US approves sale to Spain of 5 Aegis naval weapons systems for $860 million

The U.S. State Department approved the sale to Spain of Aegis naval weapons systems for five new frigates at an estimated cost of $860.4 million, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency said in a release.

The addition of five new Aegis-equipped frigates to Spain’s fleet “will afford more flexibility and capability to counter regional threats and continue to enhance stability in the region,” the Tuesday, June 27 release said.

The Aegis Combat System is an integrated naval weapons system uses radar and computer technology to detect and track targets, and guide weapons to destroy them. The system is composed of the Aegis Weapon System (AWS), the Aegis Anti-Aircraft Warfare (AAW) capability, along with the Phalanx Close In Weapon System (CIWS), and the Mark 41 Vertical Launch System for missiles.

Spain has its own close-in weapon system, the Meroka 12-barrelled Oerlikon 20 mm gun system.`

It can incorporate the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System which was developed to provide missile defense against short- to intermediate-range ballistic missiles, destroying them after boost phase and prior to reentry using Standard Missiles.

Spain currently operates five Álvaro de Bazán-class frigates (also known as F100-class) with the Aegis system, and the release said that the Spanish navy will “continue to operate it as required to ensure interoperability as a highly valued NATO partner,” adding that it is “vital to the U.S. national interest to assist Spain in developing and maintaining a strong and ready self-defense capability.”

The Spanish navy plans to build five new F110-class frigates, with the first planned to be commissioned in 2023 and the remaining four by 2027.

The DSCA release said Spain has requested to buy five Aegis Weapons Systems, including among many components five shipsets of AWS Computing Infrastructure, Operational Readiness Test Systems, Mk 99 Mod 14 Fire Control Systems and Mk 41 Baseline VII Vertical Launching Systems.

Weaponry in the proposed sale includes 20 Standard Missile 2 Block IIIB missiles and two Mk 54 Mod 0 lightweight torpedoes.

The proposed sale also includes five shipsets of satellite and radio communications equipment, ordnance handling equipment, Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Modules, AN/SLQ-24E Torpedo countermeasures system, test equipment, engineering, technical services, training, engineering and logistics support services, and other program support.

The prime contractors will be Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Company and General Dynamics, along with “a significant number of companies under contract with the U.S. Navy” that will provide components, systems and services under the effort.

Current operators of Aegis include Australia, Japan, Norway and South Korea as well as Spain and the United States.

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