Poseidons from US Navy's VP-45 complete Exercise Keen Sword 23

Patrol Squadron 45 (VP-45) ‘The World Famous Pelicans’, a US Navy Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft squadron, has concluded its participation in Exercise Keen Sword 23 (KS23) – an annually held bilateral training exercise that aims to enhance US-Japan interoperability and operational readiness in the Indo-Pacific region.

The latest edition of the annual event was held from November 9-19 and saw participation from the air arms of Australia, Canada, India, Japan, the UK and the US. For KS23, the participating nations demonstrated their ability to execute a series of high-end multinational anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) operations through a number of training events.

A Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft operated by the US Navy taxis by at Misawa Air Base, Japan, on May 13, 2022. Poseidons assigned to VP-45 'The World Famous Pelicans' participated in Exercise Keen Sword 2023, which was held from November 9-19, 2022.
A Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft operated by the US Navy taxis by at Misawa Air Base, Japan, on May 13, 2022. Poseidons assigned to VP-45 'The World Famous Pelicans' participated in Exercise Keen Sword 2023, which was held from November 9-19, 2022. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Juan Sebastian Sua

During the event, VP-45 crews and aircraft flew more than 75 flight hours across 11 sorties while operating alongside Lockheed P-3C Orions from the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF); Lockheed CP-140 Auroras of the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF); P-8A Poseidons belonging to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and P-8I Neptunes from the Indian Navy. While operating together, these maritime patrol aircraft practiced both ASW turnover and tactical warfighting techniques.

Commenting on the importance of this exercise, Lt Ford – a member of VP-45 – said: “I was grateful to be a part of something as exciting and influential as Keen Sword. Not only was this effective crew training, but getting to work with the Canadians, Japanese, Australians and British was invaluable. When you’re working with air and sea forces from multiple nations, you gain effective methods for handling complex situations, and ultimately these kinds of experiences lead us to be more successful and reliable at our mission, which is why I think exercises like Keen Sword are so important.”

In addition to VP-45 and its P-8As, aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 5 (CVW-5) – embarked aboard the US Navy’s Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76), in the Indo-Pacific region – also participated in KS23. The carrier-based aircraft were joined by Destroyer Squadron 15 (DESRON-15); the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser, USS Chancellorsville (CG-62) – which will soon be renamed to remove its Confederate legacy – and the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, USS Benfold (DDG-65).

‘The World Famous Pelicans’ are currently deployed to Misawa Air Base, Japan, from which the unit is flying routine maritime patrol flights in support of the US Navy’s 7th Fleet and to help promote regional security in the Indo-Pacific.