Crews operating Patrol Squadron (VP) 4’s P-8A Poseidon aircraft participated in Exercise Dynamic Manta 2020 (DYMA20), a NATO led maritime exercise Feb. 24 – March 6, 2020.
Dynamic Manta, an annual exercise hosted by NATO’s Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) took place in the Mediterranean Sea off the southern coast of Italy. The overarching purpose of the exercise was to provide operational training in anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare in order to enhance overall multi-lateral operations among NATO allies.
“Dynamic Manta has been a fast-paced and challenging exercise that has given us the opportunity to fine tune our skills,” said Lt. Tessa Hann, a naval flight officer assigned to VP-4. “It has presented scenarios that allow us to grow as individual operators and as a crew. It is always both apleasure to work with our NATO counterparts, and it provides valuable training that ensures we will have mission success if we are called upon in real world scenarios.”
Participating nations included Canada, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Norway, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States. VP-4’s two P-8A Poseidon aircraft, currently forward deployed out of Naval Air Station Sigonella, and assigned to Commander, Task Force (CTF) 67, were the only U.S. assets to participate in the exercise.
“Dynamic Manta was a great opportunity to further our interoperability with partner nations,” said Caitlyn Jensen, a pilot assigned to VP-4. “The real world scenarios resulted in challenging coordinated operations flights which allowed us to put our training to the test.”
To support the simulated multi-threat environment, maritime patrol aircraft worked with surface vessels to locate the simulated adversarial submarines. A total of five maritime patrol aircraft and eight helicopters from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States operated with surface ships from Canada, Spain, Italy, Turkey, France, and Greece to locate, track, and conduct simulated attacks on submarines from Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, under the control of NATO Submarine command.
“Dynamic Manta provided an excellent opportunity to improve both our P-8 aircrew’s, but also the collective NATO teams anti-submarine warfare (ASW) capabilities by flexing NATO tactical ASW doctrine against some very challenging targets,” said Capt. William Pennington, commander, CTF 67. “The exercise showcased the collaborative approach required for effective ASW operations, plus the strategic nature of NAS Sigonella, as maritime patrol aircraft from the US, France, Germany, Turkey, and Canada executed missions from here.”
Task Force 67′s official mission is to provide responsive, interoperable, and expeditionary combat ready maritime patrol aircraft and supporting forces to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Commander, U.S. 6th Fleet (CNE-CNA-C6F), NATO and Unified Commanders to conduct effective Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), maintain Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA), enhance regional stability, promote cooperative maritime safety and security, and be decisive while conducting overseas contingency operations.