American helicopter maritime strike squadron to be based in Spain

Headquarters on the United States Navy’s 6th Fleet based in Naples Italy has announced that they will be replacing four guided-missile destroyers at the Rota Naval Base near to Cadiz.

According to United States military sources, the four ships(USS Carney, USS Donald Cook, USS Porter and USS Ross) will be replaced starting in 2020 by more modern Arleigh Burke-class destroyers equipped with helicopters.

A press release from the 6th Fleet command read: “The US Navy intends to relocate a helicopter maritime strike squadron (HSM) to Rota, Spain, in support of the destroyers, which will enhance the multi-mission roles of these ships.”

The new squadron includes six Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk helicopters (one per ship, plus two in reserve).

Positioning the helicopters to Rota will also mean deploying 30 additional military personnel who are not accounted for in the current defence agreement between the United States and Spain.

Under the existing agreement, the United States is allowed a maximum of 4,250 soldiers and 1,000 US citizens at the Rota Naval Base.

Sources told EL PAÍS newspaper that the principal mission of the new vessels will remain the same as those already deployed: “To contribute to ballistic missile defence,” as part of NATO missile defence program.


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