Navantia LPD ATHLAS 13000 A Unique multi-mission amphibious landing ship

Spain has an advanced amphibious landing ship called ATHLAS 13000‭, ‬which is one of the best warships in the world‭, ‬as it has proven its efficiency and great ability to meet various requirements and perform the most difficult missions to the fullest‭.‬

The ATHLAS 13000‭ ‬giant ship is credited with the Spanish international company Navantia‭, ‬which specializes in the design and construction of amphibious ships‭, ‬with a family of products that covers a wide range of amphibious vessels‭ (‬LPD‭, ‬LHD‭, ‬LCM‭, ‬etc‭).‬

The ATHLAS 13000‭ ‬LPD is a relevant member of this family‭. ‬It is a proven Navantia design based on the‭ “‬Galicia‭” ‬Class LPD‭, ‬with‭ ‬two units in operation in the Spanish Navy‭, ‬sharing design with the‭ “‬Rotterdam‭” ‬Class LPD in operation in the Dutch Navy‭. ‬


The main missions of the ATHLAS 13000‭ ‬LPD are to project an expeditionary force in any conflict zone or in places where any type‭ ‬of natural disaster has occurred‭, ‬as well as being a floating hospital with the capacity to provide medical and surgical support anywhere in the world‭.‬

The ATHLAS 13000‭ ‬LPD has been designed to transport and/or deploy‭, ‬troops‭, ‬vehicles and material in areas without infrastructure‭, ‬being able to perform ship-to-shore transfer operations with landing crafts from its internal floodable dock and with helicopters from its flight deck‭. ‬

With regard to the capacity to provide humanitarian aid in natural disasters‭, ‬it is worth highlighting the participation of the‭ ‬Spanish Navy‭ ‬“Galicia”‭ ‬Class LPD in disaster relief operations such as those after the floods caused by hurricane‭ “‬Mitch‭” ‬in Central America‭, ‬the activities to clean up the pollution caused by the sinking of the oil tanker‭ “‬Prestige‭”, ‬the‭ “‬Solidarity Response‭” ‬humanitarian aid‭ ‬operation in Indonesia to help alleviate the effects of the Tsunami‭, ‬its support as a Hospital Ship deployed in Melilla for supporting tasks during the Pandemic‭, ‬amongst many others‭.‬


The ATHLAS 13000‭ ‬LPD is a vessel of 160‭ ‬m in length‭, ‬25‭ ‬m in breadth‭, ‬5.8‭ ‬m in draught and a full load displacement of 13,000‭ ‬tonnes‭, ‬with a capacity to accommodate 164‭ ‬crew and 637‭ ‬embarked personnel‭.‬

It has a propulsion plant based on four diesel engines with a total power of 16‭ ‬MW driving two variable pitch propellers‭, ‬which‭ ‬allows the vessel to sustain a maximum speed of 20‭ ‬knots‭. ‬Cruising at 12‭ ‬knots‭, ‬the ATHLAS 13000‭ ‬LPD range reaches 6,000‭ ‬nautical miles‭.‬

The ship has a high level of survivability with measures aimed to reduce its signatures‭ (‬reduced radar cross section‭, ‬practical‭ ‬measures to reduce acoustic and infrared signatures‭, ‬installation of a degaussing system‭, ‬etc‭…) ‬and improve its vulnerability‭ ‬‭(‬NBC defence‭, ‬systems redundancy‭, ‬etc‭…).‬


The aircraft facilities allow the ship to support day and night helicopter operations‭ (‬Take-off‭, ‬landing‭, ‬VERTREP and HIFR‭) ‬in Instrument Meteorological Conditions‭ (‬IMC‭), ‬providing full service and organisational level maintenance facilities for medium size helicopters‭ (‬such as the MH-60R and NH-90‭ ‬helicopters‭).‬

The ship has a Flight Deck with two landing spots for MH-60R or NH-90‭ ‬type helicopters and a Hangar of 510‭ ‬m2‭ ