PARIS --- The Spanish Ministry of Finance is currently reviewing the final draft of the contract to order five F-110 frigates for the Spanish Navy, and the entire package should be submitted to the government’s Cabinet for approval in the coming weeks. The most likely date is Dec. 28, according to Spanish media, when the Cabinet will meet for the final time of the year.
After meeting last week with Minister of Defense Margarita Robles, Spanish media report that the General Secretary of the Galician Socialists, Gonzalo Caballero, welcomed the effort made by the new Socialist government to launch the new program, and criticized the previous Government of the Popular Party which he accused of having sat on the order since 2014.
Last summer, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez promised that the program would be approved before the end of the year.
The construction of the F-110 frigates is of fundamental importance for the future of the Spanish public shipyards, and mainly for those of the Ferrol estuary, which will build the new ships. They are budgeted to cost 4,326 million euros, and will generate employment for 7,000 workers over the next ten years.
About 40% of the contract’s value will go to the state-owned Navantia shipbuilding group over the next five years, or about 600 million euros each year.
If the program is approved by year-end, the preliminary design review will follow by the end of 2019, leading to construction launch of the lead ship, F-111, by mid-2020, with the other ships following at the rate of one per year.
The F-110 frigates are multi-mission escorts intended to operate in high-intensity combat environments, and will have significant capabilities in air defense, surface combat and anti-submarine warfare along with secondary capabilities for humanitarian assistance and maritime security in peacetime. They will displace 6,100 tonnes and will be fitted with v-cell vertical launchers.
The Spanish Navy has stated its preference for an air-defense package comprising Raytheon’s SM-2 and MBDA’s SeaCeptor, with Raytheon’s Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 as a fallback solution.