Spanish helicopter carrier ESPS Juan Carlos I and frigate ESPS Blaz de Lezo met up with EUNAVFOR units in the Red Sea recently as they transit towards the Persian Gulf.
The multi-purpose amphibious assault ship and F-100 class air defense frigate are deployed as part of a Spanish Navy operation called “Projection Ispuhel”, which will see the two units support the fight against ISIL as part of the wider US-led operation Inherent Resolve.
The two Spanish ships met with Italian FREMM frigate ITS Carlo Margottini – the operation Atalanta flagship – in the Western Indian Ocean for joint maneuvers.
The EU NAVFOR force commander, Rear Admiral Simone Malvagna, was invited on board the ESPS Juan Carlos by the ship’s commander, Captain Jose Lago Ochoa, to witness the launching of Harrier aircraft from the flight deck.
These versatile aircraft are primarily employed on light attack or multi-role missions, ranging from close air support of ground troops to armed reconnaissance
During their two-month deployment, the Spanish warships will take in maneuvers with a number of navies and international operations and make port calls in Kuwait, India and Egypt.