During the last week, on the MilAir page of this blog, I was asked about callsigns for the P-8As that are now based at NAS Jacksonville. It was a good question and something I probably should have pulled together a post about earlier so I decided to go ahead and put something together. As always, if you have any corrections or additions to what’s listed below, please let me know.
The US Navy is currently transitioning its Patrol Squadrons from the P-3 Orion to the P-8 Poseidon. VP-30, based at NAS Jacksonville, is the FRS (Fleet Replacement Squadron) and was the first to train on the P-8 so that they could train the rest of the Patrol Squadrons during the transition. VP-30 still retains the mission of training personnel for the P-3 until the transition is complete, so they are equipped with both P-3s and P-8s. The east coast squadrons at NAS Jacksonville are apparently the first to make the transition; VP-16 and VP-5 are the two squadrons that have completed the transition and VP-16 has just begun the first P-8A operational deployment. VP-45 is currently in the transition process. Below is a list of the Patrol Squadrons at NAS Jacksonville along with which aircraft they are currently operating (as of December 2013).
- VP-30 (FRS): P-3C, P-8A
- VP-5: P-8A
- VP-8: P-3C
- VP-10: P-3C
- VP-16: P-8A
- VP-26: P-3C
- VP-45: currently transitioning to P-8A
- VP-62 (Reserve): P-3C
For callsigns, the squadrons that transition to the P-8A are using the same callsigns that they did with the P-3C, so far no changes have been noted. VP-30 flights have been using different callsign structures for P-3s and P-8s however: P-3 flights have been utilizing two digit LL ## callsigns whereas P-8 flights have been using 3 digit LL 8## callsigns.
- VP-30: LL ## (P-3C), LL 8## (P-8A)
- VP-5: MAD FOX
- VP-8: TIGER/FIGHTING TIGER
- VP-10: LANCER
- VP-16: TALON/RED TALON
- VP-26: TRIDENT
- VP-45: PELICAN
- VP-62: NAVY LT 62#
Where can you hear the new P-8As? The P-8As have been making regular flights along the coast as well as cross-country flights to other airfields. They’ve also been heard on regular patrol squadron operating frequencies. For the coastal Georgia area, here are some good frequencies to listen to (for ATC, they’re frequently heard on the VHF frequencies):
- 277.400/126.750 – Jax Center Brunswick Low
- 282.200/124.675 – Jax Center Jekyll Low
- 282.300/135.975 – Jax Center Alma High
- 285.650/126.125 – Jax Center Statesboro High
- 290.350/132.425 – Jax Center Hunter Ultra High
- 363.200/132.925 – Jax Center Millen/Savannah Low
- 120.950/284.500 – SEALORD North Primary
- 285.000 – TSC Jacksonville “FIDDLE”
- 8.971 USB – TSC Jacksonville “FIDDLE”
Another interesting thing to note is that while most P-3s don’t make use of Mode-S the P-8As do, so if you’ve got a Mode-S receiver or one of the dongles that can be used for receiving Mode-S, keep an eye out for them.