P-8 aircraft unveiled at NAS Jax

Navy working to replace P-3s with P-8s

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The P-8A Poseidon was unveiled at Naval Air Station Jacksonville on Wednesday, marking a major transition with the Navy.

About 1,200 people gathered at NAS Jax to see the aircraft for themselves, even getting to take a look inside the fuselage.

The Navy says it's a more efficient plane that will do an even better job of keeping the country secure.

"They'll constantly be forward, they'll be scouring the oceans for potential threats, and they'll be able to respond very quickly," Under Secretary of the Navy Robert Work said. "It can be refueled in the air, so it can stay up as long as the crew can last and there's oil in the engines."

Work came to Jacksonville just for the unveiling ceremony. He said the Navy is working to replace every one of its 150 P-3 aircraft with 117 P-8s.

The Navy also unveiled a multimillion dollar training center, filled with flight simulators that are exact replicas of the P-8s.

People training will be able to communicate with other simulators all around the world. The first class is set to start training in fiscal year 2013.

"It's very significant. You can see the Navy is moving into the 21st century when it comes to the P-8 and P-3s," Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown said. "There's transition, and we're a part of that and we're going to make sure we're a part of that every step of the way."

With every step, those with the Navy say they're excited.

"The P-8 is going to bring the latest of technology into the hands of our smartest young men and women, and we can't wait to see what they're going to do with it," said Rear Admiral Michael W. Hewitt, of the U.S. Navy Commander, Patrol and Reconnaissance Group.

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