September 25, 2015 - The F-100 frigate ‘Blas de Lezo’ set sail on Sunday from Ferrol to join the Standing NATO Maritime Group One (SNMG-1) until December. The purpose of the deployment is to become part of NATO’s Immediate Reaction Force, thus demonstrating Spain’s commitment with collective security.
This is the 7th time the ‘Blas de Lezo’ (F-103) deploys in one of these Standing Groups. On this occasion the SNMG-1 is made up of the following units: ‘Winnipeg’ (Canada), ‘Fridtjof Nansen’ (Norway), ‘Cmdt Blaison’ and ‘Latouche Treville’ (France) and ‘Francisco de Almeida’ (Portugal), the latter being the Group’s flagship under command of the Portuguese Rear admiral Alberto Correia.
NATO’s standing naval groups enjoy a very high level of readiness and availability with a wide variety of capabilities for intervention in crisis scenarios.
To this end, the ‘Blas de Lezo’ will participate in two high intensity and visibility exercises; namely, ‘Joint Warrior’ in Scottish waters and later ‘Trident Juncture 15’, the biggest NATO exercise in the Atlantic Ocean in the last decade.
In the second stage of the deployment, the frigate will participate in the counter-terrorist operation ‘Active Endeavor’ in the Mediterranean Sea. The F-103 is scheduled to visit the ports of Edinburgh and Belfast (UK), Lisbon (Portugal), Cagliari (Italy) and Istanbul (Turkey).
Frigate ‘Blas de Lezo’
The F-103, currently under the command of Cdr. Rafael Arcos, is the third ‘Álvaro de Bazán’-class frigate. Her AEGIS combat system and the SPY-1D multifunction radar provides ample anti-air defense capability. The ‘Blas de Lezo’ embarked an SH-60B helicopter and a Marine Corps Security Team.