By Lt.j.g. Sean Hickey
Aircrewmen assigned to the “Tridents” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 completed their first operational aerial refueling flight Oct. 12, 2018, while patrolling the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations.
The introduction of aerial refueling is a strategic military capability that will increase the P-8A’s capabilities by increasing the range and duration of flights.
“Introducing P-8A aerial refueling to the U.S. 6th Fleet [area of operations] is a huge milestone for the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force,” said Cmdr. Mike Haymon, the commanding officer of VP-26. “This capability is a game changer for our community and I could not be prouder of the hard work put in by Team Trident to successfully bring it forward.”
During the half-hour evolution, which was accomplished in coordination with the 100th Air Refueling Wing, the Tridents made two separate connections with the tanker and took received more than 30,000 pounds of fuel.
VP-26, based out of Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida, is in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operation in support of U.S National security interests in Europe and Africa.
U.S. 6th Fleet, headquartered in Naples, Italy, conducts the full spectrum of joint and naval operations, often in concert with allied and interagency partners, in order to advance U.S. national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa.