Category Archives: Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Group

Posts about Patrol and Reconnaissance Group and other VP related information

Commanding Officer of VQ-1 Relieved

The commanding officer of Naval Air Station Whidbey Island’s Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 1, Cmdr. Jeffrey Wissel, has been relieved of duty while allegations of personal misconduct are investigated.

A brief statement released by Commander, Naval Air Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet said Wissel was relieved late Monday afternoon by Vice Adm. Allen G. Myers.

Executive officer, Cmdr. David Sauve, has assumed command of VQ-1 pending the outcome of the investigation.

“The responsibility of officers in command of their units, their sailors and their mission is absolute; we take their performance very seriously,” the statement read. “Our standards of conduct and performance for commanding officers are extremely high.”

Wissel took command of VQ-1 in April, 2011.

War Eagles Build Ties in Thailand

War Eagles Build Ties in Thailand.

War Eagles Build Ties in Thailand
By Lt. j.g. Michael Glynn, VP-16 Public Affairs
Posted: February 21, 2012


UTAPAO, Thailand – Sailors from the War Eagles of Patrol Squadron (VP) 16 visited Thailand to build regional cooperation and conduct training Feb 6-12.

Click for a closer look.

UTAPAO, Thailand (Feb. 9, 2012) – Lt. Cmdr. Frank Loethen, a mission commander and tactical coordinator assigned to the War Eagles of Patrol Squadron (VP) 16, as explains his duties to Royal Thai navy aviators inside a P-3C Orion. VP-16 is supporting Thailand Sea Surveillance Survey (SEASURVEX) 2012, an annual Thai-U.S. co-sponsored joint exercise designed to enhance interoperability and relations between the Royal Thai navy and U.S. Navy. (U.S. Navy photo)

“Training and sharing ideas with our partners in Thailand was a great experience,” said VP-16 Executive Officer Cmdr. Molly Boron. “It is opportunities like this where U.S. crews practice with our partners, garnering a new perspective and understanding that pays off in the long run with on-station performance when needed.”

War Eagles’ aircrew and maintainers conducted two symposiums with service members of the Royal Thai Navy, sharing their perspectives and experiences in operating P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft.

“We’re here to strengthen our ties and enhance our interoperability with the Thai Navy,” said Lt. Cmdr Frank Loethen, to Royal Thai Naval officers during the aircrew symposium.

VP-16 and Thai aviators also discussed capabilities and limitations that appear or happen when conducting joint operations.

Maintenance personnel met with their Thai counterparts in the 102 Squadron of the Royal Thai Navy and exchanged troubleshooting techniques, which help keep the aging airframes in an extremely high state of readiness.

“The chance to meet and work side by side with maintainers of my own background from a different country was an experience I’ll always remember,” said Aviation Structural Mechanic 1st Class Aaron Roberts.

War Eagles’ aircrew flew a training mission with Thai counterparts on board a P-3C Orion that focused on improving maritime domain awareness. The training exercise allowed an opportunity to display capabilities and compare operational experiences, which was beneficial to both parties.

VP-16 operates P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft designed as a land-based, long-range, anti-submarine warfare (ASW) patrol aircraft, with missions that include surveillance of the battlespace, either at sea or over land.

The VP-16 is homeported ashore at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla. and is currently deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa. VP-16 flies reconnaissance and surveillance missions in support of Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet.

Hangar One’s future needs to be addressed now

Original Article: Fate of Silicon Valley icon hangs in limbo – Therese Polettis Tech Tales – MarketWatch.

By Therese Poletti, MarketWatch

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Anyone who has driven through Silicon Valley has seen the strange concrete and steel hangar that looms just off Highway 101 like an above-ground bunker.

Hangar One, on the former Moffett Field military base adjacent to Mountain View, is large in every sense of the word: it is nearly two hundred feet high, longer than the length of three football fields and 308 feet wide. See slideshow of vintage Hangar One images.

To a few it is an eyesore. But to many, the 79-year-old icon represents what helped create Silicon Valley — engineering and technological prowess, important moments in aeronautics and defense history, marred by the vestiges of an environmental mess.

Built to house Navy dirigibles in 1933, Hangar One is endangered again. An ongoing cleanup to remove the hangar’s toxic siding and save it from demolition lacks funding to finish the job properly. In September, the founders of Google Inc.GOOG -0.30% offered to foot the bill of $33 million or more, through a company that runs their fleet of private planes.

But NASA Ames Research, which owns the hangar and the former military base, has let their offer to pay for the cost to “reskin” the hangar dangle like a moored airship, hovering in the wind.

“We are going to have to reconsider our proposal,” said Ken Ambrose, director of operations for H211, which operates the fleet of seven planes owned by Google Chief Executive Larry Page, co-founder Sergey Brin and chairman Eric Schmidt. “I guess trying to be efficient is out of the federal government’s lexicon.”

The caveat of the offer is that the Google founders want to store their fleet in Hangar One, a 10-minute drive from the Googleplex. The fleet includes a Boeing 767-200 jet airliner; the rest are smaller planes. The H211 company is among a small number of companies and federal agencies with permission to use the former naval airfield. Moffett Field is also where Air Force One lands on President Obama’s Bay Area visits.

Chas. Dye

Air Force One on one of the two airstrips at Moffett Field, with a partially unskinned Hangar One in the background, on Sept. 25, 2011.

A spokesman for NASA Ames said the discussions about the hangar’s future “are being worked at the top levels of government,” perhaps meaning that the White House is involved. “We are optimistic we are heading in the right direction and doing what’s best for the local community,” said spokesman Michael Mewhinney. “We hope to reach a decision later this year.”

Both Ambrose of H211 and locals trying to preserve Hangar One, which is part of an historic district on the National Register and a California civil engineering landmark, said a decision needs to happen soon. The Navy, the hangar’s former owners, has contractors now working on a massive cleanup and removal of the old siding to remove asbestos, PCBs, and other toxic contaminants. The job is about half finished. But the Navy doesn’t have to invest in and install a new skin back on the hangar after the removal is finished, which could expose or damage the steel skeleton.

“The fear is that if the building remains uncovered, it will deteriorate,” said Lenny Siegel, who founded the Save Hangar One committee and is a local environmental advocate. “It’s my belief, but I can’t prove it, that the H211 proposal is snagged in bureaucracy. It’s the larger question of the future of Moffett Field as part of NASA. D.C. thinks of Moffett as a nuisance and not part of their mission. It’s useful, but not a necessity.”

On Monday, NASA’s budget for fiscal 2013 was announced. NASA Ames was spared any cuts. In fact, its budget got a slight increase to $711 million from $690 million in 2012, in part due to the costs to maintain its older buildings. The NASA Ames spokesman declined to comment further on Hangar One and said the decision is being made in Washington.

In addition to potential deterioration if the famous hangar is left uncovered with only a coat of paint, another more ominous problem is at stake. “That is only a temporary measure,” Ambrose said. “As the elements wear on the paint, all those contaminants get into the groundwater again.”

The Navy has also set up a multi-million dollar scaffolding system around the giant structure for the removal project that could be efficiently used again to install new, non-toxic siding on the hangar.

A storied past

Hangar One was initially built to house the USS Macon, one of the largest rigid dirigibles, or airships, that used non-flammable helium to keep afloat. Germany’s successful reconnaissance missions with the rigid airships — called Zeppelins after their inventor — during World War I spurred their adoption in the U.S., England, France and Italy in the 1920s. Dirigibles were valued for their speed and ability to travel long distances without refueling.

The Macon arrived at Hangar One in 1933 and was used for surveillance missions until it crashed into the ocean in a storm off the coast of Point Sur in 1935. All but two of its crew were saved.

Two years later, in 1937, the young airship industry, which by then was exploring Zeppelins for passenger travel, would collapse completely with the disastrous explosion of the hydrogen-filled Hindenberg. Today, new designs of safer airships are undergoing something of a revival for alternative transport of goods, terrain exploration, and again, for military reconnaissance.

Moffett Field Historical Society

In this 1934 U.S. Navy photo, the USS Macon arrives at Hangar One.

“It’s an asset that can not be easily re-created,” said Brian Hall, CEO of Airship Ventures, which uses Hangar Two on Moffett Field, for its Eureka airship. His company, which also offers passenger Zeppelin rides, had its airship built in Germany. See previous column on Airship Ventures

If Hangar One is properly restored it could also be used to build, test or maintain other airships in this burgeoning “airship village,” Hall noted, because of its size and steel frame. In 2010, Northrop Grumman NOC +0.59% won a $517 million contract to build three airships for the U.S. Army. “Why is all this business going to the East Coast?” Hall said.

