10 September 2009

Spain's New Carrier Readies for Sea

10 September 2009

Juan Carlos I during finishing work at Navantia (photo : Naval Technology)

Shape of Things to Come: Spain's New Projection Ship Readies for Sea

The Armada EspaƱola's new 27,000 ton vessel, Juan Carlos I, lies tied up alongside in Ferrol on Spain's Galician coastline in the northwest of the country.

Juan Carlos I cutaway (image : flickr Julian Develascot)

To all intents and purposes above the waterline, it appears ready to nose out through the heads at the end of the natural harbour and put to sea in the Bay of Biscay for the first time on sea trials. Indeed, it was due to begin trials in August, but in July these were postponed as the twin results of what constructor Navantia described as an easily fixed technical hitch with one of the ship's two MAN diesel engines, and the customary Spanish holiday season in August, which effectively closed down the shipyard.

Juan Carlos I L-61 (image : Defencetalk)

A Navantia source tells Jane's that the issue was traced to a connecting rod in one of the MAN 32/40 diesels, which as of early September had yet to be replaced. Remedial work will involve replacing all of the connecting rods in that engine, just to make sure, and the other diesel will undergo a thorough review and component test.

Amphibious Capability (photo : Armada)

The vessel blends together a number of major design features from existing vessels to accomplish an ambitious spread of roles, leading the navy to defy existing warship classification and justify their creation of the term Buque Projeccion Estrategica (BPE).


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