The only Spanish Navy (Armada Espanola) Aircraft Carrier that visited Malta so far is ESPS PRINCIPE DE ASTURIAS R 11. She entered Grand Harbour, Malta on Friday 16th March, 2007 around 0835 hrs piloted with the late harbour pilot Austin Vella.
She was assisted by Tug Malta twin screw tugs FELICA and MARI.
She berthed starboard Side alongside Pinto 4 and wharves at VISET (Now Valletta Cruise Port).
She was built by Bazan’s Shipyards and delivered to the Spanish Navy on 30th May 1988 and was based at the Naval Station Rota. The ship supports up to 12 AV-8B Harrier II Plus and Harrier II aircraft of which during her stay she had 7 aircraft – 01-914; 01-915; 01-918; 01-920; 01-924; 01-925 and 01-927.
The carrier has facilities to support up to 12 helicopters, usually six Sikorsky Sea King SH-3H, four AgustaBell AB212 and two Sikorsky SH-3 AEW helicopters of which during this visit she had 6 including an AB212 with UN Markings – HA.18-12 coded 01-136.
4 x SH-3H SeaKings 01-501; 01-511; 01-512 and 01-516.
1 x Hughes H369M – 01-611
She has four FABA Meroka Mod 2B close-in weapon systems (CIWS), with 12-barrelled Oerlikon L120 20mm guns. The guns have a rate of fire of 1,440 rounds/min and a range of up to 2,000m. They are installed two on the stern deck and one each on the port and starboard side of the flight deck. She was opened to the general public from 1100 to 1300 hrs and from 1600 to 1800 hrs on Friday 16th March.
Part of the Nato Response Force (NRF) she left to Turkey on Saturday 17th March after 2100 hrs.
Watermarked Photos are by Capt. Lawrence Dalli otherwise stated. Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos – www.maltashipphotos.com
Published – Thursday 22nd July ,2021