The Santa María frigate - part of the EUNAVFOR ATALANTA operation - has conducted several exercises in the Gulf of Aden with the French naval grouping TF-474, composed by the frigates Provence and Forbin, the combat supply vessel Marne and the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and its embarked air component, made up of 20 Rafale fighters, E-2C Hawkeye early warning aircraft and AS365 Dauphin helicopters. The Japanese destroyer Suzutsuki also took part in the exercises.
The Spanish frigate performed an oil manoeuvre at sea with the Marne, two advanced anti-aircraft warfare exercises involving Rafale fighters, E-2C Hawkeye and escorts, as well as flight operations with French helicopters and the embarked AB-212, performing the first takeover of a helicopter of the Third Squadron on board the Charles de Gaulle.
The Force Commander of Operation ATALANTA Portuguese Admiral Nuno Cortes Lopes, on board the Santa Maria, had the opportunity to visit the French aircraft carrier, where he was received by Vice Admiral Christophe Cluzel, and commander of the French naval force. This grouping will remain in support associated with Operation Atalanta until 6 February.
The Santa Maria frigate continues its patrol in the Indian Ocean on its mission against piracy and other illicit activities.