The USS Macon and Hangar One put Moffett Field on the map, the first inklings of the local defense industry that helped create Silicon Valley.

“It’s an imposing structure,” said Bill Stubkjaer, curator at the Moffett Field Historical Society. “This is almost the beginning of Silicon Valley….If Moffett wasn’t here, I don’t think NASA would have been here and if NASA wasn’t here, I don’t think Lockheed would have been here. This has really led the transformation of Mountain View and Sunnyvale from farming communities to a center of high tech.”

As NASA dawdles, the locals stew, and time passes. And who knows how long H211’s offer will last?

“This is a situation that needs a decision,” Ambrose said.

Therese Poletti is a senior columnist for MarketWatch in San Francisco.

VP-4 awarded Battle ‘E’ for 2011!

COMNAVAIRFOR Announces 2011 Aviation Battle ‘E’ Winners.

COMNAVAIRFOR Announces 2011 Aviation Battle ‘E’ Winners
By Commander, Naval Air Forces Public Affairs

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF) announced the winners of the 2011 Aviation Battle Efficiency (Battle “E”) awards Feb. 10.

The aviation Battle “E” is the Navy’s top performance award presented to the aircraft carrier and aviation squadron in each competitive category that achieves the highest standards of performance readiness and efficiency. The award recognizes a unit’s training and operational achievements while including a balance that incentivizes efficiency.

USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) was the Battle “E” winner of the aircraft carrier category for the West Coast while the USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) won for the East Coast.

“The warfighting excellence shown by these squadrons and the Vinson and the Bush proves them to be the best of the best. I am incredibly proud of their accomplishments,” said Vice Adm. Al Myers, CNAF commander. “In a time of increased demand and a constrained fiscal environment, these Sailors, Officers and Aviators continue to deliver combat effectiveness and to display the professionalism and pride that is the hallmark of Naval Aviation.”

In the aviation squadron competitions, each aviation Type-Commander selects a winner in every category, while CNAF selects the Navy-wide winners, resulting in three sets of recipients.

The 2011 Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic squadrons selected as Battle “E” winners are:

Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 15, “Valions”, for the VFA-C category
Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 136, “Knighthawks”, for the VFA-E/F category
Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 141, “Shadow Hawks”, for the VAQ CVW category
Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 124, “Bear Aces”, for the VAW category
Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 9, “Tridents”, for the HS/HSC category
Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 42, “Proud Warriors”, for the HSL EXP category
Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28, “Dragon Wales”, for the HSC EXP category
Patrol Squadron (VP) 10, “Red Lancers”, for the VP category

The 2011 Commander, Naval Air Force Pacific Fleet squadrons selected as Battle “E” winners are:

Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 151, “Vigilantes”, for the VFA-C category
Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 2, “Bounty Hunters”, for the VFA-E/F category
Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 131, “Lancers”, for the VAQ CVW category
Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, “Black Eagles”, for the VAW category
Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4, “Black Knights”, for the HS/HSC category
Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light (HSL) 37, “Easy Riders”, for the HSL EXP category
Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 23, “Wildcards”, for the HSC EXP category
Patrol Squadron (VP) 4, “Skinny Dragons”, for the VP category

The 2011 CNAF squadrons selected as Battle “E” winners are:

Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 132, “Scorpions”, for the VAQ EXP category
Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 77, “Saberhawks”, for the HSM category
Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15 “Blackhawks”, for the HM category
Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 2 “Rangers”, for the VQ EW category
Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 4, “Shadows”, for the VQ TACAMO category
Patrol Squadron Special Projects Unit (VPU) 1, “Pirates”, for the VPU category
Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30 “Providers”, for the VRC category

The Battle “E” competition is conducted to strengthen individual command performance, overall force readiness, and to recognize outstanding performance within the naval aviation force.

Grading metrics for attaining the Battle “E” award include: Operational achievement, training, inspection accomplishments, material and personnel readiness, aviation safety, weapon systems and tactics development, and contributions to the aviation community.

Each member attached to a winning ship or squadron earns the right to wear the Battle “E” ribbon on their uniform, or if they already posses that ribbon, they can add an additional “E” device to the ribbon.

P-8A makes debut in Bold Alligator exercise

P-8A makes debut in Bold Alligator exercise – Navy News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq – Navy Times.

P-8A makes debut in Bold Alligator exercise


By Christopher P. Cavas – Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Feb 7, 2012 19:18:47 EST

Swooping low over the aircraft carrier Enterprise, the Navy’s newest jet looks every bit a war craft, with little to belie its commercial airliner lineage or current test missions.

The P-8A Poseidon maritime multi-mission aircraft apparently made its first appearance in an operational, fleet exercise Feb. 3 when it began flying sorties in support of Exercise Bold Alligator, the largest amphibious exercise in a decade, now taking place along the coasts of Virginia and North Carolina.

The P-8A flew 20 missions in support of the Enterprise and its strike group, and another 14 sorties operating with the amphibious strike group and Marine expeditionary forces, according to U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Va.

That’s a departure from the extensive P-8A flight test programs being flown by Air Test and Evaluation Squadrons 1 and 20 (VX-1 and VX-20) from Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md.

Sporting a spiffy sinking submarine logo on its tail, the VX-1 P-8A photographed from the Enterprise is known as “T-6,” the last of six test and evaluation aircraft delivered to the Navy by Boeing. It was accepted by the Navy and arrived at Pax River on Jan. 17, said LaToya Graddy, a spokesperson for Naval Air Systems Command.

The aircraft also will be used in upcoming operational test exercises set to begin this summer, she added.

The P-8 is under development by the Navy to replace the venerable, turbo-prop P-3 Orion.

DVIDS – News – Commander, patrol and reconnaissance forces visits ‘War Eagles’

By: Lt. j.g. Michael Glynn
VP-16 Public Affairs

OKINAWA, Japan – Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Forces 5th and 7th Fleet, paid a visit to Patrol Squadron (VP) 16 Jan. 5-6.

Rear Adm. Sean Buck, held an all-hands “Admiral’s Cal”’ with the “War Eagles” to answer questions and gain deck-plate perspective.

Rear Adm. Sean Buck, commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Forces 5th and 7th Fleet, addresses sailors from Patrol Squadron (VP) 16 during an all-hands "Admiral's Call." VP-16 is currently forward-deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. (Photo by: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Giuliana Mandigo)

“It’s exciting to be visiting the ‘War Eagles,’ said Buck. “They’ve had a phenomenal start to their deployment, and it’s the result of a year of hard work. What they’ve brought to the 7th Fleet is working.”

He also fielded questions on future changes in the maritime patrol community and security in the Western Pacific.

“It’s great to focus on the future of maritime patrol and reconnaissance,” commented Buck. “VP-16 is leading the transition to the P-8A Poseidon. The future of MPRA is very bright.”

VP-16 is a maritime patrol squadron that conducts routine security, surveillance, and reconnaissance missions. The squadron operates the P-3C Orion and is based ashore at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla.

VP-16 is currently forward-deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa and flies in support of Commander, U.S. 7th Fleet.

99 Years and Counting of Family Service from

View the original article here: 99 Years and Counting of Family Service |

WASHINGTON — Commander, Fleet Air Forward and Patrol Reconnaissance Force 5th and 7th Fleets, promoted his son, now a new lieutenant attached to Patrol Squadron Eight in Jacksonville, Fla., during a ceremony held in Sarasota, Fla., Dec. 21.

The promotion was just the latest event in a long tradition of naval service for the Buck family.

Rear Adm. Sean Buck officiated the promotion of his son, Jeff, from lieutenant junior grade to lieutenant in front of the symbolic World War II “Unconditional Surrender” statue in downtown Sarasota. Both are naval flight officers (NFO) in the P-3C Orion aviation community.

Retired Navy Capt. Edward Guy Buck, also a career naval aviator, pinned the lieutenant bars on his grandson.

“I am so happy to be a part of my grandson’s promotion ceremony,” stated the retired captain. “Our family is filled with naval service, and the tradition of serving our great country proudly carries on in the Buck family.”

A Sarasota resident, the eldest Buck is a member of the U.S. Naval Academy’s class of 1948, who served 30 years as a pilot in the P-2V Neptune community after receiving his commission. The P-2V was the predecessor of the modern P-3C.

