EU NAVFOR’s Dutch warship HNLMS Rotterdam’s Cougar helicopter recently flew a routine maritime sortie to the Spanish warship ESPS Rayo.
The Airbus H215M Cougar is a twin-engine, medium-weight, multipurpose helicopter. Capable of carrying a crew of 2 and up to 29 troops, it can lift 4.5 tons by means of a sling, conduct ground surveillance and can be fitted with a variety of weapons, including 20 mm cannons, 68 mm rocket-launchers and side-mounted rapid fire machine-guns.
HNLMS Rotterdam, with its Cougar helicopter, fast assault craft (CB-90), and its role 2 medical capabilities, provides great presence and support to the EU NAVFOR’s, whose mission is to deter and disrupt pirate activities and to ensure that freedom of navigation is maintained.
ESPS Rayo (P-42) is a new kind of offshore patrol vessel bult for the Spanish Navy with great mission versatility given its high commonality with other ships operated by the Spanish Navy. At almost 100 meters long and a top speed of 20 knots, ESPS Rayo provides the EU Naval Force with a vital maritime capability in the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia.