Poseidon’s first visit to French island leads to Réunion

22 March 2024

Against the picturesque backdrop of the azure waters of the Indian Ocean, a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft has, for the first time, arrived on the French island of Réunion for a cooperative activity with the French Armed Forces.

Réunion holds a pivotal position in the Indian Ocean, located about 940km east of Madagascar and 225km south-west 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 11 Squadron 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.

Squadron Leader Simon Earl, leading the 11 Squadron detachment, highlighted the significance of conducting such operations.

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



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