Using its inherent flexibility, speed, reach and response time, the MPRA has been used to assist vessels under pirate attack, working either alone or in coordination with other EU NAVFOR helicopters and warships.
Spain and Germany have both deployed MPRAs to the area since the very start of Operation Atalanta in 2008. The expertise gained by their respective crews has been a key factor contributing to the success of the EU NAVFOR operation.
The aircraft crews come with a contingent of support staff, such as mechanics and logistic personnel. It takes ten mechanics around three hours to prepare an aircraft for a standard patrol and on completion of a patrol, the crews then spend another three hours doing post-flight checks.
Receiving equipment and supplies by air or by rendezvousing with supply ships at sea enables Operation Atalanta’s warships to keep vital capabilities, such as the Seahawk helicopter, fully operational and importantly allows the ships to stay at sea to conduct counter-piracy patrols and to protect vulnerable shipping transiting the area.