Spanish shipyard group Navantia has released the first photographs of the Spanish navy’s new LHD, the “Juan Carlos I”, taken as the ship left the shipyard where it was built to undergo builder’s initial sea trials. The ship was launched in March 2008.
Displacing 18,000 tonnes, this is the largest ship that Navantia is building for the Spanish navy, and it is nearly identical to the two LHDs the company is building for the Royal Australian Navy. These LHDs are 230 meters long.
Designed and built at a cost of 360 million euros under the Buque de Proyeccion Estrategica (strategic projection ship, BPE) project, the Juan Carlos I is a multipurpose ship capable of amphibious and air operations, as well as of transporting army units and humanitarian aid. With a length of over 230 meters and a height of 32 meters, it is larger than the aircraft carrier Principe de Asturias which, until now, was the largest ship in the Spanish Navy.
With a crew of 243 officers and ratings, the Juan Carlos I has a range of 9,000 nautical miles. In addition to its crew, it can carry 902 troops and up to 46 Leopard tanks, as well as up to 30 fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, eight of which can operate on deck at the same time. Its well deck can deploy landing craft and other boats.
Spanish Navy plans call for the Juan Carlos I to replace the landing ships Hernan Cortes and Pizarro, thus improving its amphibious capabilities while, at the same time, providing an alternative aerial platform to the carrier Principe de Asturias. This will be particularly useful as the naval air group will remain operational when the carrier goes into drydock shortly for a refit.
Click here for additional photographs, on the Navantia website.