A US Navy Boeing P-8A is returning at this moment (14:30 CEST) to NAS Sigonella after a mission in the Eastern Mediterranean.
The aircraft has been orbiting for a long time south of Cyprus in an area where the Italian Coast Guard ship Diciotti (CP920) and the Cyprus navy Offshore patrol vessel Commodore Andreas Ioannides (P61) are reported to be present.
The three assets are likely participating in the “ARGONAUT 2023” exercise.
As we can read on Cypriot Ministry of defence Website:” The exercise will commence on May 15th and will be completed on May 18th. The Exercise will be executed in three phases, within the maritime, air and land area of the Republic of Cyprus (FIR and EEZ).
Exercise ARGONAUT is planned under the general coordination of the National Guard, in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC Larnaca), and with the involvement of a large number of other government services and agencies. As always Exercise Argonaut will welcome air and naval assets and personnel from partner countries that will participate.
In the framework of the exercise, the National Plans «ESTIA» and «TEFKROS» will be activated and evaluated. The said National Plans are implemented respectively for the reception of non-combatants from a crisis area in the region and the confrontation of Search and Rescue incidents occurred within the area of responsibility of the Republic of Cyprus, which coincides with Nicosia FIR.
«ARGONAUT 2023»,l will be attended by a large number of foreign military observers and diplomats highlighting the enabling role of Cyprus as a pillar of stability and multinational cooperation in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East area.”