On June 29 and 30, the Spanish Navy conducted Exercise SINKEX 23 southwest of the Canary Islands, at a distance of 100 nautical miles from the coast, as a demonstration of the Navy’s commitment to environmental protection. This exercise consisted in a series of firings against surface targets.

The aircraft carrier LHD ‘Juan Carlos I’, the F-100 frigates ‘Méndez Núñez’ and F-80 ‘Canarias’, AV-8B aircraft from the 9th Squadron and SH-60F helicopters from the 10th Squadron participated in this exercise. The offshore patrol vessels ‘Relámpago’, ‘Rayo’, and ‘Centinela’ and the auxiliary vessel ‘Mar Caribe’ collaborated in the exercise providing support. In addition, a medium speed aircraft ‘Cessna Citation’ and a maritime patrol D-4 aircraft from the Spanish Air Force also took part.

The main target was the former light transport ship ‘Martín Posadillo’, recently decommissioned. There were also two other targets towed by remote-controlled boats that generated a heat signature and an experimental geostationary target developed by the Royal Observatory of the Spanish Navy and the University of Cadiz consisting of a platform with maneuvering capability adequate to remain static at a fixed point. Two old training vessels were also used as alternative targets. As a novelty with respect to previous SINKEX exercises, a tactical scenario associated with each of the launch events was included.

The retired navy transport Martín Posadillo under tow for SINKEX

The exercise constituted an advanced training exercise of great value for the units involved, as it allowed to plan and execute the firings of different weapons in a coordinated manner. Likewise, this exercise was a unique and essential opportunity to reach the maximum degree of knowledge about the combat systems and armament, thus guaranteeing their operation in the best conditions and their safe and effective employment, if necessary.

The ammunitions used were ‘Harpoon’, ‘Penguin’ and ‘Maverick’ missiles, as well as JDAM and MK-82 bombs.