Navy may add up to 49 737-based P-8As to Whidbey

OAK HARBOR — The Navy is considering an increase in the number of P-8A Poseidon aircraft squadrons planned for Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.

The P-8As, which are modified 737s assembled in Renton, are scheduled to replace the older Orion P-3s, as the propeller planes are phased out of service. The Navy is studying three alternatives for the assignment of Poseidon squadrons, all of which would mean additional aircraft at Whidbey Island.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, said he is pleased with the news because it shows a commitment to keeping the naval air station open.

“I have been a determined advocate to bring the P-8As to Whidbey Island. It is the right decision to serve our national security and it protects the future of the base on Whidbey Island,” Larsen said in a statement from his office.

“This is clearly great news for Whidbey Island.”

Originally, the Navy had planned to base four fleet squadrons at Whidbey for a total of 24 P-8As. Alternative plans, being considered as part of a supplemental environmental impact statement, could bring as many as seven squadrons and a total of 49 more aircraft to Whidbey Island Naval Air Station.

Additional aircraft at Whidbey would require an expanded airport facility, Navy officials said.

The Navy plans to schedule public hearings during the 45-day public comment and agency review period that will follow the summer 2013 release of the draft supplemental environmental impact statement.

The P-8A Poseidon is a long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com.

Correction: An earlier headline misidentified the aircraft potentially being added at Whidbey NAS. The jets are P-8As. The headline is now correct.

More in Local News

Residents are helping turn Casino Road in a new direction

An initiative backed by a $700,000 grant goes to the community for solutions to the area’s challenges.

It’s hard to find a parking spot at Wallace Falls State Park

There’s a study under way on how to tackle that issue and others.

At long last, a church of his own

After years of filling in elsewhere, Hallack Greider is the new pastor at Maplewood Presbyterian.

Judge: Lawmakers’ emails, texts subject to public disclosure

News organizations had sued to challenge the Legislature’s claim that members were exempt.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s top images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Number of flu-related deaths in county continues to grow

Statewide, 86 people have died from the flu, most of whom were 65 or older.

2 names released from recent fatal crashes

Both men were killed earlier this month.

Man fatally shot in confrontation with deputies under US 2

No word yet on what led to the incident under the trestle east of Everett.

With an immigrant’s help, kids reach out to Filipino children

Marysville students drew and sent portraits. Thanks to a video, they got to see the reaction.

Most Read