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LHD "Juan Carlos I" Coat of Arms
LHD "Juan Carlos I" Coat of Arms
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LHD "Juan Carlos I" Coat of Arms
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LHD "Juan Carlos I" near San Felipe Castle in the Ferrol estuary
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LHD "Juan Carlos I" next to a loaded LCM-1E
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LHD "Juan Carlos I" with several LCM-1E
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LHD "Juan Carlos I" flight deck with several aircraft
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LHD "Juan Carlos I"
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LHD "Juan Carlos I"
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LHD "Juan Carlos I"
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LHD "Juan Carlos I"

The amphibious ship aircraft carrier "Juan Carlos I" is the largest naval unit ever built in Spain. Her NATO denomination is LHD (Landing Helicopter Dock) and is named after His Majesty King Juan Carlos I, following a long tradition in the Spanish Navy to christen ships with the name of the reigning monarch.

LHD "Juan Carlos I" (L-61)
LENGTH 231 mts.
BEAM 32 mts.
1 gas turbine
2 diesel generators
2 x POD @ 11.0 MW each
AIRCRAFT Capability for up to 30 medium and heavy helicopters for amphibious operations or 10/12 F-35B or AV-8B+ and similar number of helicopters in her aircraft-carrier configuration.
CREW 295
4 machine-guns (12.7 mm)
Space for future anti-missile CIWS (ESSM or RAM)
Tri-dimensional radar LANZA-N: Search air radar up to 250 nm.
ARIES radars: twin radars fore and aft for surface surveillance and helicopter control.
PAR radar (Precise Approach Radar) for aircraft approach and air traffic control.
Electronic warfare sets REGULUS and RIGEL.
All sensors data are processed in the SCOMBA combat system.
MISCELLANEOUS Range: 9,000 nm at 15 knots

The ship has been designed for 4 mission profiles:

  • Amphibious ship transporting a Marine Corps Force for landings and land support operations.
  • Force projection ship transporting Army forces to any theatre of operations.
  • Aircraft-carrier substituting the old A/C "Príncipe de Asturias".
  • Non-combatant operations: humanitarian aid, evacuation from crisis zones and hospital-ship in catastrophe areas.

Although the ship was built in Ferrol, her home port is Rota Naval Base (Cádiz), more specifically the newly built Dock Num.4

The ship has no vehicles but embarks those from the participating units; namely Tercio de Armada amphibious vehicles. Transport to and from the dock is carried out in LCM craft.

The L-61 has no missiles; only self-defense and close-in weapons systems: four 20 mm guns and 4 Browning machine-guns.

The procuring process started in May 2002 when the Naval General Staff drafted a document defining the Spanish Navy requirement for a large multi-purpose platform for strategic projection missions with Marine Corps and Army Forces and capable of operating as aircraft-carrier as well. In 2003 the contract specifications were defined and in March 2004 the construction order was signed between the Spanish Navy and Navantia.

The ship was built with state-of-the-art technology and modular systems (blocks). The King and the Queen presided over the launching ceremony of the LHD "Juan Carlos I" which took place on March 8th 2008 at the NAVANTIA-Ferrol Shipyards, sponsored by Queen Sofia. Sea trials commenced in 2009 and the ship was finally delivered to the Spanish Navy on September 30th 2010.

The crew consists of 261 people: 30 officers, 49 NCOs, 59 leading seamen and 123 ratings.

Habitability for crew members has improved in relation to other naval units with ample leisure facilities, among them a gym for up to 30 people. The ship is equipped with a multi-service computer network integrating TV, radio, the internet, phones, etc.


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