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Frigate Méndez Núñez (F-104)
Frigate Méndez Núñez (F-104)
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Frigate Méndez Núñez (F-104)

This frigate – with its motto “Preferimos honra sin barcos, que barcos sin honra” (I prefer honor without ships, than ships without honor") – is the fourth warship with the name of the Spanish Navy officer Casto Méndez Núñez (1824-1869), hero of the Battle of Callao. The other units were: an armored frigate (1869-1888), a light cruiser (1924-1963) and a destroyer (1973-1992).

This frigate was built by NAVANTIA in its Ferrol Shipyards; launched on November 12th 2004 and delivered to the Spanish Navy on March 21st 2006. Her Battle Ensign was presented in Vigo on July 18th 2010 by her Sponsor HRH Elena de Borbón, daughter of HM the King.

The crew of the frigate “Méndez Núñez” consists of 201 men and women. All of them highly specialised and trained, ready to operate this state-of-the-art ship. They work, day in day out, to keep the ship in full readiness, providing the Spanish Navy with a modern unit which will efficiently contribute to attain the maritime objectives of Spain, wherever necessary.

Since her delivery to the Spanish Navy the ship carried out sea trials to test systems and equipment, ending with a CSSQT (Combat System Ship Qualification trials) in the summer of 2007. In Hawaii she launched missiles against air targets and carried out ballistic missile tracking in the Pacific. In 2009 her combat system was upgraded to fit new capabilities, among them the possibility of launching Evolved Sea Sparrow missiles (ESSM).

Since the beginning of her operational life, the ship regularly took part in national and international exercises and passed two Operational Qualifications in 2007 and 2010 with the highest level of readiness.

At international level, the ship has taken part in several force preparation activities, among them: exercise LOYAL MARINER in the Mediterranean and the cooperative deployment ORION-08 with the Royal Navy in the Indian Ocean and exercise SWORDFISH-10 with EUROMARFOR in the Atlantic Ocean. In 2009 and 2010 the ship participated in operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR (OAE) integrated into NATO’s naval groups SNMG-1 and SNMG-2 respectively: OAE is a Maritime Security and Surveillance operation in the Mediterranean carried out along with other warship from NATO nations. Finally, the ship took part in surveillance and tracking tasks of the hijacked Spanish trawlers “Playa de Bakio” and “Alakrana” in the Indian Ocean until their release.

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