September 19th marked the 18th anniversary of the commissioning of the first frigates of the F-100 series, the Alvaro de Bazán. This gives a name to this class of modern ships, but for which the Navy is already studying a modernization program and a long-term replacement program.
The coming of age of the class goes hand in hand with plans by the Spanish Navy to embark on a mid-life modernization process (Mid Life Update, or MLU) that will take advantage of the benefits developed for the new F-110 that Navantia will also build . extend its useful life by 15 or 20 years.
This modernization will mainly focus on the platform and combat system, with the aim of achieving maximum similarity with future F-110s in terms of combat system and weapon handling. This has another advantage, as very low technological risks are assumed as these have already been taken over by the F-110 program.
It should be remembered that the first series of these frigates entered service between 2002 and 2006 and that later the Cristóbal Colón was added. (F-105) with some improvements in 2012, derived from the destroyer construction program for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
The homogenization of certain systems between the F-110 and the F-110 facilitates sustainability and lowers costs throughout their useful life, including improvements in the areas of platform, weapon systems, combat systems and information systems communications. The Navy has been researching this update for some time to update certain obsolescence already noted in the frigates or to replace certain systems that have excessively high failure rates.
This was reminded by the Admiral Chief of Staff of the Navy (AJEMA), Admiral General Teodoro López Calderón, in the recent Meridiana with the media, in which he also announced that his future replacement is already under investigation, probably between 2040 and 2050. Above that Furthermore, given that technologies are becoming more important than platforms, there is a need to study and identify the technologies that will be central in the future, and in R&D and I in areas such as artificial intelligence, or targeted energy weapons invest the digital twin. to name a few examples. (José Mª Navarro García)
Photography: The Cristóbal Colón, the last frigate of the Alvaro de Bazán class (Spanish Navy)
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