February 22, 2021 – All means deployed in Operation ATALANTA bring added value for the execution of the mission depending on their characteristics. However, due to their versatility and flexibility, aerial assets are those who provide unique operational capabilities which cannot be achieved by other means.
The most used aerial asset in EU NAVFOR Somalia are the Maritime Patrol Reconnaissance Aircrafts (MPRA), the organic helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), each of them with their respective potential. The MPRA stands out for its flight autonomy and range, excellent quantity and diversity of image collection capabilities while covering vast areas. On the other hand, organic helicopters can be used to extended the coverage of the ship’s sensors for several tenths of miles, allowing sufficiently early warning for a timely decision making and improves the image collection capabilities considerably.
Last but not least, the organic Unmanned Aerial Vehicles or UAVs is another key asset. In addition to their high autonomy and low consumption, they have the great advantage that they are extremely discrete and can operate very closely to the targets without being detected.
“All air assets in the area of operations complement each other; with any of them missing, it reduces the operational capability and flexibility of the EU NAVFOR – Somalia Task Force, that is why it is extremely important that they remain present in Operation ATALANTA on a permanent basis”, says Commodore Diogo Arroteia (Commander Task Force 465).