Washington, DC - U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) directed the U.S. Navy to deploy a P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft to Bahia Blanca, Argentina, today, to support the South American nation's ongoing search for the submarine A.R.A. San Juan in the waters of the Southern Atlantic.
The aircraft and its 21-person crew will depart El Salvador's Comalapa Air Base, where it was supporting counter-illicit trafficking maritime patrol operations. Once in Bahia Blanca, they will join the ongoing international search for the Argentinean Navy vessel and its crew, as requested by the government of Argentina.
The P-8A Poseidon is the Navy's newest maritime, patrol and reconnaissance aircraft and is configured with state-of-the-art sensors and communications equipment, allowing it to support a wide range of missions over large bodies of water, including sub-surface search-and-rescue operations. It can reach an airspeed of 564 mph, has a ceiling of 41,000 feet and a range of 1,200 nautical miles with four hours on station, allowing it to loiter over search areas.
In April, SOUTHCOM deployed a P-8A Poseidon to Galeo Air Force Base in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where it took part in an internationally-supported search for The Republic of Korea ship, Stella Daisy, which tragically sank in the Southern Atlantic, off the western coast of Africa.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, P-8A Poseidon aircraft conducted overflight assessment missions, capturing images of conditions on the ground in Dominica to support U.S. foreign disaster assistance operations led by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
SOUTHCOM is one of the nation's six geographically-focused unified commands with responsibility for U.S. military operations in the Caribbean, Central America and South America.