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NEWS | Jan. 31, 2024

Australia, India, Japan, Korea, and the U.S. Complete Multilateral Exercise Sea Dragon 2024

By Commander, Task Force 72 Public Affairs

The U.S. Navy and four allied and partner nations concluded the annual, multinational exercise Sea Dragon 2024, Jan. 24.

Sea Dragon is a multinational exercise designed to enhance anti-submarine warfare (ASW) tactics in response to shared traditional and non-traditional maritime security challenges in the Indo-Pacific region. Sea Dragon 2024 brought Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) communities together from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Indian Navy (IN), Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN), and the United States Navy.

The two-week exercise, which began Jan. 9, demonstrated successful integration and deepening interoperability between allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
"Exercise Sea Dragon is a significant airborne ASW training opportunity, focused on enhancing interoperability and sharing tactical innovation amongst our partners and allies in the region," Capt. Zachary Stang, CTF-72 Commodore said. "These training exercises help us grow as a dynamic team and deter those who would challenge our goal of maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific."

Commander, Task Force (CTF) 72 sent one P-8A Poseidon aircraft from the “Fighting Tigers” of Patrol Squadron (VP) 8. Upon exercise completion, squadrons completed seven missions with approximately 37 flight hours logged between all participants.

JMSDF won this year’s Sea Dragon Championship Belt, highlighting high scores in simulated torpedo deployment speed and accuracy. The IN, JMSDF, and RAAF were awarded additional prizes for other notable ASW performances during the competition.

“The Kawasaki P-1 is a good aircraft at low speed and low altitude,” said Lt. j.g. Ikeda Hayato, assigned to JMSDF Air Patrol Squadron 3. “We are very happy to participate in exercise Sea Dragon.”

Allied and partner aircraft participating in this exercise included the RAAF P-8A Poseidon, JMSDF Kawasaki P-1, ROKN P-3 Orion, and IN P-8I Neptune.

“These missions allowed us to test our skills and work closely with those partners, preparing the Air Force to integrate into a maritime environment and provide effective deterrence for Australia's security,” said Squadron Leader Jacqueline Killian, RAAF exercise Sea Dragon Detachment Commander. “Crews engaged in identifying, tracking, and targeting both simulated and live submarine targets, culminating in a 24-hour continuous monitoring activity. The final event required significant coordination between all participating nations, building on the lessons from the previous week, and allowed us to work together efficiently and safely to successfully achieve the task.”

During the exercise, aircrews also coordinated ASW evolutions against simulated and practice targets, demonstrating their information sharing and interoperability.

The “Fighting Tigers” of VP-8, part of CTF-72, are stationed in Jacksonville, Florida, and are currently deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. Throughout the deployment, the squadron has conducted maritime patrol and reconnaissance, and theater outreach operations within the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.


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