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Exaltation of Military Virtues at the Air and Space Army's Orion Air Tactical Detachment of the Air and Space Army of Operation ATALANTA

In Djibouti
April 3, 2023
  • After less than a month of deployment, DAT Orion is fully operational, holds an event and an awareness conference for its members.

Nearing the first month of deployment of the 46th relief in Djibouti, the detachment is already at full capacity and develops the usual activities of an Air and Space Army Unit in Spain.

The detachment held a flag raising ceremony with a tribute to the fallen. During the ceremony, Lieutenant Colonel Carlos Rodriguez Sacristan, head of the detachment, presented the flag to Captain Borja Gomez Rubio in recognition of the dedication and devotion observed in the fulfillment of his duties during this month.

After the solemn ceremony, the official photo of the detachment with the D4 VIGMA was taken.

Also, on the part of the operations personnel and the crew, a conference was given to the detachment so that the personnel who are not directly involved in the operations are aware of what the operational work is and to which they contribute.

After this conference, the detachment continued the day with cohesion and fraternization activities with the frigate Reina Sofia, which was on a stopover in Djibouti.

Operation Atalanta, under the flag of the European Union, is part of the commitment acquired by Spain in the fight to maintain maritime security off the coasts of Somalia and neighboring countries in the Indian Ocean region.

The increase in acts of piracy in the Indian Ocean since 2005 led the UN Security Council to adopt a series of Resolutions to protect maritime traffic in the area. In support of these provisions, the Council of the European Union approved, on November 10, 2008, the creation of a naval air force. This was the first EU maritime operation to be conducted within the framework of the CSDP. Shortly afterwards, this operation was launched.

Spain's commitment from the beginning of the operation has been total, materializing in maritime surveillance missions with the aim of preventing and intervening to put an end to acts of piracy and collaborating in the surveillance of illegal activities off the coast of Somalia.

Subsequently and since the entry into force of Decision (CFSP) 2020/2018, which extends the mandate of Operation Atalanta, the missions entrusted have been expanded, including the surveillance of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and trafficking of drugs, weapons and charcoal, which reinforces the role of Atalanta as a factor of maritime security in the area, being key to success in the fight against piracy and the protection of World Food Program (WFP) ships and other vulnerable vessels.

The new EU mandate extends the area of operation to the Red Sea and also includes the fight against illegal trafficking and cooperation with other operations..

Spain's permanent contribution consists of the following assets:

·DAT Orion of the Air and Space Army, equipped with a D-4 VIGMA maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft (MPA version of the CN-235 aircraft) deployed in Djibouti, and which has 49 military personnel.

·Navy ships, which have an embarked air unit and operational security teams of Marines.

·In March 2019, Spain assumed leadership of 'Operation Atalanta' from the Spanish Headquarters (ES-OHQ) in Rota.