Spanish Inspiration

Navantia-built Juan Carlos I amphibious assault LHD calls on India

Sumit Kumar Verma

Navantia-built amphibious assault Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) Juan Carlos I (regarded as the flagship of the Spanish Navy) came on a goodwill visit to India, stopping at the Mumbai port from June 3-6. The visit has come close on the heels of a bid for Indian Navy’s requirement of four 20,000 tonne class multirole support vessel Landing Platform Dock (LPD) programme likely to be opening soon.

Navantia-built amphibious assault Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) Juan Carlos I

Taking advantage of the visit, Navantia invited a group of journalists to embark the ship in Mumbai in order to acquaint them with capabilities of the Spanish shipbuilder and what they would bring to India in a partnership with an Indian shipyard. Calling it the best in its class, Junior Lieutenant Pablo Fernandez, who has been posted on-board Juan Carlos I for almost two years and was tasked to brief the media, highlighted the versatility of the ship.

Named after the former king of Spain, Juan Carlos I is the biggest ship ever built in the history of the Spanish Navy. Commissioned in September 2010, the carrier is 230.8 metres long, has a displacement of 27,079 tonnes and a range of 9,000 nautical miles (17,000 kilometres) at the speed of 15 knots. Powered by a diesel-electric propulsion system, it can achieve a maximum speed of 21 knots. The carrier is designed to work in a variety of mission profiles, such as amphibious operations, air operations, joint force projection and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations.

With a ski jump, Juan Carlos I is similar to a small aircraft carrier with the option for Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) and is equipped with AV-8B Harrier II aircraft. It can also operate F-35B in the future.

The carrier consists of 11 decks including a floating deck, heavy deck, medium deck, a hanger and the flying deck. It can accommodate four landing crafts in the floating dock and up to 46 Main Battle Tanks of 65 tonnes each in the heavy deck. It can comfortably accommodate 1,400 personnel, including 890 embarked forces and a crew of 247. It also has an additional air wing unit with logistic autonomy for 50 days.

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