European Union Naval Force’s (EU NAVFOR) German Orion P3-C Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) has completed 6000 flight hours for Operation Atalanta at 1107 hours on Oct. 1.
The Orion P-3C has flown on Operation Atalanta duties since 2009 off the east coast of Somalia in support of counter piracy operations and protection of vulnerable shipping. After the flight, Patrol Plane Commander Daniel Peter reported: “We have achieved our 6000th hour flying over the Somali coastline working to detect, deter and disrupt maritime piracy”.
EU NAVFOR Force Commander, Rear Admiral Fabio Gregori, congratulated the MPRA commanding officer while soldiers and engineers of the German detachment formed a guard of honour.
The P-3C can operate either alone or in coordination with other assets including EU NAVFOR’s helicopters and warships. It can use its inherent flexibility, speed, reach, and response time, to assist maritime vessels under pirate attack.
EU NAVFOR Somalia, also known as Operation Atalanta, is a current counter-piracy military operation at sea off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean, that is the first undertaken by the European Union Naval Force.
Both Spain and Germany have deployed MPRAs to the Somali coast since the start of Operation Atalanta.