In this file photo, a a P-8A Poseidon from Patrol Squadron (VP) 45 prepares to take off for an exercise Cobra Gold training event in Thailand last month. (U.S. Navy/MCSN Thomas A. Higgins)

AUSTRALIAN COAST - Commander Task Force (CTF) 72 wrapped up its participation in the Australian navy’s Fleet Certification Period 2020, March 7.

CTF-72 dispatched a P8-A Poseidon maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft (MPRA) from Patrol Squadron (VP) 45 to assist with the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) first major exercise of the year.

Similar to the U.S. Navy’s FCP, the exercise focuses on warfighting at a high level and ensures operational fleet readiness.

The P8-A Poseidon aircraft, as well as a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8A aircraft, and a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-3 aircraft were tasked with testing the task group’s readiness against airborne combatants.

“Taking part in the Royal Australian Navy’s Fleet Certification Period has been an excellent opportunity to exercise interoperability with our Royal Australian Air Force and Royal New Zealand Air Force maritime patrol counterparts,” said Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Chesney, officer in charge of VP-45’s Poseidon crew. “Over the course of the detachment we conducted multiple scenarios of anti-submarine warfare, allowing for adequate mid-intensity warfare techniques.”

VP-45, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is deployed to Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan. The squadron is conducting maritime patrol and reconnaissance as well as theater outreach operations within U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

As the U.S. Navy’s largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build maritime partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability and prevent conflict.