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Catalan Navy - Armada de Catalua

Catalonia NavyAn 01 July 2014 report by the former Catalan National Assembly's Defence Policy Working Group [now Military Studies Society], outlined the possible shape and composition of the reconstituted Catalan Navy. The text starts from scratch concerning hardware and personnel, making no reference to possible assets to be inherited from Spain's Defence Ministry or to Spanish military personnel wishing to join the Catalan Defence Forces. To avoid duplicities and redundant capabilities, the Catalan Defence Forces will have a single Joint Chiefs of Staff, bringing together elements from the three forces (land army, air force, and navy).

It will need the following components:

  • 3 or 4 offshore patrol vessels (OPV). For example the Adroit class, displacing 1,450 tons.
  • 2 or 3 fast patrol crafts (FPC). For example Israel's Dvora class (45-60 tons) or Norway's Skjold class (274 tons).
  • 4 to 6 unmanned air vehicles (UAV).
  • 4 to 6 unmanned surface vessels (USV).
  • An ocean-going tug.

The acquisition of corvettes, rather than large surface combatants such as frigates and destroyers, is based on two factors: a realistic conflict assessment, and the fact they adapt more easily to a large portion of Catalan harbours without the need for extensive construction work.

The SEM study suggests that "the Escort Command will need the following assets and personnel: Naval Operations Headquarters: 200 officers, sailors, and other ranks. 3 to 4 multi-role corvettes: with a company of 360. Auxiliary Fleet: 300 personnel." The corvette would be "80 to 100-meter long, displacing no more than 1,000 1,200 tons, and with a 3-meter draught. An example would be Swedens Visby class."

Once Catalonia had consolidated the defense of territorial waters and a presence in the Mediterranean, in a 10 to 15 years horizon, it would be necessary to consider projecting force within a multinational framework, as a contribution to global peace and security and as an exercise in corresponsibility and solidarity towards Allies.

  • One Multi-Role Vessel (MRV).
  • One corvette (seconded from the Escort Division) and/or one OPV (seconded from the Littoral Patrol Command)
  • Logistic support, from Auxiliary Fleet units or chartered civilian vessels.

An example of MRV fitting with Catalonia's needs would be the Royal Danish Navy's Absalon class frigates, which could operate not only from Barcelona and Tarragona, but also from the ports of Palams, Vilanova i la Geltr, and Sant Carles de la Rpita. At this stage, the total strength of the Naval Force would be 2,000 men and women, plus the reserve component and civilian personnel in logistical support functions.

The SEM study suggests that "Concerning the Auxiliary Fleet, it is not at all something superfluous. ... it will be necessary for our units to spend long periods at sea. They cannot spend time going to and from our ports to resupply. Just like our corvettes may be supplied in the high seas by our Allies, we will also have to supply their ships, out of a pure logic of reciprocity among Allies. The ships that we will have to acquire are a fleet tanker and a logistics ship..... These tankers are usually called fleet tankers. They differ from conventional tankers because they are designed to refill moving ships." The study made no mention of potential designs or sources for this role.

Alex Calvo suggested that "While preliminary defence planning in Catalonia for the first 10 years after the resumption of sovereignty has focused on land-based naval aviation and small surface combatants, stressing asymmetric threats rather than conventional conflict, the realities of the current NATO-Russia crisis and the need for a pragmatic solution preventing both a significant increase in Russian naval capabilities and damage to French financial and technological interests, may force the Catalan national security community to consider the possibility of the early purchase of a light carrier / amphibious assault ship."

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Page last modified: 01-10-2017 18:54:31 ZULU