German P-3 Orions deploy to Somalia for anti-piracy duties


On 11 March, the maritime patrol capability of the European Union’s anti-piracy Operation Atalanta was doubled with the arrival of German P-3C Orion aircraft in Djibouti. The German team join the Spanish P-3 Detachment already in situ.

The new German Detachment came from their home-base in Nordholz, Germany, and consists of 50 personnel, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Kai Hansen, the European Union Naval Force (EU Navfor) said this week.

The maritime reconnaissance and patrol detachment provides a maritime picture on the operational area and adjacent coastlines. The German detachment is able to fly up to 15 missions each month and as the Spanish P-3 detachment flies a similar number of missions this means that Operation Atalanta maintains an eye in the sky on an almost daily basis.

The picture provided by the maritime surveillance teams give the Force Commander up to date awareness on what is happening at sea and along the coast. This allows decisions to be made to ensure Operation Atalanta’s mandate to deter and disrupt piracy is maintained, EU Navfor said.

The Spanish maritime patrol contingent recently accumulated 8 000 flying hours with Operation Atalanta. The milestone was reached on 11 March. EU Navfor said the milestone was made possible by Spanish P-3 and D-4 VIGMA (the maritime version of the CN-235) aircraft, which have been deployed to Djibouti since 2008. The aircrew and maintenance teams rotate every few months from their home bases across Spain.