Defence’s continued commitment to Operation ARGOS

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Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC

Minister for Defence

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24 February 2021

  • Issued by Senator the Hon Marise PayneActing Defence Minister 

Australia is deploying a Royal Australian Air Force P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft in support of the international community’s goal of the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of North Korea.

The aircraft will deploy on Operation ARGOS, marking the first Australian Defence Force (ADF) contribution to the operation for 2021.

Operating out of Kadena Airbase in Japan, the Poseidon aircraft will conduct airborne surveillance by monitoring and deterring illegal ship-to-ship transfers.

Acting Defence Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Marise Payne said Operation ARGOS demonstrated Australia’s commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and the global rules-based order.

“Australia is committed to the stability and security of our region and will continue to support sanctions on North Korea until it takes concrete steps towards denuclearisation,” Minister Payne said.

Chief of Joint Operations Command, Lieutenant General Greg Bilton AM, CSC said our maritime patrols support the international sanctions enforcement program to address illicit trade and sanctions evasion which in-turn supports a secure East Asia and Indo-Pacific.

“Operation ARGOS is part of a multinational force with contributions from countries including Canada, France, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States,” Lieutenant General Bilton said.

“The Poseidon aircraft and its crew will deploy from the Royal Australian Air Force’s 92 Wing and will undertake quarantine at Kadena Air Base in line with Japan’s COVID-19 entry requirements.”

To ensure the safety of the Australian community, all ADF personnel returning from overseas operations are required to complete mandatory state or territory quarantine, in line with other returning Australians. Their release from quarantine is contingent on the testing requirements of the jurisdictions in which they isolate.

This will be the eighth time the Australian Defence Force has deployed a maritime patrol aircraft to Operation ARGOS since the operation commenced in 2018. The ADF has also deployed a naval frigate on four occasions for Operation ARGOS.

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