A second U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft will deploy to Bahia Blanca, Argentina, Nov. 19 to join an ongoing international search for the Argentinean Navy’s submarine A.R.A. San Juan in Southern Atlantic waters.
The aircraft and a crew of 21 personnel will depart Jacksonville, Fla., and are expected to arrive in Argentina the same day.
One Navy P-8A aircraft is already in Argentina, where it joined a NASA P-3 research aircraft already supporting the ongoing search efforts over the submarine’s last known location.
Additionally, the U.S. Navy’s Undersea Rescue Command (URC), based in San Diego, Calif., is deploying two independent rescue systems that can be used to support underwater search and rescue missions, depending on various oceanic factors, including depth, floor conditions, currents and other safety considerations.
U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) directed the deployment of the P-8A aircraft, underwater rescue equipment and associated personnel to Argentina to support the country’s request for international assistance aimed at locating the missing submarine and crew.
The P-8A Poseidon is the Navy’s newest maritime, patrol and reconnaissance aircraft and is configured with state-of-the-art sensors and communications equipment, allowing it to support a wide range of missions over large bodies of water, including sub-surface search-and-rescue operations. It can reach an airspeed of 564 mph, has a ceiling of 41,000 feet and a range of 1,200 nautical miles with four hours on station, allowing it to loiter over search areas.
In April, SOUTHCOM deployed a P-8A Poseidon to Galeo Air Force Base in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where it took part in an internationally-supported search for The Republic of Korea ship, Stella Daisy, which tragically sank in the Southern Atlantic, off the western coast of Africa.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in October, P-8A Poseidon aircraft conducted overflight assessment missions, capturing images of conditions on the ground in Dominica to support U.S. foreign disaster assistance operations led by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
SOUTHCOM is one of the nation’s six geographically-focused unified commands with responsibility for U.S. military operations in the Caribbean, Central America and South America.