WARBIRD RADIO – On the heels of the P-8A Poseidon squadron’s inaugural deployment, the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft Program Office (PMA-290) recently announced it entered the full-rate production (FRP) phase of its development.
According to a recent news release, the approval, reached Jan. 3 from the FRP Milestone Decision Authority will allow the program office, resource sponsor, acquisition community and industry to continue to deliver the P-8A to the fleet with the required capabilities needed to ensure the squadrons are getting a stable and efficient system.
“This significant milestone approval moves the program from low-rate into full-rate production, and allows us to manufacture the remaining aircraft over the next several years with an opportunity for a cost-effective procurement,” said Cmdr. Tony Rossi, the integrated product team lead for the P-8A program.
Aligned under the Naval Air Systems Command, the program’s current objective is to deliver 117 aircraft to the fleet. Thirteen of 37 Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) aircraft have already been delivered to fleet squadrons, with all deliveries on or ahead of schedule. As the Naval Fleet Forces transition to the P-8A, from the P-3C, the Sailors will use these LRIP and future FRP aircraft to train and participate in operational missions.
Currently, Patrol Squadron 16 (VP-16), who deployed in December, is equipped with LRIP aircraft. VP-16 and the second squadron with LRIP P-8As will receive their next upgrades through increments 2 and 3, which are the follow-up phases for capabilities for the P-8A aircraft and weapons systems. The next significant milestone for the P-8A program is initial operational capability (IOC) for Increment 2, which is scheduled for 2016, Rossi said.
The P-8A’s current configuration, Increment 1, consists of the following capabilities: persistent armed anti-submarine warfare (ASW), an integrated sensor suite, and significant improvement in situational awareness. Increment 2 will consist of multi-static active coherent acoustics, automated identification system, and high-altitude ASW weapon capability.
“This FRP milestone is a testament to the incredible effort and dedication of the P-8A team to deliver the P-8A to the fleet as planned,” said Capt. Scott Dillon, PMA-290 program manager. “The team has accomplished a lot over the last six months, from passing the Initial Operational Test and Evaluation period this summer to achieving IOC this fall and the P-8′s first operational deployment this winter. We are moving forward with a successful start to 2014 with the announcement of FRP. The high-quality work of the P-8A team has made this milestone possible. We look forward to having continued successes within the program.”
The P-8A Poseidon will replace the P-3C Orion as a long-range anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.
Story and photo courtesy PMA-290 Public Affairs
WARBIRD RADIO — The United States Navy has announced a yearlong series of events that will mark the milestone 50th anniversary of the first E-2 Hawkeye airborne early warning and control (AEW&C) aircraft, delivered to Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 11 on Jan. 19, 1964, becoming what is affectionately known as “the eyes and ears of the Navy.” As the first aircraft explicitly designed for the Navy’s AEW mission, the E-2 has had a presence aboard every carrier strike group in the Navy’s arsenal and has participated in every major combat operation, providing humanitarian and disaster relief.
According to a recent news release, the E-2/C-2 Airborne Tactical Data Systems Program Office (PMA-231) has named 2014 as the Year of the Hawkeye. The E-2D Advanced Hawkeye is the newest variant of the E-2 aircraft platform. It features a state-of-the-art radar with a two-generation leap in capability and upgraded aircraft systems that will improve fleet supportability and increase readiness. The E-2D is on schedule to reach initial operational capability later this year.
Celebrations are scheduled to begin Jan. 19 kicking off a yearlong series of events focusing feature podcasts, videos, photos and articles about the E-2 Hawkeye that will be posted online (see Quick Link below for details).
QUICK LINK: Hawkeye www.navair.navy.mil/hawkeye
WARBIRD RADIO – Russ Strine joins Matt Jolley with an update on the Mid-Atlantic Air Museum’s P-61 “Black Widow” restoration. MAAM’s P-61 will soon become the only flying example of the famous WWII era night fighter. Russ also unveils some big news about their upcoming WWII Weekend! Over a thousand re-enactors, 80 period airplanes and hundreds of military vehicles make up this “total immersion” living history experience. The WWII Weekend in Reading, PA is truly a bucket list adventure for any history buff. Hear all the details on this episode of Warbird Radio LIVE! Thanks for tuning in.
QUICK LINK: The Mid-Atlantic Air Museum
WARBIRD RADIO – The 99th Aerospace Medicine Squadron at Nellis AFB performs a number of operations ranging from medically certifying aircrews, to responding to medical emergencies on the flightline. They are also responsible for maintaining and treating all pilots, aircrew and flightline workers in support of flying operations.
According to a recent news release, although medicine is in the name, the squadron does much more than that, said Maj. (Dr.) Kenji Takano, a 99th AMDS flight surgeon.
