Navantia is synonymous with the elite in new-generation military ships and submarines. It specializes in the design, construction and integration of vessels used to defend nations. The Spanish firm was created in 2005, but has 260 years of experience as its origins can be traced back to the former Empresa Nacional Bazán, which always built ships for the armed forces.
Company CEO Luis Cacho says, “A warship is not just a platform, but is also a combat, command and control system”. Navantia builds all of this with a view to meeting the needs of armies, air forces and, in particular, navies.
Navantia's main client is the Spanish Navy, for which it has built over a dozen ships in recent years, although the company also has contracts with the navies of other countries such as India, Venezuela and Australia. “The Spanish model is what we want to extrapolate and develop with other navies of the world, based on trust and collaboration with the armed forces,” said Luis Cacho.
The shipbuilder has several leading products that have made their mark in the military realm. One of them is the F-100 Frigate. It presents a design challenge, as it is a frigate class ship with the world's most advanced combat system—Aegis—which had only served aboard American cruiser class ships.
The Aegis combat system makes it possible to detect, lock onto and track a target using SPY-1D radar, and it offers a high level of combat capabilities, including the possibility of integrating weapons and sensors. The F-100 frigate was designed for anti-aircraft operations, but it also serves in anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare.
Navantia has delivered four F-100 frigates to the Spanish Navy, while a fifth is under construction and it expects to complete the series with a sixth which is still pending approval. The capabilities of these frigates make them a valuable defensive tool, both in conventional operations and on peace missions, for humanitarian aid or enforcing UN resolutions. “The trials these frigates have undergone in American waters have always been satisfactory, making it the most sophisticated frigate in the world,” says Cacho.
Taking advantage of the company's experience in the construction of the F-100 for the Spanish Navy, the Norwegian Navy ordered five F-310 frigates. These have reduced capabilities compared to the F-100, put they are also equipped with the Aegis combat system, as well as a series of specific requirements for operating in freezing northern waters.
The F-310s are primarily designed to undertake anti-submarine warfare missions, but they can also carry out anti-aircraft and anti-surface operations, in addition to covering peace-time missions.
F-100 Frigate. Photo: Navantia