By Lt. j.g. Mark Hissner
VP-8 Public Affairs

The "Fighting Tigers" of Patrol Squadron (VP) 8 participated in Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) in Surabaya, Indonesia August 1-9.

CARAT is an annual, nine-country bilateral naval exercise series between the United States and Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, and Timor Leste. 

It is designed to enhance maritime security skills and operational cohesiveness among participating forces.

Lt. Jacob Torba, a naval flight officer assigned to VP-8, explained why exercises like CARAT are crucial to ensure smooth interoperability with partner nations. 

"Conducting CARAT alongside our allies allows us to tactically operate in sync when we try to accomplish the same operational objectives," said Torba.

"We are training how we would respond to a real world scenario, resulting in one smoothly operating cohesive force," Torba added.

The aircrew's busy schedule was comprised of several official functions ranging from static and aerial demonstrations of the P-8A Poseidon aircraft with host-nation military personnel to a community relations event at a local high school. 

Lt. Cmdr. Karl Murray, officer-in charge (OIC) of the detachment, was delighted to have the opportunity to visit such a remarkable place saying that, "Immediately upon landing, the crew was warmly greeted by their Indonesian hosts whose hospitality was extended throughout the entire detachment."

During the exercise, the Command-ing Officer of the Indonesian Naval Aviation Center, along with several members of the Indonesian media were provided an opportunity to tour and witness P-8A Poseidon capabilities. Ten members of the Indonesian Navy were afforded the opportunity to participate in a demonstration flight.

Due to its capabilities, effectiveness and reliability, the P-8A Poseidon represents a leap forward for the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force. The P-8A is a multi-mission aircraft that provides long-range maritime, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities, making it the most advanced anti-submarine and anti-surface aircraft in the world.

VP-8 is currently deployed to the 7th Fleet area of operation conducting ISR missions and providing Maritime Domain Awareness to supported units throughout the Pacific theater.