His first duty station was Patrol Squadron 26 in Patuxent River, Md., the same squadron that his son Sean would later lead as both executive officer and commanding officer.

From 1959-1963, he was attached to the Bureau of Naval Weapons in Wash., D.C., where he served as initiating program manager for Project A-New. That project began the transformation of all aircraft electronic devices from analog to digital systems, which are currently in use in the aircraft the younger Bucks fly in today.

Naval service in the Buck family goes beyond these three men. Buck and his wife Maryln’s eldest son, Edward Jr., also served in the Navy. Maryln’s father, Arthur F. Whittier, another Navy veteran, enlisted in 1913 and retired in 1950 as a lieutenant commander. Buck’s brother, A. Lester Buck, graduated from the Naval Academy in 1945 and served in the submarine force.

Additionally, Buck introduced his sister, Ann Clements, to now-retired Rear Adm. Neal Clements, who served more than 30 years in the Civil Engineer Corps. The Clements had two sons who graduated from the Naval Academy.

“Today is a great day for our Navy, our family and for the newest lieutenant in the United States Navy, Lieutenant Jeff Buck. Ninety-nine years of naval service and counting,” proudly stated Rear Adm. Buck.


Orions of Arabia

The following is a re-print of an article from NAVAL AVIATION NEWS September-October 1991


Orions of Arabia
Patrol Squadrons in Desert Shield/Storm
By LCdr. Rick Burgess

The following account is consolidated from articles and press releases from LCdr. Mike L’Abbe (PAO, Commander Patrol Wings, Atlantic), Ens. Chinastas Mangronos (PAO, Commander Patrol Wing One), and LTjg. Jake Elston and Ens. Randy Schriver of VP-1 and VP-4.


In Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the job of the US Naval forces deployed in support of the US Central Command (CENTCOM) was tremendously simplified by the total lack of submariner’s in the Iraqi Navy. However, the U.S. Navy’s patrol squadrons (VPs) did not sit idle during operations for lack of a mission; in fact, their performance in the antishipping and surveillance role in support of the economic sanctions and battle group operations is the story of one qualified success.

First on the Scene

When Iraqi forces rolled into Kuwait on August 2, 1990, VP-1, home based at NAS Barbers Point, Hawaii, was settled into a routine deployment to NAS Cubi Point in the Philippines, with a detachment in Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. Within 48 hours, some of the squadrons P3-C Orions were positioned to an airfield on Al Masirah, an island off the coast of Oman, with the rest of the squadron redeploying from Cubi to Diego Garcia. There, VP-1’s CO, Cmdr. Bill Eckardt, became Commander Task Group (CTG) 72.8, and the XO Cmdr. J. H. Miller, established Task Unit 72.8.3 at Al Masirah. VP-1’s crews were the first American forces to arrive in the Persian Gulf region to augment the six ships of the Middle East Force.

The P-3s immediately began surveillance flights to enforce economic sanctions against Iraq. When the independence (CV – 62) battle group arrived in the North Arabian Sea on August 6, the detachment quickly blended its operations with the battle group. A Mobile Operations Command Center (MOCC) was transported from Barbers Point to Al Masirah and set up in a tent to serve as the focal point of the maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) operations in the Persian Gulf. P-3C Update I aircraft and crews from VP-19, deployed to NAF Misawa, Japan, from NAS Moffett Field, California, arrived in short order to augment VP-1. 12 days after the invasion, another attachment was established in Jeddah, a base on the Red Sea coast of Saudi Arabia. Jeddah would serve as the base for surveillance patrols of the Red Sea.


From Al Masirah and Jeddah the P-3s ranged all over the Persian Gulf and Red Sea as key elements of the Maritime Interdiction Force, locating and identifying shipping and vectoring coalition warships to interceptions, often involving inspection and boarding. These operations were successfully blended with Royal Air Force Nimrod and French Aeronvale Atlantique MPA, which were also deployed to the region in support of Desert Shield. The radar and infrared detection sets (IRDS) on the P-3s became important sensors in the interdiction effort. Regarding one ship, the IRDS was able to detect painted out Iraqi markings under newly painted false Egyptian markings foiling the deception effort. P-3s were also used to escort convoys from the Suez Canal through the Red Sea, and to provide antiterrorist protection to the battle groups at night. P-3 crews used handheld VHF radios to interrogate thousands of merchant ships on their identities and cargoes “it was like dialing an international operator and asking for anywhere – you knew English was going in, but you never knew what language was going to come out,” according to AW3 Darrell Wooley.

During desert shield the combined efforts of coalition MPA patrols resulted in the interception of over 6,300 ships. In one highly publicized incident Barak attempted to label the supply ship Ibn Khaldoon a “peace ship” in order to circumvent the embargo. P-3s tracked this vessel continually, leading to its boarding by the crew of a U.S. Navy warship.

Atlantic Augment

On September 23, 1990, CENTCOM requested and MPA augment from the U.S. Atlantic Command. NAS Brunswick, Main based VP-23, maintaining a detachment at NAS Bermuda, was ordered to send a detachment to Jeddah. Three P-3C Update IIs, led by VP-23 C.O., Commander Brown Word, were positioned at King Faisal Naval Base to relieve the VP-1 detachment at Jeddah. With this change, operational command of the det. now named Detachment Charlie, came under Rear Admiral Peter Cressy, Commander Task Force 67. On October 31, VP-11, then deployed to NAS Sigonella, Sicily, sent a detachment of P-3C Update II.5s under Lieutenant Commander William Martin to Jeddah to relive the VP-23 det. by then Lieutenant Commander Joseph Julius. As part of normal rotation, VP-8 relieved VP-11 at Sigonella and on December 7 assumed operation of Detachment Charlie. VP-8’s P-3C Update II.5s, under Lieutenant Commander Mark Kirk and Later Lieutenant Commander Paul Hulley, remained the core of the detachment throughout Desert Storm.

The interdiction effort was not limited to the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Tracking shipping of interest in the Mediterranean was a major activity of VP-11 and later VP-8 from Sigonella, as well as the P-3C Update IIIs of VP-45 and later VP-5, deployed to Rota, Spain, from NAS Jacksonville, Fla.

Building for the Storm

As Desert Shield proceeded, the MPA force in the Middle East was changing and growing. By late August Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 1 established an EP-3E detachment at Bahrain. By mid-September, a detachment from Barbers Point based Patrol Special Projects Unit (VPU) 2 arrived in theater with reconnaissance-specialized P-3s (VPU-1 at Brunswick would also send P3’s later to the Gulf region). On November 10, as a normal rotation, Barbers Point based VP-4 (with P-3C Update I’s) relieved VP -1 at Diego Garcia and Al Masirah. VP-4 C.O. Commander Bob Cunningham, took over CTG 72.8 and his X.O. Commander Carlos Badger, assumed the det. at Al Masirah. VP-19 continued its augment from Misawa, and additional P-3C Update IIIs and crews from Moffett Field based VPs 40 and 46 also joined in, as well as one plane and crew from each of the reserve units VP-91 and VP Master Augment Unit, Moffett. The MOCC at Al Masirah was beefed up with watch officers, intelligence specialist, and support personnel from Diego Garcia and reserve unit ASWOC-1080 from Moffett field. Captain Phil Lenfant, Commander Task Force 72, Seventh Fleet’s operational commander for the MPA, exercised command over the force.

By January 1991, with the number of carrier battle groups deployed to the theater about to increase from four to six, the MP a force in the region was well exercise than ready for the storm to come. On January 4 round-the-clock surveillance missions in the northern Persian Gulf began. Using radar and special optical sensors, P-3s were used to pinpoint military targets along the Iraqi and Kuwaiti coasts.

Lethal Partnership

When the war began on January 17, P-3s were providing 65 hours of support per day for the battle groups in the Persian Gulf. In addition to defensive surveillance for the battle groups, P-3s went on the offensive and formed a “lethal partnership” with the carrier base strike aircraft that scourged the Iraqi Navy.

