Gordon Jones reports on the first visit of a P-8A Poseidon to RAF Mildenhall.
After a nine hour flight across the Atlantic, Navy Lima Lima 822 touched down at RAF Mildenhall on the morning of Friday 5 September 2014 and became the first P-8A Poseidon to the visit the airbase. The aircraft, serial 168754 (c/n 42250), is the fifteenth production standard aircraft to be delivered to the US Navy and has been assigned to the Fleet Replacement Squadron VP-30 ‘Pros Nest’ at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida. VP-30 is the squadron responsible for the training of the air crews for the P-8. The aircraft has only been with the squadron since 31 July and as such, it is yet to receive the squadron’s Lima Lima tail markings.
The P-8 is derived from the Boeing 737-800 and is designed as a next generation replacement for the P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft in the anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) roles. The US Navy has plans for 117 P-8As and has placed orders for 53 to date.
Navy Lima Lima 822 returned to NAS Jacksonville on Sunday 7 September after spending the weekend at RAF Mildenhall. It is believed the flight was a long endurance training flight and could be part of the training program which would see more visits by P-8s in the future.