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The Navy desperately needs a second series of BAMs to renew their patrol surveillance resources on

With the exception of the six Maritime Action Vessels (BAM) of the Spanish Navy, those intended for patrol duties at sea require a thorough renovation due to their advanced age. Because of this, the Navy must start a program to acquire a second series of BAMs for deploying new ships adapted to the role of the sea patrol. One of the options is to work together under the recently analyzed European Patrol Corvette (EPC) program, in which Spain is participating along with France, Italy and Greece.

In La Meridiana with the media, Admiral Chief of Staff (AJEMA), Admiral General Teodoro Lpez Caldern, has broken down the Navy’s priorities and detailed a more pessimistic scenario regarding the loss of skills and needs to be covered. . Among these, two of which are seen as the most urgent and often go unnoticed by other major programs, he highlighted the renewal of the Maritime Action Force’s patrol vessels and the hydrographic vessels that we recently analyzed.

An exception is the launch of the BAM-IS, the maritime action ship for underwater interventions, which was urgently needed in view of the development of the submarine program S-80 Plus, for which an auxiliary ship must be available in case of necessity. The execution contract is expected to be signed in the first quarter of 2021 and is expected to be commissioned in 2024. From this renovation onwards, it is imperative to do the same with the means of the sea patrol.

Therefore, the EPC program mentioned above is relevant and can also benefit from the guidelines of the PESCO plan, although the needs of the four partners are not identical. For example, while Spain needs ships for high-altitude patrols, Italy is looking for a corvette with important weapon systems.

We would like to remind that the main tasks of these ships are focused on the protection of national interests in maritime areas of sovereignty and national interest, with particular attention to the territorial sea and the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The aim is therefore to prevent, deter and uncover illegal activities, to locate ships that are suspected of these activities, to support government agencies in combating illegal activities and, in addition to the obvious aid and rescue at sea, to carry out maritime prohibition operations. .

With the exception of the six Meteor-class BAMs mentioned above, which entered service between 2011 and 2017, the Navy has veteran vessels in this area, such as the two Discovery-class corvettes, which were converted into patrol boats and both started in 1980 The Navy has been extradited for no less than 40 years of service, his original role being very different from that now entrusted. Also included are the four Serviola-class patrol cars that entered service in 1991 and 1992. The three surviving Anaga-class cars are even more veterans, entering service in 1981 and 1982, while those of the Toraya-class did so in 1987 and 1988.

The three ships known as Fisheries Cooperation Patrols form the so-called Chilreu class, which has already caused this decline as it is an old converted fishing boat, while the three ships are in use for surveillance, inspection and support The fishing fleet was commissioned in 1997, 2000 and 2004.

Of the two Coast Guard patrol vessels, the P-101 still appears on the Navy’s list, despite being removed from the Navy’s official list of ships in May of this year, while the P-114 entered service in 1979. It is still active. Even more experienced is the Cabo Fradera Interior Surveillance Patrol Boat, which continues its river mission in Galicia and is the second oldest ship in the Navy (only surpassed by the training ship Juan Sebastin de Elcano) since it was built in 1961 and put into service two years later . (Jos M Navarro Garca)

Photo: Patrol boat Medas was used in the Navy in 1981 (Navy)

The former Sentinel corvette, now a patrol ship, entered service in 1991 (Navy)

The Atalaya patrol ship entered service in 1992 (Spanish Navy)

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