By Luis Delgadillo
DCMA Western Region Public Affairs
Navy pilots assigned to the Defense Contract Management Agency’s Boeing Seattle office delivered the 100th P-8A Poseidon, the Navy’s maritime patrol aircraft, to Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Fla., May 14. While most Department of Defense travel is temporarily curtailed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DCMA travel supporting deliveries of vital aircraft continues.
The CMOs assigned service members and employees work with buying commands like Navy Air Systems Command and defense contractors like Boeing to ensure warfighters receive equipment in line with agreed upon costs, schedules and specifications.
“This is an incredible moment for our nation, despite COVID we have found a way to be successful. To see the 100th P-8A delivered to the U.S. Navy is a testament to the extraordinary people who work on this program every day,” said Air Force Col. Laird Abbott, commander of DCMA Boeing Seattle.
In a message to his CMO, Abbott said the delivery was especially satisfying because of the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Whether you are at home trying to balance home-life with work, all from the same dining room table, or you are among those of us who head into the plant, you are each helping us find ways to be successful at our mission,” he said.
From the start of the pandemic, DCMA kept pace with the DoD’s priority of protecting people while balancing the need to remain open and delivering vital mission capable equipment.
According to the DCMA P8A Program Integrator, Douglas Drake, the delivery was extra special because the office had to work through multiple issues due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. “Despite those challenges, we were able to deliver on time, and able to deliver another great product to the United States Navy,” said Drake.
NAVAIR’s Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, which oversees all aspects of patrol aircraft operations and the squadron that took delivery of the P-8A, also marked another milestone for the Navy. CPRG celebrated the 12th and final active component VP squadron, or fixed-wing patrol squadron, successfully transitioned from the P-3C Orion to the state of the art Poseidon platform.
CPRG’s mission is to ensure optimum and uniform training; readiness and effective command, control and coordination of all operational multi-mission capable patrol squadrons; two reserve patrol squadrons; a fleet replacement training squadron; an operational special projects unit; a special reconnaissance squadron; an unmanned patrol squadron and operational task unit commands.
As the aircraft’s program integrator for nine-and-a-half years, Drake said he’s proud to have seen every P-8A delivered and to work with such an accomplished team of professionals. In Drake’s time as program integrator deliveries of the P-8A have remained ahead of schedule and under budget.
The transition to the P-8A from the P-3C is a welcomed one. According to the Navy’s fact sheet on the aircraft the plane operates with a smaller crew but offers extended global reach, greater payload capacity, higher operating altitude, open-systems architecture, and significant growth potential, the P-8A provides more combat capability.
While active-duty maritime patrol squadrons have expanded their capabilities thanks to the transition to the Poseidon, Drake said that he and his team remain focused on the next 20 P-8As scheduled to be completed in the coming months.
“The P-8A provides a great increase in capability as well as reliability and sustainability and so, it's just exciting to be able to talk to the sailors and be part of this experience to deliver the hundredth airplane and be part of the final transition,” said Drake.
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