German Orion clocks up 4 000 Op Atalanta flying hours


A German maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft (MPRA), currently operating as part of the EU Naval Force, has reached an impressive 4 000 flying hours milestone with Operation Atalanta.

As the German P3C Orion landed back at its base in Djibouti last week, the aircrew was given a warm welcome by their squadron leader, Commander Steffen Kroll and the ground staff.

The German Navy Air Wing Detachment has completed more than 500 missions since it began contributing to Operation Atalanta – the European Union’s counter-piracy mission, in 2009.

Explaining the significant over-the-horizon capabilities of the P3C Orion, Kroll said: “Our contribution to Operation Atalanta is to fly reconnaissance missions along the Somalia coast to search for potential pirate locations or hideouts. We fly almost every second day, with an average of 8,5 hours flying time. Importantly, we are able to send back to HQ aerial photographs and video footage of the Somali coastline and wider sea areas”.

Since they began operations, the German MPRA team has been commended several times for their capabilities and dedication, be it the skill of the crews or the efforts of the maintenance and technical staff on the ground to ensure the aircraft remains fully operational.