US Navy finishes $26.5 million hangar for P-8 patrol planes in Sicily
NAPLES, Italy — Naval Air Station Sigonella unveiled a new $26.5 million P-8 aircraft hangar, hailing it as a milestone in U.S. efforts to support and defend NATO allies.
Designed to house two P-8A Poseidon aircraft simultaneously, the 56,000 square-foot hangar offers a space for deployed squadron rotations and Commander Task Force 67 operations, the Navy announced in a Feb. 2 statement.
The Poseidon is a patrol plane capable of surveillance, anti-submarine warfare and other maritime missions. It is based on the Boeing 737 airframe.
The hangar, started in May 2017 and completed Jan. 15, includes modern technology and construction techniques designed to improve overseas maintenance, the Navy said.
Previously, P-8 maintenance took place in a hangar designed for smaller P-3 Orion aircraft. A P-8 aircraft couldn’t fully fit in the hangar and allow the bay doors to close, said Lt. Drake Greer, an NAS Sigonella spokesman.
Sigonella enables P-8A deployment throughout the theater, supporting U.S. European Command and U.S. Africa Command, the Navy said. The P-8 is one of many American, Italian and NATO aircraft operating out of Sigonella.
Last year, the already completed main portion of the hangar was used as a transit site for Afghan evacuees prior to their subsequent movement to other locations, the Navy said.