From 24 May to 2 June in the waters off Ferrol in the north-east of the Iberian Peninsular, Navantia carried out the sea trials of the LHD class Juan Carlos I (L-61) that the company is building for the Spanish Navy.
According to the commander of the ship, captain Andrés Breijo, the ship’s seakeeping has been excellent, obtaining a sustained speed more than a knot above that initially foreseen. The technicians taking part in the trials also underlined the ship’s docile seakeeping and its great capacity for short distance turning thanks to its podded propulsion system.
The trials team was made up of 340 persons, 60 of them belonging to the shipbuilding crew: the chiefs, officers, petty officers and Spanish Navy specialists who will form the nucleus of the ship’s crew when she is scheduled to be delivered at the end of June this year. A second trials group was made up of personnel from Ferrol Buildings Inspection (ICOFER), as well as Naval personnel devoted to the control of the building process and the delivery of new ships for the Navy. The rest, some 220 persons, are employees of Navantia or from companies responsible for the different systems that are integrated into the platform and from other subcontractor companies. All of them working together carry out the different trials according to a strict programme.
According to Fernando González-Valerio, chief engineer of the Juan Carlos I, during the trials carried out the ship surpassed the speed of 21 knots. González Valerio affirmed that the trials have fully validated the new propulsion system fitted on board this ship, which is COmbined Diesel-eLectric and Gas turbine (CODLAG). In this combined propulsion system, two MAN engines and a general electric gas turbine produce the electrical power that feeds the propulsion systems.
The LHD Juan Carlos I has been designed to carry out amphibious missions, force deployment, humanitarian assistance and to act as an auxiliary aircraft carrier.
She also has a large hospital capacity, which in addition to her cargo capacity make her ideal for deployment in disaster areas.
With a length overall of 230.82m (flight deck 202.3m.), 32m. beam and full load displacement of more than 27,500t, this will be the biggest ship ever made available to the Spanish Navy. She will also be the first of such a size with podded electrical propulsion. Highly automated, her crew will consist of just 247 persons.