March 6, 2020 (Google Translation) – A German maritime reconnaissance aircraft P-3C “Orion” is heading towards Djibouti on the Horn of Africa on Tuesday, March 10, 2020. By mid-June around 70 soldiers from Naval Aviation Squadron 3 “Graf Zeppelin” will be part of the EU-led “Atalanta” mission.
German naval aviators have been making a significant contribution to combating piracy and the safety of shipping routes in the Horn of Africa since 2008. The quota hijacker, frigate captain Michael Buchert, had already moved south a week earlier with the advance command. They make all the preparations so that the operational flights can start as quickly as possible.
The contingent leader summarizes the importance of the mission: “We naval aviators are now the 30th contingent of this extremely successful mission. In close cooperation with other alliance partners, we are making our contribution to the safety of shipping on one of the busiest trade routes on earth. Even under the extreme climatic conditions We ensure conditions in the Horn of Africa that the aircraft and its crew are optimally prepared for the mission flights and can fulfill the mission. ”
The “Orion” is able to use its radar to detect the ships in the area of operation and can thus pass on a current situation report to the warships in the sea area. On average, the maritime reconnaissance aircraft, nicknamed “Jester”, will fire up its engines every two days. The mission flights last about eight hours by monitoring the Gulf of Aden and the adjacent waters of the Indian Ocean. The German and Spanish crews are in constant rotation to ensure continuous maritime surveillance.
The P-3C Orion maritime reconnaissance aircraft is equipped with state-of-the-art sensors as a “flying eye” and is an indispensable addition to reconnaissance capabilities in the area of the Horn of Africa, which is about one and a half times the size of Europe. The actual important main sensor (the “eye”) is the electro-optical camera system. With the help of this tool, razor-sharp images and videos can be taken from a distance. These play an important role in the clarification of well-known pirate camps.