US Naval Station Rota (NavSta Rota) is a joint Spanish and US Naval base. It provides support for US Navy and Nato ships and is the major gateway for USAF Air Mobility Command aircraft entering Europe. The naval station also supplies cargo, fuel and ammunition to units based at the port.
The naval base houses more than 3,000 US service members and their families, and is the largest US Naval installation in Spain.
NavSta Rota location and layout
Naval Station Rota is situated near the Strait of Gibraltar and at the midway point between the US and south-west Asia. The base facilities are spread over 6,100 acres. The naval station is protected by breakwaters on the south, east and west, and by the shore on the north side.
The construction of Naval Station Rota was begun by the governments of Spain and the US in 1953.
Submarine Squadron 16 (SUBRON 16) was deployed at Rota in January 1964. It was later relocated to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay.
In the early 1980s, the naval station was home to Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron 2 (VQ-2) and Fleet Logistics Support Squadron 22 (VR-22).
Over the decades, the naval station has been expanded to host a range of ships, submarines, aircraft squadrons, and operational and support commands.
Naval Station Rota operations
The strategic location of the base allows it to provide excellent support to US Sixth Fleet units in the Mediterranean and to US Air Force Air Mobility Command units. It is the only base in the Mediterranean which supports amphibious readiness group (ARG) post-deployment wash-downs. The naval station also offers pier-side maintenance and backload facilities. The base complements the ARG unit transfers, and accommodates the sailors and marines of visiting ships.
The naval station provides assistance to Moron Air Base, ARG support centres in Palma de Majorca, Nato headquarters in Madrid and the Maritime Prepositioning Squadron of Military Sealift Command (MSC). The base also supports Nasa space shuttle missions. Other services provided are pilot and tug services, steam and CHT services, voyage repairs, potable water and shore power.
The US Navy maintains the facilities at the naval station including an airfield, three active piers, 426 facilities and 801 family housing units. There are 50t pier crane and 5t-10t mobile cranes available for lifting operations. Camels and fenders are installed in all berths. Most of the facilities are shared by the US and Spanish Navies under various mutual aid agreements.
Naval Station Rota is home to several tenant commands and naval installations. The major commands include 521st Air Mobility Operations Groups, 725th Air Mobility Squadron, Commander, Task Force Six-Eight and Naval Munitions Command.
The air operations department provides air terminal services, air traffic control (ATC) services, air navigational aid maintenance services, emergency response services and RADIAC calibration services for Sixth Fleet, Air Mobility Command and allied customers.
The naval station features a standard terminal automation replacement system (STARS) air radar. The radar provides operational information about aircraft positions, flight data and weather to operators. STARS can simultaneously track up to 1,350 aircraft flying within a terminal air space.
Other facilities and services
The naval station offers range of facilities and services for marines and their families. The navy college at Rota offers degree programmes with a variety of options and provides academic support to sailors. The base provides housing for bachelor officers and enlisted members.
The moral welfare and recreation department is responsible for recreational activities and services provided at the naval station. The department provides recreation facilities including a fitness centre, youth centre, theatres and library. It also conducts various activities such as outdoor adventure camps, youth programmes, special events and life enrichment classes.