Toronto, ON | Jul. 14, 2010
Earlier this month, one of the Swedish Coast Guard's Dash 8 Q300 Maritime Surveillance Aircraft returned to its base in Sweden after having completed a 4 month intensive hunt for suspected pirates outside the coast of Somalia. The aircraft, one of three modified by Field Aviation and delivered to the Coast Guard in 2008, had participated in Operation Atalanta - which is the EU organized effort to detect, document and report suspicious pirate activities outside the east coast of Somalia.
According to information from the Swedish Coast Guard; "the aircraft covered the enormous areas of the Indian Ocean and detected a large number of suspicious pirate groups - which resulted in several groups being intercepted and arrested. The operation lasted 110 days, and during this time the aircraft flew 89 missions for a total airborne time of 566 hours. During these operations, the aircraft detected a total of 32 suspicious pirate mother-ships and 56 smaller attack crafts."
Lars Franzen, project manager for the Swedish Coast Guard's participation in this operation stated: "We have received very positive feedback on the results of our efforts from other involved parties such as cooperating military vessels, the Coast Guard of the Seychelles, and not least the command for Operation Atalanta", and Kjell Larsson, head of the Coast Guard's air operations added: "We are very pleased that our aircraft performed so well even for this type of operation. Everybody who participated in this operation arrived home with new knowledge and experience, and this can be useful for us in our daily operations at home."
The mandate for Operation Atalanta is to prevent pirate attacks against commercial shipping in the Gulf of Aden and outside the eastern coast of Somalia as well as to perform fisheries surveillance outside of Somalia. The operation is carried out within the framework of ESDP (European Security and Defence Policy) and is directed by the EU's maritime defence cooperation agency EUNAVFOR - which is acting with a UN mandate in the oceanic areas of the Gulf of Aden and the areas outside the east coast of Somalia.
The Swedish Coast Guard's Dash 8 Q300 Maritime Surveillance Aircraft are equipped with long range tanks - providing more than 8 hours endurance, and the surveillance suite includes maritime search radar, side looking airborne radar, Electro-Optical pod, and direction finding equipment. This makes these Field Aviation modified aircraft eminently suitable for large scale international surveillance operations in addition to their regular coast guard duties.
Contact: Chris Cooper-Slipper, Vice President Marketing +1 416 399-2902
Field Aviation at Farnborough July 19-23 Hall 4/C20.