JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - NAS Jax gave us a first look at the new P8-A Poseidon aircraft Wednesday morning ahead of a public meeting Thursday night where experts will hear concerns from the public about the environmental impact of the planes.
"If there's something that we didn't do right in the Environmental Impact Statement in the draft stage, we want to know about it," says US Fleet Forces public affairs officer Ted Brown
Brown says the plan was to base the P8-As, which will replace the outdated P-3 Orion, at 3 bases around the country in 2008 -- NAS Jax, NAS Whidbey Island in Washington state, and NAS but that’s changed and now it’s just two – NAS Jax and NAS Whidbey Island. Capt. Chris Janke is chief of staff of the P8-A and P-3 Orion squadrons at NAS Jax, he says the question now becomes how to station the aircraft and how they’ll impact the surrounding communities.
"How many squadrons will come here? Will we divide them even or put a few more in Whidbey Island? This is the debate that's going on right now."
If you live in the area of NAS Jax and are worried about noise, it shouldn't be too bad. Capt. Janke says he lives nearby and can't tell the difference when the planes are taking off. He says if anything there should be a bit less noise for area residents because it takes the P8-A much less time to climb than it doesn the P-3 Orion.
The planes’ main missions are maritime security and anti-sub warfare. The public hearing is tomorrow from 5-8 at the Orange Park Holiday Inn.