U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon Aircraft Lead Coordinated Harpoon Missile Launch Mission

Poseidon is a multi-mission aircraft that mainly conducts marine patrol operations 1 photo
Photo: U.S. Navy
U.S. Navy Poseidon aircraft reached a milestone for their service after firing Harpoon missiles for the first time in this European setting, in a successful operation off the coast of Norway, during At-Sea Demo/Formidable Shield.
Not as popular as flashy fighter jets or bombers, the P-8A Poseidon (P-8A) has its own important role within the U.S. Navy, as a maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft. It’s actually a versatile, multi-mission jet that can go from anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare to humanitarian response operations, and it can also help with surveillance, reconnaissance and intelligence missions.

Built by Boeing, the P-8A has a high operating altitude, a bigger payload capacity and advanced sensors and radars. Plus, it was made with an open-systems architecture that allows continuous improvements, adapted to evolving requirements.

The Poseidon aircraft belonging to the Patrol Squadron FOUR, currently assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 67, conduct anti-submarine, reconnaissance, surveillance, and search and rescue missions. As maritime patrol aircraft, they fly over the Mediterranean and North Atlantic.

During At-Sea Demo/Formidable Shield, Patrol Squadron FOUR (VP-4) employed 3 Poseidon aircraft to support defense operations. On the last day of May, they conducted a successful coordinated missile launch, using 2 Harpoon air-to-surface missiles (AGM-84D) against a target barge. Harpoons have a long history in Navy’s service and an early version was deployed on the Navy's P-3C Orion aircraft, in the 80s. An all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile system, the Harpoon can be launched from ships, submarines and aircraft. The upgraded AGM-84D is an important asset for the Poseidon, in attack or defense operations.

Several other missiles and weapons systems were also demonstrated throughout the NATO exercise. Standard Missile-2, Evolved Sea Sparrow Missiles (ESSM), Aster 15, and Aster 30 missiles are some of the ones that were launched against a variety of targets, ranging from subsonic to supersonic.

Formidable Shield 2021 ended on June 3, after 3 weeks of intense air and missile defense joint exercises.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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