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Cherokee NJROTC Tours US NAVY P-8 At Tri Cities Airport back button

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On September 29th, 2015, cadets from Cherokee High School’s NJROTC unit visited the Tri-Cities Airport in Blountville, Tennessee, for an aircraft orientation. Cadets toured a P-8A Poseidon, which is a Navy aircraft with a primary function in Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-surface Warfare (ASUW), and Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR). Its goal is to secure the Navy’s development of maritime aircraft equipment and transform the maritime patrol, its capability, and the reconnaissance force.

The first P-8A was handed over to the Navy on March 4, 2012, and flown to the Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida. On September 24th, 2012, Boeing announced an order for 11 aircrafts, costing roughly around $1.9 billion. After a year of delayed development due to lifespan and safety tests on the aircraft, Boeing received a contract of roughly $2.04 billion to build over 37 of the P-8As by 2016, and it is planned that all Navy P-3s will be replaced with 117 P-8As by 2019. The P-8A weighs at maximum gross takeoff 189,200 pounds, is able to reach speeds up to 490 knots, or 564 mph, reaches a length of 129.5 feet, a height of 42.1 feet, a wingspan of 123.6 feet, a ceiling 41,000 feet long, and has the range of a 1,200 nautical miles radius. Onboard, radar systems- capable of reading a license plate up to 30 miles away- are used to track submarines far below the surface of water using sound readings.

Cadets also had the chance to talk to its crew, which had recently come back from a 7-month deployment in Japan, about their experiences in the Navy and what it takes to work onboard a P-8A, and to ask any questions they had concerning a military career. The crew consisted of both officers and enlisted men and women, providing a wide range of knowledge, skill, and experience for the cadets there to hear about and to witness. Several crew members had also graduated high school at the time the current senior class were all freshmen, which helped illustrate the short amount of time accompanied by the extremely hard work it took for said crew members to reach the important position they are now in.

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