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One giant leap for RAAF's maritime watch

ON TARGET: The RAAF P-8A Poseidon has completed its first major mission.
ON TARGET: The RAAF P-8A Poseidon has completed its first major mission.

A ROYAL Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon has completed its first deployment to Royal Malaysian Air Force Base Butterworth as part of Operation Gateway.

The Poseidon was deployed 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 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 enduring 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.

Air Commodore Craig Heap said the successful first overseas deployment of the Poseidon was a significant step towards realising the full capability of the aircraft.

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.

The aircraft conducted routine maritime surveillance on merchant and naval shipping along some of the world's busiest shipping routes.

Topics:  on the radar raaf