STAR-BULLETIN / 2007
A Navy P-8A submarine hunter, scheduled to become the Navy's aircraft of choice.
Navy maps air squad update
In four years, the Navy plans on replacing 27 of its P-3 Orion subhunter aircraft stationed at Kaneohe Bay with 18 of the next-generation P-8A Poseidons.
» Primary Function: Anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare
» Propulsion: Two high-bypass CFM56 turbofan engines
» Length: 129.5 feet
» Height: 42.1 feet
» Wingspan: 117.2 feet
» Weight: Maximum gross takeoff, 188,200 pounds
» Airspeed: 490 knots
» Ceiling: 41,000 ft
» Range: 1,200 nautical miles radius with four hours on station
» Crew: Nine
» Armament: Torpedoes, cruise missiles, bombs, mines
Source: U.S. Navy
The Navy selected Boeing four years ago to develop the Poseidon.
The Poseidon is a modified 737-800 commercial jet liner with its wings configured to carry air-to-surface missiles. Its cabin is outfitted with up to seven operator consoles. The AN/APY-10 radar will be installed on the enlarged nose of the aircraft's fuselage to help the aircraft track surfaced submarines and small, fast-moving vessels that operate in coastal waters.
The aircraft's bomb bay will be configured to carry bombs, torpedoes and depth charges.
The proposal involves replacing three P-3 maritime patrol squadrons at Kaneohe Bay with the newer Poseidon surveillance aircraft. However, a Fleet Forces Command spokesman in Norfolk, Va., said the Navy will still maintain a fourth special maritime squadron at Kaneohe, which would keep three of the older Orion aircraft.
The Navy wants to replace all of its existing 120 Orions with 84 new Poseidons by 2019. The Navy has been flying Orions since 1969. This would result in 36 fewer aircraft and a decrease of 1,431 Navy personnel.
Eventually, the Navy envisions 12 fleet squadrons with 72 Poseidon aircraft and one fleet replacement squadron with 12 Poseidons. Each new fleet squadron would have six Poseidons.
The Navy eliminated Hickam Air Force Base as a possible alternative home base because it could not accommodate the required ordnance handling and storage requirements and did not have land needed to support Poseidon squadrons.
Besides Kaneohe, the Navy wants to base five fleet squadrons at Jacksonville Naval Air Station in Florida and four squadrons at Whidbey Island in Washington.
Under the Navy's proposal the number of airfield operations at Kaneohe Bay would increase by 4 percent, according to a draft 1,242-page environmental impact statement released Friday.
There would be an immediate economic impact of $169 million because of the construction generated to prepare the Windward Oahu base to accommodate the new aircraft.
No adverse affect is expected on any endangered species, vegetation, wildlife, marine mammals, and cultural and archeological resources, the study said.