The Mystery Airplane
Boeing P-8A Poseidon
December 1, 2018
Maritime patrol aircraft evolved during WWI with Curtiss and Felixstowe flying boats scouring the North Sea and Mediterranean for German U-boats and commerce raiders. Land based bombers followed. The Catalina, Sunderland, Wellington, and Liberator served during WWII. World War II also saw the modification of airliners into land-based patrol aircraft. The Lockheed Model 14 Electra became the Model 414 Hudson and the Focke-Wulf FW-200 Condor became Churchill's "scourge of the Atlantic." Post war, conversion of airliners into maritime patrol aircraft continued. The de Havilland 106 Comet became the BAE Nimrod and another Lockheed Electra, the L-188 turboprop, became the P-3 Orion.
First flying on 25 April 2009, the Boeing P-8A Poseidon, is an adaptation of the 737 airliner (first flight 1967) for anti-submarine, anti-ship, and sea patrol duties. Military 737s are not new. The Air Force used the T-43A navigation trainer from 1973, while the Air Force and Navy operate the C-40 transport. Australia, Turkey, and South Korea use the 737 "Wedgetail" for airborne early warning and control. Powered by two 27,000 pound thrust CFM56B turbo fans, the P-8A, with a crew of nine, cruises at 509 mph and can be armed with a variety of torpedos, missiles, mines, bombs, and anti-submarine weapons. Eighty-nine Poseidons had been delivered to the USN by June 2018. Australia, India, New Zealand, Norway, and the UK operate the P-8A or have them on order.
The P-8A in this Oshkosh 2017 photo is Bu 169010 assigned to VP-30 at NAS Jacksonville. It was one of two P-8As that debuted at EAA that year. VP-30 is the Navy's training squadron for the P-3 and P-8. In addition to training USN personnel, it has trained crews from Thailand, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Japan, and South Korea.
This month's winner is Mel Henschel of Apple Valley. Graydon Carlson, Jennifer Hanson, and Dave Lundgren also knew the Poseidon.
Blue Skies and Tail Winds for the holidays.