The Spanish Navy’s Álvaro de Bazán-class frigate Cristóbal Colón (F-105) has successfully completed combat system ship qualification trials (CSSQT) to test its missile firing system.
The frigate was deployed for a month and a half at the US Naval Base of Norfolk (Virginia) for the certification trials.
The CSSQT was designed to test and validate the ship’s combat system for command and control, anti-air warfare and anti-missile defence.
The trials are considered as the final test that an Aegis-equipped undergoes in a nearly live environment.
Additionally, the trials allowed to test and verify the Spanish navy warship's interoperability with similar US and Allied platforms.
As part of the qualification trials, three scheduled air defence exercises were conducted, along with the launch of Standard (SM-2) and Evolved Sea Sparrow (ESSM) missiles.
Delivered to the Spanish navy in October 2012, the 133.2m-long Cristóbal Colón is the fifth frigate in the F-100 series. It has a full-load displacement capacity of 6,014t, can cruise at a maximum speed of 28.5k and accommodate a crew of 234.
Apart from supporting the Spanish Navy in conventional operations, Cristóbal Colón will be deployed for humanitarian and peace-keeping missions.
This ship has also participated in several operations such as Ocean Shield and been deployed as the flagship of the Standing NATO Maritime Group Two (SNMG-2).
Navantia was awarded a contract by the Spanish navy in January 1997 to deliver a first batch of four F-100 frigates. All the four ships were delivered by March 2006. In May 2006, the fifth vessel was approved for the navy.
Image: Cristóbal Colón firing a missile during CSSQT. Photo: courtesy of Armada Española.