Spanish Armed Forces

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Spanish Armed Forces
Fuerzas Armadas Españolas
Emblem of the Spanish Armed Forces.svg
Tri-service badge
Spanish Armed Forces logo.svg
Spanish Armed Forces Recruitment Logo
Service branches

Emblem of the Spanish Army.svg Spanish Army
Emblem of the Spanish Navy.svg Spanish Navy
Emblem of the Spanish Air Force.svg Spanish Air Force
Coat of Arms of the UME.svg Military Emergencies Unit

Emblem of the Spanish Royal Guard.svg Spanish Royal Guard
Headquarters Madrid, Spain
Supreme Commander Captain general
H. M. Felipe VI
Minister of Defence Pedro Morenés[1]
Chief of the Defense Staff General Admiral
Fernando García Sánchez[2]
Military age 18
Active personnel


+ 82,692 Civil Guards= 204,692
Reserve personnel 16,200
Budget Increase € 5.767 billion[4] (2015)
Percent of GDP ~0.6% (2015)
Domestic suppliers Airbus Group, Santa Bárbara, Navantia, Indra, Gamesa, Abengoa
Foreign suppliers  United States
Annual imports € 2.415 billion [5] (2010)
Annual exports € 4.174 billion [5] (2010)
Related articles
History Military history of Spain

The Spanish Armed Forces (Spanish: Fuerzas Armadas Españolas, FFAA) are the military forces of the Kingdom of Spain. The Spanish Armed Forces are a modern military force charged with defending the Kingdom's integrity and sovereignty. They consist of the Army, Navy and Air Force. The King is the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, with the title Capitán General de las Fuerzas Armadas (General Captain of the Armed Forces) The current Chief of the Defence Staff is General Admiral Fernando García Sánchez. The Armed Forces are active members of NATO, the Eurocorps, the European Union Battlegroups, and also provide peace keeping troops to the United Nations.


During the 15th and 16th century, Spain evolved into Europe's foremost power with the voyages of Christopher Columbus leading to Spain attaining vast lands in the Americas. During the reign of Charles V and Philip II, Spain reached its peak of power with the Spanish Empire spanning 19.4 million squared km of the earths surface, a total of 13%. The 30 years war and financial problems, including a lack of reforms, weakened Spain's power by the mid 17th century.

During the 18th century the new Bourbon dynasty revived Spain's economic and military power thru a series of important reforms into the armed forces and into the economy, notability by Charles 3 of Spain. Spain performed well in the wars of the French Revolutionary Wars the wars of Jenkins' Ear and the Austrian Succession and several other engagements thanks to the needed reforms.

Due to the Napoleonic Wars in the early 19th century, Spain's occupation by French armies caused the so-called war of Spanish independence. This gave rise to vast use of guerrilla troops as a result of the wars devastation of Spain's economy. As such its military was in a bad shape and a huge amount of political instability resulted in the loss of most of Spain's former colonies, except Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines - these later would be lost in the Spanish American war.


The Spanish armed forces are a professional force with a strength in 2012 of 123,300 active personnel and 16,400 reserve personnel. The country also has the 80,000 strong Civil Guard which falls under the control of the Ministry of Defence in times of a national emergency. The Spanish defence budget is 5.71 billion euros (7.2 Billion USD) a 1% increase for 2015. The increase comes due to security concerns in the country.[6]


Main article: Spanish Army

The Spanish army consists of 15 active brigades and 6 military regions. They are headed by the head of state who is the king of Spain. Modern infantry have diverse capabilities and this is reflected in the varied roles assigned to them. There are four operational roles that infantry battalions can fulfil: air assault, armoured infantry, mechanised infantry, and light role infantry

The Spanish army is a modern fighting force with the latest technology at its disposal to preserve the territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Spain.[7]

Spanish Navy[edit]

Main article: Spanish Navy

Subordinate to the Spanish Chief of Naval Staff, stationed in Madrid, are four area commands:

  • Cantabrian Maritime Zone with its headquarters at Ferrol on the Atlantic coast
  • Straits Maritime Zone with its headquarters at San Fernando near Cadiz
  • Mediterranean Maritime Zone with its headquarters at Cartagena
  • Canary Islands Maritime Zone with its headquarters at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

The current flagship of the Spanish Navy is the amphibious assault ship Juan Carlos 1 which is also used as an aircraft carrier. In addition, the fleet consists of; 2 amphibious transport docks, 11 frigates, 3 submarines, 6 mine countermeasure vessels, 23 patrol vessels and a number of auxiliary ships. The total displacement of the Spanish Navy is approximately 220,000 tonnes.

As of 2012, the Armada has a strength of 20,800 personnel.[8]

Infanteria de Marina[edit]

Main article: Infanteria de Marina

The Infanteria de Marina are the marine infantry of the Spanish Navy, the oldest of the world. It has a strength of 5,000 troops divided into base defense forces and landing forces. One of the three base defense battalions is stationed with each of the Navy headquarters. "Groups" (midway between battalions and regiments) are stationed in Madrid and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. The Tercio (fleet — regiment equivalent) is available for immediate embarkation and based out of San Fernando. Its principal weapons include light tanks, armored personnel vehicles, self-propelled artillery, and TOW and Dragon antitank missiles.

Spanish Air Force[edit]

Main article: Spanish Air Force

Spain currently has 10 fighter squadrons, each with 18-24 airplanes. The air force also has 15 operational air bases around the country. The air force operates a wide-ranging fleet of aircraft, from fighters to transport aircraft and passenger transports to helicopters. It maintains some 450 aircraft in total, of which around 130 are fighter aircraft, including a number of Eurofighter Typhoons. The Spanish Air Force is replacing older aircraft in the inventory with newer ones including the recently introduced Eurofighter Typhoon and the Airbus A400M Atlas airlifter. Both are manufactured with Spanish participation; EADS CASA makes the Eurofighter's right wing and leading edge slats,and participates in the testing and assembly of the airlifter.[9]

Its aerobatic display team is the Patrulla Aguila, which flies the CASA C-101 Aviojet.Its helicopter display team, Patrulla Aspa, flies the Eurocopter EC-120 Colibrí.

In July 2014 the Spanish Air Force joined the European Air Transport Command, headquartered at Eindhoven Airbase in the Netherlands.[10]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]