The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has announced the deployment of a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft on Operation ARGOS.

The aircraft will operate out of Kadena Airbase in Japan and offer airborne surveillance support to the global effort to enforce United Nations Security Council sanctions on North Korea.

It will maintain regular surveillance and prevent illegal ship-to-ship transfers.

This represents the first Australian Defence Force (ADF) contribution to the operation for this year.

Joint Operations Command chief lieutenant general Greg Bilton said: “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.

“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.”

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Operation ARGOS commenced in 2018 and seeks to address illicit trade and sanction evasion while supporting efforts to build a secure East Asia and Indo-Pacific.

Since then, Australia has been supporting the operation by deploying a maritime patrol aircraft and a naval frigate.

The aircraft is now being deployed for the eighth time. A naval frigate supported the operation on four cases.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister and Acting Defence Minister Marise Payne said the deployment demonstrates the country’s commitment to regional security and the rules-based order.

Payne said: “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.”