Spanish oiler Cantabria

Cantabria (A15) is a replenishment oiler operated by the Spanish Navy. Acquired to provide logistical support for the Spanish fleet, Cantabria was commissioned in 2010. Cantabria is the second-largest naval ship currently operated by the Spanish, behind Juan Carlos I.

Cantabria (A-15) 01
Cantabria in March 2011
Name: Cantabria
Ordered: July 2005
Builder: Puerto Real, Cadiz
Cost: €238m[1] (~US$300m)
Laid down: 18 July 2007
Launched: 21 July 2008
Commissioned: 29 September 2010
Status: in active service
Badge: Cantabria A15 Armada Española
General characteristics
Type: Replenishment oiler
Displacement: 19,500 tons
Length: 170.4 m (559 ft)
Beam: 23 m (75 ft)
Draught: 8 m (26 ft)
Propulsion: 2 diesel MAN 18V 40/45, 10,890 kW (14,600 hp), single propeller shaft, controllable-pitch propeller
Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph) sustained
Range: 6,000 nmi (11,000 km; 6,900 mi)
  • 8,920 m3 (315,000 cu ft) of ship fuel
  • 1,585 m3 (56,000 cu ft) of JP-5
  • 215 m3 (7,600 cu ft) of fresh water
  • 280 tons of ammunition
  • 470 tons of general cargo
Complement: 122
Sensors and
processing systems:
EID ICCS integrated communications control system
Aircraft carried: 2–3 helicopters

Design and construction

Cantabria is a replenishment oiler, referred to in Spanish as a Buque de Aprovisionamiento en Combate (BAC; Supply Ship in Combat). She was acquired to provide logistical support to the Spanish Navy during day-to-day operations, expeditionary forces or strategic projection deployments, and for humanitarian and disaster relief operations. The vessel has a displacement of 19,500 tons, is 170.4 metres (559 ft) in length, has a beam of 23 metres (75 ft), and a draught of 8 metres (26 ft). Propulsion is provided by two diesel engines, supplying 10,890 kilowatts (14,600 hp) to a single propeller shaft, which is fitted with a controllable-pitch propeller. Cantabria has a maximum sustained speed of 20 knots (37 km/h; 23 mph), and a range of 6,000 nautical miles (11,000 km; 6,900 mi). The ship's complement is 122.

The ship's capacity includes 8,920 cubic metres (315,000 cu ft) of ship fuel, 1,585 cubic metres (56,000 cu ft) of JP-5 jet fuel, 215 cubic metres (7,600 cu ft) of fresh water, 280 tons of ammunition, and 470 tons of general cargo. The fuel storage areas are double-hulled. Cantabria can replenish three ships simultaneously; one on each side, plus a third via a stern refueling station. She can carry three Agusta-Bell AB.212, two Sikorsky SH-3 Sea King, or two NHIndustries NH90 helicopters to perform vertical replenishment.

Cantabria was laid down in the dry dock of shipyard of Puerto Real, Cadiz, on 18 July 2007; the first ship to be built there in 30 years. The ship was launched by floating on 21 July 2008, and was sponsored by Aurora Diaz Abella, the wife of Miguel Ángel Revilla, the President of the Autonomous Community of Cantabria. The ship underwent sea trials in the Bay of Cadiz from October to December 2009. She was commissioned into the Spanish Navy on 29 September 2010. The original budget was €213m but the final cost was €238m.[1]


The design has been evaluated by foreign buyers. Canada approached Navantia to provide a design for the Joint Support Ship Project based on Cantabria, but Navantia's proposal was not successful, with Canada eventually selecting an alternative German design based on the Berlin class. The Norwegian Navy has also expressed interest, but they have announced an order for a replenishment ship from South Korean shipbuilder DSME.

Australia considered the design for their replacement tankers, with Navantia competing against the Aegir variant of the Tide-class tanker built by South Korea's DSME in a restricted tender competition.[2][3] Navantia's proposal based on Cantabria was announced as the successful design in the Australian tender in March 2016, with an expected in service date for the first of two vessels to be known as HMA Ships Supply and Stalwart of late 2019. The two vessels will be known within the Royal Australian Navy as the Supply class.[4]

Operational history

Between 2 and 5 July 2012, Cantabria participated alongside the frigates Álvaro de Bazán, Almirante Juan de Borbón, and Méndez Núñez, the submarine Galerna, and AV-8Bs of the 9th naval air squadron during exercise MAR-22 on the Atlantic coast of Galicia.

