Mission to enforce UN sanctions

No. 11 Squadron personnel in front of an Air Force P-8A Poseidon aircraft at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan during Operation Argos.

Mission to enforce UN sanctions

An Air Force P-8A Poseidon deployed to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan, for Operation Argos from late February until late March.

Operation Argos was the ADF’s contribution towards the enforcement of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions on North Korea.

The ADF contributed to a multinational force, which included personnel from Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, that monitored and deterred illegal ship-to-ship transfers of sanctioned goods.

Operation Argos was Flight Lieutenant Nathan Owen’s first opportunity to deploy internationally with No. 11 Squadron, giving him real-world experience critical to his training to become a tactical coordinator. 

“Operation Argos provided the opportunity to employ skills learnt during multiple years of training in a fast-paced and challenging maritime environment,” Flight Lieutenant Owen said.

“It was important to be involved in an operation and amazing to see the impact and value that just one aircraft can have.”

During Operation Argos, P-8A crews planned and executed missions, and provided maritime air power contributing to the multinational goal.

Co-tactical coordinator of No. 11 Squadron Flight Lieutenant Joel Geisler said everyone worked well together in the unique and challenging environment.

“The operation was a team effort involving significant contributions from each individual on deployment, resulting in the operation going smoothly, even in the testing times of COVID-19,” Flight Lieutenant Geisler said.

The COVID-19 pandemic meant deploying to Kadena had unique logistical and administrative challenges.

With ingenuity and hard work, logistics officer Flight Lieutenant Kelly Strybosch and Leading Aircraftwoman Jillian Boultbee made preparations and finalised the set-up for the main party.

Flight Lieutenant Strybosch said her first deployment to Kadena was a rewarding experience. 

“We experienced first-hand having to think outside of the box, to quickly build positive working relationships with our partners and to be adaptive – especially with our smaller deployment footprint,” Flight Lieutenant Strybosch said.

The support received from the United States Navy (USN) and United States Air Force (USAF) was impressive, with no task too hard or complex.

“From a logistical perspective, given the general delays in shipments experienced throughout the world due to COVID-19, it was great to be able to reach into our sister squadron for support – with parts being sourced via the Australia/United States P-8A cooperative program during the deployment,” Flight Lieutenant Strybosch said.

“To show our appreciation for their support, we gifted USAF and USN personnel with boxes of Tim Tama, a small gesture of Aussie goodwill and gratitude that was gratefully received.” 

Operation Argos is the largest multinational operation to which No. 92 Wing contributes, with the unit’s support continuing to demonstrate the effectiveness and value of the Air Force’s contribution to the allied nations.

Based on a commercially proven B737-800, the P-8A Poseidon brings flexibility, responsiveness and attack capability to the joint force in its primary roles of anti-submarine warfare, anti-surface warfare, maritime surveillance and search and rescue.


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