Service members from the U.S Navy, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) and the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) gathered for a photo during operation Sea Dragon on Jan. 21, 2020, at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam. (Photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seamen Thomas A. Higgins)

CTF-72 Participates in Indo-Pacific Sea Dragon Exercise

The U.S. Navy and its maritime partners kicked off operations for the multilateral exercise Sea Dragon 2020, Jan 20.

Maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft (MPRA) from Commander Task Force (CTF) 72 will train with units from the U.S., Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) and the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN).

The goal is to improve and evaluate the interoperability elements required to effectively and cohesively respond to the defense of a regional contingency in the Indo-Pacific, while continuing to build and strengthen relationships held between the nations.

Representing CTF-72, a P-8A Poseidon aircraft from VP-45’s “World Famous Pelicans” will add to the fast-growing number of assets involved. In only its second year, Sea Dragon has grown quickly, adding Korea and New Zealand to the list of participants. The exercise presents a chance for the U.S. and its allies to hone anti-submarine warfare (ASW) skills in the Indo-Pacific area of responsibility.

“SEA DRAGON 2020 is an outstanding opportunity to enhance maritime patrol relationships in the Western Pacific and build core anti-submarine warfare proficiency while increasing warfighting lethality and improving interoperability, “said Capt. Matthew F. Rutherford, commodore of Task Force 72.

“Task Force 72 is excited to welcome maritime patrol aircraft and crews from the US Navy, Royal Australian Air Force, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force, Republic of Korea Navy, and Royal New Zealand Air Force to the exercise this year. Sea Dragon is specifically constructed to allow participating nations to pursue individual and shared maritime patrol ASW objectives, all against a backdrop of friendly competition and camaraderie,” said Rutherford.

Patrol Squadron 45, based in Jacksonville, Florida, is operating out of Kadena Air Force Base in Okinawa, Japan. The squadron is conducting maritime patrol and reconnaissance as well as theatre outreach operations within U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations.

Read more at U.S. 7th Fleet

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