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Galicia (BAA - buque de asalto anfibio)

The amphibious capacity has a great importance as an essential part of the naval concept of operations from the sea, in which the strategic influence of the naval power in the management of crises can affect the common security. The program of construction of new amphibious assault ships built two Galicia class assault ships, equipped with a floodable dock for boats and platform for helicopters. These ships are the result of a Hispanic-Dutch bilateral project, whose object was to provide Marine forces platforms adapted for amphibious operations.

The Galicia was registered in the Official List of Ships of the Navy on 30 April 1998 and received its Flag battle the 6 of May of 1999. The amphibious assault ship (BAA - buque de asalto anfibio) Galicia L-51 is a transport of disembarkation ataque / landing platform dock (ATS / LPD), constructed by the National Company Bazan in the Ferrol shipyard. Its origin is in a program of collaboration and cooperation between the Navies of Spain and Holland, the later country building the LPD Rotterdam, similar to the Spanish BAA. Galicia is suitable for the transport and disembarkation of troops, heavy vehicles and armored means, and has a platform for ASW helicopters. It can operate like a supply ship for operations against mines, and support for evacuation in zones of catastrophe. For the operations of disembarkation it has a floodable dock of 55 meters in length by 8 of wide and 855 square ms of surface from which they can operate to six boats LCVP for vehcles and personnel, or four of this type plus a LCU (also for vehcles and personnel) or four LCM-8 for materiel.

The primary task is providing amphibious lift capability for military operations, with a secondary mission of supporting in non-combat amphibious situations, such as natural emergencies and other catastrophes. A third mission for these ships is to function as a support platform for mine countermeasure vessels (MCMVs).

"Galicia" Amphibious Assault Ships [Buques de Asalto Anfibio] are designed to carry troops and vehicles and to operate with amphibious in dock boats and helicopters on their flight, mission deck main class vessels "Galicia" is to carry out amphibious operations. Its tasks also include keeping peace and humanitarian aid, medical and surgical support in natural disasters. The "Galicia" is trained to act as a force landing and the amphibious force command ship and alternative command of a maritime component command ship. The "Castilla" has increased its command and Control capability to serve as a command ship and acts as a command ship alternative of the General Headquarters of the Naval component command in NATO's maritime operations. It is usually a platform for command of SP HRF (M) HQ (headquarters General maritime high availability Spanish of NATO).

In 1971 dock landing ship LSD-25 San Marcos, of the LSD-13 Casa Grande [some Spanish sources related that the the ship was an LSD of the Cabildo class], was loaned to Spain and received the name L-31 Galicia. The reception of these ships was completed in 1971/72 with the arrival of the three LSTs (tank landing ship), L-11 Velasco, L-12 Martn lvarez and L-13 Count of Venadito of the Terrebonne Parish class. Two LCU (Landing Craft Utility) of the American type LCU-1466 came as support for L-31 Galicia. These boats were numbered as L-71 and L-72. Also in 1965-66 came three new barges LCT (landing barge, carts) numbered from 6 to 8, which were built by E.N Bazn, based on the French project EDIC. 1974 Bought new media landing on this occasion of type LCM (8), numbered 81 to 86. In the late 1980s, the DELTA group saw a situation complicated; the status of Navy units endangered its operational capacity. In less than a decade all ships with them the ability to offer support in the amphibious operations were decommissioned. This left the Navy without amphibious capability.

In 1991 the Governments of the Netherlands and Spain signed a collaboration agreement for the design of a new amphibious ship. The construction work of L-51 "Galicia" started in 1995, the first in a series of two units in the factory of the Empresa Nacional Bazn (today Navantia) located in El Ferrol. The actual construction began in May 1996; She was launched on 21 July 1997 and surrendered to the Navy on 29 April 1998 to replace the old transport attack L-21 "Castilla".

The L-51 "Galicia" lifecycle highlights the work of transportation of personnel and material participated in KFOR in the former Yugoslavia, its participation in the work of aid after floods caused by Hurricane "Mitch" in Central America (November 1998 - January 1999), cleanliness in the pollution caused by the sinking of the tanker "prestige" (December 2002 - January 2003), operation "sj" (March 2003 - July 2003) of humanitarian aid to Iraq, the operation "Response of solidarity" (January 2005 - April 2005) of humanitarian aid to Banda Aceh and Coast NW of Sumatra (Indonesia) to contribute to mitigating the effects of the Tsunami that hit the area and the operation "Free Hidalgo" in support of the Mission of NN.UU for peacekeeping in the Lebanon (September 2006 - November 2006).

Major "Castilla" (L-52) missions have included participation in the "Romeo Sierra" operation of eviction of the parsley Island (July 17, 2002), collaboration in the collection of chapapote after the sinking of the tanker "prestige" (January 2003 - February 2003), made collaboration of transfer of material to the Legion bound for the port of Ash Shuahyabah (United Arab Emirates) in the framework of the "IF" operation (July 2003 - September 2003), and the Mission of humanitarian aid in Haiti as part of operation "Sea Caribbean" (October 2004 - December 2004).

The humanitarian aid that the Government offered the Iraqi population began on 20th March with the shipment of material from the military base in Rota (Cdiz) aboard the Navy ships the "Marqus de la Ensenada" - an oil tanker -, the "Reina Sofia" -a frigate- and the "Galicia" amphibious assault ship, which acted as a field hospital for Iraqi citizens while docked at the Um Qsar port. Rear Admiral Juan Antonio Moreno Susanna was in command of the ships, which carried 900 Navy and Army forces. On 9th April the amphibious assault ship "Galicia" arrived at the Um Qsar port and acted as a field hospital managed by the Army Advance Medical Echelon. Among others, its functions in the area focused on the distribution of humanitarian aid such as food and medicines to the Iraqi people.

The Tsunami catastrophe that struck Asia on 26 December 2004 is one of the worst natural disasters in modern history. Although the major impact was felt in India, Indonesia, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, several other were affected by the tsunami including Myanmar and Somalia. More than 250,000 people died and overall, an estimated 1.5 to 5 million people were directly affected. Damage and destruction of infrastructure devastated people's livelihoods and left many homeless and without adequate water and healthcare services. Spain is not a humanitarian aid donor. Spain did not play a key role in its funding of the tsunami response and is not a donor that adds any significant value to the international community's relief and humanitarian aid efforts. The Ministry of Defence felt that there was a social demand on the part of Spaniards for the military to intervene in humanitarian crises. Deploying military assets in disaster scenarios is regarded as an essential tool of State action. The decision to commit Spanish military assets was largely supply driven and a Spanish presidency initiative.

The Indonesian government was clear on the fact that they did not want doctors or medicines but transport and a reconstruction unit to improve access to affected areas. Much of the information the MoD used in deciding its involvement came from the Spanish Embassy in Jakarta. Spanish military assets in the tsunami relief operation involved aerial means and an amphibious maritime vessel, Buque Galicia. A hospital, reconstruction unit and three helicopters were included in the vessel. It is the presence of the Buque Galicia that enabled the military to be fully self-reliant and sustainable.

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Page last modified: 25-01-2013 18:56:35 ZULU