval Air Test Center at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, and the Naval Weapons Evaluation Facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The first P3V-1s were delivered to VP-8 on 23 July 1962 and to VP-44 on 13 August. Delivery consisted essentially of moving the aircraft on the Pax River ramp, as both squadrons were based there at the time. With the adoption of the new Department of Defense designation system on 18 September 1962, the P3V-1 was redesignated P-3A. The first Naval Reserve squadrons would receive P-3As in 1970.

A total of 158 P-3As were built for the US Navy. The Alphas, as they were called, were equipped with state-of-the-art analog avionic systems, including the first inertial navigation system in a Navy patrol aircraft. The aircraft featured fore and aft AN/APS-80 search radars, an AN/AQA-3 Jezebel passive acoustic signal processor, an AN/ASA-20 Julie echo location system, and the ASR-3, which was designed to sniff for diesel exhaust from snorkeling submarines.

The move-countermove strategy between the superpowers that defined the Cold War was particularly striking in ASW. The emergence of increasingly lethal and quiet Soviet submarines resulted in the need for increasingly more sophisticated navigation, detection, and tracking equipment on the P-3. Throughout its career, the most significant changes made to the Orion were in its sensors and avionics, not to its airframe.

The next major advance in the Orion was P-3B, or Bravo, introduced in 1966. This version featured a first-generation integrated ASW sensor suite and more powerful 4,500 shp T56-A-14 engines. The Heavyweight modification that came at the end of the P-3B production run featured strengthened structural elements, mainly in the wings, to accommodate heavier sensors and weapons.

A total of 125 Bravos were built for the US Navy. Additional aircraft were delivered new to the first international P-3 operators, the air forces—not the navies—of New Zealand in 1966, to Australia in 1968, and to Norway in 1969.

Development of a fully integrated avionics for the P-3C, or Charlie, began in 1966. Dubbed A-NEW, the heart of this system was the Univac 1830A thirty-bit parallel binary airborne digital computer that combined all the collected sensor data in real time. Computerization improved the speed and accuracy of sensor data generation and freed the crew from routine recordkeeping tasks. Development of this system was accelerated, and VP-49 made the first deployment with the P-3C in July 1970.

Much like the Super Bowl, the avionics, navigation, and sensor suite updates to the P-3C variant over the next three decades were seen as being important enough to warrant Roman numerals to differentiate them—Update I, II, II.5, and III. These updates brought a variety of advanced equipment, capabilities, and weapons to the Orion, which kept it ahead of the threat and took advantage of the computer revolution.

As illustrative examples, the P-3C has a chin-mounted electro-optical infrared sensor allowing crews to see and target at night. By contrast, the P-3A had a seventy-million candlepower searchlight under its right wing to locate surface targets. In addition to the ability to fire short range AGM-65 Maverick air-to-surface missiles, the P-3C crew can now launch over-the-horizon AGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship and AGM-84E Standoff Land Attack Missiles. The P-3 Alphas could launch unguided rockets. The Bravos were the first to be modified to launch guided AGM-12 Bullpup missiles, which gave crews a significantly enhanced ability to attack surface targets.

A total of 266 P-3Cs were built for the US Navy, and 107 Charlies and special mission aircraft were built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries under license in Japan. US production of the P-3C shifted from Burbank to Palmdale, California, in the 1980s and then to Marietta, Georgia, in the early 1990s. The last US-built P-3Cs, eight aircraft for the Republic of Korea Navy, were delivered in 1995. The last Kawasaki-built aircraft was delivered in 2000, closing out thirty-nine years of Orion production.

Total P-3 production, including license-built aircraft, came to 757 aircraft. Today, the worldwide P-3 fleet numbers 435 aircraft flown by twenty-one operators in sixteen countries on five continents, with Taiwan scheduled to join the Orion community with refurbished and rewinged former US Navy aircraft in 2013.

At the height of the Cold War in the 1970s, twenty-four squadrons of US Navy P-3s blanketed the seven seas tracking submarines, primarily Soviet fast attack and ballistic missile boats. Literally millions of sonobuoys—active or passive sensors dropped by parachute into the water to extend the Orion crew’s search area—were launched during the Cold War. An oft-repeated story is of a Soviet admiral who once lamented that if he wanted to know where his submarines were, all he had to do was look for the P-3s flying over them.

