NAVAL AIR STATION WHIDBEY ISLAND, Wash. — At first glance, the U.S. Navy’s new aircraft looks like nothing more than an airliner. That’s until you look under the wing of the P-8A Poseidon.
Its pylons can carry some of the fleet’s most fearsome weapons, like the heat-seeking Sidewinder missile or the Harpoon anti-ship missile. It may be built on a Boeing 737 airframe, but make no mistake: the P-8A is a warplane.
With the constant roar of EA-18G Growlers on the flight line beyond, the service unveiled its new training center for an aircraft that it views as a centerpiece of efforts to deter potential adversaries like Putin’s Russia.
This state-of-the-art airplane supports not only the “pivot to the Pacific but the reoccurring and the re-emerging Russian threat in the Atlantic,” Rear Adm. Kyle Cozad, the head of the Patrol and Reconnaissance Group, told me in an interview.