RAAF P-8A Poseidon Works With the French on Réunion

By FLTLT Glen Paul

Against the picturesque backdrop of the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, a RAAF P-8A Poseidon has for the first time arrived on the French island of Réunion for a cooperative activity with French Armed Forces.

Réunion holds a pivotal position in the Indian Ocean, located about 940km east of Madagascar and 225km southwest of Mauritius.

Its unique geographical location underscores its importance as a key hub for maritime activities and trade routes traversing the Indian Ocean.

The long-range deployment of the RAAF P-8A Poseidon from 11SQN to Réunion emphasises the reach of the ADF and the depth of its cooperation with international partners.

Australia and France share a commitment to a dynamic bilateral relationship founded on trust, shared values and shared interests, globally and in the Indo-Pacific region.

SQNLDR Simon Earl, leading the 11SQN detachment, highlighted the significance of conducting such operations.

“This is the first time a RAAF P-8A has travelled to Réunion Island,” SQNLDR Earl said.

The bilateral activity focuses on maritime security cooperation and broadening maritime domain awareness in the region.

The P-8A Poseidon, renowned for its versatility, serves as a formidable asset in maintaining maritime security. Based on a Boeing 737-800 airframe, the P-8A is a multi-mission maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft capable of conducting long-range anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

“This has been an extremely successful detachment. We are not only honing our tactical proficiency, but also strengthening the bonds of cooperation between our respective military forces,” SQNLDR Earl said.

“This has been made far easier by the wonderful support provided from the French Armed Forces on Réunion Island.

“Our hosts have been very welcoming, and it is obvious that we share the same commitment to upholding international norms.

“In an era marked by dynamic geopolitical shifts, our collaboration builds on the enduring partnership between Australia and France in promoting peace, stability and security in the Indo-Pacific region.”

This activity consolidates Australia’s strong defence links with the French Armed Forces based in the south-west Pacific and expands its strategic cooperation in the Indian Ocean.

Featured Photo: French Air and Space Force Chief CPL Oili Assam and RAAF LAC Samuel Johnson watch a 11SQN P-8A Poseidon depart Roland Garros Airport, Réunion Island.

Photo: CPL Kieren Whiteley

Air Force 

Vol 66 No 5 March 28, 2024