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A French Awacs aircraft as reinforcements for Atalanta

(BRUSSELS2) A French radar plane, Boeing E 3F (better known by the generic name Awacs), has been operating in Djibouti since yesterday (Thursday August 27) as part of the European anti-piracy operation EUNAVFOR Atalanta, with a crew of 18 members and 11 mechanics. Coming from the 36th airborne detection and control squadron (EDCA) in Avord, it responds to a request from the Atalanta operation commander who wanted to have greater resources given the vast expanse of area to be covered (from the shores of the Red Sea to the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean). With the end of the monsoons, and fears of a more offensive resumption of pirates, the capabilities of the Awacs will be very useful on site (also read “watch out for the offensive return”).

This type of aircraft has several advantages and could provide a significant complement to the resources already committed: P3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft (German, Japanese) or Dassault Atlantique 2 (French), ship helicopters. It has a fairly long autonomy (between 8 and 12 hours in flight, not counting possible in-flight refueling), a fast movement speed (more than 800 km/h) and, above all, a long-term aerial and maritime detection capacity. range (400 kms).
In addition, it can serve as a command and control center for other deployed assets (notably air) or as a radio relay for ships. Finally, all the images it collects can be seen, in real time, at the National Air Operations Center, in Lyon, and relayed to Paris, to Balard at the Air Force General Staff, or even on other operational centers (in Northwood at NATO or EUNAVFOR HQ). Very useful not only in operational matters but also at the political and even legal level (as a starting point for legal proceedings).

The plane should stay there for two to three weeks. If the test is conclusive, the experiment could be extended; other states participating in the operation, as well as NATO, have this type of device.

(Photo credit: Sirpa Air Cyril Amboise: aircraft in flight. Sirpa Air / EMA: Cockpit)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).