Spain’s Aegis-equipped FFG(X) contender en route to US for deployment with USS Abraham Lincoln

Spanish Navy frigate ESPS Méndez Núñez got underway from her Ferrol homeport on Thursday to start what will eventually be a year-long deployment with the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln.

The Aegis-equipped Alvaro de Bazan-class frigate (also referred to as F100) will spend the next two months integrated with Abraham Lincoln’s carrier strike group for advanced training, dubbed C2X, off the US east coast.

An adapted F100 design offered by Spanish shipbuilder Navantia has been shortlisted for the US Navy’s FFG(X) future frigate program which envisions a contract for the first frigate to be awarded in 2020.

After the first phase of operations out of the US Naval Station Norfolk, ESPS Méndez Núñez will return to Ferrol at the end of February.

The frigate is scheduled to get underway again in April when it will rejoin Carrier Strike Group 12 and the group’s flagship before they enter the Mediterranean Sea. The frigate will sail as part of the group in the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Indian Ocean, the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean, under the US 5th, 6th, 7th and 3rd Fleet commands.

The frigate is scheduled to conclude her deployment in October in San Diego, California, before returning home in November 2019.

According to the Spanish Navy, this will be the fourth time for Spanish units to join the US Navy on similar deployments. In addition to Spain, Norwegian, Danish and German frigates spent time underway with US carrier strike groups in the past years.