“It is medicine, but it’s also a lot of physiology and understanding of the occupational and physical stresses that (aircrew members) face out there,” he said.
One way AMDS Airmen accomplish their mission is by experiencing firsthand what the fliers go through mentally and physically by participating in a variety of training opportunities.
“We experience the (altitude chamber), (which) simulates going up in elevation,” said Staff Sgt. Natllely Quintero, a 99th AMDS aerospace medicine service technician. “We feel all the physiological symptoms and [gaseous changes] in our body.”
In the controlled environment of the altitude chamber aircrews learn to recognize how their body reacts when deprived of oxygen. The Airmen also conduct familiarization training with the various aircraft on base to understand differences that may have an impact on the crews.
“The key about flight surgeons is they fly with the units,” Takano said. “They fly with these guys, and they understand what (they) go through every day.”
This familiarization gives the flight surgeons a better understanding of what pilots’ bodies endure during flight, and gives the doctors an advantage in understanding the pilots’ needs. According to Takano, Nellis is different from other bases because it has so many different airframes, and every aircraft causes its own type of medical issues.
“Fighter pilots have a lot of neck issues (and) helo guys get a lot of back issues,” he said. “There’s a lot of work related stressors and sleep issues that happen to our (RPA) community,” the doctor said. “Being deployed at home is not easy.”
The ability to see firsthand what aircrew experience really helps Quintero relate to them, she said.
“I have a lot of respect for (pilots) and any flier as to what they do, what their bodies go through and their work,” she said.
From first responder roles to actively participating in aerial flights and training, the 99th AMDS provides a support role to the Nellis and Creech aircrews in aim of their mission.
“The aviation environment is a very harsh environment — very loud, very cold,” Takano said. “For instance some of the altitudes those jets fly at … if the pilots were exposed to the environments at those altitudes, they would have seconds to live.”
I fly with the helo squadron, the 34th (Weapons Squadron), they fly HH-60s. It’s not just a helicopter ride like you see the news crews do where they’re talking about the traffic. It’s a lot of vibration, it’s a lot of temperature extremes, very cold to very hot. It’s hard on you; it’s not an easy place to function.”
The 99th AMDS uses all the tools they have available to keep Airmen safe and healthy through these extreme mission requirements.
“The Air Force has spent a lot of time and money to train these people to do what they do, and we have to work hard to keep them up there and insure flight safety,” Takano said. “Our overall mission is to keep the fliers flying.”
ABOUT THE PHOTO: Capt. (Dr.) Thomas Shute listens to a patient’s breathing during a follow-up occupational health exam Jan. 10, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Flight surgeons are responsible for maintaining and treating all pilots, aircrew and flightline workers in support of flying operations. Shute is a 42nd Attack Squadron flight surgeon. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Timothy Young)
WARBIRD RADIO – The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force kicks off its 2014 Wings & Things Guest Lecture Series with a special presentation on part of the U.S. Air Force’s mission in the Middle East.
According to a recent news release, Col. Robert A. Strasser and Lt. Col. Tay W. Johannes will present “The U.S. Air Force’s Mission to Help Create Afghan Air Power” at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21 in the museum’s Carney Auditorium. They will discuss their own experiences in building the Afghan Air Force, including resources, organizational interactions, mission objectives and how historical events have influenced decision making.
Strasser is B-2 system program manager and chief of the B-2 Division, Fighters and Bombers Directorate for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. He is responsible for the planning, acquisition and sustainment of the most capable bomber aircraft in U.S. history, the B-2 Spirit. After commissioning in 1991 from the U.S. Air Force Academy with an undergraduate degree in chemistry, Strasser earned his pilot wings in 1992. A senior instructor pilot with more than 2,700 flight hours, he served in various leadership positions at both the squadron and group levels. He also has extensive flight experience in multiple joint operations, including Northern and Southern Watch, Allied Force and Noble Eagle.
Johannes has been an assistant professor of engineering management at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) since 2010, and he deployed to Afghanistan as military advisor to the Afghan Air Force Civil Engineer in 2010-2011. He received his Ph.D. in engineering management from The George Washington University, and his research areas include mathematical modeling, geographic information systems, emergency and risk communications, contingency military engineering, and energy. Johannes is a member of the Society of American Military Engineers, the Military Officers Association of America and Sigma Iota Epsilon (Management Honor Society).
For more information or handicapped seating arrangements during the lecture, contact the museum’s Special Events Division at (937) 255-1743. Filming or videotaping the lecture is prohibited.
The National Museum of the United States Air Force is located on Springfield Street, six miles northeast of downtown Dayton. It is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day). Admission and parking are free.
QUICK LINK: USAF Museum