This week the crew of a Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) P-3 Orion from the Royal New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) completed their support to NATO’s counter-piracy Operation OCEAN SHIELD (OOS) Task Force 508 (CTF-508).
Between 13 and 30 November, the NATO partner nation’s detachment of more than 50 crewmembers flew 8 sorties of 8 to 9 hours flying time each, providing intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance off the coast of Somalia, where pirate action groups have been known to operate. In addition to the detachment based in the Seychelles, the NZDF also based a liaison officer at NATO Allied Maritime Command (MARCOM) in Northwood, UK.
This was the second time the New Zealand Defence Force has supported NATO’s counter-piracy operation off the coast of Somalia, following the deployment of HNZMS TE MANA earlier this year, demonstrating the strengthening partnership between New Zealand and NATO.
P-3 Orion land-based maritime patrol aircraft are equipped with radar and infrared and optical camera to collect ISR about Somali pirates’ activities, and they have proved to be an important tool in the fight against piracy.
Press release, Image: NATO MARCOM