The German Navy P-3C Orion Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) has returned to Djibouti to rejoin the fight against piracy being conducted by EU NAVFOR on Operation Atalanta.
The P-3C, its crew and supporting staff deployed to the Horn of Africa area of operations on 23rd March 2018 to work alongside the Spanish MPRA detachment which is permanently based in Djibouti. The German aircraft will enhance the support that the Spanish MPRA already provides to Op Atalanta, with imagery intelligence, radar surface searches and surveillance.
Both the Spanish and German aircraft will be on task in the area of operations, monitoring developments and providing situational awareness on land and at sea to assist EU NAVFOR’s warships. The P-3C, using its inherent flexibility, speed, reach and response time, has been used to assist vessels under pirate attack, working either alone or in coordination with other assets such as EU NAVFOR helicopters and warships.
Spain and Germany have both deployed MPRAs to the area since the very start of Operation Atalanta. The expertise gained by their respective crews has been a key factor contributing to the success of the EU NAVFOR operation.
Lockheed P-3 Orion is a four-engine turboprop anti-submarine and maritime surveillance aircraft developed for the United States Navy and introduced in the 1960s.
Numerous navies and air forces around the world continue to use the P-3 Orion, primarily as maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) for reconnaissance, anti-surface warfare (ASuW) and anti-submarine warfare (ASW).
The German Navy operates eight ex-Royal Netherlands Navy P-3C CUP+ patrol aircraft and the they are based at NAS Nordholz.