“It is not profitable to attack an ally”

“It is not profitable to attack an ally”
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More than 230 meters, like two Santiago Bernabéu stadiumsthe length of the aircraft carrier is the Spanish Navy Juan Carlos I, which with its current presence in European waters demonstrates Spain’s commitment to deterrence. Three months sailing from Istanbul to Helsinki to send a clear message to Russia: “It is not profitable to attack an ally.”

In this journey you are not alone. They accompany him amphibious assault ship Galicia, and the frigates Blas de Lezo and Reina Sofía that make up the Daedalus 24 expeditionary combat group.

“We are here to contribute to the strength of the deterrence message and to make it clear that it is not profitable to carry out aggression against any NATO allied country,” Rear Admiral Juan Carlos Villar, commander of the group, assures a group of journalists visiting the ship in the waters of Crete, invited by the Defense Staff (EMAD) and the Operations Command (MOPS).

7 planes, 3 helicopters and more than 1,700 troops

The group left the Rota Naval Base (Cádiz) at the beginning of April for a deployment of three months with the mission to support NATO’s enhanced surveillance activities established after the invasion of and contribute to maritime security in European waters, from the coasts of the Aegean Sea to those of the Baltic.

Seven Harrier aircraft, three helicopters from the Navy Aircraft Flotillaeight amphibious landing craft and twelve fast boats, plus a reinforced Marine Battalion complete the Daedalus device.

Total more than 1,700 men and women with an average age of 24 years (800 belong to the Juan Carlos I crew), who are accompanied by the dog Lika, an expert in explosives detection and one more of the contingent.

Complex operations such as amphibious and air naval operations are the two main vectors of naval power projection on land that characterize the naval group.

Intense surveillance activity

The first weeks of navigation, ships and helicopters have carried out intense surveillance activity in the Mediterranean, in support of NATO Operation Sea Guardianto combat transnational terrorism, and have also carried out bilateral activities with the Armed Forces of Greece and Turkey.

Since leaving Spain, the AB-212 helicopters have carried out live missions, day and night, on surface whites. Spanish attack aircraft have also carried out joint surveillance activities in airspace with the Eurofigther of the Air and Space Army, deployed in , an example of how aircraft carriers can contribute to deterrence by reinforcing security in the sky. from the eastern border of the Alliance.

The rear admiral acknowledges that it is logical for Russia to sail and fly through the Baltic, where it has two naval bases, but points out that after years of coexistence in such a small space “no incident has ever occurred that has not been resolved safely.” and professional”. Nor since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, nor in the Baltic nor in the Mediterranean.

Four aircraft carriers acting in unison

Soon the Group will participate in the activities of Neptune Strike reinforced surveillance under NATO command, an exercise that began on April 26 and will continue until May 10.

The French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle and the Italian Cavour will sail alongside the Juan Carlos I, as well as the Anadolu, the Turkish twin of the Spanish ship.

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The rear admiral explains the idea of ​​deterrence like this: “NATO with Neptune Strike puts four aircraft carriers at sea acting in unison as if it were a single force and, furthermore, demonstrating that it has a very large radius of action.”

In fact, The Harriers have carried out missions in which they have flown around 1,900 miles (3,000 kilometers). “I think that message is very powerful for Russia and when deciding to attack someone it is an important element that must be taken into account and that avoids conflict,” she emphasizes.

In this context, the Spanish planes will fly over the skies of Slovakia, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania, Italy, Montenegro and Albania and, in addition, they will carry out support missions to the contingents deployed in the countries of Eastern Europe, including the Spanish troops in Slovakia.

A 600 m2 hospital

This 27,000-tonne mass is a labyrinth of corridors and stairs that lead to its ten floors.. On the air deck, the Harrier planes take off briefly and, after the flight, return to the ship making a vertical landing in which the pilots have to calibrate the distance to the millimeter.

“The good thing about this ship is its versatility. Good, nice and cheap,” says Ricardo Gómez Delgado, the commander of this amphibious aircraft carrier. designed and built entirely in Spain which has been sold to Türkiye and Australia.

The ship has a hospital of almost 600 square meters that has two operating rooms, one for general surgery and the other for trauma, as well as an ICU with eight beds, X-ray and ultrasound equipment, and a state-of-the-art laboratory.

A health team made up of surgeons, intensivists, nursing staff, a dentist and a physiotherapist, among others, aims to offer the same health care as in the national territory.

The presence of the dentist is very important, especially for pilots, for whom pressure changes during flights cause dental problems, especially in fillings.

Stopovers in Rota and Gijón

Simultaneously with the Neptune Strike, the group will participate in the Mare Aperto amphibious exercise, organized by Italy, together with 6,000 troops from allied countries.

At the end of May, after a brief logistics stop at the Rota Naval Base, the Atlantic phase of the deployment will begin.

The Dédalo will head to Gijón, where on May 25 it will participate in the Armed Forces Day activities and from there it will head to the Baltic Sea, the final stage of the journey.

Teresa Díaz / EFE

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