South Korea receives first batch of P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft

Republic of Korea Navy

The first batch of P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft arrived at the Pohang Naval Air Command in South Korea on June 19, 2024.  

South Korea ordered the P-8A submarine hunters in September 2018, with Boeing contracted to complete the production of six aircraft by 2023.  

The first three units have now been delivered to the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) following the training of its personnel in the US. 

To commemorate their arrival, a synchronized flight was conducted with the P-3 maritime patrol aircraft, the current mainstay of the Navy’s maritime patrol operations. 

(Credit: Republic of Korea Navy)

The P-8 Poseidon: a significant upgrade for South Korea’s submarine hunting capabilities 

The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is a multi-role maritime patrol aircraft, equipped with a naval search radar for search and tracking capability. It can also be fitted, both internally and externally, with an array of armaments dedicated to submarine and anti-ship warfare, such as torpedoes, mines, depth charges, and anti-ship missiles. 

The P-8A boasts a top speed of approximately 490 knots, surpassing the P-3’s maximum speed of around 405 knots. Additionally, the P-8A offers an extended operational radius, capable of covering greater distances without refueling, enhancing its effectiveness in extended maritime patrol missions, including submarine hunting. 

“The introduction of Poseidon has made it possible to carry out enhanced maritime air operations, including improving anti-submarine capabilities against North Korean submarines, as well as rapid response capabilities in the event of future maritime operations and expansion of surveillance capabilities in our waters,” the ROKN commented, as quoted by The Chosun Ilbo

In July 2022, the ROKN created a new Naval Air Command located at Pohang Air Base and focused on Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations. The new command absorbed the P-3 maritime patrol aircraft of the ROKN’s 6th Air Wing and will now operate the Poseidon fleet. 

Three additional P-8A Poseidon aircraft are expected to arrive on June 30, 2024. Pilot training and operational deployment, including maritime live-fire training, will commence, with full operational deployment anticipated by mid-2025. 

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