The CP-140M is the final version of the Aurora Incremental Modernization Program (AIMP) in which some components of the airframe were replaced and the original electronics were updated with state-of-the-art avionics and sensors. The Aurora first entered service with the RCAF in 1980 and although a long time in coming to fruition the CP-140M has kept Canada in the forefront of long range patrol aviation as demonstrated in a number of international exercises.
This year, 2021, the US Navy invited Canada to participate in its annual Exercise Sea Dragon for the first time.
Canada was represented by crews from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron from 19 Wing Comox and flew their Aurora to Andersen Air Base in Guam in January 2021 to join other nations in Exercise Sea Dragon.
The training focused on anti-submarine warfare and Air Crew Flight Commander for 407 Squadron, Major Matthew Kuhn said the Canadian crews did exceptionally well compared to other nations in the friendly competition.
“The dragon belt competition was against an underwater target. We were competing against very modern aircraft from the United States, Australia, India and Japan and we were able to win the competition with the fastest and most accurate attacks, as well as identifying frequencies that were emitted from the underwater target.”
“We were in an aircraft that has very modern mission equipment and sensors on it. We’re comparable from a technological aspect, we’re just flying a 40-year-old aircraft. It’s pretty impressive when we go in there flying against some of the most modern aircraft within the allied forces and we’re able to win the competition.”
Major Kuhn credits the skill and training of 407 Squadron to the success of the exercise as well as the hard work of the ground crews.
“We always think about flying aircraft and the aircrews that fly it but we can’t do it without the hard work of ground crews and maintainers to keep the aircraft flying.”
It’s the first time the RCAF has taken part in the exercise and they received the top-performing crew award with the most efficient tactics.