ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, GUAM – Two P-8 Poseidon aircraft from Patrol Squadron 5 (VP-5), the “Mad Foxes,” and Patrol Squadron 8 (VP-8), the “Fighting Tigers,” joined several partner nations to kick off the multinational anti-submarine warfare exercise Sea Dragon 2021, Jan. 12.
VP-5 and VP-8’s Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance aircrafts (MPRA) traveled to Andersen Air Force Base in Guam to hone their skills with members of the Royal Australian Air Force, Canadian Air Force, Indian Navy, and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.
Sea Dragon 2021 centers on anti-submarine warfare (ASW) training and excellence, to include 125 hours of in-flight training ranging from tracking simulated targets, to the final problem of finding and tracking USS Chicago, a U.S. Navy Los Angeles-class nuclear submarine. During classroom training sessions, pilots and flight officers from all countries will build plans and discuss incorporating tactics, capabilities, and equipment from their respective nations into the exercise.
“As OIC, I am eager for the opportunity to further develop our partnerships with Japan, India, Canada, and Australia while at Sea Dragon 2021,” said Lt. Cmdr. Kyle Hooker, officer-in-charge, Patrol Squadron 5. “The COVID environment will be challenging for all our participants, but I know we will come together to adapt and overcome while executing our goal of Anti-Submarine Warfare interoperability,” added Hooker.
Each exercise is graded, and the nation scoring the highest total points will receive the coveted Dragon Belt award. The belt was formally-introduced last year when awarded to the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF).
As the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed fleet, U.S. 7th Fleet routinely operates between 50-70 ships and submarines and 140 aircraft with approximately 20,000 Sailors. 7th Fleet's area of operations spans more than 124-million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South Pacific, providing security and stability to the region. 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build partnerships that foster maritime security while conducting a wide-range of missions to support humanitarian efforts and uphold international laws and freedoms of the sea.