Defence has deployed a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to the Mediterranean as part of Operation SEA GUARDIAN 22. Operation SEA GUARDIAN is an ongoing non-Article 5 NATO maritime security operation aimed at maintaining maritime situational awareness, deterring terrorism, and enhancing capacity building in the Mediterranean region. The RAAF participation in Operation SEA GUARDIAN is an opportunity to extend Australia’s interoperability with the alliance to the maritime air surveillance domain.
Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Greg Bilton said,“Australia’s participation in the operation reflected Australia’s ongoing partnership in exercising our Memorandum of Understanding with NATO. Australia is a NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner and an important Asia-Pacific member for the Alliance. Our partner status recognises Australia’s significant contributions to NATO operations and the value that the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has demonstrated over several decades.”
This represents a natural step-up in Royal Australian Air Force ongoing partnership, focused on responding to today’s global security challenges. Wherever possible, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) supports European security initiatives to uphold the rules based international order. The Royal Australian Air Force look forward to seeing the outcomes of the deployment, which will guide Australia future maritime surveillance cooperation with NATO.
The P-8A will be based in Italy and will operate in the Western and Central Mediterranean until mid-October 2022. The Boeing P-8 Poseidon is an American maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft developed and produced by Boeing Defense, Space & Security, and derived from the civilian Boeing 737-800. It was developed for the United States Navy (USN). The P-8 operates in the anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASUW), and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) roles.