Frigate 'Cristóbal Colón' has handed over to frigate 'Méndez Núñez' as NATO's SNMG-2 flagship in a ceremony held at the port of Constanza, Romania. The HOTO ceremony was presided over by the Group's Commander, rear admiral Manuel Aguirre Aldereguía, who is in tactical command of the naval units aboard the flagship.
The F-100 class frigates, the vanguard of the Spanish fleet, have been acting as flagship since June 2020. The first vessel transferred to NATO was F101 'Álvaro de Bazán', which handed over to F105 'Cristóbal Colón' last November. Now it is the turn for F104 'Méndez Núñez'to finish Spain's one year period of commitment to NATO.
Currently, SNMG-2 is made up of four ships from different Atlantic Alliance nations. In the coming week, these units will carry out the naval exercise 'Sea Shield 2021' in the Black Sea in order to increase their training and interoperability, as well as to enhance NATO's presence in the region.
During its deployment, frigate 'Cristóbal Colón' has taken part in international exercises (Dynamic Manta 21, ZEST 20 or NAIAS 20) as well as maritime surveillance missions, supporting Operation Sea Guardian and also NATO's naval presence in the Black Sea.
Frigate 'Méndez Núñez', which has just completed an intense training period for this mission, is ready to act as flagship until the end of June 2021. In the meantime, the warship will fulfil the assigned tasks by NATO, showing Spain's commitment to peace, world security and international legality.
NATO's Standing Maritime Grouping is a naval force made up of surface naval units from different NATO allies. The Group's role is to provide NATO with an immediate operational response capability in naval scenarios. The Spanish Navy has been continuously present in these groupings for more than 30 years.