Exercise Sea Dragon hones ASW skills for Indo-Pacific stakeholders

US Navy P-8A Poseidon
The US Navy P-8A Poseidon is leading the way as the modern maritime patrol aircraft with deployments to the South China Sea commencing in December 2013. (US Navy)

Maritime patrol aircraft from four Indo-Pacific countries – Australia, India, Japan, and South Korea – have deployed to the United States’ Anderson Air Force Base in Guam for the annual US Navy-led Sea Dragon anti-submarine warfare (ASW) exercise, which is taking place from 8 to 24 January.

Sea Dragon 2024 will see participating nations and aircraft conducting a variety of flight missions to track, identify and target simulated submarine threats, demonstrating their capacity to work together and operate effectively.

Classroom training sessions will also enable pilots and flight officers from the participating countries to build plans and discuss tactics incorporating the capabilities and equipment deployed by their respective forces.

Each exercise event will be graded, and the country securing the highest total points will receive the coveted Dragon Belt award.

Australia announced on 10 January that it had deployed two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft – which serves as the service’s primary airborne ASW platform – and 51 personnel.

“Exercise Sea Dragon provides a unique opportunity for crews from RAAF No. 11 Squadron to gain tactical experience conducting anti-submarine warfare missions with our Indo-Pacific partners,” said RAAF Sea Dragon Detachment Commander, Squadron Leader Jacqueline Killian, noting that the exercise provides a platform for the participating countries to enhance interoperability and share tactics.

The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) deployed a Kawasaki P-1 maritime patrol aircraft operated by the Atsugi-based Air Patrol Squadron 3 and approximately 40 personnel for the exercise. The service also noted that it has participated in every Sea Dragon exercise since it began in 2020.

Meanwhile, the Indian Navy and Republic of Korea Navy respectively deployed their Boeing.

by Jr Ng