Some of the P-3s operating the Gulf were equipped with the APS-137 inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR), which not only detects targets over the horizon but provides images of the target in sufficient detail for the operator to classify the type. ISAR proved especially effective in detecting small craft in the coastal waterways and among the oil rigs the clutter the Gulf. Combining ISAR information with highly accurate locating data from the Global Positioning System made for extremely valid target solutions. Positioned in the northern Gulf, ISAR equipped P-3s routinely detected Iraqi vessels, informed the battle group commander using the P-3s extensive communication suite, and often vectored A-6 and FA-18 jets in for the kill. This model hunter killer coordination in 31 separate engagements resulted in the confirm destruction of 53 of the 105 Iraqi vessels put out of action during the war.

During one 34 hour period, P-3s provided the detection and target locating information that resulted in a substantial reduction in the Iraqi Navy’s offense of capability. A group of 15 Iraqi vessels heading for Maridim Island, an outpost in Kuwaiti hands was detected by VP-4s Crew Five, who vectored strike aircraft against the force, resulting in five ships sunk and seven more damaged. This effort ended what would be Iraqis last seaborne assault.

Hours later, VP-4s Crew 2 detected a group of Iraqi vessels attempting a rapid transit from Iraqi ports around Bubiyan Island, apparently trying to reach the safety of Iranian territorial waters. P-3s from VPs 4, 19, and 45 provided the target locations for the strike aircraft which destroyed 11 Iraqi vessels in what has been named the Battle of Bubiyan.

The Orions were also used in a variety of other roles, including mine hunting and tracking the physicians of oil slicks in the Persian Gulf.

“When’s the Next Launch?”

The pace of were meant a grueling flight schedule, but the VP detachments never missed a sortie, eight tribute to the superb efforts of maintenance personnel operating from limited facilities at the end of a long supply chain. The dedication of the VP detachment personnel was noted with pleasure by Cdr. Cunningham: “I have never been prouder of any group of airmen – both officer and enlisted – as these of Task Group 72.8… they proved themselves in the skies above the Gulf. When they landed all they want to know was when their next launch was!”.

From the outbreak of hostilities on January 17 until the provisional cease-fire on February 27, the VP detachments flew 3,787 hours in 369 combat sorties. The end of the fighting did not mean an end to patrols, however. The detachments remain in place providing shipping surveillance to enforce the sanctions. As during Desert Shield VP-17 relieved VP-4 at Al Masirah in May, and VP-10 took over Detachment Charlie from VP-8 in June. VP-5 has also supplied aircraft and crews to Detachment Charlie.

Maritime patrol operations during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm proved to be a paragon of flexibility, providing the vital link between the antisurface warfare commander and his strike forces. Rear Admiral Ronald Zlatoper, Antisurface Warfare Commander for Battle Force Zulu in the Persian Gulf, congratulated the MPA forces for their achievements: “… You contributed directly to the destruction of the Iraqi Navy by detecting, identifying, and targeting hostile surface contacts. Your continuous operations were critical to the offensive operations of Battle Force Zulu during Operation Desert Storm.”

‘War Eagles’ pack for Pacific deployment |

‘War Eagles’ pack for Pacific deployment |

By Clark Pierce
VP-16 just wrapped up the first 12-month inter-deployment readiness cycle (IDRC) for a maritime patrol squadron in six years. The “War Eagles” are slated to leave NAS Jacksonville for deployment to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan where they will support the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. The squadron’s more than 350 personnel were busy packing Nov. 10 in preparation for airlifts the following week.
“Our War Eagles team has trained tirelessly to make our compressed IDRC a success,” said VP-16 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Brad Rosen.
“Our ORE (Operational Readiness Evaluation) also went very well – which included our support of the two-week Joint Warrior exercise in Scotland this past October, involving five P-3Cs and eight combat aircrews from VP-16.”
Squadron Executive Officer Cmdr. Molly Boron pointed out that, in September, the War Eagles were awarded the prestigious Captain Arnold Jay Isbell Trophy, sponsored by Lockheed Martin, for demonstrating superior anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASUW) expertise in the P-3 community.
Skipper Rosen added, “The many accomplishments of our War Eagles team have positioned us as the most consistent maritime patrol squadron based at NAS Jacksonville. VP-16 has raised the bar for ASW and ASUW, sea control, power projection, deterrence, maritime security and overall readiness. I believe that our level of professionalism and operational effectiveness is matched only by our dedication to accomplish the mission, regardless of the challenges.”
Boron said the Japan assignment is a contrast to the squadron’s previous deployment.
“In 2010, we executed a ‘tri-site’ deployment that divided our squadron into three detachments for assignments in Central America, East Africa and Italy.”
“This time, we’re deploying as a single unit to Okinawa, Japan, where our 12 combat aircrews will be assigned a variety of missions utilizing our eight P-3C Orions throughout the vast U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility. We expect to participate in joint and bilateral training exercises with allied countries, as well as conduct undersea and surface warfare, surveillance, search and rescue operations, and other missions as required to support 7th Fleet,” explained Boron.
Rosen noted that the P-3 Orion will mark its 50th year of operations in 2012.
“When you consider the age of our aircraft, it’s amazing how well our maintainers do their jobs to ensure mission readiness. Our leading chiefs and leading petty officers really know their business – as do our admin and support personnel,” said Rosen.
He also saluted the squadron’s plan to ensure that family members are prepared for deployment.
“Family readiness is absolutely essential to warfighting readiness. That’s why we have two very knowledgeable ombudsmen who can help solve issues and concerns specific to our Navy families. Ombudsmen are trusted, confidential advisors to our command master chief. And our VP-16 Family Readiness Group is well organized to create events and maintain communications among families and their loved ones. Before you know it, we’ll be planning our homecoming.”
This marks the final deployment of VP-16 utilizing the Lockheed P-3C Orion. Upon their return in 2012, the War Eagles will be the first operational squadron at NAS Jacksonville to transition to the Boeing P-8A Poseidon.


Naval Air: Not Fading Away Without A Struggle

Naval Air: Not Fading Away Without A Struggle.

November 11, 2011: The U.S. Navy is upgrading 55 of its 157 P-3C maritime reconnaissance aircraft with new computers, communications and integrated flat-screen displays. More importantly, structural components that are weakened because of old age will be replaced or reinforced. The upgrades will enable the P-3Cs to quickly share data with other aircraft, ships and ground stations. This is considered an upgrade that will prepare crews for the transition, starting in two years, to the new P-8A.

Even as the P-8A is about to arrive, the P-3C remains in great demand. For example, during the last decade, over 60 P-3Cs have also been upgraded to turn them into land reconnaissance aircraft. The P-3Cs are particularly useful for patrolling over Iraq and Afghanistan, looking, and listening, for enemy activity.

Despite all this popularity, the elderly P-3Cs are falling apart. This year, the navy spent nearly $10 million per aircraft to refurbish the wings of 14 P-3Cs. This was part of an effort to keep enough P-3Cs flying until the new P-8A enters service. The wing fatigue is a symptom of age. The P-3 was originally designed to spend 7,500 hours in the air before retirement. But the average of the navy P-3s is 30 years, and, because of lots of refurbishment and diligent maintenance, the average air time is 16,000 hours.

Keeping the elderly P-3Cs flying has not been easy. Four years ago, the navy grounded a quarter of its P-3Cst because of age related metal fatigue in the wings. This sort of thing is common with older aircraft, especially those that spend most of their time flying over salt water. The navy believes that it would have all, or most, of the grounded aircraft back in service by now. But not all the work was done, and about a third of P-3Cs still in service are unavailable because of these age-related repairs. The aircraft have to be partially disassembled for replacement parts or reinforcing elements to be installed, and the process can take nearly a year per aircraft.

The P-3 entered service in 1962. The current version (the P-3C) has a cruise speed of 610 kilometers per hour, endurance of up to 13 hours and a crew of eleven. The 37.4 meter (116 foot) long, propeller driven aircraft has a wingspan of nearly 33 meters (100 feet). The P-3C can carry about ten tons of weapons (torpedoes, mines, or missiles like Harpoon and Maverick).

The 63 ton aircraft is based on the 1950s era Lockheed Electra airliner (which first flew in 1954). Only 170 Electras were built, plus 600 P-3s. About 40 Electras are still in service. The last P-3 was built in 1990. Likely replacements for these elderly search planes, are UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), like Global Hawk or smaller aircraft like Predator. These UAVs typically stay in the air for 24 hours, or more, at a time. What maritime reconnaissance aircraft need, more than anything else, is endurance or, as the professionals like to put it, “persistence.”

