The 33rd Spanish Air Forces Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft (MPRA) crew joins the EU Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia Operation Atalanta. The 32nd and 33rd crew rotations performed their hand over in Djibouti on January 23rd.
Spanish MPRA detachment is composed of 44 people. The aircrew and maintenance members usually join the mission for a two months period.
During the last two months with the EU's counter-piracy Operation Atalanta, the outgoing personnel of the 32nd rotation, usually based in Palma de Mallorca with the Spanish Air Forces Wing 48, has flown 25 night and day sorties.
With more than 200 flying hours, they have flown over 26.000 nautical miles. This comes up to at least one trip all around the world.
Spanish detachment of the EU Naval Force MPRA "Orion" has been able to fly without cancelling any tasked mission since June 2012. Their contribution to the EU's counter piracy operation has been of enormous value, and their achievements are based on their outstanding willingness and enthusiasm.
"The outgoing crew can be proud of the tremendous job they achieved in their four months in area of operation. I am sure I can count on the new personnel to take on the duty with the same excellent standards" stated the Force commander, Rear Admiral Hervé Bléjean.
Aircraft Lockheed P-3C Orion's main role with the EU Naval Force as Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft is long-range maritime reconnaissance. The MPRA is also used for Search and Rescue missions.