German Navy Maritime Patrol Aircraft Finishes First Operational Flight


A German Navy Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) has been in Djibouti since Sunday participating in the EUNAVFOR mission ATALANTA.

As the “flying eye” it significantly contributes to fighting piracy and securing the shipping lanes off the Horn of Africa. Equipped with modern electro-optical sensors the MPRA delivers an indispensable contribution to the reconnaissance in the area of operation.

On Thursday morning the light grey colored Lockheed P-3C ORION launched for the first time into the morning sky. The aircraft patrolled along the bright yellow beaches of the east coast of Somalia. “Our main task today is to evaluate the known pirate camps and to report any preparations made”, states the commanding officer of the P-3C detachment in Djibouti, Commander Matthias Elvert.

After about nine hours the first mission was accomplished.  At the end of the day a total of almost 2,000 miles were flown. “This is approximately the distance from the North of Germany to Sicily and back”, said operator senior chief Sven G.

With roaring engines the pilot rolled the ORION to its final parking position following the instructions of the cross service soldier. In the Mission Support Center, the crew is already expected. All documents are submitted for evaluation and the debriefing is held before the crew is being released from its duty.

The next flight is already being prepared and the propellers of the ORION will start soon for a new mission.

Source: eunavfor, October 03, 2011