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RAF participates in major Pacific exercise

Royal Air Force personnel and aircraft have deployed to Hawaii for the largest military training exercise in the region.

Two Poseidon MRA1 (P-8A) maritime patrol aircraft have arrived at Hickam Air Force Base to join over 25,000 personnel from 28 other nations participating in Rim of the Pacific 24 (RIMPAC).

The aircraft departed RAF Lossiemouth in early July at the start of a 7,000 nautical mile journey to Honolulu via a refuelling stop at Goose Bay, Canada, and overnight stay near Seattle. On arrival they were greeted by Indian Navy Captain A K Singh, Deputy Commander of Combined Task Force 172 for the exercise.

The biennial exercise and will see members of CXX and 201 Squadrons fly and train alongside other maritime patrol squadrons, fighter aircraft, 40 surface ships and three submarines. Engineering and operations support personnel will also operate alongside multinational colleagues, with others embedded within the exercise headquarters.

“We work closely with allied and partner nations in the Indo-Asia Pacific to improve Inter-operability, enhance security and provide disaster relief in humanitarian crises. RIMPAC will help strengthen and reinforce these relationships and demonstrates our commitment to a free and open region.”

Group Captain Pete Thorbjornsen
Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff, 11 Group RAF

The RAF is also participating in Exercise Pitch Black in northern Australia. Both exercises provide advanced training opportunities, working with partner nations to plan and conduct integrated large force exercises.

“As the first global exercise for RAF Poseidon, RIMPAC will be a good test of our ability to deploy at long range and then operate with allies and partner nations in a challenging and unfamiliar environment.

“The exercise is the latest step in the continued growth of the Poseidon Force and a reflection of how far we’ve come since we received our first aircraft four years ago.”

Wing Commander Jim Henderson
Detachment Commander

RIMPAC represents the longest and furthest range exercise to date for the RAF Poseidon Force. It is also the largest gathering of Poseidon aircraft with squadrons from the US Navy, Indian Navy, Royal Australian Air Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force, and Republic of Korea Air Force all taking part. Other maritime patrol aircraft will also be involved, including from Japan and Canada.

The nine-strong RAF Poseidon fleet based at RAF Lossiemouth are fitted with advanced, state-of-the-art, Anti-Submarine Warfare and Anti-Surface Warfare sensors which help provide global protection to UK, NATO, and our Allies’ submarines and warships.