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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Somali Pirates: What Spain is sending as a pirate fighting ship

EUNAVFOR Photo of Relampago
EUNAVFOR is welcoming a Specialised Spanish Counter Piracy Patrol Vessel to Join EU Naval Force in Gulf of Aden | European Union Naval Force Somalia - Operation Atalanta:
The RELAMPAGO, a member of Spains newest BAM class of warships, is a high performance, modular vessel capable of being adapted to a number of roles . . .
Much more about the BAM class here.

Basically, though, what you have is a highly automated 20 knot ship with a small crew with enough weaponry for self defense +,
The ship is armed with a OtoBreda 76/62mm gun, two Mk38 25mm automatic cannons and two 12.7mm machine guns. The OtoBreda 76mm compact can fire 85 rounds a minute, while super rapid can fire 120 rounds a minute.
Helicopter system
The BAM has a helicopter deck measuring 24.7m by 13.5m. It supports the operations of AB-212, NH-90 or SH-3D Sea King helicopters. The hangar can accommodate an AB-212 or NH-90 helicopter.
The ship's state-of-the-art command and control system allows the crew to operate the vessel in littoral environments. The BAM can carry six containers accommodating UAVs, firing targets, signal simulators, anti-pollution assets, divers support and workshops.
The vessel is equipped with a helicopter platform, rescue equipment and medical facilities and can be deployed in a range of missions including patrols and protection.

The ship design can also be modified for non-oceanic missions such as hydrographic research, intelligence gathering, divers support and submarine rescue operations.
I am not sure why EUNAVFOR is using the term "specialised" in connection with what seems to be a very versatile addition to the counter-piracy fleet off Somalia.


  1. Basically the Spanish navy has a true littoral Combat Ship that would make the US Navy Jealous and Envious of

  2. Strikes me that light corvette would be a more appropriate term. Seems to be a bit more versatile than just a specialized anti-piracy vessel. Hopefully they'll have an attached Marine unit, "right sized" crews don't appear to have the depth to stand watches, fight the ship, do maintenance and still conduct boarding operations without wearing the crew down fast.
    Like the 76mm/3 inch gun, better choice than the 57mm, which would be more appropriate to a large PC than something like a corvette (or whatever one wants to call a vessel of this size, still don't get the resistance to the term corvette, which has a long and distinguished naval history, guess it's not transformational enough.), the Otto Melara/Breda has a good track record and has a big enough shell to deal with something bigger than a bass boat.