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SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — For the first time since 2007, a P-3 Orion maritime patrol squadron will be deployed to Misawa Air Base, Navy officials said this week.

The squadron from Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., will arrive in Misawa in late November, according to Misawa’s Navy spokesman Senior Chief Petty Officer Daniel Sanford.

The P-3 has been used for patrols and tracking submarines since the Cold War.

The move to bring a squadron back coincides with the drawdown of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Sanford said, and was in an effort to bring surveillance coverage in the region back to 2007 levels.

“Misawa is an important strategic location,” Sanford said. “The P-3’s have been rotationally deployed here in the past, and I think they’re trying to get back to that.”

There is no timetable for how long the aircraft will be in Misawa.

The P-3 has a maximum range of more than 2,700 miles, according to a Navy website. Its 10-member crew conducts surveillance using on-board instrument panels, scopes and detection devices.

There are about 435 P-3s in use worldwide by 21 governments and agencies in 17 nations.

From staff reports


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