Keeping watch over shipping routes

The latest iteration of Operation Gateway – Australia’s longest running Defence operation – has successfully concluded following a P-8A Poseidon deployment from Royal Malaysian Air Force Base (RMAF) Butterworth.

CAPTIONMalaysian observers monitor the P-8A Poseidon crew operating at their workstations during Operation Gateway. Story by Flight Lieutenant Rob Hodgson. Photos by Leading Aircraftman Chris Tsakisiris.

The maritime domain awareness operation involved personnel from 92 Wing operating and maintaining an 11 Squadron P-8A Poseidon to conduct patrols along some of the world’s busiest shipping routes in the North Indian Ocean and South China Sea.

The operation contributes to the important Australia-Malaysia relationship and the preservation of regional security and stability in the region.

Squadron Leader Andrew Bartlett, Detachment Commander at 92 Wing Detachment Alpha based at RMAF Butterworth, said the P-8A Poseidon aircraft used its vast sensor suite to detect, track, investigate and monitor merchant and naval shipping.

“In doing so we are providing critical maritime domain awareness for both Australia and Malaysia,” Squadron Leader Bartlett said.

“Operation Gateway inaugural missions commenced in 1981 and [are] a testament to the ‘staying power’ of the tireless air and ground crews of 92 Wing’s maritime squadrons.

“For decades, Operation Gateway was supported by variants of the veritable P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft, and has now been replaced by the P-8A Poseidon.

“Maintaining a high tempo since coming into service, the aircraft has proven that it is the platform required to meet the challenges facing Australia’s maritime security into the future.”

Operation Gateway is a key aspect of the longstanding Malaysia-Australia Joint Defence Program, which marked 40 years of the operation in 2021.

This is a cooperative operation between Australia and Malaysia and provides significant benefits for both nations.

The countries share a strong, long-standing partnership, based on a shared commitment to a peaceful, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific Region.

CAPTION: A Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon aircraft from 11 Squadron departs from Royal Malaysian Air Force Base Butterworth during Operation Gateway.


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