Deployed two months ago, the Atlantic2 ATL2 maritime patrol aircraft has fruitfully contributed to the evaluation of the regional situation, as part of Operation AGENOR, the military component of the European-led Maritime Awareness in the Strait of Hormuz (EMASoH) mission.
So far, missions flown by the French ATL2 enabled mapping of the maritime activity in the Strait of Hormuz and permitted a better understanding of each regional stakeholder’s behavior, increasing the safe sailing of commercial vessels.
Also, the ATL2 operates in the skies of the Strait of Hormuz to support the French Frigate Forbin and the Dutch Frigate De Ruyter during their operations at sea. The characteristics of these different military assets allow the task force to perform both air and naval surveillance and defensive patrolling activities; both tasks are useful in assessing the situation in a still complex area.
Each AGENOR task force naval component may patrol distinct zones, being each vessel autonomous in terms of reconnaissance capability and weapon power. French Frigate Forbin’s displacement is 7,000 tonnes. Armament includes 8 MM40 Exocet Block 3 anti-ship missiles, one PAAMS surface-to-air anti-missile system (with Aster 15 and Aster 30), two 76 mm guns, three 20 mm Narwhal teleoperate guns and two MU90 torpedo tubes. The Frigate can also rely on significant resources for reconnaissance and electronic warfare.
The Dutch Frigate De Ruyter has a displacement of 6,050 tonnes, equipped with various Thales Nederland radar and sonar systems, has one MK XII IFF system. The Dutch frigate arming includes 1 Oto Melara 127 mm/54 dual-purpose gun, 2-4 × Browning M2 12.7mm machine guns, 4-6 × FN MAG 7.62mm machine guns, and 1-2 × Goalkeeper CIWS. Besides, the vessel embarks several missile systems: one 40-cell Mk.41 vertical launch system, 32 SM-2 IIIA surface-to-air missiles, 32 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (quad packed). Eight Harpoon anti-ship missiles, two twins MK32 Mod 9 torpedo launchers with Raytheon MK46 Mod 5 torpedoes. One NH-90 helicopter provides air surveillance and logistics.
Eight European states (Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal) support Operation AGENOR. The mission is to guarantee freedom of navigation in the Arabian Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz while protecting European and international economic interests. Organized in a spirit of de-escalation of conflicts in the area and relying on naval air power, the task force is keeping a constant presence in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. The staff of the French troops deployed in the United Arab Emirates (FFEAU) heads the operation.