During their counter-piracy aerial patrols along the coast of Somalia the aircrew from EU NAVFOR’s Spanish Air Force Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) took the opportunity to overfly and make radio contact with their fellow countrymen aboard EU NAVFOR’s flagship, ESPS Galicia.
The Spanish Armed Forces have made a significant and continuous contribution to Operation Atalanta since the European Union launched the operation in December 2008. The key roles are to ensure that ships of the World Food Programme (WFP) arrive safely in Somali ports in order to ensure that food aid gets to those who need it most, and to protect international shipping from acts of piracy off the coast of Somalia.
The Spanish MPRA detachment is based in Djibouti and consists of one P3 Orion aircraft and 56 personnel, including aircrew, maintainers, picture analysts and operations personnel.
The P3 Orion is the perfect aircraft for Operation Atalanta as it is configured to capture photographic imagery and conduct radar surface searches and analysis in the deterrence of piracy in the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean.