- Special Pages
By Isabel Ovalle
DOHA: Spanish naval ship ‘Relámpago’ (Lightening) will be taking part in a joint military exercise with the Qatari Armed Forces from November 17 to 19. Other GCC countries will also be participating in this exercise.
The operation code named ‘Al Saqr Al Jareh’ (Furious Falcon) will consists of a number of activities on the management of crisis and disasters. Several issues will be addressed, such as those related to air defence systems, weapons of mass destruction and the means of preventing them, the fight against terrorism and the fight against maritime piracy.
After the military exercise, a debate will be held with the participation of experts, such as Spanish Chief of Staff Admiral, Fernando García Sánchez. The Spanish Ministry of Defence sees this visit as an opportunity to tighten diplomatic relations between Qatar and Spain on defence and cooperation.
The Defence Attaché for the Spanish Armed Forces, Colonel Rafael Ropero, told The Peninsula that the ship is an offshore patrol vessel built by Spanish shipbuilders Navantia, a company that is currently participating in the bid to design and assemble similar ships for Emiri Navy of Qatar.
During the ship’s stay in Qatar, a delegation of the Emiri Navy will have the opportunity to examine it. Navantia said that the company recently opened a office in Doha to support this project.
The vessel has an overall length of 93.90m, a maximum beam of 14.20m, a depth to flight deck of 7.2m and a displacement at full load of 2,575 tonnes. It reaches a maximum speed of 20.5 knots, with 8,000 miles autonomy, 35 person crew, and additional capacity for another 35 people.
Navantia, 100 percent owned by SEPI, the Spanish Government Industrial Holding, is a firm engaged in the design, construction and integration of state-of-the-art war ships, including new generation of submarines, as well as ship repairs and modernisations.
The shipbuilder also engages in the design and manufacture of Integrated Platform Management Systems, Fire Control Systems, Command and Control systems, Propulsion Plants and thorough life support for all its products.
Although its main line of activity is in the naval field, Navantia designs and manufactures systems for the Army and the Air Force. It has developed projects for the Moroccan, Australian, Indian, Norwegian and Egyptian navies, among others.