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RAAF Poseidon flies to India for military exercise

written by Charbel Kadib | June 10, 2022

A Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon aircraft from No. 11 Squadron departs RAAF Base Edinburgh, South Australia, to conduct floodwater reconnaissance missions across NSW as part of Operation Flood Assist 2022. (ADF)

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon surveillance aircraft is set to participate in a joint military exercise alongside Indian forces.

The aircraft has flown to India for a combined India-Australia maritime surveillance exercise in the Indian Ocean, aiming to strengthen operational maritime domain awareness, enhance anti-submarine warfare manoeuvring, and improve interoperability.

Deputy Chief of Joint Operations, Air Vice Marshal Michael Kitcher said the activity would pave the way for “deeper and more sophisticated” operational cooperation between India and Australia.

“India is one of our closest security partners and this activity demonstrates the strength of our bilateral defence relationship, the tangible value of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, and our shared commitment to an open, secure and prosperous Indo‑Pacific,” AVM Kitcher said.

“This is an important opportunity for Indian and Australian squadrons to enhance their tactical skills, conduct information-sharing exchanges and further strengthen combined capabilities.”

This latest exercise comes just months after an Indian Navy P-8I aircraft was deployed to the Top End.

The Indian aircraft conducted coordinated exercises alongside a RAAF P-8A Poseidon aircraft from 11-15 April off the coast of Darwin.

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The combined training, which marked the first time an Indian P-8I has deployed to Australia outside of a routine military exercise, sought to further strengthen bilateral defence ties between the Quad partners.

Activities included surveillance, anti-submarine warfare and interoperability drills.

The RAAF P-8A’s trip to India also follows a recent mid-flight incident involving a sister aircraft and a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Shenyang J-16 strike fighter over the South China Sea.

During the incident, which took place on 26 May, the fighter jet cut across the nose of the Australian surveillance platform, releasing a “bundle of chaff” ingested into the RAAF aircraft’s engine.

The Albanese government made “appropriate representations” to the Chinese government expressing concern over the incident.

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