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NEWS | June 20, 2023

VP-26 Completes Trilateral Air Exercise with Australia and Japan

U.S. Navy -- The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), and the United States Navy (USN) concluded a trilateral maritime patrol exercise in Misawa, Japan, June 15.

The exercise consisted of mission planning, a ground link exchange and aircraft rider exchanges between nations. The RAAF No. 11 Squadron “Black Cat” equipped with two P-8A aircraft, the JMSDF Air Patrol Squadron 2 “Odin” with one P-3C aircraft, and the USN Patrol Squadron (VP) 26 “Tridents” with one P-8A aircraft, worked as one team to enhance coordination and communication between the three countries’ maritime patrol forces. The participants also familiarized themselves with the maritime environment regarding maritime patrol during the exercise.

“It has been a great opportunity to host the Royal Australian Air Force in Japan and conduct trilateral exercises demonstrating the interoperability of the global maritime patrol force,” said Cmdr. Curtis White, executive officer of VP-26. “It’s important that we refine our maritime patrol techniques, tactics and procedures to remain proficient alongside our partners and allies.”

The Trident’s P-8A Poseidon is a multi-mission patrol and reconnaissance aircraft. It is capable of broad-area, maritime and littoral operations, and search and rescue. The Odin Squadron’s P-3C Orion shares similar capabilities. During the exercise the squadrons worked together to improve USN-JMSDF-RAAF data-link connectivity and enhanced interoperability.

VP-26 also hosted a barbeque for the participants providing an opportunity for the RAAF and USN to socialize between flight activities.

“This exercise contributed, not only to the interoperability among the three nations, but also allowed us to further strengthen the Japan-U.S.-Australia security and defense cooperation relationship,” said Cmdr. SAITO Keiichirou, senior officer of JMSDF’s 21st Air Squadron. “We would like to continue to improve our tactical skills in future trilateral exercises."

The lessons learned from the trilateral exercise included a deeper mutual understanding maritime patrol processes, which will improve real-world integration between the three countries.

The VP-26 Tridents are based in Jacksonville, Florida, and are currently forward deployed to Misawa Air Base, Japan. The squadron conducts maritime patrol and reconnaissance as part of a rotational deployment to 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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