Navy to replace isle P-3 squadrons


POSTED: Saturday, January 03, 2009
This story has been corrected. See below.

Three P-8A Poseidon squadrons, with up to 18 aircraft, will be sent to Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe to replace aging P-3 Orion subhunters by 2019, the Navy announced yesterday.





        » Primary function: Anti-submarine and anti-surface ship warfare
» Propulsion: Two CFM56 turbofan engines
» Length: 129.6 feet
» Height: 42.1 feet
» Wingspan: 117.2 feet
» Weight: Maximum gross takeoff, 188,200 pounds
» Airspeed: 490 knots (564 mph)
» Ceiling: 41,000 feet
» Range: 1,380 miles with four hours on station
» Crew: Nine
» Armament: Torpedoes, cruise missiles, bombs, mines

Source: U.S. Navy



Five years ago, the Navy selected Boeing to develop the Poseidon, which is a modified 737-800 commercial jetliner, to replace its fleet of 120 propeller-driven Orions, in use since 1964.

The Navy envisions a total of 84 Poseidons—72 in 12 fleet squadrons and 12 in one fleet replacement squadron. Their primary functions are anti-submarine and anti-surface ship warfare.

Each jet has a crew of nine and can be armed with torpedoes, cruise missiles, bombs and mines.

At Kaneohe this would mean building a new hangar to accommodate the taller and wider, 129-foot Poseidons. The Navy also would have to expand the aircraft parking area on the northeastern end of the existing aircraft parking apron.

According to the final environmental impact statement released in November, facility construction would generate $147.5 million in one-time construction expenditures with an overall economic impact of $445.8 million.

There will be a loss of 737 jobs because of fewer people and planes in the new squadrons. There are now 27 P-3 Orions stationed at Kaneohe Bay and assigned to Patrol Reconnaissance Wing 2.

However, Bloomberg News reported yesterday that Boeing's P-8A patrol aircraft program faces a cut of more than $900 million in the Defense Department's proposed fiscal 2010 budget in order to pay for a new warship.

Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England, in an Oct. 31 budget memo, approved shifting as much as $940 million to complete payment for a new DDG-1000 destroyer that Congress partially funded this fiscal year. The ship is the last of three to be bought from Northrop Grumman Corp. and General Dynamics Corp., the news service said.

A Navy spokesman told the news service that the Navy will not discuss any aspect of its fiscal 2010 plan.

Meanwhile, India announced it is buying eight U.S. P-8A maritime reconnaissance aircraft, for about $220 million each, to replace its fleet of Russian Tu-142M aircraft. The first P-8A will arrive in 2014.

Besides Kaneohe, the Navy said that beginning in 2012, it will replace P-3 Orions with five fleet squadrons of the P-8A Poseidons and one replacement squadron at Jacksonville Naval Air Station In Florida and four fleet squadrons at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station in Washington state.

Although Hickam Air Force Base had been studied as a possible Poseidon base, it was ruled out because it did not have adequate ordnance handling and storage capabilities.





        The P-3 Orion subhunter is a propellor-driven aircraft. The original headline for this story incorrectly said it was part of a jet squadron.