Sharing common knowledge and expertise with partner nations is critical to maintain coherent and effective maritime security operations and understanding these capabilities is vital.
EU NAVFOR has recently conducted a familiarisation trip with the Seychelles Air Force (SAF) in their Dornier 228 (Do-228) maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft in order to maximise understanding and share best practices. These aircraft are part of the SAF, originally formed in 1978, and although modest in size, covers an area of strategic importance. The aircraft is equipped with surveillance radar, a forward-looking infrared system, and satellite communications. These aircraft have been donated by the Indian Government, built by Hindustan Aeronautics encouraging collaborating in the maritime region.
Although the Do-228 is smaller in comparison to the EU NAVFOR MPRA capabilities of the P3-C or P8-A air-frames it is ideally suited for operations around the Seychelles. During the flight, EU NAVFOR observed a training sortie with Squadron Leader Kevin Ross stating: "I was impressed with the fit and smoothness of the 'small MPA' when sized up next to a P3 or P8, and at an endurance of 5 hrs-7hrs, it does exactly the same job, complete with digital cameras."
The SAF works very closely with their national coastguard during interdiction operations and for Combined Maritime Force takings, making them a key stakeholder in maritime protection in the area, as well as acting as an effective deterrent to piracy.