The United States Navy has deployed it’s P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to Nigeria to participate in the Obangame Express 2023 (OE23) martime exercise.
The P-8A Poseidon MPA arrives Lagos, Nigeria on Friday, 27 January, as part of the United States contingent for OE22.
A militarized version of the Boeing 737 commercial aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon is intended to replace the U.S. Navy’s ageing P-3 Orion fleet as the service’s front-line anti-submarine warfare aircraft.
According to Boeing, the P-8 is a multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft, excelling at anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface warfare; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and search and rescue.
Also, Vice Adm. Thomas Ishee, the commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, arrived in Lagos, Nigeria for the opening ceremony of Exercise Obangame Express (OE23), the largest multinational maritime exercise in Western and Central Africa, Jan. 27, 2023.
“The work accomplished during Obangame Express strengthens regional cooperation and trust, ensuring African nations can continue protecting their coastal resources and sovereign waters,” said Ishee.
Alongside African partners, U.S. service members also participated in practical demonstrations on combat defense tactics and life-saving medical care under fire.
U.S. Coast Guard Lt.j.g. Nicholas Didiano led a simulated vessel boarding on a Nigerian Navy small patrol craft. The demonstration rehearsed vessel entry, clearing and securing, and arrest techniques.
“The exercise is important because it allows forces to learn how to protect themselves and protect their units and boarding teams. If they encounter any kind of illicit activity, they’ll be better prepared for the risk and threat at hand,” said Didiano.
African partners found the expertise exchange and practical demonstrations helpful for operations that they conduct with their respective nations.
“This exercise is very interesting – rehearsing some methods we already know, while learning new techniques is incredibly helpful on a practical side,” said Maitre Major (MTM) Hermann Houngue, Benin Navy. “Especially the self defense techniques – you have to know them, to protect yourself, to do your job – I can’t stress how important it is in a very practical way.”
OE23, one of three U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVAF) – facilitated regional exercises, provides collaborative opportunities for African and U.S. forces, and international partners to address shared transnational maritime concerns. NAVAF’s ongoing maritime security cooperation with African partners focuses on overcoming the challenges of maritime safety and security in the region.
The exercise takes place across five zones in the southern Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Guinea – stretching from the West African island of Cabo Verde to the Central African shores of Angola, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS).
Meanwhile, two United State’s Air Force (USAF) Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft, one from the 6th Air Refueling Wing (6th ARW) at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida made a brief stop in Cape Town on Wednesday 25 January as part of an endurance mission.
The two Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker aircraft, one from the 6th Air Refueling Wing (6th ARW) at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, and Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, are on a 32 200 km endurance mission across the Southern Hemisphere, under the title of “Delivering Hope, Projecting Lethality.”