US and Australian air forces begin anti-submarine warfare exercise

Hemanth Kumar 17 January 2019 (Last Updated January 17th, 2019 13:03)

The US Air Force (USAF) and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) have started the annual, multinational exercise 2019 Exercise Sea Dragon at Andersen Air Force Base, in Guam.

US and Australian air forces begin anti-submarine warfare exercise
US Navy, Indian Navy, and RAAF P-8 Poseidons at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise 2018. Credit: Photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Kevin Flinn/US Navy.

The US Air Force (USAF) and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) have started the annual, multinational 2019 Exercise Sea Dragon at Andersen Air Force Base, in Guam. Exercise Sea Dragon will involve strengthening anti-submarine warfare and is scheduled to run for 11 days until 25 January 2019.

The US units participating in this year’s event include Patrol Squadron (VP) 47, VP-16, both operating under CTF-72, and Commander, Submarine Squadron (CSS) 15, operating under CTF-74.

The RAAF units will join US units throughout the exercise, which will be overseen by CTF-72.

CTF-72 maritime patrol aircraft captain Brian Erickson said: “Exercise Sea Dragon is an exciting opportunity to enhance maritime patrol relationships in the Western Pacific and focus on building anti-submarine warfare proficiency and increase warfighting lethality.”

During the exercise, four USAF and one RAAF P-8A Poseidons alongside aircrews will conduct flight operations, with support from a joint Mobile Tactical Operations centre.

Exercise Sea Dragon involves coordinated anti-submarine warfare prosecution against both simulated and live targets. The exercise includes a US Navy’s Los Angeles-class attack submarine assigned to CSS-15.

"Additionally, this exercise is a chance for us to further hone our anti-submarine warfare skills and become even more proficient in one of our core missions."

VP-47 2019 Exercise Sea Dragon officer in charge lieutenant commander Korhan Orgun said: “Being a multi-national exercise, our goal is to work closely with our Pacific allies and to continue to foster relationships in the region.

“We’ll do this through anti-submarine warfare events and learning to work together more efficiently. Additionally, this exercise is a chance for us to further hone our anti-submarine warfare skills and become even more proficient in one of our core missions.”

CTF-72 is responsible for leading forces in support of US 7th Fleet (C7F) to promote regional security and enhance reconnaissance and surveillance capability within C7F and partner forces.

In May 2018, the US Navy conducted anti-submarine warfare exercises in the Norwegian Sea, along with forces from Canada, France, Norway, and the UK. The US Navy led activities to improve tactical abilities and interoperability of the respective forces.

–Additional reporting by Talal Husseini.