But before the UAVs take over, there is the new P-8A Poseidon. About a hundred of these aircraft will replace the P-3C. The P-8A is based on the widely used Boeing 737 airliner. Although the Boeing 737 based P-8A is a two engine jet, compared to the four engine turboprop P-3, it is a more capable plane. The P-8A has 23 percent more floor space than the P-3, and is larger (118 foot wingspan, versus 100 foot) and heavier (83 tons versus 61). Most other characteristics are the same. Both can stay in the air about ten hours per sortie. Speed is different. Cruise speed for the 737 is 910 kilometers an hour, versus 590 for the P-3. This makes it possible for the P-8A to get to a patrol area faster, which is a major advantage when chasing down subs first spotted by sonar arrays or satellites. However, the P-3 can carry more weapons (9 tons, versus 5.6.) This is less of a factor as the weapons (torpedoes, missiles, mines, sonobouys) are pound for pound, more effective today and that trend continues. Both carry the same size crew, of 10-11 pilots and equipment operators. Both aircraft carry search radar and various other sensors.

The 737 has, like the P-3, been equipped with hard points on the wings for torpedoes or missiles. The B-737 is a more modern design, and has been used successfully since the 1960s by commercial aviation. Navy aviators are confident that it will be as reliable as the P-3. The Boeing 737 first flew in 1965, and over 5,000 have been built. The P-8A will be the first 737 designed with a bomb bay and four wing racks for weapons. The P-8 costs about $275 million each.

Advanced technology upgrades improve P-3 Orion’s anti-submarine warfare mission

Read original article here: NAVAIR – U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems Command – Navy and Marine Corps Aviation Research, Development, Acquisition, Test and Evaluation.

Navy P-3 Orions will be equipped with updated modernized computer technology as part of a technology hardware and software integration led by Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (PMA-290) program office. The C4 for ASW program reached IOC on Sept. 27. (Official U.S. Navy photo.)

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – The first five operational P-3 Orions are now equipped with modernized computer technology and delivered to the fleet, allowing the P-3 Command, Control, Communications and Computers for Anti-Submarine Warfare (C4 for ASW) program to reach Initial Operational Capability on Sept. 27.
“I could not be more excited about the significant capability the program is providing the fleet or more proud of a team,” said Capt. Mike Moran, Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (PMA-290) program manager. “Through their unwavering dedication and ingenuity, the P-3 team successfully brought the program back to life and delivered for the fleet, on schedule and on cost.”

Capt. Aaron Rondeau, P-3 department head said, “The P-3 team here at PMA-290 successfully took over the lead integration role for a failing program from a major contractor and delivered much needed critical mission capabilities to the MPRA fleet on schedule.”

“The upgrade to C4 will only further strengthen MPRA’s effectiveness on station in support of the battle group commander,” Rondeau said.

C4 upgrades include Link 16, which allows for enhanced situational awareness and full interoperability with U.S. Navy battle groups, other military services and NATO forces. Other upgrades are an international maritime satellite (INMARSAT) capability providing encrypted broadband services for the fleet and a full range of communications services similar to those available on personal computers such as chatting, email, web access, and eventually streaming full motion video.

“It’s like going from MSDOS to the [windows-based] computer programs out there today,” said Lt. Maureen Marlowe, who recently attended training on the new system at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., and assigned to Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11, the Wing in Jacksonville, Fla., that received four of the first five aircraft equipped with C4.

Several years ago, the PMA-290 P-3 department took on the project as lead systems integrator of the C4 for ASW upgrades for the fleet, which included design, development, testing, training, and logistics. Now, the program is able to provide these critical components to better equip current P-3 operators to meet operational requirements through enhanced situational awareness and improved interoperability with fleet commanders.

According to Cmdr. Nagel Sullivan, P-3 mission system Integrated Product Team lead, having C4 for ASW in the P-3 also benefits the next generation maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon. He added that it will help mitigate risk to the P-8A because a lot of the things the P-3 figures out in the Link 16-INMARSAT Concept of Operations will help refine the P-8A CONOPS before it hits the fleet.

“Although not identical, this capability will lay the groundwork for the P-8A,” Sullivan said. “It will allow the [MPRA] Family of Systems, which includes BAMS, P-8, P-3 and TACMOBILE, to work together.”

Over the next few years, slated to receive the C4 modification are 50 additional P-3s. The P-3 Orion will continue to carry out the ASW mission until the Navy’s transition to the P-8A Poseidon is complete.

News from the MPA

Original news article located HERE


Community Update: October 28, 2011

The following is a community update distributed by Rear Admiral Rear Admiral Michael W. Hewitt, Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group.

Admirals, leaders, friends of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (MPRF):

The MPRF community remains on course and our squadrons continue to excel at home and abroad. Our aircrews continue to improve in all areas of combat readiness and our leaders continue to lean forward despite ever present budgetary challenges. I am confident that MPRF is in perfect alignment with CNO’s three main tenets; 1) War fighting First; 2) Operating Forward; and 3) Be Ready. These tenets guide us each and every day and even as we paused this year to recognize the Centennial of Naval Aviation and the unique contributions of patrol aviation, the force achieved significant milestones in its ongoing transition to the P‐8A Poseidon and Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS) UAV.

The Airspace in Pax River is full of P‐8’s with four currently flying test and evaluation events, and another two aircraft set to deliver to VX‐1 before the end of the year, we are on pace for initial fleet introduction to VP‐30 in March 2012. The Fleet Introduction Team (FIT) is at full speed and receiving initial P‐8 training with VX‐1. FIT aircrew and maintenance personnel will augment operational test events to gain valuable experience ahead of

VP‐16’s transition, which is slated to begin in JUL 2012. P‐8 is scheduled to achieve its Initial Operational Capability in DEC 2013. To this end, construction on a new 168,000 sqft Integrated Training Center (ITC) in Jacksonville is entering its final phase with the installation of the first of ten OFT’s and seven WTT’s. We look forward to officially opening the ITC building and rolling out the first fleet P‐8A during this year’s ASW fleet challenge and MPRF symposium scheduled for March / April in Jacksonville. We will lock in the dates soonest but please plan on attending this monumental week in our community’s history.

Of particular interest and to further reduce risk in our transition efforts, CNO has designated CPRG as lead for MPRF collaboration with U.K. on Maritime Patrol issues including support of P‐8 introduction. Following the cancellation of the U.K. MRA‐4 program, the US and U.K. began collaborating on a non‐reciprocal personnel exchange agreement to bring 2 experienced NIMROD crews to the US to support the MPRA community for a period of at least three years. The RAF personnel will consist of approximately 20 aircrew (4 pilots, 6 NFOs, 5 AWs and 5 EWs), and could start arriving early next year. These highly qualified NIMROD aviators will consist of fleet experienced instructors and test personnel to support the generation of tactical doctrine and participate in operational test events at the MPR Weapons School and VX‐1. This exchange agreement, dubbed project SEEDCORN by the UK, enjoys the full support of both Navy and RAF and will ensure the RAF maintains critical Air ASW skills.

The transition to P‐8 is complex and challenging but bolstered by recent improvements in the health of our P‐3 force. Navy’s investment in sustainment of legacy P‐3 aircraft is paying dividends. The Fleet has benefited immensely by the efforts of PMA‐290 and industry partners to grow the available number of mission aircraft to an inventory of 80 war birds on the ramp today. As a result we increased forward deployed aircraft last OCT and will forward deploy four squadrons in DEC 2011. This is a return to the 2 to 1 deployment model we all grew up with and is in alignment with QDR and CNO Maritime Strategy. Based on current NAVAIR projections we are on glide path to a P‐3 sundown that will allow us to fulfill MPRF requirements through transition to P‐8 FOC in 2019. The increased availability that comes with deployment of P‐8 will increase the MPRA capacity to the COCOMs with the same, or even fewer, total number of aircraft. With the continued support of Navy and OSD leadership, the MPRF community will be out of the legacy P‐3 by the end of this decade.

In support of this transition and to preserve operational resources, our two VPU and two VQ squadrons will consolidate into single VPU and VQ squadrons in FY‐12. The consolidation is well underway and will leverage efficiencies in manpower and material readiness. Leadership is working closely with PERS to ensure opportunities are available for our VPU and VQ warriors during this transition. Looking toward the future, we are partnering with NAVAIR to explore options to field a Quick Reaction Capability (QRC) in P‐8A. VQ will populate with 12 “best-of‐breed” spiral 3 EP‐3’s and 15 combat aircrews. Most notably, VQ will transition to a deployment model for the first time ever, ensuring that a reasonable OPTEMPO/PERTEMPO is maintained while a planned 75% aircraft availability rate ensures a robust IDRC and contingency capability. Navy is very focused on how best to recapitalize our EP‐3’s.

