The Spanish Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircrafts (MPRA) in Djibouti, reached this major milestone shortly after 9 years of continual support to EU NAVFOR.
The highly capable Orion P-3C can operate either alone or in coordination with other assets including EU NAVFOR’s helicopters and warships. It can use its inherent flexibility, speed, reach, and response time, to assist maritime vessels under pirate attack.
Both Spain and Germany have deployed MPRAs to the Somali coast since the start of Operation Atalanta. The expertise gained by their respective crews is a key factor contributing to the success of the EU NAVFOR Operation.
The Spanish Orion detachment, under the Command of Lieutenant Colonel Javier Caballero Calzada, flew past the figure of 10,000 flight hours earlier this month. This is the 30th time a new flight crew has taken control of the MPRA and the 56th time the supporting detachment has changed in the last 9 years.
The aircraft has changed as well as the crew over the last 9 years, with a P-3 Orion from 11th Wing (Morón Air Base) taking over from the D4s (CN-235s) from Wing 46 (Gando Air Base), Wing 48 (Air Base of Cuatro Vientos) and Wing 49 (Son San Juan Air Base).
The Spanish MPRA, since the beginning of the detachment, have been a key element in the fight against piracy in the waters of the Indian Ocean, collaborating with the Naval Units of EU NAVFOR Somalia and other Djibouti based MPRAs operating with CTF151 providing stability and security to the ships that pass through the zone.