The embarked helicopter of EU NAVFOR’s Spanish Warship ESPS Patiño has provided a successful contribution to the counter-piracy mission off the Somali coast since joining in December.
The multi-purpose Seahawk SH60B helicopter can conduct up to six hours of flight operations daily. It provides the warship with the ability to conduct surveillance and reconnaissance operations of suspected pirate vessels, medical evacuation and boarding team insertion, as well as gunnery air support and the ship to ship transfer of supplies.
Patiño’s helicopter is part of the 10th Squadron based in Rota Naval Base. The aircrew, consisting of three pilots and two sensor operators, are supported by 15 embarked aircraft mechanics who keep the helicopter fully operational and ready for counter-piracy operations 24 hours a day.
Thanks to all of the aircrew and support personnel mentioned, the Seahawk has contributed to EU NAVFOR’s mission to protect World Food Program and other vulnerable shipping by deterring and disrupting pirate activity around the Horn of Africa and in the Somali Basin.