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RAAF P-8A Poseidons hunt US submarine in new exercise

written by Adam Thorn | January 15, 2021

RAAF P-8A Poseidons are taking part in an anti-submarine warfare exercise alongside forces from the US, Japan, Canada, India and New Zealand in Guam.

The 125 hours of in-flight training will culminate in a mission to find and track USS Chicago, a US Navy Los Angeles Class nuclear submarine.

During classroom training sessions, pilots and flight officers from all countries will build plans and discuss incorporating tactics, capabilities and equipment for their respective nations into the exercise.

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Lieutenant Commander Kyle Hooker, Officer in Charge of the US Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance aircraft from Patrol Squadron 5 (VP-5) explained the importance of the operations, stating, “As OIC, I am eager for the opportunity to further develop our partnerships with Japan, India, Canada, and Australia while at Sea Dragon 2021.

“The COVID environment will be challenging for all our participants, but I know we will come together to adapt and overcome while executing our goal of anti-submarine warfare interoperability.”

Each exercise is graded, and the nation scoring the highest total points will receive the coveted Dragon Belt award. The belt was formally introduced last year when awarded to the Royal New Zealand Air Force.

Earlier this month, the Australian government announced it would to purchase an additional two P-8A Poseidons, taking Australia’s total fleet to 14.

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The P-8A is equipped with advanced sensors and mission systems, including an advanced radar, high-definition cameras, and an acoustic system that is said to have four times the processing capacity of the Orion.

They are designed to replace the RAAF’s AP-3C Orion fleet, together with the MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft system.

Minister Reynolds said, “Together, the Poseidon and the Triton will provide Australia with one of the most advanced maritime patrol and response capabilities in the world.

“The Poseidon is a proven capability that will conduct tasks including anti-submarine warfare, maritime and overland intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and support to search and rescue missions.

“These additional aircraft will enhance Air Force’s flexibility to support multiple operations and will play an important role in ensuring Australia’s maritime region is secure for generations to come.”

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