F-110 frigates infographic. Source - Navantia.

F-110 frigates’ anti-submarine capabilities

The F-110 frigates have the difficult mission of replacing the F-80s, which have provided such a good service, giving back to the Armada some of the anti-submarine capabilities that we have neglected for decades. To do so, they are relying on an anti-submarine suite provided by Thales and SAES, which includes top-level equipment on a par with navies such as the US Navy and the French Marine Nationale. As a result, they will form the core of a force that will be supplemented in the future by the capabilities provided by S-80 submarines and future maritime patrol aircraft, manned or unmanned. Although the years ahead are far from rosy, as there is much work to be done – as much as there has been institutional neglect – the F-110 frigates are a great first step. In January 2013 the Military […]

S-81 Isaac Peral. Source - Navantia

The combat system of the S-80 submarines

It is difficult to explain the complexity inherent in platforms such as the S-80 submarines. This type of programme is often compared to space programmes, partly for marketing reasons, but also to try to summarise, in a few words, the enormous number of systems and subsystems that make them up. Over the next three articles we will explain one by one the systems that, vertebrated by the Combat System, will allow the S-81 “Isaac Peral” and its twins to be among the most capable conventional submarines in the world. To this end, in this first article, we will talk about the sonar suite. Subsequently, in a second publication, we will focus on the surface sensors, communications systems, platform control and navigation systems, and countermeasures systems. Finally, a third article will be devoted to armament, as this is such a complex […]

M142 HIMARS. Source - US Army.


Since the first M142 HIMARS system arrived in Ukraine on June, rivers of ink have been written about its role in the war. There is no doubt that thanks to its mobility, versatility, precision and range, it has allowed Ukraine to inflict real damage on Russian logistics. Hence, limiting its ability to coordinate large-scale operations and thus limiting its progress. In this sense, the HIMARS and its brothers, the M270 and the MARS II, have changed the sign of the conflict. However, it has not been their only notch, as they have previously played an important role in other conflicts, including Afghanistan and the fight against Daesh. What is more important, everything seems to indicate that we are only at the beginning of its operational life, since improvements and new ammunition are constantly being developed that promise an intense future. […]

Anti-terrorist operation in eastern Ukraine (War Ukraine). Source - Ministry of Defence of Ukraine.

Russian Winter: Myths and fables

In the last few days, various opinions have appeared in the general press arguing that the arrival of winter will mean a paralysis of operations, a catastrophe for the Ukrainian population or an enormous military advantage for Russia, not to mention its effects on the economy of the European Union. Again and again reference is made to the “Russian Winter” or “General Winter” going back to the Napoleonic Wars or World War II. Beyond the fact that this calculatedly defeatist message supports some of the Kremlin’s narratives, it is very interesting to contrast it with reality… When, in the winter of 1812, the remnants of Napoleon’s Grande Armée returned to their home bases in Central and Western Europe, little remained of the huge army that had crossed the Niemen in June. Some 380,000 men from the fifteen or so countries […]

Future Combat Air System (FCAS)

The FCAS programme and the Spanish Defence Industry: a wrong bet

If there is a controversial programme in which the Spanish Ministry of Defence is embarked, that is the FCAS. Born as an initiative of the European Technology Acquisition Program (ETAP) aimed at exploring the needs of the EU air forces in relation to a new joint air combat weapons system, with the signing of the framework agreement NGWS mutated into something very different. The prioritization of the interests of the defense industry over those of the Air Force in the case of Spain, the particular interests of France -with Dassault in the lead-, the hesitant position of Germany, the multiple delays and disagreements among the partners or the Spanish commitment to Indra -to the detriment of Airbus- as national coordinator are just some of the controversial issues in a program that has always walked a tightrope. In addition, a question still […]

Launching of a Chinese space rocket. Source - CCTV.

