Buque de Acción Marítima [BAM - Ship of Action Maritime]
In early 2005 the Spainish government gave approval to the Buque de Acción Marítima [BAM - Ship of Action Maritime] for a run of four ships and a possible total of sixteen. The BAM is 2,500 ton modular ship, with a length of 93.5 meters and a beam of 14.2 meters. Its capabilities include anti-terrorism missions, illegal immigration patrols, and protection of the EEZ. BAM's modular construction will allow it to replace older ships in electronic intelligence missions, hydrography or diver support. The execution of this project improves the Spanish Navy's ability to control territorial waters, deploy units to distant waters, and enage in missions such as the support of the Spanish fishing fleet (in a manner not unlike the "war of fleets" with Canada in 1995) or general of anti-terrorist monitoring.
The purpose of the ocean-going Maritime Action Ship (BAM) is to replace the different and heterogeneous types of patrol ships which are near the end of their life cycle, for a Maritime Action Force designed around a reliable and highly automated platform with low maintenance costs, reduced crew, and enhanced endurance.
The ocean-going ships, 94 m. long and a displacement of 2,500 tons will replace the “Barceló”, “Anaga”, “Conejera”, “Toralla” and “Descubierta” class patrol boats. The missions include patrolling, EEZ protection and interventions support in third countries. They will be armed with light weapons and have rescue equipment to assist in catastrophes with medical facilities, cargo transport, means to fight sea pollution and a helicopter platform. The ship will be built with civilian standards except for some specific military characteristics.
The design of the BAM platform has taken into account other Navy needs within the maritime action sphere. The Project Definition of the BAM has borne in mind the inherent peculiarities of the design, as well as possible future requirements such as non oceanic versions: Hydro-graphic research, Intelligence, divers support, and submarine rescue. Special emphasis has been laid on the design and stabilization of the platform in order to improve her performance at sea, permitting prolonged operations without excessive fatigue for the crew.
From the very beginning of the project, aspects related to personnel safety were also taken into account so as to reduce the possible risks during the different operations. It is worth underlining the small crew: 35 people. This implies a high automation level, compatible with existing technology, incorporating maintenance and logistic criteria congruent with reduced crews and the safety and reliable performance of the ship. In this sense, the ship will have a state-of-the-art Platform Control Integrated System, and a Maintenance System based on Sea State.
The design and shipbuilding will basically be based on commercial standards favouring safety and ship survivability, especially in areas related to the hull and propulsion system, electricity and auxiliary services. Special care will be taken in the asymmetric threat. One of the main objectives is to reach a high level of accommodation and quality of life onboard incorporating modern designs to enhance comfort, environmental control, ergonomics, etc. The ship will follow the philosophy of a “Green Ship” to meet all environmental requirements and fight against sea pollution, compatible with the fulfilment of the mission.
Given the wide variety of possible configurations depending of the mission assigned, the design will be modular to easily adapt the ship to the specific situation. To sum up, the ocean-going Maritime Action Ship has been designed as a versatile platform to make better use of available resources reducing life cycle costs. The reduced crews and high habitability standards are important milestones in the procurement process of naval units and the modernisation of the Armed Forces.
Two of the main goals were to develop a ship with a small crew and high quality of life. The ship has been designed to operate with 35 people capable of carrying out most of the basic tasks of the ship. All cabins will have bathrooms to provide maximum flexibility for embarked female personnel. Besides the crew, the ship can accommodate a further 35 people with a similar habitability standard to that of the crew. The configuration of such personnel will depend on the specific mission entrusted to the ship. For NEO or maritime rescue operations, the ship can accommodate a maximum of 80 people during 48 hours, apart from the crew.
This Maritime Action Ship has been designed to carry out military missions against asymmetric or conventional threats by means of presence (deterrence), surveillance (prevention) and limited actions (neutralisation). Additionally, other missions are also envisaged such as the protection of national maritime interests and the control of maritime spaces of national sovereignty, contributing to the activities carried out by different State departments with responsibilities in the maritime domain. Finally, the ship will also carry out constabulary missions in cooperation with the police and other law enforcements organisations taking part in surveillance, SAR and fighting sea pollution, collaborating with other ministerial departments. Two possible mission profiles for the BAM are envisaged:
Profile 1: Sea control operations in low intensity scenarios.These operations can be carried out in the international domain (implementing international resolutions) or in the national sphere in cooperation with State law enforcements organisations. These are some of Profile 1 tasks:
- Naval presence.
- Maritime interdiction.
- Merchant traffic protection.
- Shipping control.
- Protection and support of small units.
- Transport of Special Operations forces.
- Control and neutralisation of terrorist actions.
- Control and neutralisation of piracy.
- Operations against drug-trafficking.
- Operations against illegal immigration.
- Participation in NEO operations.
- Certain operations related to humanitarian aid and natural catastrophes situations.
- Medical care at sea.
Profile 2: Surveillance, control and cooperation operations.The natural sphere of this profile will be outside territorial waters operating within the EEZ and adjacent maritime areas. Surveillance, control and cooperation missions will normally be carried out in peacetime and without military threats. These are some of Profile 2 tasks:
- Naval presence.
- Control of activities in those maritime areas.
- Control of dangerous cargo.
- SAR operations.
- Coordination of small scale operations at sea.
- Supervision and control on environmental legislation.
- Supervision and control of fishing legislation.
- Collaboration in training of other units or Schools.
- Logistic and medical support to small ships.
ProgramThe program was developed following the PAPS method (Phased Armament Programming System) structured into five stages: Assessment of operational requirements; Pre-feasibility; Feasibility; Project definition; and Shipbuilding. It started in September 2004 when the Chief of Naval Staff (AJEMA) approved the MND document establishing the Staff Objectives (NST). During this stage the main parameters were designed stressing Life Cycle Costs. Several innovative aspects of the design were studied and the concepts of ocean-going and coastal ships were developed resulting in a “common platform” which underlined the need to keep low maintenance costs. This stage finished in November 2004 when the Chief of Naval Staff (AJEMA) issued the Staff Objective.
Subsequently, the feasibility studies commenced after a transition phase of technical-financial analysis resulting in the Staff Requirements signed by the AJEMA on April 25th 2005. After the Staff Requirements were concluded the Project Definition phase started with technical backup from NAVANTIA thanks to the contract signed with that company in July 2005. This phase resulted in the Execution Order for the shipbuilding of four units.
The shipbuilding stage started on July 31st 2006 when a contract was signed between NAVANTIA and the Spanish Navy for the construction of the first unit of a batch of four in the San Fernando/Puerto Real Shipyards (Cádiz). Maybe another four expected by 2015/2017.
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