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VP-8 Menu

Command History

Patrol Squadron (VP) 8 was commissioned as VP-201 in September 1942 in Norfolk, Virginia. During World War II, VP-201 flew the sea-based PBM Mariner aircraft, combating German submarines that threatened Allied shipping throughout the Atlantic. In June 1947, the squadron completed a homeport change to Quonset Point, Rhode Island, and transitioned to the land-based P-2V Neptune aircraft. The squadron was renamed to VP-8 in September 1948, and in October 1962, VP-8 became the first operational P-3 Orion squadron in the U.S. Navy.

VP-8 operated the venerable P-3 above every ocean for over 50 years, earning a reputation as one of the best Maritime Patrol Aviation (MPA) squadrons. During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, VP-8 demonstrated the P-3's superior Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASUW) capabilities by tracking Soviet submarines in the Caribbean and Eastern Atlantic. Later that decade, VP-8 flew combat missions throughout Southeast Asia in support of the Vietnam War. The squadron conducted a homeport change to Naval Air Station (NAS) Brunswick, Maine, in 1971.

In December 1990, VP-8 deployed to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Sigonella, Italy, during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. This conflict re-emphasized the P-3's multi-mission capabilities while conducting coordinated operations with U.S. 5th Fleet Carrier Battle Groups, as well as monitoring Soviet, Libyan, and Iraqi naval units in the Arabian Gulf and Mediterranean Sea. Over the course of the decade, VP-8 performed brilliantly on station supporting countless operations.

In 1999, VP-8 upgraded to the P-3C Aircraft Improvement Program (AIP) aircraft. This new warfighting suite vastly improved the aircraft capabilities which further contributed to meeting national security objectives. Upgrades include an improved radar sensor (APS-137), surveillance video suite (AIMS), and robust communications which allows the aircraft to transmit "near real-time" imagery and data. With this advancement in technology, VP-8 excelled at ASW, ASUW and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions in support of numerous operations. VP-8 conducted a homeport change from NAS Brunswick, Maine, to NAS Jacksonville, Florida, in 2009.

In December 2013, VP-8 embarked on its 37th and final P-3C Orion deployment prior to transitioning to the P-8A Poseidon. The dual-site deployment to Isa Air Base, Bahrain, and to Comalapa, El Salvador, demonstrated the squadron's superb operational excellence as a premier MPA squadron and leader in the primary mission areas of ASW, ASUW and ISR in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Support, as well as Counter-Transnational Organized Crime in support of Operations Martillo, Caper Focus, and Caribbean Shield.

Upon completion of the squadron's final P-3 deployment in July 2014, aircrew and maintenance personnel began a seven-month transition to the P-8A Poseidon. In March 2016, VP-8 made their first P-8A deployment to Kadena Air Base, Japan, in support of Commander 7th Fleet. They returned home in October 2016 after a highly successful inaugural P-8A deployment.

In October 2017, VP-8 deployed to Kadena Air Base, Japan, conducting missions and providing maritime domain awareness to supported units throughout the Indo-Asia region. During the deployment VP-8 became the first P-8A squadron to successfully deploy a UNI-PAC II Search and Rescue kit in real-world search and rescue (SAR) operations. They returned home in April 2018 after a successful P-8A deployment.

In April 2019, VP-8 deployed to Misawa Air Base, Japan, and to El Salvador. The “Fighting Tigers” of VP-8 would return home following a very successful deployment.

In October of 2020, the “Fighting Tigers” operated flawlessly in the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, East China Sea, South China Sea, and Philippine Sea. The “Fighting Tigers” safely executed over 500 sorties generating over 3,000 flight hours. In addition, VP-8 completed four detachments within 7th Fleet to Guam, Singapore, and Okinawa, Japan. Despite the various obstacles presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the “Fighting Tigers” were incredibly successful and boasted a 97% mission success rate throughout both areas of responsibility (AOR).

The most recent deployment for VP-8 was April – October 2022. VP-8 conducted an impressive deployment, flying an unprecedented amount of ASW operations in the 7th Fleet AOR and executing over 3,500 flight hours in support of 6th and 7th fleet operations. VP-8 also supported operations in Japan, Singapore, Wake Island, Palau, Thailand, Brunei, Fiji, Australia, the Philippines, and Diego Garcia. The “Fighting Tigers” participated in both operational duties as well as exercises with our partners across the globe to create a stronger force for good.

The P-8A Poseidon is a modified Boeing 737-800ERX airframe featuring a fully connected, state-of-the-art, open architecture mission system. This aircraft features a highly advanced sensor suite which dramatically improves MPAs ASW, ASUW and ISR capabilities. The P-8A is the Navy's next generation fixed wing aircraft which is replacing the aging P-3C.

P-8A Antisubmarine Warfare Aircraft

The Boeing P-8 Poseidon (formerly the Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft or MMA) is a military aircraft developed for the United States Navy (USN). The aircraft has been developed by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, modified from the 737-800ERX. The P-8 conducts anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and shipping interdiction, along with an early warning self-protection (EWSP) ability, otherwise known as electronic support measures (ESM). This involves carrying torpedoes, depth charges, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and other weapons. It can drop and monitor sonobuoys.

General Characteristics, P-8A Poseidon

  • Primary Function: Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) and Anti-surface Warfare (ASuW), Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR)

  • Contractor: Boeing Defense, Space and Security

  • Date Deployed: First flight, 25 April 2009; Operational, P-8A November 2013

  • Unit Cost: US$256.5 million (procurement cost FY2015) / US$125 million (fly-away cost FY2016)

  • Propulsion: 2 CFM 56-7B engines with 27,300 lbs. thrust each

  • Length: 129.5 feet (39.47 meters)

  • Height: 42.1 feet (12.83 meters)

  • Wingspan: 123.6 feet (37.64 meters)

  • Weight: Maximum takeoff: 189,200 pounds (85,820 kilograms)

  • Airspeed: Maximum: 490 knots (564 mph) true air speed

  • Ceiling: 41,000 feet (12,496 meters)

  • Range: 1,200 nautical miles radius with four hours on station

  • Crew: Nine

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