The Swedish-Dutch naval force on its way to protect civilian shipping and fight pirates in the Gulf of Aden – near Somalia – as part of the European Union operation Atalanta has had its first week at sea.
On Saturday 24 January 2015 the Royal Netherlands Navy Landing Platform Dock (LPD) L801 HNLMS Johan de Witt left the quay of Dutch Naval Base Den Helder. On board the command element of the next rotation of operation Atalanta: about 40 Swedish military personnel including the Swedish Force Commander Admiral Jonas Haggren, the Force Headquarters (FHQ) staff, two fast combat boats (CB90s) and two Swedish Armed Forces HKP 15s (Agusta 109) with crew and ground personnel.
The Royal Netherlands Navy adds a NHIndustries NH90 – flown in cooperation with the Royal Netherlands Air Force – and about 360 personnel to man and operate the ship, a landing vessel (LCU), four fast FRISC RIBs, the Marine Corps boarding teams and the on-board hospital.
During the first week at sea, the combined Swedish-Dutch naval force trained on procedures and joint operability. Ship, crew and helicopters are expected to be operational in the mission area on 6 February. The joint unit is expected back in Den Helder in May 2015. When the Swedish choppers are home again, they will first go to the vet.
© 2015 Airheadsfly.com editor Marcel Burger
Featured image (above): The two Swedish Armed Forces HKP 15s on the flight deck of the Johan de Witt, moared in Den Helder harbour before departure (Image © Mats Nyström/ Combat Camera / Försvarsmakten)