The future is indeed bright as we work to replace legacy platforms with P‐8 and BAMS, which when joined with the TOC/MTOC make up the future MPRF Family of Systems.

I have included some detailed programmatic updates below. I recognize much of it is more detail than most of you desire but many of you asked for specific program updates, so here goes:

P‐3C Orion ‐ Planned legacy aircraft mission system obsolescence upgrades are progressing and will mitigate risk on P‐8A. C4‐ASW achieved full functionality with FITs complete on VP‐5 and VP‐8. On the acoustic front, APTR/MAC operational test is progressing with next test flights scheduled in mid‐OCT. These systems will provide the baseline capability for P‐8. The class desk also remains engaged with NAVSUP addressing Fleet logistics issues, which will become more acute as we move toward sundown. Of note, we recently achieved a significant Fleet Synthetic & Distributive Training milestone after the first successful connection of two Jax based TORT’s in support of a major FST‐J exercise with the Abraham Lincoln CSG, including H‐60R aircraft.

EP‐3 Aries ‐ On the EP‐3 side of the house, the current inventory of sixteen aircraft will reduce to twelve by FY 14. Early last spring the EP‐3 community chalked up tremendous success with the early operational test of the first JCC Spiral 3 aircraft. The JCC Spiral 3 program was approved for Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) in the spring of 2011 authorizing the modification of three additional aircraft. Recently the JCC Sp3 program was approved for Full Rate Production (FRP) authorizing the modification of all EP‐3 aircraft.

MPRF Family of Systems (FoS) ‐ The MPRF & Air ASW Community of Interest (COI), led by CPRG and closely supported by PMA290, continues to provide an active forum for evaluation, leadership and action on significant MPRF acquisition issues. MPRF FoS Planning and Development Team produced the first detailed MPRF Tier 2 Roadmap. The Tier 2 Roadmap includes capability roadmaps for all MPRF FoS platforms, including ASW Rotary Wing, to beyond 2020. The FoS Team completed a detailed requirements analysis based on the P‐8A Increment 2/3 CDD providing refined requirements definition and representative solutions. INC 3 requirements areas include ASW improvements, upgraded Net Enabled Architecture, Net Enabled ASuW Weapons integration, Sensors and Targeting upgrades, and Communications upgrades. Furthermore, MPRF prototyping will continue to support TOC OPCON Watch Floor efforts to provide Service Oriented Architecture in support of all future programs.

P‐8A Poseidon ‐ One year out from a successful AUG 2010 Milestone C decision, P‐8 remains on track with all six test aircraft delivered or in the production line. The 1st LRIP lot of P‐8’s are under contract and the LRIP II contracts that provide P‐8A trainers, spares, training courseware, and integrated logistics support including support equipment, technical pubs and interim tech support have been approved. The Test and Evaluation schedule remains pressurized after some initial delays but expects to enter IOT&E as scheduled in FY‐12. In a tactical first, the P‐8 recently localized and tracked its first real submarine and T&E aircrew operators stated that the aircraft performed as well or better than advertised. P‐8 also dropped its first test Torpedo! Make no mistake; the P‐8A Fleet transition is underway and funded for success. Despite budgetary pressures we are tracking toward IOC in late 2013.

Broad Area Maritime Unmanned Aircraft System (BAMS UAS) ‐ The MQ‐4C BAMS UAS program is in the Engineering and Manufacturing Development (aircraft and systems development) stage of the program and is progressing toward Integrated Test (IT), which combines developmental & operational test. Subsystems are undergoing lab testing right now at vendor locations, and system‐level testing at the contractor’s Systems Integration Lab will commence this winter. The production of the first two aircraft continues to progress at the production facility located in Palmdale, CA, and the rollout ceremony is scheduled for March 2012. We anticipate ground testing on the first air vehicle with the Mission Control System to start this winter, with first flight and commencement of flight testing occurring in mid-2012. The program continues to meet all cost and schedule targets set at program inception in 2008. Milestone C, which authorizes entry into the production and deployment phase of the program, is scheduled for mid-2013. Initial Operational Capability, which is defined as the 1st orbit and support system fully operational, is scheduled for first quarter of FY16.

BAMS Demonstration (BAMS‐D) ‐ This program, which was intended to be a six month demonstration, continues to provide ISR critical to Combatant Commanders. 2011 marks the third year of deployed operations where BAMS‐D flew its 5,000th hour in support of Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO). BAMS‐D has flown over 6,500 total program hours, with the remaining flights conducted at NAS Patuxent River to train and qualify additional BAMS‐D pilots and sensor/payload operators. BAMS‐D greatly benefits from the continuous support and operational experience of Fleet aircrew via Individual Augmentee (IA) billets. These IA tours provide these individuals, and the overall MPRF community, an early look at persistent maritime UAS capability in real‐world operations. We intend to further explore BAMS‐D potential through support of fleet exercises in the very near future. Bams‐D is bridging the MPRF to BAMs.

TOC/MTOC ‐ TOC Jacksonville and MTOC 1 are preparing to receive delivery and installation of the first P‐8 mission support network and gear set in November of 2011. The TacMobile Increment 2.1 network brings the P‐8 mission planning construct (MPC) and P‐8A Media Interfaces. It also delivers significant Tactical Mobile Acoustic Support System (TACMASS) upgrades for P‐8A, to include multi‐static active modes that will support P‐8 and legacy P‐3 ASW missions. The 2.1 network delivers new situational awareness tools that enable effective tactical picture management as well as network mass storage/content management. On the communications front, 2.1 delivers Link‐16, robust SHF satellite terminals and new tactical common data link nodes and ROVERs. Successful completion of 2.1 IOT&E is the keystone to a successful P‐8A IOT&E. As such, the TacMobile Increment 2.1 is on schedule to conduct Initial Operational Test and Evaluation beginning in mid‐JAN 2012 in Jacksonville. Once complete, TOC Jacksonville and MTOC 1 will be ready to support P‐8A IOT&E in the spring of 2012.

Retirements: We bid a fond farewell to a stalwart in the MPRF community this fall with the well deserved retirement of CAPT Ken Seliga. Ken and his wife Kim are two of the most dedicated Americans you will ever meet and have been completely devoted to the United States Navy family for over 26 years. Having logged a distinguished career by any standard, Ken’s impact as Commanding Officer of the Screaming Eagles of VP‐1 and Commodore of CPRW‐10 will reverberate for years to come. Most recently serving as my Chief of Staff, I could not have asked for a better officer and advisor to keep us on track and the entire MPRF community owes him a great debt. We all wish him and Kim the very best as they transition to civilian life. We also said goodbye to Gregory “Scotty” Hanson this month. After a 17 year run on the CPRG staff, Scotty is taking a well deserved sabbatical to travel the USA with his wife, Nellie. Scotty joined the U.S. Navy at age 17 and performed as a P‐3B AAW aircrewman and ASWOC analyst before retiring from active duty. He first joined CPRG in December 1994 and performed brilliantly as the IRAS Program Manager and Senior Analyst, Assistant Training Officer/ Readiness, Deputy Director, Future Plans, Policy and Integration, Director Future Plans, Policy and Integration. We wish him, Fair winds and Following Seas.

MPRF Symposium/Fleet ASW Challenge / ITC Dedication and P‐8A Rollout / MPRA 50th Anniversary ‐ Building on the successes of the last two years, we will come together again for a professional symposium in Jacksonville, FL in March 2012. This year we will proudly mark the 50th anniversary of the P‐3 Orion by rolling out the first Fleet P8A, hosting an ASW competition for our best USN and international aircrews, and dedicate the new Integrated Training Center building as it readies to accept the first class of P‐8A Fleet aviators.

As we close out the first 100 years of Naval Aviation and celebrate the rich heritage of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, I look forward to a bright future with the P‐8A Poseidon and BAMS UAS. Now that we have begun the complex transition from a legacy aircraft that has served us well for over fifty years, it is more important than ever to bring together our past, present, and future warriors. I want to thank those that have made the new Maritime Patrol Association a reality. The synergistic efforts between those great Americans assigned to our squadrons, the organizations that support them, and our many dedicated industry partners will continue to deliver unmatched capability to the Fleet. Continuing communication and collaboration between Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force and our civilian partners is vital to our overall success. Be sure to mark your calendars and look for future details on and as these professional gatherings promise to be the best yet. You can also see the many photo’s from this year’s CoNA events along with the latest on P‐8.

