Spanish ship Juan Carlos I (L61)

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Spanish ship Juan Carlos I entering Ferrol.jpg
Juan Carlos I on the Ría of Ferrol, October 2010
Career (Spain)
Name: Juan Carlos I
Namesake: King Juan Carlos I of Spain
Ordered: 5 September 2003
Builder: Navantia
Cost: €462 million[1] (~US$600 million)
Laid down: May 2005
Launched: 22 September 2009[2]
Sponsored by: Queen Sofia of Spain
Commissioned: 30 September 2010[3]
Homeport: Naval Station Rota, Rota[4]
Identification: Pennant number: L61
Status: Active as of 2014
General characteristics
Class & type: Juan Carlos I class amphibious assault ship
Displacement: 26,000 tonnes[5]
Length: 230.82 m (757.3 ft)[6]
Beam: 32 m (105 ft)[5]
Draught: 6.9 m (23 ft)[6]
Propulsion: 2 x 11 MW POD[5]
Speed: 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph)[5]
Range: 9,000 nautical miles (17,000 km; 10,000 mi) at 15 knots (28 km/h; 17 mph)[5]
Boats & landing
craft carried:
Four LCM-1E
Capacity: 913 soldiers + up to 46 Leopard 2E tanks
Complement: Ship's company: 261[5]
Air wing: 172
Sensors and
processing systems:
LANZA-N air search, ARIES surface search, PAR aircraft landing[5]
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
REGULUS and RIGEL[5]
Armament: 4 x 20 mm guns
4x 12.7 mm machine guns
Aircraft carried: AV-8B Harrier II, Chinook, Sea King, NH-90 (typically 12 Harrier, 10 helicopters)

Juan Carlos I is a multi-purpose warship in the Spanish Navy (Armada Española). Similar in concept to the American Wasp-class amphibious assault ship, it has the addition of a ski jump for STOVL operations. The ship will be equipped with the AV-8B Harrier II attack aircraft and can be used as an aircraft carrier. The vessel is named in honour of Juan Carlos I, the former King of Spain.[7]

The new vessel is to play an important role in the fleet, as a platform that not only replaces the Newport-class LSTs Hernán Cortés and Pizarro for supporting the mobility of the Marines and the strategic transport of ground forces, but that can also act as a platform for carrier-based aviation replacing the now withdrawn aircraft carrier Príncipe de Asturias.

Design[edit]

The design for the Buque de Proyección Estratégica (Strategic Projection Vessel), as it was initially known, was approved in September 2003.

The bow of Juan Carlos I, showing the ship's ski-jump ramp. Málaga, July 2013

The vessel has a flight deck of 202 m (663 ft), with a "ski-jump" ramp. The ship's flight deck has eight landing spots for Harrier, F-35 Lightning II or medium-sized helicopters, four spots for heavy helicopters of the CH-47 Chinook type, and one spot large enough for aircraft of V-22 Osprey size.[8] The ship can carry either 30 helicopters or 10/12 AV-8B or F-35B and 10/12 helicopters,[5] using the light vehicles bay as an additional storage zone.

For the first time in the Spanish Navy, the ship uses diesel-electric propulsion, simultaneously connecting both diesels and the new technology gas turbine powerplant to a pair of azimuthal pods.

The complement of the ship is around 900 naval personnel, with equipment and support elements for 1,200 soldiers. Multi-functional garage and hangar space on two levels covers 6,000 m2 (65,000 sq ft), with capacity for 6,000 tonnes load on each level. A stern well deck measuring 69.3 by 16.8 m (227 by 55 ft) can accommodate four LCM-1E landing craft which can beach-deliver non-swimming ground vehicles like tanks and four RHIBs, or one Landing Craft Air Cushion plus Assault Amphibious Vehicles.[9]

Construction[edit]

Construction of the 231 m (758 ft), 27,000-tonne ship started in May 2005 simultaneously at the Navantia Shipyards in Ferrol, Galicia (with the cut of the first plate corresponding to Block 320) and in Fene, Galicia (with the cut of the first plate corresponding to Block 330). The ship, that supposes a service load of 3,100,000 hours of production and 775,000 hours of engineering, was launched 10 March 2008,[10] and was commissioned 30 September 2010.[3][11] The original budget was €360 million but the ship cost €462 million (US$600 million) in the end.[1]

Exports[edit]

Juan Carlos I in Istanbul, Turkey, May 2011

Australia[edit]

Following a lengthy design contest that pitted the design against the similar but smaller French Mistral-class amphibious assault ship, the Prime Minister of Australia announced on 20 June 2007, that Australia would purchase and build two ships of the same design to become the Canberra-class landing helicopter docks. Navantia will be responsible for construction of the ships from the keel to the flight deck in Spain, after which the hulls will be transported to Australia for completion by BAE Systems Australia.

Russia[edit]

In September 2009, Russia invited Navantia to take part in the competition to supply Russian Navy with the new generation of amphibious assault ships to compete against the French Mistral-class ships. In January 2011 Russia chose the Mistral over the Spanish concept.

Turkey[edit]

Navantia will provide design, technology transfer, equipment and technical assistance for local construction of a derivative of the Juan Carlos class LPD. The Turkish variant will be built in Turkey by SEDEF and feature Turkish command and control systems.[12] The Turkish LPD program is projected to cost $0.5 billion.[13]

References[edit]

External links[edit]