Armor & Mobility

MAR-APR 2018

Military magazines in the United States and Canada, covering Armor and Mobility, focuses on tactical vehicles, C4ISR, Special Operations Forces, latest soldier equipment, shelters, and key DoD programs

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REASSERTING SUB-MARITIME DOMAIN DOMINANCE By Denver Beaulieu-Hains, PMA 290 Public Affairs "Today, we are seeing a renewed interest in airborne anti-submarine warfare and in the underwater domain," says Rear Adm. William "Trey" Wheeler III, the U.S. Navy's commander of Patrol and Reconnaissance Group and Patrol and Reconnaissance Group Pacific. "Imagine in the early 60's, black and white television compared to what we have today, that's the technology jump we're seeing between the capabilities of the legacy P-3C Orion (P-3C) and its successor, the P-8A Poseidon (P-8A)." The Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force (MPRF) led by Rear Adm. Wheeler, consists of 12 active component patrol squadrons, two reserve component patrol squadrons, and a fleet replacement training squadron. During 2012, the MPRF began its transition from legacy platforms to a new family of systems, including the P-8A Poseidon multi-mission aircraft, the MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aerial System, and a Tactical Mobile ground support system. Wheeler says it is technology, communication and teaming that makes this an exciting time for operators and stakeholders in the Mari- time Patrol and Reconnaissance community. Today, the P-8A Poseidon brings speed to the fleet, the power of secure networks, and twice as much acoustic capability. A&M: Tell us about the P-8. Rear Adm. Wheeler: The P-8A was designed and built to replace the P-3C Orion, which I believe has been in the fleet since 1962, and has been doing great work for us for a long time. The Navy really invested in the P-8A to do that traditional role of anti-submarine warfare. So, it's built to accomplish that mission and it's doing a tremendous job. A&M: How is it different than the P-3? What new capabilities does it bring to the fight? Rear Adm. Wheeler: Obviously, the most striking difference is its two engines, jet propulsion, as compared to the four-engine propeller- driven P-3 Orion. As I mentioned, the P-3 has been flying since the early 60's. You can imagine the technology that has changed since then. Really, what the P-8 brings is that new technology. It takes an airframe that is very dependable in the Boeing 737 and combines it with some of the great sensors our industry partners have developed over the years combined with great computing power. A&M: How is this helping the Navy in its modernization efforts, and meeting the operational goals of the Navy right now? Rear Adm. Wheeler: What the P-8A really brings is that culmination of technology. If you imagine in the early 60's black and white television compared to what we have today. Well, that's the technology jump that we're seeing, between a P-3C and a P-8A. The computing power alone, and being able to take all the information that's available to that crew A native of Cross City, Florida, Wheeler graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Oceanography from the United States Naval Academy in 1988, and was awarded a Master's Degree in National Security Strategy from the National War College in Washington D.C. during 2008. As a career Naval Flight Officer, Wheeler has served a tour with the War Eagles of Patrol Squadron (VP) 16, and as an instructor with the Pro's Nest of VP-30. He served as the officer-in-charge of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Weapons Tactics Unit at the Pelicans of VP-45, and was the commanding officer of the Red Lancers of VP-10, and the commander of the Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing ELEVEN. While serving in the joint environment, Wheeler was the commander of the Provincial Reconstruction Team at the Forward Operating Base Sharana in Paktika Province in Afghanistan. Likewise, he served as the Deputy Brigade Commander for Interagency and Joint Operations at Task Force YUKON, 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) with the 25th Infantry Division at Forward Operating Base Salerno in Afghanistan. Prior to reporting for his current assignment, Wheeler was the Deputy Commander at the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa in Djibouti, Africa. Rear Admiral William W. "Trey" Wheeler III Commander Patrol and Reconnaissance Group (CPRG), and CPRG-Pacific LEADERSHIP PERSPECTIVE www.tacticaldefensemedia.com 20 | Armor & Mobility | March/April 2018

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