The Spanish Juan Carlos I amphibious assault ship is similar in concept to the US Wasp class. This LHD is named in honor of Juan Carlos I, the former king of Spain. This warship was commissioned in 2010. It plays an important role in the Spanish Navy. Australia is currently building two ships of the same design, locally known as Canberra class.
Ship provides accommodation for 900 marines and can carry up to 46 Leopard 2 or similar main battle tanks. It has a multi-functional hangar and garage space on two levels. The Juan Carlos can carry four mechanized landing craft (LCM) or one hovercraft (LCAC) in the stern dock. Vessel can also play an important role in disaster relief operations.
The Juan Carlos I was specially designed to operate V/STOL aircraft. Vessel has a flight deck of 202 m with a ski-jump bow. It has 8 spots for AV-8B Harriers, 4 spots for CH-47 Chinook medium helicopters, and one spot for V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor transport. Vessel can carry up to 30 aircraft, when used in the aircraft carrier mode. This LHD can substitute the Spanish Principe de Asturias light aircraft carrier.
The Juan Carlos ship is fitted with a single vertical launch system for ESSM or RAM missiles. Other weapons include four 20-mm Oerlikon close-in weapon systems.
This assault ship uses new propulsion system. It has two gas turbines and requires no shafts. Similar propulsion is used on the French Mistral class. Ship has a range of 9 000 nautical miles (17 000 km) at 15 knots.
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