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May 23, 2013
SQNLDR Arran Moore
A RAAF air combat officer has
become the first non-US citizen to
instruct on the US Navy's newest air-
craft, the P-8A Poseidon.
Members of the US Navy's Patrol
Squadron Five (VP-5) got a surprise
during their recent conversion lesson
on the weapons systems of the new
P-8A when they realised their instruc-
tor was an Australian -- exchange
officer FLTLT Glen Gallagher.
Formerly of 92WG, FLTLT
Gallagher is based with the US Navy's
operational conversion unit for P-3s
and the P-8A at Naval Air Station
Jacksonville in Florida and said it was
a great honour to be there.
"It's a once in a career opportunity
to be at the forefront of a new capabil-
ity like the Poseidon," he said.
The VP-5 is now the second USN
squadron to convert to the P-8A -- the
aircraft set to replace the RAAF's
AP-3C Orion fleet in about 2019.
In addition to being heavily
involved in the training of US person-
nel, FLTLT Gallagher is also involved
in training the first students straight
from flight school on the aircraft and
converting P-3 instructors across to
He holds a Level 500 instructor
rating which is the highest rating in
the US Navy -- a great achievement
according to OC 92WG GPCAPT
"FLTLT Gallagher is the first
exchange officer to receive the Level
500 qualification," he said.
Our first P-8A instructor
In order to achieve his rating,
FLTLT Gallagher completed an inten-
sive Weapons Tactics Instructor course
run by the USN's 'Top Gun school' in
the Nevada desert, which included the
airborne application of weapons such
as the Harpoon, Maverick and Mk 46
and Mk 54 torpedoes.
"That Glen was selected for the
course is testament to both his ability
as an aviator and the close relationship
between the RAAF and US Navy,"
GPCAPT Heap said.
FLTLT Gallagher said the
Poseidon was a fantastic anti-subma-
rine warfare platform.
"The P-8A is a true game changer
-- the acoustic system is excellent,"
FLTLT Gallagher said.
"It can process four times as many
sonobuoys as a P-3, and can carry
50 per cent more of them internally,
"The reliability of the platform
is exceptional. I've flown about 100
hours so far this year and the squadron
is flying 24 hours a day, five-to-six
days a week, so it's a very busy transi-
tion period, something that can only
be achieved because the aircraft is so
One of FLTLT Gallagher's first
instructor students on the P-8A is his
Australian replacement, 92WG air
combat officer FLTLT James Best.
FLTLT Best said he was fortunate
to be the first exchange officer to tran-
sition straight onto the P-8A.
"It's a massive leap forward from
the P-3," he said. "The aircraft flies so
well, it's much smoother at low alti-
tude than the P-3."
GPCAPT Heap said with
Australia's planned acquisition of
the P-8A scheduled for final govern-
ment approval by 2015-16 and the
withdrawal of the AP-3C Orion fleet
planned for around 2019, the future
"The P-8A capability is fast
approaching and Air Force is prepar-
ing a transition plan that will maintain
operational capability," GPCAPT
"I was able to fly the P-8A during
its visit to Australia last year and from
a pilot's perspective it is an excellent
aircraft to fly. It is very responsive and
flies exceptionally well at low level.
The level of situational awareness for
the pilot is way ahead of the AP-3C.
It's a great aircraft."
The USN is scheduled to declare
initial operational capability with the
P-8A later this year.
Gallagher at a
and right inset,
in front of a USN
P-8A at NAS
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