Spanish shipbuilding company Navantia has started construction on the Spanish Navy’s new F110-class multi-mission frigate.

The beginning of construction was marked by a steel cutting ceremony held at Navantia’s shipyard in Ferrol, A Coruña, Spain.

During the ceremony, the first steel plate was event was witnessed by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez along with other dignitaries.

In April 2019, the Spanish Ministry of Defense signed a $4.701bn (€4.320bn) contract to build five F110-class frigates.

The Spanish Navy’s new F110-class frigates will replace the Santa Maria-class fleet.

Construction works on all the five vessels will take place Navantia’s shipyard in Ferrol.

Commissioning of the F111 frigate is expected in 2027 with deliveries set to take place annually.

The multi-mission F110-class frigate are designed to conduct various naval operations including anti-aircraft, anti-surface, and anti-submarine missions.

The multi-purpose vessels can also perform maritime security functions, as well as civilian authorities support functions.

The new frigate features some advanced technologies including Navantia Sistemas’ combat system, SCOMBA, an integrated mast with different sensor and antenna solutions and hybrid propulsion plant.

The F110-class frigate will be the first Spanish Navy vessel to have a digital twin, a virtual replica of the vessel that can receive information from the vessel constantly.

The technology will support maintenance and operation of the vessel even if its deployed thousands of miles away.

Apart from digital twin technology, the F110-class will also have 3D printers on-board, which will allow the manufacturing of spare parts.

Furthermore, the frigate will be the first in the fleet to have an integrated cybersecurity system, which will provide protection against increasing cyberthreats.

In December 2019, Navantia signed a contract with Lockheed Martian to equip the F110-class vessels with solid-state S-band radar.