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First NATO exercise for RAF Poseidon.

| 2020

The RAF’s newest anti-submarine Boeing P-3 Poseidon aircraft has participated in a multi-national training exercise for the first time since arriving in the UK in February 2020.

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First NATO exercise for RAF Poseidon RAF P-3 Poseidon (Picture source: RAF)

NATO exercise Dynamic Mongoose has seen personnel from CXX Squadron join ships, submarines and aircraft from six nations to hone anti-submarine warfare (ASW) and anti-surface warfare skills with the new Poseidon MRA1 aircraft in the challenging North Atlantic.

Vice Admiral Keith Blount, Commander of NATO’s Allied Maritime Command said: “Exercises today seize opportunities for NATO and Allied nations to sharpen war-fighting skills by focussing on high-end capabilities. Dynamic Mongoose will ensure we remain prepared for operations in peace, crisis and conflict.”

Officer Commanding 120 Squadron, Wing Commander James Hanson said: “Participation in Dynamic Mongoose offers the trained crews of CXX Squadron a chance to hone their skills cooperating with ships, submarines and aircraft from a number of NATO partner nations, as well as the Royal Navy. The exercise offers my crews a great opportunity to be tested against highly professional opposition in the exercise environment, and I know that the crews have relished the chance to show what they can do with our extremely capable aircraft.”

Locating and tracking a submarine requires close coordination between ships and aircraft, and Dynamic Mongoose focused on nuclear-powered submarines in a 200-by-200 square nautical mile box of the open ocean.

The RAF Poseidon Captain flying the mission said: “We worked closely with other Maritime Patrol Aircraft in the area to track several simulated targets, relaying this information back to the Task Group on the surface. “Commonality between platforms along with shared tactics, training, and procedures means that when we do this for real, we are able to quickly locate, identify, and track targets beneath the waves.”

On one sortie, using the sophisticated sensor suite fitted to the aircraft, an RAF Poseidon launched simulated attacks within 10 minutes of taking over contact from a US Navy Poseidon. This sortie also offered the CXX Squadron crew the opportunity to practice communications, command and control with NATO allies and directed simulated attacks on a submarine by naval vessels. The RAF Poseidon Captain added: “It was a great training evolution, and exactly what the CXX Squadron crew needed at this stage of their tactical development.”

This exercise participation, at such a complex and challenging level, is the more remarkable considering that the RAF only took delivery of their first Poseidon MRA1 into Kinloss Airfield in early February. Two Poseidon aircraft will operate out of Kinloss whilst runway works are undertaken at RAF Lossiemouth, scheduled for completion later this year.

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