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Spanish Frigate to Join Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group on Upcoming Deployment

The Álvaro de Bazán-class Spanish navy frigate ESPS Méndez Núñez (F-104) at Naval Station Norfolk. Méndez Núñez. U.S. Navy photo.

ARLINGTON, Va. – A Spanish frigate will deploy with USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) and attached to its carrier strike group on a deployment from Naval Station Norfolk, Va. later this year.

ESPS Mendez Nunez (F-104) will join the Abraham Lincoln CSG when it reaches the Strait of Gibraltar in U.S. 6th Fleet, according to a release from the Spanish Armada. The CSG is then expected to sail into the Mediterranean, transit the Suez Canal and continue through the U.S. 5th Fleet and U.S. 7th Fleet areas of operation before ending the deployment in San Diego, Calif., according to the Spanish Armada.

Mendez Nunez is expected to complete its around-the-globe voyage in November when the ship is scheduled to return to its homeport the Spanish Naval base in Ferrol, a port city in northern Spain on the Bay of Biscay.

On Thursday, Navy leaders stressed U.S. allies role in the service’s emerging Distributed Maritime Operations (DMO) plan for high-end warfare.

“We will never fight alone,” Adm. Christopher Grady, commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command, said 2019 Surface Navy Association Symposium.
“The strength of DMO is our ability to bring our allies and partners along.”

Currently, Menedez Nunez is in Norfolk training with the Abraham Lincoln CSG. The training exercises are expected to start next week and run into February.

“We bring our partners with us,” Grady said. “We’d be stupid not to because we learn a lot from them and we hope they learn something from us.”

Mendez Nunez is scheduled to return to Ferrol after the exercise, and rejoin the CSG once it deploys in April, according to the Spanish Armada.

USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) completes storm-weather condition preparations and departs from Naval Station Norfolk ahead of Hurricane Florence on Sept. 11, 2018. US Navy Photo

Mendez Nunez is an Álvaro de Bazán-class F-100 frigate built by the Spanish firm Navantia, and is an example of the parent design used by Bath Iron Works for its entry in the U.S. Navy future frigate (FFG(X)) competition. The U.S. Navy is considering designs from five shipbuilders to create its planned fleet of 20 frigates.

The F-100 is a 6,000-ton air defense guided-missile frigate that is outfitted with the Aegis Combat System. The first F-100 joined the Spanish Armada in 2002. The design is also used as the basis of the Australian Hobart-class air defense destroyer and the Norwegian Navy’s Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates.

When Abraham Lincoln departs Norfolk for deployment, the departure will be part of a three-carrier homeport shift ending with Abraham Lincoln relocated to San Diego. The two other carriers involved in the shift are USS Carl Vinson (CVN-70) which is leaving San Diego for Naval Base Kitsap-Bremerton, Wash., where it is scheduled for a planned incremental maintenance availability. USS John C. Stennis (CVN-74) left Bremerton, Wash., for a deployment last year and will relocate to Norfolk.

  • The Frigate, the US Navy should have gotten a long time ago

    • John Locke

      Well that would have made TOO much sense. Instead the U.S. will pay billions to reinvent the wheel to keep the military industrial complex (who line the pockets of politicians) humming.

      • tom dolan

        Reinventing the wheel is an Army project. …currently the new wheel is square and costs two billion per while being constructed in 400 Congressional districts. …No hearings are planned to ask for an explanation

    • Duane

      The Navy cannot afford slightly undersized DDG-51s as small surface combatants. Lots of folks like you want very large expensive ships all around, but that is a waste of tax dollars and is simply unaffordable. The US Navy never did consist of only large expensive ships .. it takes a mix of large and small, with more ships on the small than the large size.

      Indeed, Admiral Brown just this week stated that the current fleet design is for 104 large surface combatants and just 52 small surface combatants, and he said that is upside down, should be the other way around. And that the Navy is focused now on on putting more capability into smaller ships and into unmanned vessels. Bloated so-called “frigates” like these F-100s that are really slightly undersized destroyers is NOT the way the Navy is going to go in the future.

