Almirante Juan de Borbon (F102)
Air-Defense Frigate Warship
Almirante Juan de Borbon F102 is an all-modern Spanish Navy air-defense frigate outfitted with a bevy of weaponry types for the role.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited:
Navanta, the state-owned shipbuilding company of Spain, laid down the hull of what would become "Almirante Juan de Borbon" (F-102), an all-modern frigate for the Spanish Navy. She was launched on February 28th, 2002 and commissioned on December 3rd, 2003, serving as the second ship in the six-strong Alvaro de Bazan-class of fighting missile frigates that includes lead-ship Alvaro de Bazan, Blas de Lezo, Mendez Nunez, Cristobal Colon, and Juan de Austria. Almirante Juan de Borbon is part of the F-100 group of Spanish frigates completed with the American Aegis digital naval radar and weapons suite which significantly broadens situational awareness and weapons control.
As completed, Juan de Borbon displaces at 6,400 tons (short) and features a running length of 481 feet, a beam of 61 feet, and a draught of 15.6 feet. As a modern warship, she does not longer features a continuous main deck seen in warships from the past century. Instead, her superstructure is well streamlined into the sides of the hull to help promote a better signature when out on open water. Many of her structural outcroppings are also enclosed including her main mast and smoke funnels - a common trait among modern surface vessels today. The single main mast overhead is home to her various sensors and processing systems. A lower superstructure section is fitted just aft of amidships. As common with other naval warships, she carries a sole deck gun over her forecastle - her primary armament being a bevy of missile types to defend her and any target area in question from air, surface, and undersea threats. Her crew complement numbers 250 personnel and includes up to 48 officers. A flight deck seated over the stern supports the launching and retrieval of one Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk (LAMPS III) naval helicopter.
Onboard systems constitute various tracking, identification, and navigational aids. This includes a Raytheon DE 1160LF(I) sonar system, a Lockheed Martin AN/SPY-1D 3D multifunction radar suite, the Raytheon SPS-67(V)4 surface-search radar, a Thales Scout navigation system, and the Aegis combat system. For this the FABA DORNA fire control and Raytheon SPG-62 Mk 99 radar illuminator come into play. For self-preservation, the vessel is equipped with 4 x FMC SRBOC Mk 36 flare launchers, and Indra SLQ-380 Electronic CounterMeasures (ECM) suite, and SLQ-25A Nixie (Enhanced) torpedo countermeasures kit.
Power is served through 2 x Caterpillar 3600 series diesel engines coupled to 2 x General Electric LM2500 gas turbine engines in a "CODOG" arrangement - "COmbined Diesel Or Gas". This arrangement mates the a diesel and gas engine to a single shaft to allow for more efficient cruising and dash speeds, one engine system in play at any one time. The engines drive a pair of Wartsila controllable-pitch propellers. The design can make headway at 29 knots in ideal conditions with operational ranges out to 4,500 nautical miles.
Standard armament is headed by 1 x 5" /54 caliber Mk 45 Mod 2 deck gun over the bow. Aft of this is the 48-cell bank of Mk 41 Vertical Launch Systems (VLSs) which becomes her primary armament in long-range action. The missiles carried ("Standard SM-2 Block IIIA" and RIM-162 "Evolved Sea Sparrow") engage aerial threats to include incoming aircraft and missiles. At amidships is a pair of quad-missile launchers for RGM-84 "Harpoon" anti-ship missiles. The armament suite is rounded out with 4 x 324mm Mk 32 Mod 9 twin-tube torpedo launchers with twelve reloads. The supported Seahawk helicopter is launched in support of anti-submarine/anti-ship operations and for over-the-horizon reconnaissance sorties.
To date (2014), Almirante Juan de Borbon has led a fairly nondescript service life, accomplishing various trials-related measures while undertaking several at-sea exercises. She has also participated in joint, multi-national naval operations to help build global goodwill between NATO allies while strengthening combined European naval firepower for the future.