German patrol aircraft deploys to Operation Atalanta

German Navy’s maritime patrol aircraft, ‘Orion’ P-3C , took off from the naval airbase Nordholz, Germany on March 9 and headed for the Horn of Africa.

With a stop-over in the Mediterranean, the aircraft is expected to reach Djibouti on March 10.

According to the German Navy, 50 soldiers from the Naval Air Wing (MFG) 3 “Graf Zeppelin” will be stationed at the Horn of Africa and support EUNAVFOR’s Operation Atalanta.

An advance unit left for Djibouti a week earlier to carry out all necessary preparations. The Orion can now starts operational flights as soon as it arrives.

The P-3C ‘Orion’ is a Lockheed Martin built maritime surveillance aircraft which allows the Atalanta warships to have a full picture of the operational area. German aircraft have been supporting the mission at the Horn of Africa since its inception in 2009.

In November 2014, German pilots celebrated a milestone of 4,000 flying hours with Operation Atalanta.