Multipurpose landing ship L-61 Juan Carlos I will be commissioned into Spanish Navy in Dec 2011, said the ship’s commanding officer Cristobal Gonzalez-Aller Lacalle.
Two days the ship was opened for public; military and civilian visitors had a chance to see the ship from inside. Her length is 231 meters, beam is 32 meters, displacement is 27,000 tons, carrying capacity is 9 VTOL aircrafts Harrier and 8 heavy transport helicopters Chinook. Air wing may include helicopters Cougar and Tigre. The ship’s crew is 253 men, although it can be enlarged up to 296. The ship will be capable to perform several functions, such as support of landing operations, strategic transportations, rendering of humanitarian and medical aid to regions suffered from natural disasters. To carry out latter mission, the ship is equipped with two surgery rooms, intensive care unit with 8 beds, and a common bed ward for 8 patients.
Visitors did not had free access to all compartments. It was not allowed to watch onboard flight control center and spacious 1,165-sq meter dock capable to accommodate 17 heavy trucks, 32 standard cargo containers, and 4 troop landing boats LCM. However, visitors could walk all along the flight deck.
Within the next few days the ship will undergo electromagnetic test cycle and then head for Naval Station Rota which will become the ship’s permanent basing site. What hits the eye most is large number of women among the crew.
In prospect, the ship will be armed with fifth-generation fighters F-35B, heavy transport helicopters ÑÍ-53 Sea Stallion, and convertoplanes V-22 Osprey.
The ship was laid on May 5, 2005 at Navantia shipyard, launched on Sept 22, 2009, and cost EUR 360. The ship has 202-meter long flight deck with bow ski-ramp and eight takeoff/landing sites. As an aircraft carrier configuration, the ship may accommodate up to 30 airplanes. As a landing ship, she can carry up to 1,200 marines.
In Sept 2009 Russia offered Navantia to attend the tender for new-generation landing ships, although in Jan 2011 selected French Mistral-class helicopter carriers.
Source: rusnavy, October 14, 2011