Chinese FOBS and Limited Nuclear Options

On 16 October, the US Financial Times published what, in the world of Strategic Studies, was a real bombshell: China’s alleged test of a Fractional Orbital Bombardment System (FOBS) combined with a hypersonic missile. The advantages of FOBS lie in their ability to attack by orbital flight, so that they can describe unpredictable trajectories with a flight profile that makes them very difficult to detect, track and intercept with anti-missile systems or space weapons. In addition to the advantages of orbital flight, in the terminal phase of the attack, the weapon re-enters the atmosphere and strikes as a hypersonic glide-glide missile (HGV). Taken together, the combined characteristics of FOBS and HGVs provide unique capabilities to prevail in a crisis or limited nuclear engagement. However, this weapon is not a panacea and has the disadvantage that ballistically it is very inefficient; it takes alot of energy to launch a FOBS-HGV, while the same amount of energy used by a rocket in ballistic launch could launch many ballistic warheads. Moreover, FOBS-HGVs are not a “First Strike” weapon that could alter strategicstability between China and the US but are only a weapon for limited engagements and escalation control. Theselimited engagements were formalised […]

USS America (LHA-6) F-35B loaded. Source - US Navy.

The return of light aircraft carriers

In the decades immediately after the Second World War, light aircraft carriers progressively decreased in number, becoming the solution for those navies that could not afford to maintain true fleet carriers. This trend became even more pronounced with the end of the Cold War and the decommissioning of many of the last exponents still in service. Now, faced with a new scenario of great power competition in which naval supremacy is no longer assured for the US and its allies, and with the impossibility of operating more Nimitz and Gerald R. Ford class supercarriers, the light aircraft carrier concept is regaining much of its appeal. This is not only because of the possibility of access – at least for some US partners – to the F-35B, but also as a platform from which to operate fixed-wing drones, something that China […]


FGK Programme (Fuze Guidance Kit)

Four years ago, the Madrid-based company Escribano Mechanical & Engineering (EM&E) began working on a unique project in our country: the design of guidance kits that could be used in rocket ammunition as well as in howitzers and mortars. Since then, the dozens of people working on the FGK (Fuze Guidance Kit) programme have achieved important advances and passed numerous milestones. For example, on 7 June, at the Torregorda Test Centre (Centro de Ensayos de Torregorda, CET), which is part of INTA (National Institute for Aerospace Technology) and located on the outskirts of the city of Cadiz (Spain), we were able to witness the launch of five 155 mm projectiles equipped with five guided fuses. The results of the tests, which were a resounding success, achieving an accuracy that would be impossible to achieve without these kits and demonstrating the reliability […]


Distributed Lethality

In 2015, the United States Naval Institute (USNI) published an article signed by Vice Admiral Thomas Rowden and Rear Admirals Peter Gumataotao and Peter Fanta, calling for an operational change in the US Navy that would lead to what its authors called “Distributed Lethality”. To do this, they not only asked to increase the offensive power of each ship in the surface fleet, but also wanted them to start operating in what they defined as “hunter-killer surface action groups”, leaving behind the large formations of escorts, with AAW orientation and articulated around nuclear-powered aircraft carriers. We have talked about the Third Offset Strategy, understood as the economic, military, technical and diplomatic effort of the United States to compensate for the military rise of the People’s Republic of China and its expansion, especially in the naval field, it is now time […]


Third Offset Strategy

The Third Offset Strategy is the US response to the military rise of revisionist powers like the People’s Republic of China. It aims to overcome the limitations of the RMA (Revolution in Military Affairs) of Information, the one that in the decades before and after the turn of the century promised us a long-distance, precise and bloodless war, is already a reality assimilated to a greater or to a lesser extent by many of the most powerful armies. It is evident that this RMA has changed the way of waging war in many aspects, although its influence is far from what was promised by many of its main defenders during the happy 90s. The new developments in terms of autonomous weapons, cyber warfare or nanotechnology, for On the contrary, they represent a change of greater significance that could forever change […]