The frigate 'Álvaro de Bazán', which has been part of NATO's Standing Naval Grouping No. 1 (SNMG-1) since mid-February, took part in the multinational exercise 'BALTOPS 2023' organised by NATO in the waters of the Baltic Sea. The exercise involved units from 17 NATO and allied countries.
'BALTOPS 2023' is an annual exercise that has been conducted in the Baltic Sea for more than 50 years, scheduled by the United States European Command (USEUCOM) and conducted by NATO's projection and support forces command (COM STRIKFORNATO). The exercise focuses primarily on the maritime, air and land domain. With these exercises, NATO demonstrates its commitment to peace and security in the Baltic region through training for rapid response in times of crisis.
The 'Álvaro de Bazán', and the other SNMG-1 units, as part of NATO's Very High Readiness Joint Forces (VJTF) have contributed to the achievement of these objectives that consolidate the deterrence and defence effort in the Euro-Atlantic area.
During the nearly two weeks of advanced exercises, SNMG-1 units have trained in all areas of naval combat, such as anti-submarine warfare, surface combat scenarios and, to a large extent, air defence exercises as well as maritime interdiction operations (MIO). In the latter, the Spanish frigate, classified in NATO as a Major Air Defender unit, served as the Air Warfare Commander of a group of nine allied ships. In this role, the 'Álvaro de Bazán' was tasked not only with directing airspace monitoring and leading the group's defence during exercises against allied aircraft but also, concurrently, with maintaining real-life airspace monitoring in the central Baltic Sea in coordination with the region's air control centres.
Thanks to its SPY-1D multi-purpose radar, the Spanish frigate F-101 also demonstrated its combat capabilities in numerous surface warfare exercises, where it was able to monitor opposing ships during the exercise in order to conduct coordinated simulated engagements at long range.
After participating in 'BALTOPS', the ship continued its integration into SNMG-1 by setting course for the Latvian port of Riga to carry out naval presence.
The frigate 'Álvaro de Bazán'
The frigate 'Álvaro de Bazán' currently has 213 men and women on board, including an embarked air unit, an operational security team belonging to the Security Unit of the Tercio de Armada and a Chaplain.
The frigate is part of the 31st Surface Ship Squadron based in Ferrol. The squadron consists of five F-100 frigates and two combat supply ships that provide deterrence and defence capabilities.