Apr 29, 2011

Future of the Spanish Navy

"El Corazon se debate entre el Atlantico y el Mediterraneo"

Of the entire Spanish land aera, 1, 04% (5,240 km2 (2,023 sq mi) is water (rivers/lakes).
Coastlines: 4964 km; EEZ aera: 551,874 (28,782 sq mi) km2

Personnal Strenght:
+/- 19 000 active (included naval aviation & marines) ; 9000 reserve.

1 Light Aicraft-Carriers (STOBAR/STOVL)
1 Principe de Asturias
(Principe de Asturias), 16 000+ tons, 195+ meters, VSTOL light-carrier of US 1970’s design. Commissioned by 1988, with probable +/- 30 year of service, to be retired by 2015, likely without direct replacement.

+/- 11 Destroyers/Frigates
Up to 6 F-110 ?
Currently under initial study, this future frigate design was intended to replace, by 2018/2026, all 6 FFG o the Santa-Maria class.
- The current design under study was a trimaran hull frigate (F2M2 design, by Navantia)

5 Alvaro de Bazan (F-100)
(Alvaro de Bazan, Almirante Juan de Borbon, Blas de Lezo, Mendez Nunez, Cristobal Colon), 6200 tons, 146 meters AAW frigate. Commissioned by 2002/2012, with probable +/- 30 year of service, to be retired around 2030/2040.

6 Santa-Maria (F-80)
(Santa-Maria, Victoria, Numancia, Reina Sofia, Navarra, Canarias), 3900 tons, 138 meters, ASW/AAW frigate (from US O.H.Perry design). Commissioned by 1986/1995, with probably +/- 30 year of service, to be retired around 2016/2025.

4 Submarines (toward a total renewal)
Up to 4 S-80
2200+ tons, 71 meters newer SSK design. All four expected to be commissioned by 2013/2016.

4 Galerna (S-70)
(Galerna, Sirocco, Mistral, Tramontana), 1500+ tons, 67 meters SSK (derived from the famous French Agosta 70 design. Commissioned by 1983/1985, with 30 year of service, to be replaced by the S-80 class around 2013/2016.

+/- 12 Corvette/Ocean Patrol-Vessels
Up to 8 ? Meteoro class
(Meteoro, Rayo, Relampago, Tornado, others currently not yet named). 2500 tons, 93+ meters, highly versatile OPV design (Light Corvette, OPV, Survey, Pollution, Intelligence...). First four expected to be commissioned by 2011/2012. Maybe ? the last four expected by 2015/2017.

4 Descubierta
(IInfanta-Elena, Infanta-Cristina, Cazadora, Vencedora). 1200+ tons, 88+ meters corvettes. Commissioned by 1979/1982, now all converted to Ocean Patrol-Boats (P-76/79). All expected to be retired by 2012/2015 and replaced by the Meteoro OPV.

4 Serviola
(Serviola, Centinela, Vigla, Atalya), 1200 tons, 68 meters OPV. Commissioned by 1991/1992, likely to be retired by late 2010's.

4 Chilreu (P-60)
(Chilreu, Alboran, Arnomendi, Tarifa), 67 meters, 2400 tons large trawlers style. Commissioned by 1992/2004.

+/- 6 Mid-Shore Patrol-Boats
2 Toralla (P-80)
(Toralla, Formentor), 28 meters, 130 tons. Commissioned by 1987/1989.

4 Anaga (P-20)
(Tagomago, Grosa, Medas, Tabarca), 44 meters, 310+ tons. Commissioned by 1981.

+/- 2 Inshore Patrol-Boats
1 P-114
(P-114), 13 meters, 20 tons, built by 1979.

1 Fradera
(Fradera), 17 meters, 28 tons, built by 1963.

+/- 3 Large Amphibious
1 Juan Carlos I (LHD)
(Juan Carlos I), 27 000 tons, 230 meters LHD design. Commissioned by 2010, with probable +/- 30 year of service, to be retired around 2040.

2 Galicia (LPD)
(Galicia, Castilla), 13 000 tons, 166 meters LPD design (designed in collaboration with Dutch). Commissioned by 1998/2000, with probable +/- 30 year of service, to be retired around 2030.

1 Hernan Cortes (LST)
(Pizarro), Ex-US LST of the Newport class, built by early 1970’s, transferred to spain by 1994. Likely to be retired by early 2010's.

Small/Medium Amphibious Crafts:
14 LCM
14 LCM (601 to 614, 2 prototypes included), 23 meters, 55/115 tons, built by 2001-2004

+/- 7 Mine-warfare
1 Diana (MCM Command ship)
(Diana), a modified Descubierta corvette, 88 meters, 1500 tons. Modified by 2000, now ageing ship, likely to be retired without direct replacement during 2010's.

6 Segura (M-30), Mine-hunters
(Segura, Sella, Tambre, Turia, Duero, Tajo), 54 meters, 550+ tons. Commissioned by 1999/2005, to be retired around 2025/2035.

+/- 3 Fleet-Oilers/Replenishment Ships:
1 Marques de la Ensenada
(Marques de la Ensenada), 13 000 tons, 126 meters. Commissioned by 1991, likely to remain in service until late 2010's.

1 Patino
(Patino), 17 000 tons, 170 meters, built by 1995, to remain in service at least until mid 2020's.

1 Cantabria
(Cantabria), a enlarged/improved “Patino” design, 19 000 tons, 174 meters, Commissioned by 2010, to remain in service at least until mid 2030's.

1 Training Ship (sailing ship)
1 Juan Sebastian Elcano
(Juan Sebastian Elcano), 113 meters, 3500 tons, built by 1928.

+/- 7 Others Auxiliary ships (Ro-Ro/Transport):
1 Contramaestre Casado
Contramaestre Casado), acquired by 1982, ex-sweden ship, built by 1953

1 Martin Posadillo
In commission by 2000.

1 El-Camino Espanol
1999, Brazilian built by 1999

2 Alerta
(Alerta, intelligence-ship, Ex-german ship; Mar-Caribe, Former civilian-Tug), 76 meters, 220 tons, built during 1980's and transfered/acquired by 1992.

1 Salvage & Rescue Ship
1 Neptuno
(Neptuno), 57 meters, 1800 tons, built by 1975, acquired by 1988.

+/- 8 Oceanographic/Hydrographic/Survey-Ships:
1 Esperides
(Esperides), 82 meters, 2800 tons, commissioned by 1991.

1 Las-Palmas
(Las-Palmas), 42 meters, 1500 tons, built by 1978, acquired by the Spanish Navy in 1982.

4 Malaspina
(Malaspina, Tofino, Antarès, Rigel), 38 meters, 360 tons, commissioned by 1974/1975, to be retired during 2010's).

2 LHT'S (small-crafts)
(A 91/92)

2 Fleet Tugs:
2 Mahon
(Mahon, La Grana), 41 meters, 1500 tons, built by 1977/1981.

Naval Aviation:
- 16 AV-8 Harrier
- 3 CE-550 Citation II (Transports/Utility)
- 7 P-3B Orion (Maritime-Patrol/ASW)

- +/- 23 ASW helico (11 SH-3 Sea-King ; 12 SH-60B Seahawk)
- 19 Utility helico (9 HU-18 Bell 212; 10 Hughes 500)

Spanish Marines (+/- 5000)
Tanks: 16 M-60A3TTS
Armored-Vehicles: 18 Piranha
Amphibious Armored Vehicles: 19 AAV-7
Artillery: 6 M-109A2 (155mm); 12 M-56 pack (105mm)
Others: Some ATM (Tow-2), Some 90mm recoiless-riffle, Some Manpad (Mistral).

Coast-Guards (Guardia Civil Del Mar) +/- 760 personnals
+/- 32 In-shore/Mid-Shore Patrol Boats
Various size (11,9 meters; 17,4 meters; 22 meters; 24 meters).

The Spanish Navy is currently experiencing a significant modernization of its fleet (helped by the development of its shipbuilding industry = aka . Navantia). This upgrade allows it to hold a place among European navies.

Next fleet review/editorial: Future of the Brazilian Navy.

As usual, It may be that in my opinion, I forgot programs ? (or made few mistakes ?, especially for the auxiliary and smaller ships), then SAID IT ! Feel free to comment and give your opinion !


  1. Hey Mike! The comment "ex-sweden ship" about the transport Contramaestre Casado awoke my interest, and I found this ship was not built in 1982 but in 1953! She was indeed built in Sweden and first operated by a Swedish shipping company as a refrigerated cargo ship, but it turned out she was sold to Norway in 1964, to Britain in 1974, to Greece in July 1982 and finally to the Spanish navy in Aug 1982 (commissioned in Dec 1982 as a stores transport [AFT]). According to Combat Fleets 2002-03 the transfer to the Spanish navy in 1982 actually occured because she had been impounded for smuggling and was found suitable to supply the Canary Islands(!)

  2. Ops, You are right P.N
    Date modified
    Thanks for your feed back ;)

  3. Just my two cents:

    The Juan Carlos I will assume the dual role of aircraft carrier and amphibious assault. Its therefore IMO misleading to group her with the other amphibious units and write, that the Principe de Asturias has no direct replacement. Since the airgroup of PdA will be retained and operated from JCI, that ship qualifies as operational replacement (and a larger and more capable one at that), even though it may not have been the original intention of the Spanish Navy. This is also in line with the timeframe of JCIs commissioning and the target date for retiring PdA given here (although its the first time I read about this specific date).

    A minor nitpick: the F-100 weighs in at 6200 tons full load...quite a bit off the 4500+ given. Assuming, this means empty weight, it still sounds too low.

    Nevertheless good write-up as usual...

  4. Another good run down Mike...Thanks

  5. Good job Mike.
    I bring you some typos:
    1-.The AEGIS frigate F-100 weighs 6.200 tons full load.
    2- The H.O. Perry class frigates (Santa Maria) weighs 3.900 tons full load.
    3 -. The sailing ship Juan Sebastian El Cano is 113 m long and 49 m is the height of their 4 masts.
    Thanks for sharing.Please keep on.

  6. Alerta is an intelligence gathering ship (from the Democratic Germany), but Mar Caribe is a militarized civilian-tug. Besides that, the post is awesome !!!.