Arakkonam, INDIA — U.S. and India maritime forces concluded a Subject Matter Expert Exchange (SMEE) at Indian Naval Air Station (INS) Rajali in Arakkonam, India, Mar. 2.
Prior to the SMEE, the “Golden Swordsmen” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 47’s P-8A Poseidon aircraft and F/A-18E Super Hornets aircraft from the “Royal Maces” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 27 concluded their participation at Aero India 2019 at Yelahanka Air Force Station in Bengaluru, India, Feb 24.
“Aero India was a great opportunity to interact with the Indian military and bolster our commitment to further cooperation with a regional partner,” said Lt. Cmdr. David Shultz, the VP-47 Aero India 2019 detachment officer in charge.
VP-47 and VFA-27 were joined by 17 other U.S. military aircraft for static displays and aerial demonstrations during the airshow. Held biennially since 1996, Aero India is India’s premier aerospace exhibition, trade and airshow.
At INS Rajali, VP-47 conducted the SMEE with “the Albatross” of Indian Naval Air Squadron (INAS) 312, the India Navy's first long-range maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft squadron. INAS 312 operates the P-8I Neptune, a variant of the P-8A Poseidon, the U.S. Navy's premiere long-range anti-submarine warfare platform.
“Throughout Aero India and the SMEE at INS Rajali, we experienced nothing but professionalism from the Indian Military,” said Shultz. “INAS 312 were gracious hosts to all of our Sailors and made our entire stay warm and inviting.”
During the SMEE, VP-47 flew 4.3 hours, conducting a coordinated anti-submarine warfare (ASW) flight with INAS 312. Three INAS 312 riders were exchanged for three U.S. riders during the coordinated flights. Four SMEE briefs were also conducted over two days to enhance the interoperability between the two services.
“The personnel attached to INAS 312 were very open to learning as well as teaching us what they had learned along the way since acquiring the P-8I,” said Aircrewman (Operator) 2nd Class Cameron Vickens, Combat Aircrew 12 Sensor 1 Acoustic Operator. “I’m very excited to be able to work with them in the future and forge an even stronger relationship between our two nations.”
VP-47’s India detachment continued to bolster ties between the two countries, laying groundwork to further direct ASW cooperation between India and the United States in the future.
VP-47 and VFA-27 are forward-deployed to U.S. Seventh Fleet in support of regional security and stability. The "Golden Swordsmen" are currently deployed to Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan, conducting maritime patrol and reconnaissance and theater outreach operations within the U.S. 7th Fleet (C7F) area of operations in support of Commander, Task Force 72.
The “Royal Maces” are forward-deployed to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan and as part of CVW 5, support Carrier Strike Group (CSG) 5 and Commander Task Force 70.