For most of its career, the primary mission for US Navy P-3 crews was hunting submarines on missions lasting more than twelve hours. But the Orion carried out other missions as well. Crews from VP-9 at NAS Moffett Field, California, deployed to Vietnam for Operation Market Time in February 1969 for the P-3’s first Pacific deployment. Market Time was the Navy’s coordinated operation to stop the flow of weapons, ammunition, and supplies to Viet Cong forces infiltrating South Vietnam. The EP-3 signals intelligence variant also debuted during Vietnam.

The end of the Cold War brought a dramatic change in mission, as the P-3 was increasingly used in supporting overland missions in surveillance, targeting, and peacekeeping roles.

During Desert Storm, P-3 crews monitored shipping lanes while EP-3 crews monitored electrons. But by Operation Allied Force in Kosovo in 1999, Orion crews had further expanded their role to include targeting cruise missiles. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, P-3 crews using surveillance equipment and sensors could determine who or what was on the other side of a hill. Then a Marine riding on board would transmit that information directly to troops in contact on the ground.

But the versatility of the Orion has always been one of its strongest attributes. Today, Norwegian crews do much as they did during the Cold War, monitoring Russian ships and submarines coming out of the ice-free port of Murmansk and protecting Norwegian fishing grounds from poachers. Former Dutch P-3s now owned and operated by Germany are flown on antipiracy missions in Djibouti, while Australian P-3 crews have been conducting overland missions in Afghanistan since 2003.

In addition to military operators, two versions of the P-3 are flown by US Customs and Border Protection primarily for antidrug and homeland security missions. NASA acquired the YP3V prototype in 1966 and flew it until 1993. Today the agency has an NP-3B for scientific research missions. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, has two WP-3Ds, nicknamed Kermit and Miss Piggy, for weather research.

Although the P-8 is the US Navy’s designated replacement for the P-3, Orion crews will still be on station for several years to come. Upgraded EP-3E ARIES II electronic reconnaissance aircraft will be flown well into the 2020s.

But other operators intend to continue flying their P-3s for many more years. To get the Orion through at least its sixth decade of service, the P-3 Mid-Life Upgrade, or MLU, is a life extension kit that replaces the aircraft’s outer wings, center wing lower section, and horizontal stabilizer with new production components. The MLU removes all current P-3 airframe flight restrictions and provides 15,000 additional flight hours.

The US Navy has thirty-one MLU kits on order. Lockheed Martin builds the outer wings at its Marietta facility, and the kits are installed at the Fleet Readiness Center Southeast, the aviation depot at NAS Jacksonville, Florida. New wings are also being built for P-3s flown by Norway, Canada, Taiwan, and US Customs and Border Protection.

In one respect, the Orion has actually come full circle. The MLU replacement wings today are built on the exact same tooling that was used to build the wings for Bureau Number 148883, the first P3V-1 delivered to VP-8 fifty years ago.

Jeff Rhodes is the associate editor of Code One.


New videos on VP-4 and RIMPAC 2012

Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System (dvids) has two new videos up of VP-4. Please follow the links below to view the videos.

P-3 Orion crewmembers assigned to Patrol Squadron Four head out on a training mission during Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2012

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Lt. Sarah Hartman, a P-3 Orion tactical coordinator assigned to Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4), gives insight on an upcoming training mission during Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2012.

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DVIDS – News – VP-1 completes deployment at Naval Air Facility Misawa

VP-1 completes deployment at Naval Air Facility Misawa

via DVIDS – News – VP-1 completes deployment at Naval Air Facility Misawa.

Patrol Squadron (VP) 1 Command Master Chief Jesse Robles, right, originally from Fresno, Calif., and VP-8 Command Master Chief Frank King, from Abilene, Texas, discuss the impending turnover of their squadrons. VP-1, stationed out of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., is currently finishing up a six-month deployment at Naval Air Facility Misawa and is currently turning over deployment duties to VP-8, which arrived on station from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla. Both squadrons fly P-3 Orion aircraft.

NAVAL AIR FACILITY MISAWA, Japan – Patrol Squadron 1 completed a six-month deployment at Naval Air Facility Misawa, May 28, 2012, and officially turned over with VP-8.

The “Screaming Eagles” of VP-1, will now return to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, located in Oak Harbor, Wash., and VP-8, which comes from Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., will take over deployment duties for the next six months. Both squadrons fly P-3 Orion aircraft.

