More planes may come to Whidbey

More new Navy sub hunters could be flying around Whidbey Island than originally anticipated.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen said this week the Navy is considering increasing the number of squadrons of Boeing-built P-8A Poseidon aircraft at Whidbey Island Naval Island Station. The Navy will study three alternatives to its 2008 Record of Decision, all of which would result in the basing of more aircraft at Whidbey Island.

“This news shows the Navy’s steadfast commitment to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and provides further assurance that the future of the base is secure,” Larsen said.

“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.”

The jet-powered P-8As will replace the propeller-driven P-8 Orions that have been based at Whidbey for decades. The patrol aircraft are known for their submarine hunting abilities.

The 2008 Record of Decision calls for the basing of four fleet squadrons, a total of 24 aircraft, on Whidbey Island. The alternative plans being considered as part of a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement could bring as many as seven squadrons and a total of 49 aircraft to Whidbey Island.


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