Djibouti: ESPS Tornado Swaps Helicopters
Spanish warship, ESPS Tornado, integrated with the EU Naval Force on counter-piracy operation, dropped anchor in the port of Djibouti on 26 December 2013 to change helicopters, since its Augusta Bell 212 helicopter had become unserviceable and beyond repair.
As a result, the Spanish Navy arranged for a replacement helicopter to be sent from Spain to Djibouti, which arrived by airfreight on a chartered Ilyushin aircraft on 28 December.
Once ESPS Tornado berthed in Djibouti, the operation to crane the unserviceable helicopter, which will be returned to Spain, from the ship’s flight deck to a flatbed truck began. The Djiboutian Coastguard escorted the helicopter from the port to the French Airbase Aerienne 188, where a hanger and crane had been arranged. On arrival, the crew started removing the complete main rotor assembly, as the airframe would not fit in to the transport aircraft with it in place. The task was achieved in one day, ensuring there was no delay in getting ready for the replacement helicopter’s arrival.
By the morning of the 30th December, the replacement helicopter was ready to begin its first task of transporting the Air Wing crew back to the Tornado.
On Tuesday 3 December, Spanish Ocean Patrol Vessel, ESPS Tornado joined the European Union’s counter piracy task force operating off the coast of Somalia. The warship will be part of the EU Naval Force for four months as Spain’s contribution to Operation Atalanta. This is the first time that ESPS Tornado has taken part in the EU Naval Force to fight piracy.
Naval Today Staff, January 2, 2014; Image: EUNAVFOR