      • Michael Hoskins, Privileged

        The reigning seapower always has the problem of needing to be everywhere at once. This necessitates vessels with long legs, decent habitability, a certain amount of self maintenance and enough firepower to protect itself all the while having enough offensive ordnance to be credible.
        Such a ship is neither small nor, in any sort of numbers, affordable.
        So, what is the right mix of size(s), types and patrol areas? What compromises must be made? When disbursed, what is the expected Time To Concentrate region by region?
        South China Sea, quickly. East coast of South America, not so fast.
        So, the debate, going back into our naval heritage in England through Jefferson’s gunboats to today, continues.
        As a SWO, I like a solid, well trained (can sail the ship when the whiz bang is broken!), well armed surface fleet. Others, of course, have different and very legitimate views.
        No simple answers.
        Ta

        • Duane

          No – you have it backwards. We don’t need only large vessels with long ranges. We fight out of well distributed ports owned by us and our allies everywhere we face a naval threat, whether in the Atlantic or Persian Gulf or Pacific theaters. We have dozens if not hundreds of allied ports that small ships can operate out of, but the large ships are limited to just a few deepwater ports.

          Besides, even the biggest ships require constant refueling, at least weekly, when steaming at high speeds on patrol or in exercises. That is why oilers accompany every CSG. And if the enemy manages to sink or damage the oiler, the rest of the CSG is then screwed big time. Only the CVN doesn’t need a regular top off … and even then it will eventually run out of av fuel.

          • Rocco

            No he has it right!!

          • Michael Hoskins, Privileged

            Duane, please reread my post

        • Rocco

          Kudos!!

      • Rocco

        Boy you really know how to under cut your self. So I guess all the time you say LCS is the best thing since sliced bread !! How do you justify this comment??

  • Wondering

    Spanish Armada? Is that the name of their navy magazine?
    Surely they don’t still call their navy that

    • IssacBabel

      With the state of the Royal Navy, Spain is looking
      for a rematch. With the state of the British gummint,
      Spanish rule maybe attractive.

      • William Jardim

        The current state of the Royal Navy is well short of what it should be. That said, Spain is no match to that of the Senior Service in terms of, inter alia, fleet and technological capabilities. Not to mention all round “blue water” experience. This venture certainly has certain commercial connotations such as marketing its product for the upcoming US Navy Frigate (FX) competition. Admittedly, she is a well designed all round proven frigate and Bath Irons have done well in basing their bid on such a vessel.

      • Hugh

        Pity the Global Frigate Type 26 is out of contention.

    • old guy

      Armada IS Spanish for Fleet.

      • Wondering

        Could have just said fleet. Rest of the article is in english

        • Andy Ferguson

          So the Luftwaffe should be called “German Air Force”?

          • Wondering

            In Germany? No.
            In an article in english? Yes

          • Andy Ferguson

            Nein.

            You must me a laugh riot at parties.

            Do you call sushi, “raw fish”?
            Do you use the words Tsunami? Kamikaze? Hors d’oeuvre?

          • Wondering

            Yes I call sushi raw fish
            Tsunami – Tidal wave
            Hors whatever – snacks
            kamikaze – suicide bomber, suicide mission

          • Andy Ferguson

            Problem, identified.

            You must be a laugh riot at parties, correcting everyone’s language…./sarc

      • publius_maximus_III

        Let’s hope the British don’t attack with their smaller more maneuverable craft….

  • Ed L

    Yes I copied and paste. We could do with 50 of these. Armament:
    1 × 5-inch/54 Mk45 Mod 2 gun
    Provision for one CIWS FABA 20mm/120 Meroka system.
    1 × 48 cell Mk 41 vertical launch systems. 32 × Standard SM-2MR Block IIIA
    64 × RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile
    8 × McDonnell Douglas RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missile
    4 × 324 mm Mk32 Mod 9 double Torpedo launchers with 12 Honeywell Mk46 mod 5 Torpedo
    Aircraft carr
    1 × Sikorsky SH-60B LAMPS III Seahawk

    • Duane

      These ships are too large and expensive to serve as small surface combatants, and they serve effectively now as large surface combatants for European navies that cannot afford DDG-51s .. they are effectively just undersized AEGIS DDGs.

      They will not meet the Navy’s required max or desired cost for FFGX.

      • tom dolan

        I frankly think that by the time they get these frigates in the water they will be too small and very expensive. We’re probably better off increasing the number of DDG51 and reworking the weapons load on the early flight versions to fill the role of independently deployed ship missions.

        • Duane

          Small is good, not bad. An all large combatant surface fleet would be useless in a real war, and unaffordable to bot. They don’t do littoral warfare, for instance .. and they are very inviting targets.. They are too large and expensive to afford in large numbers. The US Navy has NEVER relied upon an all large surface combatant fleet, ever. It just makes no sense at all.

          People forget that most of our surface fleet in WW Two consisted of small surface combatants, DDs and DEs .. with a fair number of cruisers and a handful of battleships. That is how it is today with the Chinese and Russian fleets – they recognize clearly the need for a mix of ship sizes and classes.