RAN-IFR 2013 D2 02
Cantabria entering Sydney Harbour in October 2013
SPS Cantabria at Gallions Basin
Cantabria moored at Gallions Basin in London in January 2016

On 3 July 2012, the Australian and Spanish governments signed an agreement to deploy Cantabria in support of the Royal Australian Navy during 2013.[5] The ship operated in Australian waters from February to November 2013, was used to provide replenishment support to the Australians while the oiler HMAS Success underwent maintenance.[5] While in Australian waters, Cantabria performed 63 replenishments, including 10,500 cubic metres (370,000 cu ft) of fuel, was involved in the first vertical replenishment of an Anzac-class frigate by an MRH-90 helicopter,[6] and participated in the International Fleet Review 2013. The deployment also allowed over 300 Australian personnel to train on systems similar to those in the Spanish-designed Hobart and Canberra-class ships being acquired, and allowed the Royal Australian Navy to evaluate the design as a possible replacement for its replenishment vessels.[5][6]

In 2015 the Canadian and Spanish governments concluded a deal where Patiño and Cantabria would deploy with Canadian naval forces as their replenishment vessel in 2016. This would be done primarily for training missions. Cantabria would be made available to the Royal Canadian Navy from mid-September to November 2016.[7]


  1. ^ a b Ministerio de Defensa (September 2011). "Evaluación de los Programas Especiales de Armamento (PEAs)" (PDF) (in Spanish). Madrid: Grupo Atenea. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 October 2013. Retrieved 30 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Minister for Defence – Transcript – Naval shipbuilding announcement, CEA Technologies, Canberra" (Transcript). Department of Defence Ministers. 6 June 2014. Archived from the original on 22 February 2015. Retrieved 1 January 2015.
  3. ^ Hewett, Jennifer (26 April 2015). "Australian ships, Australian jobs". The Australian Financial Review. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  4. ^ Grevatt, Jon (10 March 2016). "Australia selects Navantia for new replenishment ship". IHS Jane's 360. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  5. ^ a b c Ing, David (4 July 2012). "Australia and Spain agree to share fleet tanker". Jane's Defence Weekly. Jane's Information Group.
  6. ^ a b Kerr, Julian (24 October 2013). "Cantabria to leave Australia with great wealth of knowledge". Australian Defence Magazine. Retrieved 9 November 2013.
  7. ^ Pugliese, David (9 December 2015). "Royal Canadian Navy prepares for Spanish supply ship Patiño in late January on east coast". Ottawa Citizen. Retrieved 14 December 2015.
Exercise Talisman Saber

Exercise Talisman Saber (also spelled Talisman Sabre, the spelling alternating between US and Australian English) is a biennial joint Australia-United States military exercise. Talisman Saber involves joint exercises performed by the Australian Defence Force and the United States Military across six locations in northern and central Australia, the Coral Sea, and in Honolulu, Denver, and Suffolk, Va., though the bulk of the exercises are concentrated at the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area and other locations in northern and central Australia and Australia's territorial sea and exclusive economic zone.To reflect its bilateral nature, leadership of the exercise switches between Australia and the US every 2 years; primary leadership is reflected in the varied spelling of Saber/Sabre. The exercise focuses on crisis-action planning and contingency response, enhancing both nations’ military capabilities to deal with regional contingencies and the War on Terrorism. Seven exercises have been held in the years 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019.

HMAS Success (OR 304)

HMAS Success (OR 304) is a Durance-class multi-product replenishment oiler that previously served in the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Built by Cockatoo Docks & Engineering Company in Sydney, Australia, during the 1980s, she is the only ship of the class to be constructed outside France, and the only one to not originally serve in the Marine Nationale (French Navy). The ship was part of the Australian contribution to the 1991 Gulf War, and was deployed to East Timor in response to incidents in 1999 and 2006. The ship was fitted with a double hull during the first half of 2011, to meet International Maritime Organization standards.

Replenishment oiler

A replenishment oiler or replenishment tanker is a naval auxiliary ship with fuel tanks and dry cargo holds which can supply both fuel and dry stores during underway replenishment (UNREP) at sea. Many countries have used replenishment oilers.

The United States Navy's hull classification symbol for this type of ship was AOR. Replenishment oilers are slower and carry fewer dry stores than the U.S. Navy's modern fast combat support ships, which carry the classification AOE.

SS Cantabria

Cantabria was the name of a number of ships.

SS Cantabria (1855), lost off the Canary Islands in 1862

SS Cantabria (1919), sunk by nationalist raider Nadir off the coast of Norfolk, United Kingdom, during the Spanish Civil War

Supply-class replenishment oiler

The Supply class is a planned class of replenishment oilers of the Royal Australian Navy, a role that combines the missions of a tanker and stores supply ship. As such they are designated auxiliary oiler replenisher (AOR). They will be tasked with providing ammunition, fuel, food and other supplies to Royal Australian Navy vessels around the world. There will be two ships in the class, Supply and Stalwart. The project is expected to cost anywhere between $1 and $2 billion. Navantia were selected to build a design based on the Spanish Navy's current replenishment vessel the Cantabria, which entered service in 2011.


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