Friday 24th April saw the arrival in London of a Spanish Navy warship, quite a rare visitor in itself but made more interesting in that it is the ESPS Méndez Núñez F104 which is the fourth vessel built in the Álvaro de Bazán-class of AEGIS air-defence frigates and is one of the newest major surface combatants in Spanish Navy service.
The Méndez Núñez performs a very similar mission to the Royal Navy’s own Daring-class destroyers and carries a similar range of gun and missile weapons systems and a helicopter but is a bit smaller in size and displacement although due to being a slightly older design requires a larger crew to operate her.
The ship is capable of carrying a Sikorsky SH-60B LAMPS III Seahawk helicopter but this was not visible as she passed North Woolwich heading up the Thames – hopefully if there is a helicopter on board it will be brought out of the hanger during the weekend.
The ship had taken part in the recent NATO Joint Warrior combined arms exercise that has been taking place during the last two weeks in the waters around the West coast of Scotland and she has taken a significant detour to come to pay a port call in London on her way back to her Spanish home-port.
Always nice to see visiting naval vessels in London and quite a rare treat to have two guided missile vessels in the capital at the same time – ESPS Méndez Núñez is due to be berthed in West India Dock until Monday 27th April.
Update: The ship is open for tours on Sunday & Monday morning – details here.
Some more pictures can be seen here.
The warship was assisted to her berth at West India Dock by two local Svitzer tugs – Bootle and Brunel.