The 41st Escort Squadron concludes Exercise MAR-24.

Wednesday, January 31, 2024

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An SO element fast-roping from an SH-60B.
An SO element fast-roping from an SH-60B.
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An SO element fast-roping from an SH-60B.
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Ships in ‘V’ formation in honor of frigate ‘Victoria’.
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Queues waiting to visit the frigates in port.
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The City Mayor during his visit to frigate ‘Santa María’.

Last January 22nd, the F-80 frigates ‘Santa María’, ‘Numancia’, Reina Sofía’ and ‘Navarra’ concluded their participation in Exercise MAR-24 carried out in the Gulf of Cádiz and Alborán Sea. Each frigate had a Special Operations (SO) Team integrated into the ship’s crew which simultaneously participated in Exercise ATENEA.

The ‘Santa María’, with the Staff of the Escort Squadron on board, was the flagship of the task force and operated an SH-60B helicopter enhancing the anti-submarine and surface warfare capabilities of the squadron.

Taking advantage of the fact that the frigate ‘Canarias’ was conducting sea trials with her UAV ‘Scan Eagle’ in the vicinity of the area of operations, the five ships formed a ‘V’ in honor of the other F-80 unit, frigate ‘Victoria’, which is currently deployed in the Indian Ocean participating in the counter-piracy Operation ATALANTA in the 15th anniversary of her first participation in that EU-led Operation.

Exercise MAR-24 was strengthened with the participation of US Navy MH-60R helicopters and Spanish Navy ‘Cessna’ and AV-8B ‘Harrier SVTOL aircraft and RACTA-4 fire control systems, in addition to the Royal Saudi corvette ‘Hail’, Customs Surveillance patrol boats and helicopter, the offshore tug ‘Mar Caribe’ and patrol vessels ‘Isla de León’ and ‘Tagomago’.

After the five-day exercise, the four F-80 frigates called at the port of Málaga during the weekend. In the course of the stopover in that city, the frigates were visited by more than 3,000 citizens during the ‘Open Doors’ days on Saturday and Sunday.

The ships also welcomed the visit of local military and civilian authorities, among them, the city’s Mayor, Francisco de la Torre Prados who could learn, first hand, of the ships’ capabilities which, after 37 years of service are still fully operational and continue to successfully deploy in NATO and European Union military operations.


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