The U.S. Navy is deploying a P-8 Poseidon aircraft to assist in the search and rescue operation for a missing Indonesian navy submarine lost in the Bali Sea, as hopes fade for the 53 crew which are expected to have run out of oxygen early on Saturday. The aircraft and crew are assigned to the “Fighting Tigers” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 8. VP-8 is based out of Jacksonville, Florida, and currently on a rotational deployment to Misawa, Japan in support of U.S. 7th Fleet operations with Task Force 72 and Commander, Submarine Group 7.
The Pentagon said U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had spoken with his Indonesian counterpart Prabowo Subianto and offered additional support. “The two discussed the recent deployment of a P-8 Poseidon aircraft to aid the search. Secretary Austin offered to provide additional assistance, which could include undersea search assets, for the effort. Minister Prabowo thanked Secretary Austin for his concern and for U.S. assistance, citing his appreciation for the friendship between the two countries,” reads a Pentagon statement.
Patrol Squadron Eight (VP-8) is a U.S. Navy land-based patrol squadron stationed at Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida (USA). VP-8 is tasked to undertake maritime patrol, anti-submarine warfare (ASW), and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions. In July 2014 VP-8 started the transition from the P-3C to the P-8A Poseidon. The Squadron is equipped with the Boeing P-8A Poseidon. In March 2016, VP-8 began the squadron inaugural deployment of its P-8A Poseidon with a six-month deployment to Kadena AFB, Japan.
The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is an American maritime patrol aircraft developed and produced by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, modified from the 737-800ERX. The P-8 operates in the anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and shipping interdiction roles. It is armed with torpedoes, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and other weapons, can drop and monitor sonobuoys, and can operate in conjunction with other assets, including the Northrop Grumman MQ-4C Triton maritime surveillance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).