Deterrence mission in the Persian Gulf and export success
Show of Force
On March 10, 2021, the U.S. Navy unveiled new photos of its ocean-going patrol aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon. These photographs taken in mid-January show a P-8A from the 8th Patrol Squadron (VP-8) "Tiger" in training with Task Force 57. Attached for the occasion to the 5th Fleet of the US Navy, its mission was to ensure security and freedom of navigation in the Persian Gulf. A special feature of this deployment was that it was equipped with four AGM-84 Block 1C "Harpoon" anti-ship missiles. A real "Show of Force" for the Iranian Pasdaran.
The P-8A, named "Poseidon", is a maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft. It is gradually replacing the P-3 "Orion" in the US Navy's arsenal. Based on the 737-800 airframe and equipped with a 737-900 wing, it features a number of structural modifications to reinforce its structure. It is produced on the same assembly line as the civil 737. The P-8A combines the natural performance of the 737 with a powerful mission system featuring Raytheon's APY-10 radar, and its 129 floating sonars make it a feared aircraft. In addition, its 11 carry points allow it to carry out a wide variety of missions (anti-submarine, anti-ship, intelligence and electronic jamming, rescue at sea, etc.) over very long distances (5900 km range). The aircraft has already been ordered by the US Navy (nearly 100 units), the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, South Korea, and India, which should increase its fleet from 13 to 17 aircraft (9 in service, 3 being delivered and 4 more on order).
Deployed since 1977, the Harpoon missile, now upgraded to Block II+, continues to give good and loyal service to the US Navy. The choice of its replacement is scheduled for 2024 through the OASuW (Offensive Anti-Surface Warfare) programme, which will have to find a unique successor to the Tomahawk and the Harpoon. In the meantime, the AGM-158 LRASM (Long Range Anti-Ship Missile) is a stopgap solution for Marine and Navy aircraft. Its integration on the P-8A should take place this year.
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