Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) 'Rayo', recently integrated into the Standing NATO Countermines Measures Maritime Group (SNCMMG-2) as flagship, left the port of Cartagena today for a six month period deployment.
During the next six months, OPV 'Rayo', as flagship and several minehunters from different nationalities, will contribute to the Very High Availability Joint Force - Maritime component (VJTF-M), which provides NATO with a continuous maritime capability for operations and other activities, both in peacetime and during periods of crisis and conflict.
The group will also take part in several multinational exercises and activities to improve their readiness and interoperability.
This will be the first time that the role of commanding ship of a NATO grouping is carried out by offshore patrol vessels whith home port in the Canary Islands, OPV 'Rayo' appointed for the first semester of the deployment, and OPV 'Meteoro' during the second semester.
The warship's crew is made up of Captain Javier Núñez de Prado Aparicio is the group’s commander, embarked along with and his International Staff, a reinforced medical team, diving personnel as well as marines as security team.
OPV 'Rayo' is the second ship belonging to the 'Meteoro' class, it was built by Navantia in the shipyards of Puerto Real commissioned to the Navy in 2011. It is an offshore patrol vessel, framed in the Canary Islands Maritime Force Command, featuring a 'modern warship' with high performance and advanced technology, efficient and environmentally friendly.
Finally, its high versatility makes it the ideal platform for use in both low-intensity missions abroad and for maritime surveillance and security in areas of sovereignty and national interest.