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The ship is 230 meters long and can accommodate almost 1,500 soldiers.
“Never the Spanish Armada had a boat that combines the capabilities of an aircraft carrier and an amphibious ship , ” says Captain Francisco Jose Asensi , commander of the LHD (Landing Helicopter Dock) “Juan Carlos I“ . The ship – of Spanish design and with systems and equipment manufactured by Spanish companies – was built in the Navantia shipyards in El Ferrol and began service in the Navy in September 2010 . Its commander explains that it is “a multi-purpose unit, designed and capable of carrying out amphibious operations and projecting marines, but also to carry out air operations, defend a naval force, support the Air Force in the national airspace, carry out strategic projection, or support disaster relief operations that make humanitarian assistance necessary. ”
The “Juan Carlos I” is the largest ship in service in the history of the Navy with a length (length) of 230 meters, a beam (width) of 32 meters and a displacement (weight) of almost 30,000 tons. A “floating city” with a staff of 330 professionals, but which can accommodate almost 1,500 military. “It is a kind of mecca on which we can add parts: an air unit embarked with personnel to maintain the aircraft, the naval beach group and the marine infantry,” says ship captain Francisco José Asensi.
The Navy’s flagship – prepared to embark Harrier and F-35 aircraft and with a fully electric propulsion – is usually stationed in Rota to “optimize integration with the aircraft fleet” – also deployed there – and with the forces of Marine Corps and the ships of the Naval Beach Group, which are in San Fernando.
Only five other marinas in the world – including those in the United States, France and Japan – have similar vessels . Since joining the Navy, the LHD “Juan Carlos I” has intervened in multinational exercises such as BALTOPS 19 in the Baltic Sea and on missions such as transporting helicopters from the Army to Kuwait to participate in the operation against jihadism in Iraq.