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VP-8 “Fighting Tigers” participate in major Australian navy fleet exercise Ocean Explorer

By Lt. j.g. Brent Thompson | | March 8, 2018

ADELAIDE, Australia – The “Fighting Tigers” of Patrol Squadron EIGHT (VP-8) traveled to Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Edinburgh in Adelaide, Australia to participate in Exercise Ocean Explorer, Feb. 25 to March 7. The second iteration of one the Australian navy’s largest war games included complex and diverse warfare scenarios in Anti-Air Warfare (AAW), Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), and Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) exercises over a three week period.

Ocean Explorer featured a complex web of maritime warfare training, trials and exercises, all designed to challenge the Navy's top warfighters to achieve sea control. Participants included two submarines, ten ships, and embarked aircraft from Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Led by Mission Commander Lt. Kevin Willett, Combat Aircrew ELEVEN (CAC-11) and the “Fighting Tigers” maintenance team demonstrated the tactical proficiency and advanced capabilities of the P-8A Poseidon in the areas of Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW) and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW).

The “Fighting Tigers” were hosted by members from No. 11 Squadron RAAF, Australia's Maritime Patrol Squadron which also operates the P-8A Poseidon. This unique opportunity of interoperability not only provided insight and training to both squadrons, but built upon the rich history of the maritime partnership between the United States and Australia. U.S. 7th Fleet, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this month, was born in Brisbane, Australia. 

“The opportunity to work with our Royal Australian Air Force counterparts was both incredibly rewarding and a positive experience for both squadrons,” said Lt. Ryan Dendler, VP-8’s detachment aircraft commander. “Their professionalism and dedication to excellence is evident in everything they have contributed to this exercise,” he said.

Among the many highlights of the detachment, CAC-11 was privileged with hosting members from No. 5 Squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) on board their aircraft. The “Fighting Tigers” demonstrated to their guests the next-generation acoustic capabilities of the P-8A Poseidon.

“It was a great privilege to showcase our newest maritime patrol platform to a partner nation,” said Naval Aircrewman (Operator) 2nd Class Brandon Chall.

Patrol Squadron EIGHT is currently deployed to the 7th Fleet area of responsibility conducting theater and national level tasking in support of U.S. 7th Fleet, U.S. Pacific Fleet, and U.S. Pacific Command.