Six Indo-Pacific nations begin maritime exercise Sea Dragon

Two U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidon aircraft join Australia, Canada, India, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force, and Republic of Korea to begin multinational exercise Sea Dragon 22.

The P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) with Patrol Squadrons (VP) 47 and 26, traveled to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam to hone their skills with members of the Royal Australian Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, Indian Navy, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force, and Republic of Korea Navy.

Sea Dragon 22, primarily centering on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training and excellence, culminates in over 270 hours of in-flight training; ranging from tracking simulated targets to the final problem of tracking a live U.S. Navy submarine.  During classroom training sessions, pilots and flight officers from all countries build plans and discuss tactics incorporating the capabilities and equipment of their respective nations.

“As [officer-in-charge] OIC, I am eager for the opportunity to further develop our partnerships with Australia, Canada, India, Japan, and Korea while at Sea Dragon 2022. The continued growth and increasing complexity of this exercise affords an opportunity to practice ASW tactics, techniques, and procedures with allies and partners that we don’t often get a chance to work with,” said Lt. Cmdr. Braz Kennedy, OIC for the U.S. detachment from VP-47.

Each event will be graded, and the nation scoring the highest total points will receive the coveted Dragon Belt award. Last year, the Royal Canadian Air Force won the belt and will bring it back to Sea Dragon 2022 to defend the title.

“This exercise is an annual, multi-national high-end ASW training exercise,” said JMSDF Cmdr. Michiyama Tomoyuki, commanding officer of Flight Division 31, Air Patrol Squadron 3. 

“I believe that by conducting a wide range of training, from classroom training on the ground to actual training targeting submarine, we will be able to improve our tactical skills. In addition, through training, exchange of opinions, and various type of exchanges, we expect to strengthen cooperation and deepen mutual understanding among the participating navies and air forces.”

The “Golden Swordsmen” of VP-47, part of Commander Task Force (CTF) 72, are stationed at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island, Wash., and are currently deployed to Misawa Air Base in Aomori, Japan. Throughout the deployment, they will be conducting maritime patrol and reconnaissance and theater outreach operations within the 7th Fleet area of operations.

The “Tridents” of VP-26, part of Commander Task Force (CTF) 72, are stationed in Jacksonville, Florida, and are currently deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. Throughout the deployment, they will be conducting maritime patrol and reconnaissance and theater outreach operations within the 7th Fleet area of operations.

Photo caption: A Royal Canadian Air Force CP-140 Aurora Long Range Patrol aircraft taxis after landing at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for the start of exercise Sea Dragon 2022. Sea Dragon is a U.S.-led, multi-national exercise designed to practice and discuss Anti-submarine Warfare tactics to operate together in response to traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. (Photo by Maj Leonard Kosciukiewicz, 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron)

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