Maritime air power on show

RAAF

Maritime air power was on show in Guam as a RAAF P-8A Poseidon participated in Exercise Sea Dragon alongside Japan, Canada, India and the United States, from January 13 to 27.

The exercise provided a crucial training opportunity for a No. 11 Squadron P-8A Poseidon crew to practise advanced anti-submarine warfare (ASW) tactics culminating in the tracking of a Los Angeles-class submarine, acting as an adversary.

Having completed her P-8A Poseidon tactical conversion training in late 2020, Flying Officer Elise Champion enjoyed the experience of putting her lessons into practice against an advanced nuclear submarine in a deployed environment.

“The opportunity to speak with other operators and hear their insight on ASW has been invaluable, especially with myself being so new to the squadron,” Flying Officer Champion said.

“Sea Dragon 2021 has given No. 11 Squadron the chance to coordinate and be on-station with other countries and their crews which has proved invaluable to our ability to conduct coordinated ASW.”

In a show of interoperability, the RAAF P-8A Poseidon crew worked closely with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force Kawasaki P-1, the Royal Canadian Air Force CP-140 Aurora, the Indian Navy P-8 Poseidon, and the United States Navy P-8 Poseidon.

Flying Officer Champion said the focus of Sea Dragon was to build interoperability between the RAAF and our multinational allies through advanced ASW training.

“The exercise culminated in the locating, tracking and reporting of the Los Angeles-class submarine, USS Providence (SSN 719) acting as the adversary,” Flying Officer Champion said.

“The nations worked in shifts to find and track the elusive submarine, maintaining continuous 24-hour coverage for over four days.”

Following Exercise Sea Dragon and before their return home to Australia, the RAAF P-8A Poseidon crew were assigned to a follow-up task of surveillance patrols to ensure the safety and security of the Indo-Pacific region; this included a search and rescue mission to locate a man overboard from a fishing vessel.

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