The Spanish Navy caused a sensation this week with the Mediterranean debut of its flagship, the Juan Carlos I, sighted off the coast of Malaga on Wednesday.

This massive multirole amphibious assault aircraft carrier was in full view of Costa del Sol residents throughout the past week.

The Spanish Navy deploys the Dédalo-23 amphibious air-naval group during the first quarter of the year to improve training and show Spain’s commitment to the Alliance’s defense policy.

This vessel is the largest warship the country has ever seen, with capabilities for air operations, force projection, and humanitarian aid.

Juan Carlos I (l 61) In Malaga From Gibralfaro
The Spanish flagship Juan Carlos I docked in the port of Malaga in 2021. Credit: Wikicommons Daniel Capilla, CC BY-SA 4.0

The Juan Carlos I was delivered to the Spanish Navy in 2010 at the Navantia shipyards in Cádiz, and bears the name of the reigning monarch, a tradition that has been maintained since the arrival of the House of Bourbon to the Spanish throne at the beginning of the 18th century. .

The current deployment is to prepare its certification so that the Juan Carlos I can take its place in the NATO Readiness Initiative in 2024.

The group is structured around the Juan Carlos I, and includes an airborne unit made up of Harrier AV8B+ planes and helicopters, a reinforced landing battalion from the Tercio de Armada and a frigate.

As the deployment progresses, the amphibious ships Galicia and Castilla, the combat supply ship Cantabria, the Tramontana submarine and Army helicopters are also expected to join the group.

The first phase of these exercises will take place off the Italian and French coasts, followed by Egypt, before returning to the Italian coast before the end of the deployment in March.

The battlegroup will interact with other NATO groups and units, providing training opportunities for the group’s staff and personnel.


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By yjawq

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