RAAF P-8A Poseidon completes Malaysia deployment
A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon has completed its first deployment to Royal Malaysian Air Force Base (RMAF) Butterworth as part of Operation GATEWAY.
The Royal Australian Air Force has deployed a P-8A Poseidon to Malaysia in support of the Operational Test and Evaluation of the P-8A as it is introduced to service. This deployment was a key milestone on the path to declaring Initial Operating Capability (IOC) for the aircraft and its system over the next 12 months.
The Poseidon’s predecessor, the AP-3C Orion, has operated from RMAF Butterworth for a number of decades as part of the bilateral Malaysian and Australian Operation GATEWAY.
Operation GATEWAY is Australia's contribution to the preservation of regional security and stability in South East Asia. The operation provides maritime surveillance patrols in the North Indian Ocean and South China Sea.
Operation GATEWAY is a key element in the bilateral Defence relationship between Australia and Malaysia. The Poseidon is scheduled to take over this surveillance role in 2018.
Following testing of the Poseidon’s ability to deploy and operate from forward bases on the north and north-west Australian mainland in April, this deployment to RMAF Butterworth marks the first time a RAAF P-8A Poseidon has operated from an overseas environment since the first aircraft arrived in November 2016.
Missions flown by the aircraft included patrols in the Northern Indian Ocean and South China Sea aimed at testing and refining how the P-8A will be operated in those environments. Each mission utilised the Poseidon’s advanced sensor suite and data connectivity.
During each mission the aircraft conducted routine maritime surveillance on merchant and naval shipping along some of the world’s busiest shipping routes.
Australia has committed to acquiring 15 P-8A Poseidons, along with up to seven MQ-4C Triton unmanned aircraft, to provide its future maritime surveillance capability.