Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) Program

NAVAIR's PMA-290 manages the acquisition, development, support, and delivery of the Navy's Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft.

Captain Erik Thomas, U.S. Navy

Program Manager, Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) Program

Captain Erik Thomas is the program manager for the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) program office (PMA-290) at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland.  He is responsible for total life-cycle management of the P-8A Poseidon, P-3C Orion, EP-3E Aries, Special Projects Aircraft, and international programs to multiple foreign countries.

Captain Thomas graduated in 2000 from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland with a Bachelor of Science in Systems Engineering.  He earned his Naval Flight Officer (NFO) wings in August 2001, completed the Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Weapons Tactics Instructor Course in 2005, is a 2008 graduate of the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School (USNTPS Class 133) and holds a Master of Science in Systems Engineering from the Naval Post Graduate School.  He is also a graduate from the Defense Systems Management College Advanced Program Management Course. 

His fleet assignments include Patrol Squadron Thirty (VP-30), Patrol Squadron Sixteen (VP-16), the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Weapons School (MPRWS), and Scientific Development Squadron One (VXS-1).  During these tours he completed numerous deployments and detachments in support of operations in C4F, C5F, C6F, and C7F including support of operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.  He held positions as Readiness Officer, NFO Training and NFO NATOPS Officer, Mission Commander, Instructor Tactical Coordinator, Weapons Tactics Instructor, ASuW Weapons Officer, and Fleet NATOPS Evaluator.  Additionally, during his department head tour, he served as Commander Task Group Operations Officer in Misawa, Japan on a Seventh Fleet P-3C deployment and later served as P-8A Transition Officer, Training Officer, and ultimately Operations Officer for the inaugural P-8A deployment to the Pacific Theater.  Under his command, VXS-1 flew the NP-3C Orion, an RC-12M, and a UV-18 Twin Otter on multiple detachments around the globe conducting airborne science and technology research missions for the Office of Naval Research and the Naval Research Laboratory.

Captain Thomas’ acquisition assignments began at Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Zero (VX-20) in June 2008. Assigned to the P-8A Poseidon Integrated Test Team (ITT) as the lead mission systems project officer he became the first NFO to fly the P-8A aircraft.  His first program office tour was as the assistant program manager for training and logistics (APMTS/APML) for the Advanced Airborne Sensor (AAS) within the ACAT I Advanced Sensor Technologies (AST) program office in Washington, D.C.  He later served as the military director for Maritime Patrol International Programs at PMA-290, leading a team responsible for the total package acquisition of the P-8A aircraft for six countries as well as the long-term sustainment and upgrades to the P-3 aircraft for 16 international partners.  Most recently, before reporting to PMA-290 as the Program Manager, he served as the deputy program manager at PMA-262 responsible for the development, production, sustainment, and training of the Initial Operational Capability (IOC) MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System delivering the first MULTI-INT Triton to the fleet.

Thomas has accumulated almost 2,800 flight hours in 29 models of jet, prop, rotary wing, and glider aircraft. His personal awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, as well as various campaign, service, and unit awards.



Bldg 2185 Ste 3190-B1
22347 Cedar Point Road
Patuxent River, MD 20670
United States


Megan Wasel