          Admiral Brown stated clearly this week at the annual meeting of the surface navy association meeting that small is good, that we have far too few SSCs and our current mix of 2 LSCs to 1 SSCs is “upside down”. And not only do we need a lot more SSCs, but we also need a lot of unmanned vessels to augment the fleet.

          The main reason we have so many LSCs is because they are needed to protect the CVNs. That is their main role in the Navy. A Navy that forgot how to fight naval wars and has been concentrated almost entirely on fighting land wars hundreds of miles inland in the sandy hellholes of the middle east for the last 20 years using just aircraft and TLAMs.

          Well, that is no longer the real threat we face today.

          • Bubblehead

            An LCS is going to protect a carrier? That’s the funniest thing ever said.

          • Rocco

            🤔

          • Ed L

            By Becoming a target using an blip enhance transmitter that received and amplified the radar signal so that all of the escort ships looked like they were aircraft carrier.

          • Rocco

            Not in agreement size always matters unless we have large numbers in anything for cheap!

          • Andy Ferguson

            “The main reason we have so many LSCs is because they are needed to protect the CVNs.”?

            Are you drunk or stoned Duaney?

            We all know you go off the rails, but sweet Jesus!

            When has a Little Crappy Ship EVER been a part of a CBG?

            What EXACTLY do they do?

            Nice edit, BTW…

          • Dale Carpenter

            LSC = Large Surface Combatant, not LCS.

          • Andy Ferguson

            Duane is the resident Little Crappy Ship Cheerleader.

            Its sport among commenters to yank his chain.

          • Ed L

            US navy 6th Fleet makeup 1970’s 1 to 2 aircraft carriers, 4 to 6 cruisers, 10 to 12 destroyers, roughly a half dozen Frigates, two maybe more fast attack submarines. 4 or 5 amphibious ships. 6 to 10 supply or support ships. And the USS Little Rock flag ship of the 6th Fleet. And the Mighty US Airforce to put the end around on the Soviets

          • Adrian Ah

            The LCS’s main role has always been anti sub, anti mine, surface patrolling, showing the flag.

            It was never high end front line warfare.

          • PolicyWonk

            It was never going to amount to much of anything. As the former CNO (Greenert) pointed out, the “littoral combat ship” was “never intended to venture into the littorals to engage in combat…”.

        • Rocco

          Agreed

      • Ed L

        Well then just don’t build the FFGX and keep building the Burke’s while planning the Next warship Which can be called the dreadnought Class. Yes dreadnought class 20 to 30,000 tons 800 feet long 90 feet wide 25 to 30 feet draft. Equipped with Rail guns, 150 VLS, Searam x 2, ciws x2, two MK 110, 2 x 30 mm Gatling guns, two 127mm, four 11 meter Rib’s crew 400 which includes 75 Marines, additional berthing for SEALs, CG det, flight deck with hangers under the Deck for 2 Ospreys and ability to rearm and refuel F-35B’s. Enclose forecastle and fantail too, chocks, bits, capstans, wildcats and anchor chains will be undercover Easier deck maintenance. Oh heavy weight torpedo tubes mounted below the waterline.

        • Secundius

          As I recall, the so-called “Dreadnought” class is a Future proposal for the Royal Navy, not the US Navy…

          • Ed L

            The HMS dreadnought advance battleship which debuted in 1906 was so advance That it rendered all of their battleships before it into obsolescent. Dreadnought was also a name associated with battleships. The Montana class Battleship was known as the super Dreadnought but it was never built. Also The Royal Navy has been using the name Dreadnought since the 16th century

          • Secundius

            This is the one I was referring too, and the one that sounded like “What” you were describing…

            ( https : // www . telegraph . co . uk / finance / newsbysector / industry / defence / 11833043 / Dreadnought – 2050 – Heres – what – the – Navy – of – the – future – could – be – sailing . html )

          • Ed L

            Not built yet. America’s Dreadnought, Mence of the Oceans, Destructer of the Seas, BBS (Big Bad Ship, Large Surface Combatant can be at sea by 2030. Just like calling a warship Enterprise. The British had a warship called Enterprise first

          • Secundius

            And with the UK’s current economy, it may NEVER be built. I doubt that any Plans exist, beyond what the Conceptual Artist has provided…

  • old guy

    What happened to the FFG7-like F80 class?

  • publius_maximus_III

    French fighters taking off from American carriers being screened by Spanish frigates. I like it!

  • Rob C.

    Is this deployment of the Nunez partially to show cooperation between services or just test out potential FFGX?