Naval Air Station Jacksonville pulled the tarp off the latest addition to its fleet today in front of hundreds of civilians and sailors who were on hand to be some of the first people in the world to see the P-8A Poseidon aircraft.
Mayor Alvin Brown was joined by Navy Undersecretary Robert Work, Boeing executive vice president Dennis Muilenburg, and several high-ranking Naval Officers and Admirals from NAS JAX and around the country.
"The P-8 is undoubtedly a game-changer for Navy capability," said Mayor Brown.
The P-8A is a repurposed Boeing 737 and phases out the old P-3 Orion aircraft, a propeller plane that served the Navy for 50 years, but does not possess the firepower, technology, fuel efficiency, or defense systems that the new P-8 Poseidon does. The original crew of the P-3 Orion was also on hand to see the transition.
"They [the crew] will constantly be forward. They will be scouring the oceans for any potential threat, and they'll be able to respond very, very quickly," said Work. "Sailing ships used to be the eyes of the fleet, but maritime patrol aircraft became the eyes of the fleet because they could go farther and cover more distance. I truly believe that the P-8 will be eyes of the nation."
There was also a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new Integrated Training Center, which was open for tours today but will be a classified facility afterward. It features state-of-the-art technology that will train crew members in all the intricacies of the new P-8.