NEWS | Feb. 5, 2020

Commander Task Force-72 Wraps Up Sea Dragon 2020

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Thomas Higgins VP-45

ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam -- The U.S. Navy and its maritime partners concluded operations for the multilateral exercise Sea Dragon 2020, Jan 30.

Maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft (MPRA) from Commander Task Force (CTF) 72 trained with units from Patrol Squadron (VP) 45, the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) and the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) in an Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) centric exercise.

The units from the U.S., Australia, Japan, Korea and New Zealand gathered at Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, USA to plan and execute multiple ASW training scenarios. The goal being to evaluate and improve the interoperability elements required to effectively and cohesively increase the credible combat power required to respond to the defense of a regional contingency in the Indo-Pacific, while continuing to build and strengthen relationships held between the nations. This year marks the second iteration of operation Sea Dragon.

The first day of the exercise consisted of safety briefs to introduce and prepare the nations for what to expect during the exercise, as well as on the island itself.

Lt. Cmdr. Timothy Bierbach, officer in charge of the exercise (OCE), emphasized how impressive it was to see the rate at which the exercise has grown since last year.

“Exercises like this are what make us stronger and more efficient warfighters, not just as individuals but collectively,” said Bierbach. “We are powered by the people, driven by the mission and fueled by success. If we can remember that, I have no doubt that Sea Dragon 2020 will be something truly special.”

The following six days of the exercise consisted of Expendable Mobile ASW Training Target (EMATT) exercises and Portable Target Programming (PTP) training, where the nations were trained to program the EMATT, scored and evaluated as individual crews on their ability to effectively track and eliminate the simulated targets, competing with each other in a friendly environment for bragging rights and the Sea Dragon ASW Champion Trophy, which was previously held by last years champions, RAAF.

Following the six-day competition, each crews score was added up. The nations gathered for a social event to crown this year’s champion, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, as well as to promote cooperation and friendship between nations.

The final days of Sea Dragon consisted of a tracking exercise with a submarine participating as a simulated target.