Written with assistance from article by Ltjg. Danielle Tatchio
On February 20, 2018, the UNI-PAC II Search and Rescue kit was deployed from a P8-A Poseidon belonging to the “Fighting Tigers” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 8 to aid three fishermen who were lost in the South Pacific for 8 days.
The Boat and crew were reported missing on February 12, after they failed to return from a fishing trip near Chuuk Lagoon in the Federal States of Micronesia.
After several days of searching with assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Guam, the U.S. Navy “Fighting Tigers” aircrew and maintenance team were called in from Kadena Air Base, Japan. The vessel was located after only three hours of searching, and the UNI-PAC II was deployed.
As the name implies — the UNI-PAC is a complete Air Droppable System self-contained in a singular canister that includes all the major components of multi-container system. Since early 2017, Life Support International has worked in conjunction with The Boeing Company, The U.S. Navy, and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) on the design, development and integration of the UNI-PAC II into the P8 Weapons Bay. The UNI-PAC generally includes medical supplies, food, water, communications, and signaling equipment, but can be configured with additional supplies depending on the mission type.
The three survivors were rescued a few hours after being located by the VP-8.
“It was incredibly rewarding to be a part of saving lives—it’s what everyone joins the Navy to do,” said Lt. Miles Schumacher, the Tactical Coordinator of the VP-8 Aircrew. “This aircraft allows for a massive step forward in the ability of SAR units to search large areas quickly and effectively, and we were excited to have the SAR kit loaded and be able to prove its effectiveness. We successfully demonstrated the capability of the MPRA community to react quickly and effectively to operational requirements in the farthest corners of the globe. Hopefully this is just the first of many successful rescues by P-8A Poseidon aircrews.”