THE PENTAGON has revealed its intent to increase its military presence in Spain by 50%, turning the naval base of Rota, Cadiz into the leading military stronghold in southern Europe.
According to sources, the US plans to increase its arsonal of Arleigh Burke class destroyers from four to six, meaning an increase of nearly 600 extra troops.
Plans have also been revealed to modernise the existing fleet of ships with a squadron of Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk helicopters, replacing the four destroyers currently based there since 2014.
The aim of the overhaul is to ensure that the US Navy maintains its ‘Forward Deployed Naval Forces-Europe’ (FDNF-E) role with two constantly operational units available at all times.
The plans are currently at the initial stages, with numerous legal and administration procedures laying ahead.
The base is governed under a treaty formed in 1988 that gives permission for the US Navy to hold a presence in Spain.
America also has large Air Force base in nearly Moron de la Frontera.
The stipulations of the treaty have been modified numerous times as the US has increased its troop numbers.
Acting Spanish president Pedro Sanchez has come under fire recently from his US counterpart thanks to Spain’s relatively low investment in defense (0.92% of GDP) far below the 2% guideline given by the US.
If plans are approved, the new vessels will start to be deployed in 2022, while the additional units will be issued once the bilateral treaty receives the appropriate amendments by the Spanish government.