While primarily headquartered out of Misawa, VP-1 also had detachments at Kadena Air Base, Japan, and within the U.S. 4th Fleet Area of Responsibility.

VP-1 was the first squadron to deploy to Naval Air Facility Misawa in almost five years. After deploying regularly to the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR within the Middle East, many VP-1 Sailors found the deployment experience in northern Japan to be a nice change of pace.

“The P-3 can handle many kinds of mission sets, so when we previously deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR, we largely served as an Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platform. The two theaters are set up quite differently for the P-3.” said Lt. Cmdr. Curtis Cruthirds, a native of Pensacola, Fla., who serves as VP-1’s Commander, Task Group 72.4 Misawa Detachment Maintenance Officer. “In Misawa we still do ISR, but the main focus is Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW). P-3’s were built to chase submarines, and that’s what we focus on out here.”

In just six months time, VP-1 helped reestablish NAF Misawa as a strategically important site for patrol squadrons, and also laid the groundwork for future squadron deployments in northern Japan.

“We reestablished a Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft footprint in Misawa after a four-and-a-half-year hiatus,” said Lt. Cmdr. Scott Coonan, originally from Orange Park, Fla., who serves as VP-1’s Commander, Task Group 72.4 Misawa Detachment Officer in Charge. “We also established a great working relationship with our Japanese counterparts from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force’s (JMSDF) Fleet Air Wing 2.”

During their deployment, the squadron took part in numerous bilateral exercises with the JMSDF and the Republic of Korea Navy, but VP-1’s largest impact might have been through their support of the Taiwanese.

On April 21, 2012, crew members aboard a VP-1 aircraft helped rescue nine Taiwanese fishermen whose fishing vessel caught fire and began sinking off the coast of Guam.

The aircraft’s crew was able to locate the ship’s distress signal and dropped two inflatable rafts near the burning vessel. It also contacted a nearby ship to come in and aid the fishermen. The aircraft circled the area until the aiding ship rescued all nine of the boat’s crew members.

“The rescue was definitely a highlight during this deployment, as we don’t get a lot of opportunities to perform that mission set,” said Coonan. “We practice for it, and we are an asset that is easily capable of it, but we don’t get tasked to conduct it often. For the crew to execute the rescue so efficiently and with such success was very humbling and exciting for everyone on board VP-1.”

Also of note, VP-1 reestablished NAF Misawa as an Intermediate Maintenance Concept Inspection hub.

“Years ago, Misawa served as U.S. 7th Fleet’s IMC inspection hub, but with no P-3s in Misawa the past several years, Misawa’s P-3 IMC capability diminished,” said Cruthirds. “But since we’ve been back, we’ve conducted six inspections, one for every month we’ve been here.

“Every P-3 aircraft goes through this annual inspection, so it was a big coordination piece between us, the 35th Fighter Wing and NAF Misawa’s Safety Department,” he said. “Misawa is once again the main IMC hub for 7th Fleet.”

VP-1 Command Master Chief Jesse Robles said after previously deploying to desert-like locales within 5th Fleet’s AOR, his Sailors enjoyed their time in Misawa.

“Our guys loved being out here in Misawa,” said Robles, a native of Fresno, Calif. “Not just because of the climate, but the base itself. It had all the amenities we needed and it was all in walking distance. I think if anyone were to say they have the perfect place to deploy to, this would be it.”

With VP-1 now departing, “The Fighting Tigers” of VP-8 will now take on the mantle of P-3 operations in northern Japan.

VP-8 Command Master Chief Frank King said his squadron members are looking forward to a new deployment atmosphere.

“We’re absolutely excited to be here,” said King, a native of Abilene, Texas. “VP-8s last three or four deployments have been to the desert in the 5th Fleet AOR, so our Sailors are excited to see a new environment and are happy to be in Misawa.

“We look forward to continuing the successes that VP-1 started and building upon them,” he said. “We are eager to get flying and take on any missions the operational commander tasks us with.”


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VP-4 Changes Command (May 10, 2012)

Press Release
LTJG Jenna Rose
Patrol Squadron Four Public Affairs Officer


Commander Brent M. Strong relieved Commander Kevin D. Long as Commanding Officer of Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) on May 10, 2012 in a ceremony held at Hangar 104 on Marine Corps Base Hawaii.

