The patrol boat 'Audaz' has called at the port of Tema to strengthen military cooperation ties between Ghana and Spain, and project defence diplomacy. In addition, the ship is taking part, for the first time, in the 'Flintlock-23' exercise together with a Special Operations Force.
Landfall in Tema (Ghana)
After having covered more than 8,000 nautical miles since leaving Cartagena last January, and having operated in both hemispheres, the patrol boat 'Audaz' headed towards Tema (Ghana). It has now completed its participation in the ' Obangame Express 23' and the stops in Lagos (Nigeria), Pointe Noire (Republic of the Congo) and Luanda (Angola).
Ghana is a priority country within the document "Focus Africa 2023" of the Spanish State, so the importance of this scale is clear.
It is important to point out that not only military cooperation activities with the Ghana Armed Forces and contributions to the State's foreign action by supporting the country's diplomatic delegation are being carried out, but that we are also participating in the operational activities of the exercise ‘Flintlock-23', in support of a Spanish Special Operations Force deployed in Ghana for this purpose.
The MOPS Commander (CMOPS) will visit the Units in Ghana
At this time in Ghana, two Spanish units are operating together, which are transferred to the operational structure of the Armed Forces. They are under the operational control of the Commander of the Operations Command (CMOPS). The patrol boat 'Audaz' deployed for 5 months in the Gulf of Guinea, under the command of the Commander of the Maritime Operational Command (CMOM), and a Special Operations Force participating in the exercise 'Flintlock-23', under the command of the Commander of the Joint Special Operations Command (CMCOE).
Taking advantage of this circumstance and the strategic importance that Ghana has for Spain, Lieutenant General Francisco Braco Carbó (CMOPS), accompanied by Vice Admiral Alfonso Delgado Moreno (CMOM) and Brigadier General Ángel Herrezuelo Pérez (CMCOE), have travelled to Ghana to visit both units and see first-hand the activities that they are developing.
The Spanish ambassador in Ghana, J. Javier Gutiérrez Blanco-Navarrete, is present at all visits and meetings, helping to strengthen the dialogue with the Ghanaian authorities. Spain is a partner fully committed to this region, and the African continent is one of the top priorities for projecting security abroad.
Exercise FLINTLOCK-23 and PATROL BOAT 'AUDAZ'
The annual exercise 'FLINTLOCK' has been organized and directed by the U.S. Special Operation Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) since 2006 and takes place on a rotating basis in countries of the Sahel. Special Operations units from different Western countries participate in the exercise, in collaboration with their African counterparts, adding up to a total of 1,300 troops from 30 countries. Spain is participating in this exercise with different units from the three Armies and with the Civil Guard. The exercise is designed to enhance the capabilities of Sahel countries to combat terrorist or extremist organizations, illicit trafficking and the flow of foreign fighters, to increase border security, to integrate the Air Forces of host nations in support to Special Operations, as well as to incorporate Information Operations into these scenarios. It is the first time that a vessel has taken part in the exercises, and the Spanish Armed Forces will do so with the patrol boat 'Audaz'.
About the patrol boat 'Audaz'
It is the first of the two ships that make up the extension to the 1st series of four patrol boats that Navantia built for the Spanish Navy. It was delivered on July 26, 2018, and has its parking base in Cartagena. The current crew of the patrol boat ' Audaz' is made up of 77 people. Among them is an Operational Security Team of Marines from the Marine Corps Brigade “Tercio de Armada”, and a reinforcement of soldiers for specific capacities. It is commanded by Lieutenant Commander Marcos de Sousa Fuchs.