ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam - Three U.S. and one Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8A Poseidons from three squadrons along with one Los Angeles-class attack submarine completed exercise Sea Dragon operations, Jan. 22.
Exercise Sea Dragon is an annual, multilateral exercise that stresses anti-submarine warfare (ASW) prosecution. This year’s exercise was conducted out of Andersen Air Force Base, Guam. Participating U.S. units were Patrol Squadron (VP) 47, VP-16, both operating under Commander, Task Force (CTF) 72, and Commander, Submarine Squadron (CSS) 15, operating under CTF-74. CTF-72 led and oversaw the exercise. Squadron 11 from RAAF as well as service members from the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) joined U.S. units throughout the exercise.
"Sea Dragon 2019 was a huge success” said Lt. Cmdr. Aaron Roberts, Commander, Task Force (CTF) 72 exercise Sea Dragon officer in charge. “The exercise allowed participants to refine their ASW skills while exposing them to unique differences between each squadron.”
Respectively, four U.S. aircrews and one RAAF aircrew, along with ROKN service members observing operations as passengers, executed over 20 sorties and 80 operational hours, advancing through multiple levels of ASW proficiency, with support from Mobile Tactical Operations Center (MTOC) 1, over the eight days of the exercise.
“It was an invaluable opportunity for our junior operators to train on a live submarine,” said Roberts. “You cannot always replicate this type of training in a simulator.”
During the exercise, U.S. and RAAF aircrew coordinated ASW prosecution against both simulated and live targets to include a Los Angeles-class attack submarine assigned to CSS-15.
“This exercise provides our Los Angeles-class submarines the opportunity to work and train with the Marine Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft of the RAAF in an effort to increase our readiness and lethality in the region,” said Capt. Timothy Poe, CSS-15.
Additional to the joint units conducting the exercise, many other U.S. entities were involved during the many developmental and implemental stages of the exercise.
“I appreciate all the planning and execution from CTF-74, Marianas Island Range Complex, Anderson AFB, MTOC 1, and U.S. Naval Undersea Warfare Center, whose hard work made this exercise possible,” said Roberts. “CTF-72 looks forward to hosting this exercise again in 2020 and expanding it to more partners and allies in the future."
Exercise Sea Dragon illustrates that the U.S. and partner nations stand ready to ensure the freedom of navigation and the free flow of commerce wherever international law allows.
"The American-Australian alliance is rock solid and based on a common purpose: to promote peace and prosperity,” said Poe. “Our friendship is underpinned by a deep alignment of interests and our societies' shared commitment to the values of freedom and democracy. We are committed to fostering an Indo-Pacific region where all countries abide by international law.”
The United States looks forward to taking part in forging stronger relations, safeguarding safe and established maritime zones, and ensuring safe sea lanes.
“A free, open, and prosperous rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region is in our nations' enduring national interests and reflect our shared commitment to a region based on these convergent principles,” said Poe.
CTF-72 leads patrol, reconnaissance and surveillance forces in support of U.S. 7th Fleet (C7F), promoting regional security and enhancement of theater security operations through multilateral engagements to build reconnaissance and surveillance capability within C7F and partner forces.