Defence joins international effort to enforce sanctions on North Korea

16 September 2023

Defence has conducted air surveillance of illegal activity in North Korea as part of an international effort to eliminate nuclear weapons in the country.

As part of Operation Argos, Defence deployed two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to enforce United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions on the rogue nuclear state.

Operating from Kadena Air Base in Japan, the P-8A Poseidon aircraft conducted airborne surveillance to monitor and deter illegal ship-to-ship transfers of sanctioned goods in the region.

Since 2018, Australia has deployed RAAF maritime patrol aircraft on 12 occasions and Royal Australian Navy vessels nine times to support the UNSC sanctions. 

Quotes attributable to Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Greg Bilton:

“Operation Argos reinforces Australia’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and directly contributes to maintaining the rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region alongside our partner nations.

“Australia remains committed to enforcing UN Security Council sanctions and our own sanctions against North Korea.

“This operation is Australia’s contribution to a multinational effort, alongside Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States, all of which conduct operations in support of UN Security Council resolutions.”

Quotes attributable to Commanding Officer No. 11 Squadron, Wing Commander Adam Saber:

“Since the first Operation Argos deployment back in 2018, and on every subsequent 11 Squadron rotation, our teams have delivered a major contribution to regional security and stability.

“Though Operation Argos is conducted a considerable distance from Australia, the importance of maintaining regional stability cannot be understated, particularly noting the interconnected nature of global affairs. The range and speed of the P-8A makes it an ideal platform to conduct these long-range operations.

“The P-8A is world-leading maritime patrol aircraft and provides a versatile capability for Australia’s contribution to Operation Argos.

“I am exceptionally proud of the 11 Squadron aviators who routinely deploy as part of this operation, and it is their dedication and professionalism that underpins the successes of each deployment.”


Media can access imagery of ADF’s support to Operation Argos at

Information about Operation Argos is available at:

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