That is all for now. Thanks to so many of you out there ‐ active, reserve, civilian and retired ‐ thank you for your service, support and sacrifice. Keep the lines open and I look forward to seeing many of you in Jax for the MPRF symposium next Spring. Fly Safe.



PowerPoint slides MPA

If you haven’t seen the Maritime Patrol Association (MPA) PowerPoint slides we have them posted up here your your review.

VP-40 Teams Up with Brunei Armed Forces in CARAT 2011

VP-40 Teams Up with Brunei Armed Forces in CARAT 2011.

VP-40 Teams Up with Brunei Armed Forces in CARAT 2011

By Lt. Jennifer Daniels
Posted: Oct. 24, 2011

BANDAR SERI BAGWAN, Brunei – Patrol Squadron (VP) 40 teamed up with USS Dewey (DDG 105) and USS Pinckney (DDG 91) in support of Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Brunei 2011, a week-long exercise designed to strengthen relationships and enhance force readiness for both nations.


OKINAWA, Japan (Oct. 20, 2011) – Aviation Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Dylan Bittle of Patrol Squadron (VP) 40 repairs an wingtip light on the port wing of a P-3C Orion. Wing and tail lights serve as an safety indicator to personnel that the aircraft has power applied. VP-40 is currently forward-deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Julian R. Moorefield)


Combat Aircrew (CAC) 4, led by Patrol Plane Commander/Mission Commander Lt. Lane Drummond and Tactical Coordinator Lt. Dan Hansen, worked with a 12-person maintenance detachment to ensure air support for the duration of the exercise.

This year’s CARAT focused on Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) and Search and Rescue (SAR) procedures, as well as Brunei’s recent decision to integrate female officers into shipboard positions. Sailors from VP-40 were eager to discuss their experiences and learn about Brunei, forming friendships and growing as individuals along the way.

“I left Brunei with a sense of pride as a woman serving in the military,” said Naval Aircrewman 2nd Class Rachel Fontaine. “The women I met from the Brunei Navy reminded me of the obstacles a woman faces in a very male dominant military. It was uplifting to hear their stories of hardships as Muslim women and how they’ve proven they’re strong and capable enough to serve their country.”

Following opening ceremonies on September 29, CARAT participants spent two days learning about each other’s platforms and the challenges of MDA and SAR. At the MDA Working Group, VP-40 detachment officer-in-charge Lt. Cmdr. Douglas Fitchett fielded questions from members of the Royal Brunei Air Force and the Chief of the Royal Brunei Navy.

“It was a great opportunity to share lessons VP-40 has learned over the last four months since having been deployed to the 7th Fleet AOR,” said Fitchett. “Brunei Air Force personnel were very receptive to what we had to share and thought it would be possible to incorporate into their training program.”

During the SAR symposium, the HSL-71 Raptors presented helicopter rescue equipment while VP-40 explained maritime search procedures and all the factors to be considered when developing a rescue plan. U.S. and Brunei aircrew worked together to conduct real-time calculations of survivor search location based on aerospace trajectory, wind and current drift, and varying search platforms.

Eager to use the skills they learned in the classroom, CAC-4 and Brunei’s Number Five Squadron took to the skies for joint MDA flights through Brunei’s Exclusive Economic Zone. The aircrews reviewed procedures for locating and identifying surface traffic transiting through Bruneian waters.

CAC-4 crewmembers were also given the opportunity to fly aboard the sleek CN-235 as the Royal Brunei Air Force demonstrated parajumper dropping procedures and successfully located the simulated survivors lost at sea during the SAREX with the Royal Brunei Navy.

“It was an awesome experience,” said Naval Aircrewman 1st Class Scott Wollenhaupt. “You realize how far we have come as nations working together with common goals. This whole experience will be with us all forever.”

Local armed forces and civilian contractors provided professional and friendly support for all of CARAT Brunei’s logistical, air and maintenance operations. Operating out of Rimba Air Base at Brunei’s International Airport proved fruitful as aircraft maintenance was executed flawlessly. “Performing maintenance away from our home field can be difficult because it involves parts that are challenging to get and some improvising for tools,” said Aviation Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Richard Carrillo. “At Rimba, we were given access to the best electronics shop I’ve seen in a while, and everyone was very helpful with everything we needed.”

During their stay in Brunei, VP-40’s aircrew and maintainers took advantage of every opportunity to spend time with new friends. They enjoyed traditional cuisine, attended performances by the 7th Fleet and Royal Brunei Bands, and were happy to compete on the soccer field and volleyball court for an All Hands sports day at beautiful Muara Beach.

Following closing ceremonies on October 7, the Fighting Marlins presented the Squadron Five Dolphins with a plaque to commemorate their time together. They were pleased to accept a traditional Bruneian knife carved by local craftsmen, a token of a friendship only likely to deepen for years to come.

P-3 Orions returning to Misawa

P-3 Orions returning to Misawa – News – Stripes.

P-3 Orions returning to Misawa

Stars and Stripes
Published: October 6, 2011

SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — For the first time since 2007, a P-3 Orion maritime patrol squadron will be deployed to Misawa Air Base, Navy officials said this week.

The squadron from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., will arrive in Misawa in late November, according to Misawa’s Navy spokesman Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel Sanford.

The P-3 has been used for patrols and tracking submarines since the Cold War.

The move to bring a squadron back coincides with the drawdown of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Sanford said, and was in an effort to bring surveillance coverage in the region back to 2007 levels.

“Misawa is an important strategic location,” Sanford said. “The P-3’s have been rotationally deployed here in the past, and I think they’re trying to get back to that.”

There is no timetable for how long the aircraft will be in Misawa.

The P-3 has a maximum range of more than 2,700 miles, according to a Navy website. Its 10-member crew conducts surveillance using on-board instrument panels, scopes and detection devices.

There are about 435 P-3s in use worldwide by 21 governments and agencies in 17 nations.

From staff reports

RNoAF P-3N pirate hunting

Posted by: “Marco P.J. Borst” marco_pj
Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:24 pm (PDT)

From Barents surveillance to pirate hunting

The Norwegian Orion aircraft with crew before take-off to Africa from Andøya air base.

Norway has sent one of its P3-N Orion surveillance plane to hunt for pirates in the Gulf of Aden.

The plane is normally based at Andøya airbase in northern Norway from where it flies on missions to watch for illegal fishing and Russian submarine activities In the Norwegian Sea and Barents Sea.

The surveillance plane with staff is stationed at the Seychelles as part of Norway’s contribution to the NATO led anti-pirate operation Ocean Shield, reports the Norwegian armed forces.

The plane will fly regular surveillance missions off the coast of east Africa until it returns to northern Norway after December 15th.

In August 2009, Norway contributed to the pirate hunting outside Somalia with the navy’s new frigate “KNM Fridtjof Nansen” for a six months period. The naval vessel was then a part of the EU led Task Force Atlanta.

Russia has also participated in anti-pirate operations off the coast of Africa with vessels from its Northern Fleet that normally sails the Barents Sea. The destroyer “Severomorsk” will later in October arrived back to her home port on the Kola Peninsula after a three months mission in the Gulf of Aden.

Text: Thomas Nilsen

Maritime Patrol Association Launches Official Plank Owner Membership

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 27, 2011

Maritime Patrol Association Launches Official Plank Owner Membership

JACKSONVILLE, FL – The Maritime Patrol Association (MPA) launched its Plank Owner Membership program on the organization’s website on September 13, 2011, beginning the inaugural drive to build a strong foundation of members to support the U.S. Navy’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (MPRF).

Members of MPA will have the opportunity to network with each other through a variety of meetings, events and media; give and receive recognition to those persons who have made significant contributions to the community; and be informed of new developments and accomplishments in the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance community. Members who register in the association’s first year will be considered “Plank Owners,” a historical tradition in the U.S. Navy whereby crew members of a newly commissioned ship had bragging rights to the “ownership” of one of the planks on the main deck.

Incorporated earlier this year, MPA has grown from wishful thinking to an official Florida non-profit corporation in less than ten months.

