Spanish Navy to equip F110 class frigates with laser weapon systems

Artistic image of F110-class frigate

The Spanish Navy decided to outfit different types of surface combatants, especially Bonifaz-class (F110-class) multipurpose frigates with laser weapons, shared.

Spain has launched the SIGILAR program to develop laser weapon systems that will be used in the military field. This program’s goal is the development of a pedestal with a laser emitter allowing the neutralization of objects that are seen as explicit threats. Spain is also working on HEL (High Energy Laser) demonstrator with an output power of 15 kW.

The Spanish company Escribano Mechanical and Engineering work together with the National Institute of Aerospace Technology to build Solid State Laser (SSL) systems suited to destroy and illuminate targets for air defense, mine destruction, ship protection, and optoelectronic warfare.

Naval Post comment: As unmanned technology develops, new surface and air threats emerge for the naval assets. Besides, missiles launched from manned or unmanned fast boats form a considerable threat for even AAW-capable warships. Laser weapons could be a new solution to cope with such threats. 

The first versions of the laser weapons (HEL and US Navy’s HELIOS) would feature relatively lower energy to defend against supersonic and hypersonic missiles. Still, they would be used as a counter-drone system. But even this development will be the first step to develop the counter hypersonic missile system.

3D rendering of a laser weapon fitted to a frigate.

F110-class frigates:

The F110 class (also known as the Bonifaz class) is a multi-purpose, anti-submarine class of Aegis combat system-fitted heavy frigates under development for the Spanish Navy. The project is being co-developed by the Spanish Ministry of Defence and the state-owned company Navantia. The construction of the frigates is to begin by 2020 and is scheduled to be delivered between 2023 and 2027.

These frigates will feature a sonar suite by Thales (BlueMaster UMS 4110 and CAPTAS 4 Compact sonars, the TUUM-6 underwater communication system, and the BlueScan digital acoustic system).

The SCOMBA combat system by Navantia will be the heart of the F110 class frigates’ CMS, the S-band variant of Lockheed Martin’s SPY-7 radar will be the primary radar for air survellience.

The frigates will be outfitted with Leonardo’s 127mm 127/64 LW main gun, Raytheon’s Evolved SeaSparrow Missile (ESSM) Block 2 missile.

Kongsberg Maritime will provide the propulsion system.