The "temporary" withdrawal of the Méndez Núñez frigate (F-104) from the Abraham Lincoln Combat Group has an industrial derivative. One of the purposes of the Spanish deployment was for the US Navy to verify first hand the interoperability of this type of Spanish Navy ships in a deployment with an aircraft carrier for seven months.
This was recognized last week by ABC sources of Navantia during an industrial forum: «It represents a magnificent showcase to show the strengths of our frigates, equipped with the same American combat system, the Aegis of Lockheed Martin, but on a smaller ship, of lower cost and lower endowment ».
The key to understanding Navantia's interest in the deployment of Méndez Núñez with the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln is that there is currently an industrial project in the US on the table. to build 20 new guided missile frigates for the US Navy.
With General Dynamics
Among the aspirant offers is the Spanish shipyard Navantia, which joined the program – called FFG (x) – with the US shipyard General Dynamics Bath Iron Works, which would build the 20 ships on US soil.
However, Navantia would obtain a triple revenue: workload for the design and engineering area; the gateway to the US market hand in hand with a leading allied shipyard; and the international prestige of becoming, as a technological partner, one of the great naval military contracts that are underway in the US. (It would open other doors, especially in the booming Asia-Pacific market).
"In the US Navy the idea has spread that a frigate like the Spanish F-100, with well-sized cost and equipment, and with the built-in Aegis radar is the most plausible option for its future program of frigates", highlighted ABC Military sources when Navantia presented its alliance with the shipyard General Dynamics Bath Iron Works.
To this must be added the experience acquired by the American destroyers of Rota (Cádiz) in joint maneuvers. All this gives very favorable results to the type of ship of the frigate F-100.
The offer of General Dynamics Bath Iron Works and Navantia is based on the Spanish F-100 frigate model, already exported to Australia or Norway. The other competitors in the FFG (x) program are the Americans Huntington Ingalls, Lockheed Martin and Austal USA and the Italian Fincatieri.
Now, the "temporary" withdrawal of Méndez Núñez is seen as a setback from the industrial point of view. From Singapore, where the Imdex Asia-Pacific maritime defense fair takes place yesterday and tomorrow, sources specialized in military exports valued the Government's decision in these terms: "All the sales effort has gone to hell. One of the main marketing campaigns was to present the ship Méndez Núñez as part of the escort of a US aircraft carrier, which was to participate in the naval exercises this summer in the Pacific, with visits to Asian ports. " Now that participation with the US Navy Combat Group is also in the air.
As part of the effort to win the contract, which will be decided in 2020, Navantia opened its first office on US soil in February, specifically in Washington.
Visit to the frigate in Norfolk
During the training period of the frigate Méndez Núñez with the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln, during the month of January in Norfolk (Virginia), Secretary Secretary of the US Navy, Richard V. Spence, arrived to visit the Spanish vessel, accompanied by his undersecretary of acquisitions, James F. Geurts.
"These types of visits are not as frequent if there is no interest," they estimated from the Navy. Now the reaction of the Trump Administration is expected. . (tagsToTranslate) navantia (t) contract (t) frigates (t) navy