Monday, October 12, 2009

MSDF P-3C return to Japan after anti-piracy mission

Two P-3C surveillance planes of the Maritime Self-Defense Force returned to Japan on Monday after four months of anti-piracy operations off Somalia in the first overseas mission by MSDF patrol planes. The aircraft, which arrived at the MSDF’s Atsugi base in Kanagawa Prefecture, and their crews flew a combined 590 hours in 74 flights after the start of their operations over the Gulf of Aden in June, the MSDF said.

They also provided about 410 pieces of information to the MSDF destroyers they supported as well as foreign military forces engaged in the anti-piracy activities in the same region. In one significant case, Australian troops seized a rocket launcher and other weapons based on information about a suspected pirate boat the P-3C aircraft supplied to foreign naval vessels, according to the MSDF. The anti-piracy surveillance role has been taken over by another pair of P-3Cs that departed their Naha base in Okinawa for operations based in Djibouti.

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