Spanish Navy uses Scan Eagle Drone on Santa Maria class frigate

According to a tweet published by EU NAVFOR on August 29, 2022, the Spanish Navy has successfully used the SCAN EAGLE Drone on the Santa Maria class frigate Numancia during Operation Atalanta.
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Russian Vyborg Shipyard laid the Purga ice class coastguard ship of project 23550 925 001 SCAN Eagle Drone on the Spanish Navy's Santa Maria class frigate Numancia. (Picture source: EU NAVFOR)

Numancia (F83) is the third of the six Spanish-built Santa Maria-class frigates, based on the American Oliver Hazard Perry-class design, of the Spanish Navy. Laid down on 8 January 1986, and launched on 29 January 1987, Numancia was commissioned in service on 17 November 1989.

The Santa María class of frigates is the Spanish Navy's designation for six locally built warships based on the United States Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates.

Built-in two batches, the second batch units (F-85 and 86) received some improvements, such as an improved combat-data system, updated SPS-49, and SQR-19 sets, and a new Meroka mount.

The Mk92 Mod 6 CORT replaced the previous Mod 4, providing better capabilities against sea-skimming missiles. The electronic warfare suite was also updated.

Spanish ships have a slightly bigger beam and were built with a greater weight reserve for future improvements. Other changes from the basic model include Meroka replacing Phalanx and a RAN-12L air search radar to provide low horizon coverage against sea skimmers cueing the Meroka CIWS mount. The Nettunel EW suite (based on the Italian Nettuno built in Spain) replaced the SLQ-32 system fitted aboard US ships.

The class is currently receiving a mid-life update (MLU), including a new EW suite, improved combat-data system, an upgrade of the Mk92 FCS, new electrical generators, the removal of the SQR-19 TACTASS towed array and habitability improvements. Four ships have already been modernized.

About the SCAN EAGLE drone

The Boeing Insitu ScanEagle is a small, long-endurance, low-altitude unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) built by Insitu, a subsidiary of Boeing, and is used for reconnaissance.

The ScanEagle was designed by Insitu based on the Insitu SeaScan, a commercial UAV that was intended for fish-spotting. The ScanEagle continues to receive improvements through upgrades and changes.