“The idea of an MPA organization has been around for a long time,” said CAPT Rich Heimerle, USN (Ret.) “It’s just never seemed to be the right time and we never have had the right people to put it together, until now.”

A group of MPRF officers recognized the need for a member association in 2010 while planning the MPRF Centennial of Naval Aviation Celebration events that took place at Naval Air Station Jacksonville in April 2011. They began talking to counterparts in other professional military membership organizations and an idea began to take shape. With the ongoing effort to link the community as a family of systems, along with the transition to a new aircraft and the stand up of the first long range Navy UAV on the horizon, the founding members of MPA realized that if ever an association was going to exist, now was the time.

“I want to thank those who have made this association a reality,” said Rear Admiral Michael W. Hewitt, U.S. Navy. “As we close out the first 100 years of Naval Aviation and celebrate the rich heritage of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force, I look forward to a bright future with the P-8A Poseidon and BAMS UAS. Now that we have begun the complex transition from a legacy aircraft that has served us well for over fifty years, it is more important than ever to bring together our past, present, and future warriors. Synergistic efforts between those great Americans assigned to our squadrons, the organizations that support them, and our many dedicated industry partners will continue to deliver unmatched capability to the Fleet. Continuing communication and collaboration between Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force and our civilian partners is vital to our overall success.”

A 501(c)(3) Florida non-profit corporation established in 2011 and headquartered in Jacksonville, FL, the Maritime Patrol Association plans on being a premier professional organization representing the U.S. Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance community by promoting the use of the patrol and reconnaissance aircraft in the United States Navy. For more information, contact September Wilkerson, Executive Director, at (904) 563-4036 or; or check out the MPA website at



Maritime Patrol Association

Decorated Navy air squadron to reunite at its Miramar roots

MILITARY: Decorated Navy air squadron to reunite at its Miramar roots.

PB4Y-1 Liberator

A PB4Y-1 Liberator, of the type flown by Navy Patrol Bombing Squadron VPB-117 (which trained at what is now Marine Corps Air Station Miramar) is seen flying off the English coast in the summer of 1943. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy Naval History Center Read more:

When the airmen of Navy Patrol Bombing Squadron VPB-117, known as the Blue Raiders, were training at Naval Air Station Miramar nearly 70 years ago, the area was almost nothing like it is today.

The base was then Camp Kearney, a Navy station, and the sprawl of San Diego had yet to reach the breezy plateaus where young pilots were preparing for intense combat over the South Pacific.

“At Camp Kearney, there wasn’t much out there at that point,” said Robert Owens, one of the surviving members of the heavily decorated squadron that carried out key missions in the Pacific during World War II. “It was pretty much out in the sticks.”

On Wednesday, the veterans of VPB-117 who can make the trip will reunite where the unit began, at what is now Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.

Organized by four children of the men who served in the unit, the reunion is the latest —- and perhaps the last —- for a tight-knit squadron that received the Presidential Unit Citation in 1947 for its bravery during World War II.

Mary Mount, whose father-in-law was a member of the squadron, said that she and her husband, Glenn, became involved with the annual reunions when they started looking into the unit’s history.

“They are scattered all over the United States —- the ones who usually attend the reunions now are from Florida, New Jersey,” Mount said of the unit’s veterans. “We’ve got three in California —- in fact, one lives in San Diego —- and they’ll all be at the reunion.”

While the veterans are touring the Flying Leatherneck Aviation Museum off Miramar Road on Wednesday, Mount said she and the other organizers hope to surprise them by unveiling a display of the unit’s most prized honor, the presidential citation, which was once assumed to be lost.

“The squadron has been trying to locate the plaque for years,” she said. “One day, I got a hold of Steve Smith at the museum, and he said, ‘You know, I remember seeing that plaque. I think it’s in our warehouse.’ A couple of days later he called me, and he had found the plaque.”

Mount said it will be on display outside the museum, and added that “the whole tour was (organized) to get them there, so they can see the plaque.”

In the June 1947 edition of Naval Aviation News, a reporter wrote that “VPB-117 destroyed thousands of tons of (enemy) shipping, damaged shore installations and shot down 63 enemy planes.

“It ran 1,000-mile searches, patrols for the Third Fleet, shore bombardment spotting missions, night shipping strikes and sub protection.”

In his personal, written recollection of serving in the unit, Owens recalled how the squadron’s “war-weary” PB4Y-1 Liberators (the Navy’s version of the B-24) were still in use, flying 10- to 14-hour patrols over Vietnam.

For Owens, who joined the Blue Raiders in the Pacific near the end of the war as a fresh, 19-year-old replacement gunner, the sights and sounds of aircraft in Miramar next week will be nothing out of the ordinary.

“I fly that every chance I get —- at least once a week,” he said. “At age 85, I figure that’s doing pretty good.”


Read more:

Maritime Patrol Association Memberships NOW AVAILABLE!

There’s never been a professional membership organization so worth waiting for……..


We are proud to announce the official launch of membership in the Maritime Patrol Association to all interested Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force members, past and present! To become one of our Plank Owner Members, sign up today at:


The Maritime Patrol Association (MPA) has been developed to leverage the support of all of our community members, past and present, and our corporate partners to affect the U.S. MPRF community directly through events, programs, recognition and scholarships. You’ll see the first steps of our success at the 2012 MPRF Symposium in Jacksonville, FL, where our community and our members will be invited to enhanced programs, briefs and networking opportunities…all made possible by MPA’s support.


For more information and to register as a member, go to:


Please pass on the good news to your friends and colleagues!



Maritime Patrol Association


2010 Isbell Trophy goes to VP-16 ‘War Eagles’ |

2010 Isbell Trophy goes to VP-16 ‘War Eagles’ |

2010 Isbell Trophy goes to VP-16 ‘War Eagles’

Posted: September 7, 2011 – 9:53am | Updated: September 7, 2011 – 2:19pm
Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11, Commodore Trey Wheeler (left) presents VP-16 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Brad Rosen with the 2010 Captain Arnold Jay Isbell Trophy for ASW excellence.  Photo courtesy of VP-16

Photo courtesy of VP-16
Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11, Commodore Trey Wheeler (left) presents VP-16 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Brad Rosen with the 2010 Captain Arnold Jay Isbell Trophy for ASW excellence.

By Lt. j.g. Nichole Giampietro

VP-16 Public Affairs

The Captain Arnold Jay Isbell Trophy, sponsored by Lockheed Martin, was awarded to the VP-16 “War Eagles” recently for demonstrating superior anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASUW) acumen in the P-3 community.
Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 11, Commodore Trey Wheeler presented VP-16 Commanding Officer Cmdr. Brad Rosen with the 2010 Isbell Trophy, citing the squadron’s ASW excellence and superb leadership within the community from October 2009 to September 2010.
“During that time, the War Eagles completed a rigorous tri-site deployment to EUCOM, Horn of Africa, and SOUTHCOM – in addition to executing numerous exercises and real-world missions while on its home cycle. VP-16 constantly ensured that Wing-11’s high standard of readiness was maintained,” said Wheeler.
Innovative tactics, aggressive on-station performance and optimization of resources enabled the squadron to excel at every turn during the 2010 Inter-Deployment Readiness Cycle.
During the 2009 Operational Readiness Evaluation (ORE), CPRW-11 evaluators commented that VP-16’s performance was, “by far, the highest ASW productivity during an ORE we have ever seen.”
VP-16 successfully operated from three areas of responsibility (AOR) during deployment, executing 98 percent of its sorties and flying more than 3,733 flight hours.
War Eagle combat aircrews put the multi-role capabilities of the P-3 on display by successfully executing theater security cooperation engagements, humanitarian missions, real-world ASW and ASUW operations, and fleet support missions.
They continuously honed their ASW skills by participating in eight multinational exercises while in the European Command AOR.
The War Eagles conducted joint operations in France, Ukraine, Finland, Scotland and Norway by successfully tracking evasive, real-world submarine contacts. They also flew around the clock in support of Operation Active Endeavour.
Skipper Rosen said, “The many and varied accomplishments of the War Eagle team has established them as the most trusted and consistent ASW/ASUW squadron based at NAS Jacksonville. VP-16 has proven itself as the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force standard bearer in ASW, Sea Control, deterrence, power projection, maritime security and overall readiness. Our level of pride, professionalism and operational effectiveness is matched only by our dedication and perseverance to accomplish the mission, regardless of the obstacles. We are humbled and honored to accept this award and will continue to lead the way for the MPRF community.”