Helicopters from ‘Operation Atalanta’ keep watch off Somalia coast

By Asad Cabdullahi Mataan

EU Naval Force’s flagship, ESPS Galicia, has two SH-3D Sea King helicopters on board.

The helicopters have wide-ranging capabilities, including over the horizon surveillance, vertical replenishment (VERTREP), medical evacuations and crew transfers to other EU Naval Force warships.

During VERTREPs, the helicopter can carry a load up to 1,800 kg (4,000 pounds).

The loads can include supplies, ranging from food, mechanical equipment, and mail deliveries for the ship and crew.

The main advantage of a VERTREP is that it can deliver stores without the need for a ship-to-ship connection.

Being fully amphibious and capable of operating under all weather conditions, the Sea King features many design elements to support naval-orientated operations, such as the ability to conduct water landings.

Being completely watertight, it can remain afloat on the water’s surface for prolonged periods.

For surveillance missions the Sea Kings are fitted with high-tec equipment that enables a rapid dissemination of information to other forces in the area.

The presence of EU Naval Force Sea King helicopters off the coast of Somalia act as a real deterrent to piracy and other illegal activity at sea.

This helps to keep seafarers and vessels safe as they transit the Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden.