The Spanish Ministry of Defence (MoD) and Navantia signed a contract on 23 April for the construction of five new F-110 frigates for the Spanish Navy.
The contract was signed at MoD headquarters by Alfonso Torán, Deputy Director of Acquisitions of Weapons and Material; Gonzalo Mateo, Director of Operations and Business for Navantia; and Sofia Honrubia, Navantia’s Commercial and Business Development Director. Also participating in the signing ceremony were Angel Olivares, Secretary of State for Defence; Santiago Ramón González, Director General of the Dirección General de Armamento y Material (DGAM – General Directorate of Armaments and Materiel); and the President of Navantia, Susana de Sarriá.
This new generation of F-110 frigates, whose construction will begin shortly in Ferrol, is noteworthy for its Spanish design and a high degree of industrial and technological sovereignty: about 80% of purchases and supplies will be sourced from Spanish companies.
The new frigate’s design will incorporate significant technological advances, such as the new integrated mast configured with various sensors and antennas; the incorporation of a multi-mission capability that expands vessel’s utility in all aspects of defence; and a new hybrid propulsion plant characterised by greater efficiency and low noise levels, endowing the vessel with great versatility. In addition, it will integrate unmanned vehicles on board and will have the capacity for future installation of directed energy weapons.
The frigates will be equipped with Navantia’s SCOMBA combat management system, which acts as the vessel’s brain and integrates all the frigate’s sensors and weapons, such as surface sensors, electronic warfare and identification friend or foe (IFF) systems supplied by Indra; Band S radar and Lockheed Martin vertical launcher; SM-2 surface to air missiles from Raytheon; antisubmarine warfare, SAES sonars, navigation and communications systems from Navantia Sistemas.
The F-110 programme will be the first major Spanish naval undertaking developed within the framework of ASTILLERO 4.0, which will involve the most advanced integrated control and simulation systems, with a digital ship twin complemented by an intelligent cable-less management and communication nervous system which will permanently connect the crew to each other, and to the ship’s systems. In addition, it will incorporate processes and components with additive fabrication (3D printing) and will provide the fleet with its first ships to have an integrated cybersecurity system that shields them against emerging threats. This makes it possible for the ship to operate with a reduced crew for operations and to provide high standards of habitability.
The programme will benefit all Navantia shipyards, impacting the employment of some 7,000 direct and indirect jobs annually for almost a decade. In addition to the workload for the Ferrol Shipyard, it will also generate activity in the Bay of Cadiz, through Navantia Sistemas, with the development of the frigate’s combat system.