ARLINGTON, Va. — The Navy’s last active-duty patrol squadron to operate the Lockheed P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft has returned from deployment and soon will begin transition to the Boeing P-8A Poseidon.
Patrol Squadron 40 (VP-40) completed its return to Naval Air Station (NAS) Whidbey Island, Washington, on Oct. 10 from its deployment to the U.S. 7th Fleet and U.S. 5th Fleet areas of operations.
VP-40 is the last of the existing 12 VP fleet squadrons to operate the P-3C. It will join those squadrons in flying the P-8A as it begins its transition with the fleet replacement squadron, VP-30 at NAS Jacksonville, Florida.
VP-40 had the distinction of retiring the Navy’s last flying boats, the SP-5B Marlins, in 1967 following a deployment to the Philippines and South Vietnam.
Although it is no longer in the regular fleet deployment cycles, the P-3 will continue for several more years to be operated by several units, including two reserve VP squadrons, VP-62 and VP-69, as well as VP-30, Special Projects Patrol Squadron Two, Scientific Development Squadron One, and Air Test and Evaluation Squadron 30.
The EP-3E electronic reconnaissance version will continue to deploy from NAS Whidbey Island with detachments of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron One until the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aerial vehicle is deployed in sufficient numbers with signals intelligence capability.