JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Patrol Squadron SIXTEEN (VP-16) will make history as the first operational Navy squadron to deploy with the new P-8A Poseidon to the Western Pacific on Friday.
In July 2012, VP-16 became the first Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft operational squadron to transition from the P-3C Orion to the P-8A Poseidon.
The transition was completed in January 2013.
As the first operational squadron to transition to a new MPRA in more than 50 years, VP-16 has been part of many historic accomplishments.
It's spent the last year preparing for its upcoming deployment as the first squadron to take the P-8 into theater.
Family members and friends of the "War Eagles" will be at the hangar at NAS Jacksonville on Friday to bid farewell to their loved ones.
The P-8A provides more combat capability from a smaller force and less infrastructure while focusing on worldwide responsiveness and interoperability with traditional manned forces and evolving unmanned sensors.
It leverages the experience and technology of the P-3C's capabilities and assets to meet the Navy's needs of developing and fielding a maritime aircraft equipped with significant growth potential. That includes extended global reach, greater payload capability and higher operating altitude.
Copyright 2013 by News4Jax.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.