Commander Long, originally from Eustis, Florida, reported to VP-4 in May 2010 and became the squadron’s 62nd Commanding Officer in May, 2011. Under his command, the squadron completed a split-site deployment to the 5th and 7th Fleets. On March 18, 2011, VP-4 forward-deployed to Misawa AB, Japan and in fewer than 24 hours re-established Commander Task Group 72.4 as an operational entity, flying the first U.S. humanitarian missions following the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in support of Operation TOMODACHI. Under his command, the Skinny Dragons provided 254 hours of critical humanitarian and disaster relief support to the Japanese people. The squadron was recognized for its success in numerous areas during Commander Long’s time as Commanding Officer receiving the 2011 Jay Isbell Trophy for ASW Excellence, the Golden Anchor for retention excellence, the Golden Shutter award, the Medical Blue “M” for outstanding medical readiness, and the Battle Efficiency Award (Battle “E”) for sustained superior performance in an operational environment.

Commander Long will continue his career in San Diego, California, with his wife the former Andrea L. Townsend and their children, Hayden and Sydney, working for the Commander Naval Air Forces, Pacific (COMNAVAIRPAC). When asked about his time serving as Commanding Officer, he stated, “This has been one of the most rewarding tours in my entire nineteen year career. The men and women of VP-4 are professional, hard-working Americans. I am very proud of each and every one of them.”

Commander Strong reported to VP-4 in May 2011 as the Executive Officer. A native of Kingman, Kansas, he graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Oceanography and went on to earn his wings after completing Naval Flight Officer training in 1996 at Randolph AFB in San Antonio, Texas. His tours include assignments to VP-9, VP-30 as an FRS instructor, and VP-46 as a Department Head.

Prior to reporting to VP-4, Commander Strong’s additional tours and schools included Flag Lieutenant to the Commander, RONALD REAGAN STRIKE GROUP; the Fleet Anti-Submarine Warfare Command in San Diego, CA where he wrote the IUT syllabus; the Joint Staff in Washington D.C., where he served as the Command and Control Action Officer for the J-6; and the Naval War College, where he earned his Master’s Degree in National Security and Strategic Studies and was selected by the President of the War College for the Halsey Group.

Commander Strong is married to the former Denise Jones of Severn, Maryland, and they have four children, Abigail, Caleb, Evan, and Sophie. When asked about becoming the newest Skinny Dragon Skipper, Commander Strong enthusiastically commented, “I am thrilled for the opportunity to lead Patrol Squadron FOUR. This squadron has a long history of greatness, from fighting in every war since its commission in 1928 to being recognized with the Battle Efficiency Award eleven times in the past fifty years, the Skinny Dragons are a blue collar squadron, which is not afraid to roll up its sleeves and get to work.” Commenting on the future of the Skinny Dragons, “We are anticipating a deployment in about six months, but before departing, we have a number of inspections and two major exercises, including Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) and Valiant Shield, to complete prior to obtaining our deployment certification,” he continued, “I couldn’t be more proud of the squadron having witnessed, as the Executive Officer, all it accomplished over the course of the past year, and I truly believe it has earned its motto, ‘Hawaii’s Best’.”

Replacing Commander Strong as Executive Officer, Commander Jason C. Stapleton reported to VP-4 with over 3000 flying hours in the P-3C Orion. He has a BS in History and a MA in National Security. He reports after working for the Joint Staff in Washington D.C. as an Action Officer in the Command, Control, Communications and Computer Systems (J-6) Directorate and as Action Officer in the Force Structure, Resources, and Assessment (J-8) Directorate. CDR Stapleton is married to the former Cynthia Maceluch of Mobile, Alabama, and they have two daughters, Meredith and Caroline.

VP-4 Wins 2012 Anti-Submarine Warfare Fleet Challenge

April 24, 2012
LTJG Jenna Rose
Public Affairs Officer
Patrol Squadron Four

VP-4 Wins 2012 Anti-Submarine Warfare Fleet Challenge

Last week during the annual Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (MPRF) Symposium at NAS Jacksonville, FL VP-4’s Combat Aircrew One (CAC-1) was named the winner of the 2012 Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) Fleet Challenge. Nine CACs participated in the event from across the fleet including crews from CPRW-2 (Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing Two) at MCAS Kaneohe Bay, CPRW-10 at NAS Whidbey Island, and CPRW-11 at NAS Jacksonville. In addition, a Canadian CP-140 Aurora 405 from Squadron 14 Wing Greenwood and the P-8A Poseidon took part in the event. This was the first time the P-8A Poseidon, the replacement aircraft to the P-3C Orion, participated in the Fleet Challenge. Additionally, there were also Australian and Japanese riders that observed the flights onboard the U.S. P-3C Orions.

