A Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon aircraft has returned home to Australia after completing its final Middle East mission in support of the International Maritime Security Construct (IMSC).
CAPTION: A RAAF P-8A Poseidon takes off on a mission from Australia’s main operating base in the Middle East Region. Photo by Leading Seaman Craig Walton.
The aircraft arrived in the Middle East on 15 October for a one-month deployment.
When the aircraft deployed, Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the deployment would support freedom of navigation in the region.
“The P-8A’s advanced surveillance capabilities will provide a modest but meaningful contribution,” Minister Reynolds said.
“The P-8A will work alongside our coalition partners to ensure the safe passage of merchant vessels through the region, boost security and provide an advanced maritime patrol and surveillance capability.”
This was the first time the P-8A Poseidon had operated in the Middle East and, during 12 sorties, completed around 100 flying hours.
A Royal Australian Navy Anzac-class frigate will deploy to the Middle East in January 2020 for approximately six months, in support of Australia’s contribution to the IMSC – the 68th rotation of a Royal Australian Navy vessel in the region since 1990.
The frigate’s return to the Middle East next year will end an unusual break in patrolling.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was published on the Australian Defence Force in the Middle East Facebook page today as an after return-to-Australia report. However, the photo, which we found on the Defence Image Library, is dated 27 October – less than half way through the deployment – but containing the same after-deployment information in its metadata. Therefore – either, the final record of ’12 missions and 100 flying hours’ was a prediction – or, the photo wasn’t published until the mission ended, with up-to-date info embedded . Either way, the mismatch between photo date and information date renders the photo/caption misleading – thereby casting even more doubt on the reliability and historical accuracy of Defence information generally. Such is the nature of ‘fact’ reporting by the Australian Defence Force these days.