Saab’s Skeldar V-200 unmanned air system (UAS) has been undertaking anti-piracy patrols in the troubled waters off the Horn of Africa and southern Arabia. The rotary-wing, heavy fuel engine UAS has been flying from the Spanish navy offshore patrol vessel (OPV) BAM Meteoro, operating in concert with a manned helicopter to support the European Union’s Naval Force Somalia (also known as Operation Atalanta) anti-piracy mission. Saab earlier this year announced a contract to “deploy the Skeldar UAS for maritime operations,” but at the time did not name the customer.
In the early hours of 15 May, European naval forces (Eunavfor) carried out their first strike against a pirate base in Somalia. The ships and helicopters of Eunavfor undertaking “Operation Atalanta” have attacked renegade vessels at sea on numerous occasions, but Tuesday morning’s raid was their first strike against targets on shore.