The German Navy’s P-3C Orion aircraft has joined forces with Operation Atlanta’s maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft (MPRA) in Djibouti.
Operation Atlanta is dubbed as the European Union’s comprehensive approach to stem Somali-based piracy and armed robbery at sea off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean.
The region is dotted with frequent occurrences of piracy, which involve plundering vessels transiting through the high risk area, as well as holding crews hostage to extort money.
The joining of the German team is said to have doubled the capacity of the unit, with the Spanish P-3 Detachment already in place.
The P-3C Orion detachment has flown down from their homeport in Nordholz, Germany, comprised of 50 personnel, under the command of lieutenant commander Kai Hansen.
The German detachment will be able to engage in up to 15 missions each month, accompanied by the Spanish P-3 Detachment, engaging in a similar number of missions, which allows Operation Atlanta to maintain a continuous monitoring in the sky on a daily basis.
The daily monitoring enables the Force Commander to stay updated on the happenings at sea and along the coast, paving the way for decisions to fulfil Operation Atlanta’s aim of curbing piracy at Somalia.
The P-3C Orion is the US Navy’s maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, equipped with the Harpoon anti-ship and stand-off land attack missiles.
It is capable of maritime patrol missions up to 14 hours long.
Image: German MPRA detachment arrives in Djibouti. Photo: courtesy of EUNAVFOR.