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Poseidon sharpening his trident: P-8's first strike

p  poseidon harpoon
An ATM-84J Harpoon is released from an Australian P-8A Poseidon aircraft during RIMPAC 2018 (Source Dept of Defence)

The Royal Australian Air Force’s P-8A Poseidon aircraft has successfully fired its first Harpoon missile during RIMPAC 18, which is a key stage in reaching full operating capability. 

The Royal Australian Air Force’s P-8A Poseidon aircraft has successfully fired its first Harpoon missile during RIMPAC 18, which is a key stage in reaching full operating capability. 

In a stunning display of allied interoperability as part of the the "Capable, Adaptive Partners" theme of the 2018 RIMPAC exercise, one of Australia's new Boeing P-8A Poseidon aircraft participated in a co-ordinated strike on a target ship – the former USS Racine, a decommissioned tank landing ship – off the coast of Hawaii. 

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Minister for Defence Marise Payne said the Harpoon is integral to the P-8A reaching full operational capability.

"The successful launch of the Harpoon requires a significant effort from a range of specialist personnel," Minister Payne said.

The Harpoon was released within the Pacific Missile Range Facility and successfully struck its target, working in conjunction with Japanese P-3C Orions, allied Apache Attack Helicopters providing command and control support for a US Army Gray Eagle UAS, which relayed targeting data to allied warships, land-based American and Japanese anti-ship missile batteries, and the Australian Poseidon aircraft. 

“Our partnership with the United States Navy has allowed us access to the Range Facility, a long standing agreement which has seen the successful testing of many Australian Defence Force weapons systems across both Air Force and Navy," said Minister Payne. 

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Exercise RIMPAC 18 is the world’s largest multinational maritime exercise, with 25 nations participating.
 
The ADF is participating with Royal Australian Navy HMA Ships Adelaide, Success, Melbourne, Toowoomba and Rankin; Australian Army’s 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment; and the RAAF’s P-8A Poseidon.  

Minister Payne congratulated the aircrew on this achievement: "The men and women of the RAAF’s 92 Wing should be proud to have achieved this key step in the realisation of this important capability for Australia."

The P-8A Poseidon is designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions. It is capable of broad-area maritime and littoral operations. It is also effective for humanitarian and search and rescue missions.

A derivative of the 737-800 Next Generation, the P-8 combines superior performance and reliability with an advanced mission system that ensures maximum interoperability in the future battle space.

Australia has committed to purchasing 12 P-8A Poseidon aircraft, which will replace the ageing fleet of P-3C Orion aircraft.

Poseidon sharpening his trident: P-8's first strike
P8-Poseidon-Harpoon.jpg
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