RAAF to send Poseidon to monitor North Korea

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) is preparing to deploy a Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to support the enforcement of UN Security Council (UNSC) sanctions on North Korea.

The aircraft will deploy within the next week to Kadena air base, Japan, as part of Operation ARGOS, marking the first time the RAAF has contributed to the ongoing UNSC-led mission this year.

Following on from the deployment of HMAS Parramatta (FFH 154) late last year, the Poseidon – from No. 11 Squadron at RAAF Base Edinburgh – will be the fifth maritime patrol aircraft deployed by the air arm since the operation commenced in 2018.

RAAF Poseidon [Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence, CPL Craig Barrett] #1
An RAAF P-8A Poseidon - registration A47-001 (c/n 62288/5823) - belonging to No 11 Squadron, in flight. Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence/Cpl Craig Barrett

Whilst operating from Kadena, the Poseidon will conduct airborne surveillance and maritime patrol missions, monitoring and deterring illegal ship-to-ship transfers.

Australian Minister for Defence, Senator Linda Reynolds CSC, stated that the deployment and Australia’s ongoing commitment to Operation ARGOS is key to maintaining stability in the region. She said: “This deployment demonstrates our commitment to regional security and the rules-based order… We rely on a stable North East Asia as part of a free, open and economically prosperous wider Indo-Pacific region.

“Along with our international partners, Australia continues to maintain pressure on North Korea to adhere to [UNSC] sanctions through our dedicated air and maritime patrols," she added.

In total, the RAAF’s P-8A Poseidon fleet consists of 12 aircraft spread across No 11 Squadron and No 292 Squadron at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia. The air arm received its twelfth and final example on December 12, 2019.