Two CP140 Aurora aircrafts and four crews from 404, 405 and 407 Squadrons, participated in the world’s largest NATO anti-submarine exercise, which took place off the coast of Sicily, Italy, over the last two weeks.
Reinforcing interoperability amongst participating NATO nations is a key element of the Proud Manta exercise. This provides RCAF crews a unique opportunity to exercise their communications and operating skills in a challenging multinational environment.
“Canadian participation in Exercise Proud Manta permits our forces to work alongside our NATO allies and demonstrates that we remain amongst the best in the world at what we do. It allows Canadian CP140 aircrew and maintenance personnel from both coasts to hone the skills that serve them on a daily basis, either at home on patrol, or deployed around the world,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Mike Adamson, Commander Officer 405 Long Range Patrol Squadron. “Ex Proud Manta is also one of the few opportunities for CP140 Aurora crews to actively engage real-world submarine forces, it is a vital skill set that needs to be practiced and maintained.
Exercise Proud Manta challenged RCAF members with both above and below water training scenarios. The training scenarios range from non-threatening communication exercises between multi-national aircraft, ships, and submarines to war-fighting scenarios. The most challenging training scenario involves finding enemy submarines. RCAF members also exercise their tactics and techniques at the crew level as well as their ability to manage resources within the aircraft.
“This is the hardest task we are required to perform as aircrew but is also the most exciting and the most rewarding one, professionally,” said Major Paul Gilbert, Detachment Commander 405 Long Range Patrol Squadron. “Practicing those skills together with our allies - over 100 hours of flight time spread out over 22 missions - brought the aircrew cohesiveness at the highest level.”
Typically, the CP140 Aurora has a crew of ten, including two pilots, one flight engineer, one tactical navigator, one navigator communicator, and five airborne electronic sensor operators.