NZ Orion heads to Gulf of Aden

Maritime surveillance aircraft to join anti-piracy efforts in region.

NZ Orion heads to Gulf of Aden

A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-3K2 Orion aircraft left Auckland today bound for the United Arab Emirates, where it will join a multi-national task force focusing on counter-piracy.

During the four-month deployment the Orion will be conducting maritime surveillance tasks in support of Combined Maritime Forces, NATO and the EU.

Chief of Air Force Air Vice-Marshal Mike Yardley says the Orion will provide a valuable contribution to reducing the number of piracy attacks happening in the area.

“Our P-3K2 aircraft is regularly used to conduct a wide range of maritime surveillance work and the crew is highly skilled in collecting information. I am proud they are able to contribute their expertise to this vital task force.

“We often work with other nations on operations and I know the group deploying is looking forward to being involved in a large-scale operation that can make a real difference”.

The RNZAF has 55 personnel deploying on this mission to support the Orion, this includes those who crew and fly the aircraft as well as maintenance and support staff.

This Defence Force commitment to the counter-piracy task force follows closely behind the seven month deployment undertaken by Navy’s HMNZS TE MANA (August 2013 – March 2014), which included 91 days conducting counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden region.


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