February 20, 2021 – Galicia-class landing platform dock SPS Castilla , equipped with a AB212plus and a RPAS ScanEagle, joined Operation Atalanta this week. Over the next 4 months, she will be the EU NAVFOR flagship, hosting the Force Headquarters of the operation.
Castilla kicks off her activities full-speed with a joint exercise with 🇯🇵JS Ariake of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force. The exercise included a PASSEX with a maneuvers exercise to train the Officers of the Watch (OOW) in station keeping and quick changes of position. As part this exercise, GATO-18 executed Cross-Deck Operations on JS Ariake´s flight deck preforming two landings and take-offs.
During the PASSEX, GATO-18 of ‘Castilla’ conducted a #PHOTEX taking aerial photos during the maneuvers.
These exercises are always an excellent opportunity to interact with ships from partner countries and foster cooperation in order to maximize interoperability and continue to grow synergies in a vast Area of Operations such as this.
During the last passage of ESPS Castilla, the JS Ariake crew took Honour Stations to greet the Commander of TF465, Commodore Diogo Arroteia.
This exercise is the first Operation ATALANTA conducts with Japan in 2021, after the joint activities in October last year. It was not the first time ESPS Castilla participated in an exercise with the Japanese Navy; the last one during her last rotation in August 2018.