LHD Juan Carlos I in Irak and India
The flagship of the Spanish Navy, the “Juan Carlos I”, premiered on an external mission last May. It was in the Persian Gulf, where he carried out the projection by sea of an Army helicopter unit for its deployment in Iraq within the “Inherent Resolve” operation. On its return it stopped in Bombay in support of Navantia, since in that country we aspired to a contest for the construction of 4 LHDs Juan Carlos I type. The president of Navantia and a large delegation showed the political and military authorities the capabilities of this vessel.
The mission to Iraq came at the request of the International Coalition against Daesh, deployed in 2015. The vessel was integrated into the Coalition, consisting of sixty countries, to provide heavy and medium rotary wing transport capabilities, for the benefit of both the Spanish and the rest of the countries forces. The Juan Carlos I strategic projection ship was accompanied by “Blas de Lezo” frigate as escort and support.
The grouping, with its air unit boarded with Harrier fighter jets and helicopters, left Rota in early May to begin transit to Kuwait, crossing the Suez Canal, the Bab el Mandeb Strait and the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf.
In addition, during the return, the Juan Carlos I stopped in Bombay and Alexandria to carry out activities of Defense Diplomacy and national industry empowerment. The “Juan Carlos I”, in service in the Navy since 2010, has a crew of 295 sailors and is based in Rota (Cádiz). For its part, the vessel “Blas de Lezo” has 201 troops and a helicopter. This F-103 frigate also has the Aegis combat system, which allows it to detect and track any air threat; it is based in Ferrol (La Coruña).
At present, Spain deploys over 370 military and civilian guards in the Iraqi mission for Iraqi Army training purposes. With the arrival of the helicopters to the base of Taji, another 60 military personnel joined the contingent permanently.