NAS Whidbey to gain 3 fleet squadrons by 2019

The U.S. Navy’s presence in the Puget Sound region is growing.

The Navy plans to more than double the number of P-8A Poseidon aircraft based at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island and accelerate the basing of destroyers at Naval Station Everett, U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen said Friday in a news release.

Currently, four fleet squadrons with 24 total aircraft are stationed at the NAS Whidbey, employing an estimated 2,600 people.

Pending the completion of an environmental impact review, the naval air base will be home to seven fleet squadrons with 49 P-8A aircraft before 2019. The additional planes come from a change in plans to base three fleet squadrons in Hawaii.

The P-8A Poseidon is a long-range anti-submarine, anti-surface warfare and reconnaissance aircraft, according to official Navy website mil.

The aircraft were built by Boeing using a modified fuselage of a nextgeneration 737-800 and the wings of a 737-900.

“The additional basing of P-8As makes Naval Air Station Whidbey Island the preeminent maritime patrol, electronic warfare and surveillance site in the Pacific,” Larsen said in the release. “The additional P-8As will bring hundreds of new military families and will create hundreds of local jobs in the next few years as the base constructs new facilities.”

The Navy also announced that three destroyers will replace three outgoing frigates at Naval Station Everett over the next few years.

Instead of allowing time to pass between the outgoing and incoming ships, the Navy now plans to synchronize departures and arrivals to eliminate breaks between ships.

The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz will keep Naval Station Everett as its home port through at least 2020, according to the release.