The ASW Fleet Challenge consisted of two evaluations. The first took place in the P-3C Orion simulator, known as the Tactical Operational Readiness Trainer (TORT). In this realistic trainer, crews executed standardized tactics in order to prosecute a diesel submarine. After completing the simulator portion, the CACs performed a flight event where they detected, localized, tracked, and conducted simulated attacks on a Los Angeles-class attack submarine off the northeast Florida coast. When asked about the weeklong challenge, AWO2 Sean Wawrzyniec, CAC-1 Acoustic Operator, stated, “It was good to go back to Jacksonville and visit with everyone. It was a great experience to be able to compete with my peers in other squadrons.”

During the competition, each aircrew position; consisting of a Plane Commander, Tactical Coordinator, two Acoustic Operators, and a Radar Operator; was evaluated on performance. “The evaluators looked very hard at our planning, prosecution, and crew resource management (CRM), which strengthens the fact that if a crew works well together, you get good results,” stated AWOCS Stanley Lenover, CAC-1 Radar Operator. “I was pleased to have a newly trained and qualified sensor one acoustic operator perform so well. It is a signature of our training plan when a brand new sensor one operator can compete with other seasoned operators. It is a privilege for us as senior operators and instructors to know how our training impacts our junior sailors, ultimately paving the way for the future.”

VP-4’s CAC-1 won the event, and Rear Admiral Michael Hewitt, Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, awarded the championship belt to them at the MPRF Flight Suit Social on March 30, 2012. When asked about his crew’s performance, Tactical Coordinator and Mission Commander, Lieutenant Justin Jennings remarked, “We were excited for our crew to represent VP-4 and Wing Two at Fleet Challenge. The competition was tough and I’m proud of the job our crew did. It was an honor to be recognized as the Fleet Challenge Champions.”

Patrol Squadron Four (VP-4) is located at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay. The squadron flies the P-3C Orion and is better known as the Skinny Dragons. The P-3C is land-based and the Navy’s premier long-range maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, operating from locations throughout the world. The P-3C Orion missions range from submarine tracking to search and rescue, as well as overland missions, working alongside Navy, Army and Marine ground units.

Combat Aircrew One of Patrol Squadron Four, Fleet Challenge Champions. The Championship Belt was awarded at the MPA Flight Suit social on March 30. Pictured from left to right: AWOCS Stanley Lenover, LTJG Mario Tarver, LTJG Kathryn Robertson, LT Alex Dulude, LT Doug Marsh, AWO2 Sean Wawrzyniec with the Championship Belt, LT Justin Jennings, AWOC Brian Humphrey, AWVC E.J. Hopper, AWF3 Kerry Kerns, and AWF3 Tyler Campbell. Photo taken by MC1 Nathan Laird.


Skinny Dragons Take a Stand Against Sexual Assault

23 April 2012
LTJG Jenna Rose
VP-4 Public Affairs Officer

Skinny Dragons Take a Stand Against Sexual Assault

April was Sexual Assault Awareness Month and VP-4 was busy increasing awareness throughout the squadron. On Friday, April 13th, the entire squadron spent part of the day executing training on sexual assault awareness. In addition to participating in Navy-wide regulated training, the squadron has also been active in promoting awareness through a variety of events. On April 16th, the Skinny Dragons partnered with the Golden Eagles of VP-9 for “One Sweet Day,” where they had a bake sale and conducted an educational session. Both squadrons’ Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) program coordinators were joined by Ms. Sheri Freeman, the regional Sexual Awareness Response Coordinator (SARC) and Ms. Brenda Huntsinger the SAPR Program Manager for Kaneohe Marine Corps Base.

In addition to enjoying delicious baked goods that ranged from cookies to cupcakes, everyone received information and fliers promoting prevention of sexual assault through training. Additionally, the event reinforced the commitment of the squadron to maintain a workplace environment that rejects sexual assault and reinforces a culture of prevention, response and accountability. The event brought in a total of $123.00, which will be donated to Hawaii Region SAPR Program and Sex Abuse Treatment Center at Kapiolani Medical Center.

