By Flight Lieutenant Bel Scott

Australian and Indian Poseidon aircraft worked together for the first time during the premier Australia–India military exercise AUSINDEX.

An Australian P-8A Poseidon and an Indian Navy P8I collaborated to give comprehensive and crucial surveillance in the maritime domain for the ships and submarines participating in the third biennial iteration of the exercise.

AUSINDEX 2019 was the most complex to date and focused on anti-submarine warfare and tactical maritime manoeuvres. The naval exercise is the cornerstone of Indo-Pacific Endeavour 2019 (IPE19) activity in India.

"We now see for the first time our P8 capabilities working together."

Squadron Leader Brian Brown said that after a visit to Sri Lanka, the Royal Australian Air Force’s No. 11 Squadron travelled to Indian naval base INS Dega in Visakhapatnam to prepare for the exchange.

“We are excited to be working with the Indian Navy to expand our understanding of each other’s capabilities and strengthen our defence relationship,” Squadron Leader Brown said.

“For the first time in history, each maritime patrol aircraft will share platform-to-platform processes and procedures to enhance interoperability and integration with the ships and submarines.

“Safety is paramount for both nations so there have been numerous briefs and familiarisations to ensure safe operations at all times. We are working hard to ensure there is a coordinated and integrated approach between the two nations.”

Commander Joint Task Force 661 Air Commodore Richard Owen speaks with Commander Kunwar and Lieutenant Bhaskar Jyoti of the Indian Navy onboard an Indian P8I aircraft. Photo: Leading Seaman Steven Thomson

During the AUSINDEX harbour phase, the coordination meeting in Visakhapatnam discussed the execution of the exercise’s sea phase.

P8I aircraft captain, Commander Kanwar of Indian Navy Air Squadron 312, said aviation operations were a key component of the exercise.

“The last time the RAAF was here for the inaugural AUSINDEX in 2015, they operated their AP-3C Orion with our P8I, a very different capability,” Commander Kanwar said.

“Four years later, we now see for the first time our P8 capabilities working together.

“Both countries share common views when it comes to safety, security and negating any form of threat…be it terrorism, piracy or marine pollution.

“AUSINDEX 2019 is a step towards firming that relationship.”