75 years detecting and deactivating mines for the Spanish Navy.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

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75 years detecting and deactivating mines for the Spanish Navy.

Sunday, April 25th 2021

On April 25th the Spanish Navy commemorates the 75th anniversary of the creation of the Mine Countermeasures (MCM) Force.

After more than 150 years of history, the naval mine is still a cheap but lethal weapon. Its mere presence is enough to bring to a standstill the shipping in a given area or prevent an amphibious landing. Aware of its menace, all Allied navies operate mine countermeasures (MCM) units equipped with sophisticated materiel and qualified personnel.

In the early 90’s, the Spanish Navy commenced an ambitious upgrading program resulting in today’s Mine Countermeasures Force which regularly deploys with other NATO MCM forces to face and challenge the risks of the 21st century.

The origin of this force goes back to the year 1946 when the Navy received its first minesweeper, the ‘Bidasoa’. This was the beginning of the MCM Flotilla with units stationed in Ferrol, Cádiz and Majorca. As of 1977, two squadrons were set up: one of minesweepers and another of minehunters, both based at Porto Pi (Balearic Islands). In 1999 the MCM Flotilla became the MCM Force and was transferred to Cartagena (SE Spain).

Since its birth, the MCM Service has operated 41 ships; from the old wooden minelayers, minesweepers and minehunters, to the new and modern ‘Segura’-class minehunters made of reinforced fiberglass. Included in this Force are the command ships and the MCM Divers.

The Spanish MCM Force is currently integrated into different NATO and European Union task groups like the SNMCMG-2 (Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Two) and EUROMARFOR (European Maritime Force). It also participates in many other national and international exercises like the coming advanced multinational SPANISH MINEX-21 to be held in the Balearic Islands from April 26th to May 7th.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all festivities to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the MCM Force have been postponed with a date still to be determined.

    

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