The Almirante Juan de Borbón, considered one of the most advanced warships in the world, combines Spanish technology with the American Aegis combat system. With F-102 hull number, she is currently in service with the Spanish Navy and is a member of the Alvaro de Bazan-class frigate family.
Almirante Juan de Borbón was launched on February 28, 2002 and was officially commissioned on December 3, 2003. The original plan was that she would be named Roger de Lauria, but eventually the Spanish Navy decided to name Juan de Borbón in honor of the father of the former King, Juan Carlos I.
Like the rest of the class, Juan de Borbón was built at the Izar shipyard at an estimated cost of 600 million euros. She was one of the first warships in Europe to have an Aegis combat system, allowing her to act on par with the most modern US Navy units and to participate in the development of ballistic missile shield.
The Almirante Juan de Borbón was designed to incorporate anti-ballistic steel in the hull, power plants are mounted on anti-vibration mounts to reduce noise, making it harder to detect by submarines. The warship is a flexible frigate, medium sized with a displacement of approximately 6,400 tons. The length and the beam are 146.7m and 18.6m, respectively, the draft is 4.75m. The ship able to operate as much in coastal waters as on the high seas. Her service platforms are optimized to meet the need for the group battle. A ship with an excellent ability to survive, protection against fragmentation, damage-control system and bacteriological and chemical defenses, as well as acoustic and very low magnetic radars.
She is equipped with a combined diesel or gas propulsion system, including two General Electric LM2500 gas turbines paired with two Navantia Caterpillar 3600 diesel engines, the shafts drive two controllable pitch propellers. The propulsion system helps the ship reach a maximum speed of 28.5 knots, the range can be up to 4,500 nauticalmiles at 18 knots. The complement of the ship is up to 250 employees, including 48 officers.
The Almirante Juan de Borbón was designed specifically for air defense, protect the expeditionary forces, anti-submarine warfare, long-range anti-aircraft defense and missile interception. The ship is equipped with an advanced command and control system that can function as a flagship. The ship’s main sensor is the Lockheed Martin AN/SPY-1D 3-D multifunction radar of the American Aegis advanced combat system.
The Spanish Navy is among the few forces in the world outside of the United States equipped with this advanced radar. Japan’s Kongo class, Korea’s Sejong the Great class, and Norwegian F100-derived Fridtjof Nansen class of frigates also use the Aegis system. Aegis is an integrated combat system designed to deal with a variety of different threats at sea such as fixed-wing aircraft, unmanned aircraft, missiles, high-tech guided weapons, surface warships and submarines. SPY-1D radar can detect hundreds of targets at a distance of 300 km, the data is then transmitted to the Aegis computer system to classify, evaluate and activate appropriate weapons to destroy the target.
In addition, the Almirante Juan de Borbón is also equipped with Link 11 tactical data link that allow the safe sharing of data between ships, increasing combat effectiveness. Other sensors include the Raytheon SPS-67 surface search radar operating in the C band, 104 km reconnaissance range. The frigate uses the Raytheon DE1160 LF active and passive sonar to detect enemy submarines. The firepower is controlled by the DORNA fire control system from FABA, including a K-band radar, optical-infrared sensor station and laser range-finding system. This system will control the operation of the gunboat and anti-aircraft cannon on board.
The armament on board consists of 48 cell US-made Mk41 vertical launch systems. The Mk41 is equipped with a combination of SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles with a range of 70 km and RIM-162 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile with a range of 50 km. The number of missiles carried is 32 SM-2MR and 64 Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile. With 96 air defense missiles, Alvaro de Bazan possesses powerful anti-aircraft capabilities, no less than destroyers.
Next are 8 RGM-84 Harpoon anti-ship missiles with a range of 120 km, carrying a 220 kg warhead. The ship is also armed with the 127mm Mark 45 Mod 2 gunboat, which has a maximum range of 23.6 km. Two 20mm FABA Meroka 2B close-in weapon systems. The two sides of the ship are fitted with Mk32 light anti-submarine torpedo launchers, 12 Honeywell Mk46 mod 5 Torpedo available. The task of hunting and destroying submarines also has the support of SH-60B Seahawk helicopter.
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A helicopter deck and hangar were installed at the stern. Seahawk can drop AN/SQQ-28 LAMPS III sonar signal processing systems to detect enemy submarines. During her years of service in the Spanish Navy, Almirante Juan de Borbón participated numerous times in NATO exercises and joint operations. NATO’s permanent naval groups have high levels of enlistment and readiness, allowing them to quickly intervene in crisis situations. In the near future, Almirante Juan de Borbón will continue to be the backbone of the Spanish Navy.