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Pirates beware! the Awacs is watching

(credit: Sirpa Air)

A French awacs, the E3F of the 36th airborne detection and control squadron (EDCA) from Avord, is back in the European anti-piracy operation EUNAVFOR Atalanta (1). Based in Djibouti, it made its first operational flight on Tuesday and is expected to remain active in the area for approximately three weeks.

Advantage of such a device. With a capacity to scan an area over 360° and 250 nautical miles, it has a wider spectrum of action than maritime patrol aircraft (PatMar). Very useful as the pirates' catchment area increases both in the south and in the east (2). Even if it is less fine than a PatMar, the Awacs can make it possible to identify the various merchant ships which sail in the area, such as those pirated, or even used by pirates (3).

It can also serve as a radio relay between the different HQs, ships and planes engaged in the area, in the event of a lack of radio coverage.

(1) An Awacs was already present a year ago, a few weeks, from the end of August 2009.

(2) Read in particular:

(3) Read: An AMISOM ship attacked by pirates. A shield freighter

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).