Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Starky is an aviation electrician’s mate with VP-16, a Jacksonville-based squadron that operates the Navy’s newly-designed maritime patrol aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon. Each aircraft has an aircrew of nine, is nearly 130 feet long, may weigh up to 188,200 lbs. (max gross) and can travel over 560 miles per hour and nearly 1,380 miles on a tank of gas.
As an aviation electrician’s mate, Starky’s job duties are to maintain electrical and instrument systems, including power generation, conversion, and distribution systems; aircraft batteries; interior and exterior lighting; electrical control of aircraft systems.
“I work on electrical and navigation systems of aircraft,” said Starky.
The Navy’s replacement platform for the P-3C, the P-8A Poseidon, is designed to secure the Navy’s future in long-range maritime patrol capability, while transforming how the Navy’s maritime patrol and reconnaissance force will man, train, operate and deploy.
“Working with the P-3′s before, it’s been an easy transition,” said Starky.
The P-8A provides more combat capability from a smaller force and less infrastructure while focusing on worldwide responsiveness and interoperability with traditional manned forces and evolving unmanned sensors.
Starky also said he is proud of the work he is doing as part of the squadron’s 260-member team, helping to protect America on the world’s oceans.
“Within the past year we have seen our camaraderie grow and really come together, and it really started at the beginning of deployment,” said Starky.
The P-8A leverages the experience and technology of the P-3C’s capabilities and assets to meet the Navy’s needs of developing and fielding a maritime aircraft equipped with significant growth potential, including an extended global reach, greater payload capacity, higher operating altitude, and the open systems architecture.
The War Eagles were the first squadron to deploy with the new P-8 platform. One of their first major missions had international attention as they participated in the international search effort for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.
Sailors’ jobs are highly varied in VP-16. Approximately 60 officers, 200 enlisted men and women make up and keep all parts of the squadron running smoothly — this includes everything from maintaining aircraft airframes and engines, to processing paperwork, handling weaponry, and flying the aircraft.
“Every day I feel an extraordinary amount of pride to serve alongside our great Nation’s most inspiring men and women,” said Cmdr. Daniel Papp, VP-16’s commanding officer. “Our team is filled with hardworking and and highly qualified professionals who hold uncommon levels of responsibility and accountability in support of our mission: To provide maritime patrol services to the fleet in support of national interests. Their work ethic, commitment, enthusiasm, and esprit de corps are second to none!”
“Why Being There Matters”
On our planet, more than 70 percent of which is covered by water, being there means having the ability to act from the sea. The Navy is uniquely positioned to be there; the world’s oceans give the Navy the power to protect America’s interests anywhere, and at any time. Your Navy protects and defends America on the world’s oceans. Navy ships, submarines, aircraft and, most importantly, tens of thousands of America’s finest young men and women are deployed around the world doing just that. They are there now. They will be there when we are sleeping tonight. They will be there every Saturday, Sunday and holiday this year. They are there around the clock, far from our shores, defending America at all times.