When asked about the turnout for the event, Chief Baby Wakefield stated, “The event went very well. I was surprised to see how many people turned out not only for the baked goods but also to learn about our program. It was also a great event because we were able to partner with VP-9 to promote sexual assault awareness and pass information about future events.”

Additionally, the SAPR team sponsored a free 5k fun run on Friday, April 20th for the entire command. The five kilometer run was conducted at Fort Hase beach. The winners, first through third in both male and female categories, were AEAN John Ciralli, AWV3 Matthew Carrell, ISSN Jeffrey Torrance, PR3 Candace Tramel, LS1 Meibol Kushiyama, and LSC Baby Wakefield. In addition to getting some early morning exercise, the Skinny Dragons also demonstrated their support for the SAPR program.

The events provided a good time while offering valuable insight to the SAPR program and its importance in the command. Everyone received the program’s message, “Hurts One, Affects All. Prevention of Sexual Assault is Everyone’s Duty,” further strengthening the squadron’s commitment against sexual assault.

AD2 Michael Espinoza and AWF1 Thomas Van Mun enjoying “One Sweet Day” with the regional SARC Ms. Sheri Freeman and SAPR Program Manager for MCBH Kaneohe Brenda Huntsinger. Photo taken by MC1 Nathan Laird.

76th commander leads the Grey Knights – Whidbey News Times

76th commander leads the Grey Knights – Whidbey News Times.

Whidbey News Times Whidbey Crosswinds
MAY 8, 2012 · UPDATED 1:35 PM

KATHY REED/WHIDBEY NEWS-TIMES A suit of armor, the symbol of the Grey Knights of Maritime Patrol Squadron 46, stands as a sentinel at the edge of the podium as officers salute during a change of command ceremony Friday, May 4 at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island.

The Grey Knights of Maritime Patrol Squadron (VP) 46 continued a long tradition Friday on Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. For the 76th time, leadership of VP-46 was passed from one commander to the next.

Capt. Peter Garvin, Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 10, guest speaker for the event, lauded the men and women of VP-46 and their outgoing leader, Cmdr. James Jacobs.

“It has been a truly fantastic year for VP-46,” Garvin said. “How you conduct your daily business is as telling as the accolades you receive. You have met every challenge and I have no doubt you will continue to excel.”

Garvin told Jacobs he had led America’s oldest maritime patrol squadron exceptionally well, and offered words of encouragement to incoming Cmdr. Christopher Kijek.

“Without a doubt, I know this squadron will thrive under your leadership,” he said.

Retired Vice Adm. Barry Costello, who presented the change of command address, also had high praise for Jacobs, whom he recruited to work for him during his time in the Navy.

“Hiring James Jacobs was the best personnel decision I made in 34 years,” said Costello. He went on to share several positive conversations he’d had with various Navy officials over the past several months regarding Jacobs.

“I say these things in reference to your commanding officer, because he would say his success is totally because of all of you,” Costello told the men and women of VP-46. “To you, Grey Knights, well done — your reputation around the world is excellent.

“As one great commander moves forward, another steps up to the plate,” Costello continued. “Cmdr. Kijek is ready to step up.”

For his part, Cmdr. Jacobs extended his thanks and appreciation to several people in the audience and on the podium, including Commodore Garvin, Vice Adm. Costello, Capt. Jay Johnston, commanding officer of NAS Whidbey Island and the officers and sailors of the Grey Knights.

“You are some of the finest Americans I’ve served with in 18 years,” Jacobs said. “VP-46 understands the meaning of mission. VP-46 understands the meaning of execution. VP-46 understands the meaning of hard work and dedication.

“You all know what’s expected of you and you all know what to do,” he continued. “Now you just have to go do it. Remember, legacy is not gifted, or even earned, but built on excellence, teamwork and dedication. Work hard to continue the proud legacy of being the oldest and the best.”

With that, Jacobs read his orders, immediately followed by the Grey Knights’ new leader, Cmdr. Kijek, who also read his orders and then told the crowd he was honored to take the helm of VP-46.

“To the men and women who serve, there is no greater honor than to be your commanding officer,” he said. “The greatest nation on earth has entrusted me with its greatest treasure.”

In closing, Kijek said he would do everything in his power to continue to honor the legacy of the Grey Knights.