> our title:

Italian Reaper UAVs Deploy to Djibouti

> original title:

Djibouti: the First 15 Days of Operations of the Predator

(Source: Italian air force; issued Oct 08, 2014)

(Issued in Italian; unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)

The Italian air force has redeployed its Reaper UAVs from Afghanistan, where its mission is ending, to Djibouti, from where they will support the European anti-piracy mission. (AMI photo)

As of August 6, Task Group Atlas was absorbed by Task Force Air Djibouti, and as a result redeployed to Djibouti, and now operates from Chabelley airfield (where US UAVs also are now based--Ed)

On September 22, the group reached Full Operational Capability (FOC) as part of the operation combating piracy along the Somali coast and in the Gulf of Aden, christened "Operation Atalanta".

The MQ-1 Predator has been used since the early days of their redeployment in synergy with the other redeployed forces. During this period, the system carried out a series of missions in support of Operation EUNAVFOR, all of which were completed successfully.

"I congratulate the Italian Air Force team which attained Full Operational Capability with their Predator aircraft. I know that a lot of hard work was required from the team, which also included coordinating with the Djibouti authorities as well as other local partners,” said Brigadier General Dick Swijgman, Deputy Operation Commander of the EU Naval Force. "In the coming months, the remotely-piloted aircraft will be used to monitor the coast of Somalia, where pirates have operated, and the unit will be tasked with alerting competent authorities in case of possible attacks.”

“As is the case for naval surface vessels and MPRA (Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Aircraft), these remotely-piloted aircraft can also be used to safeguard cargo ships belonging to the World Food Programme as they transit through the Indian Ocean."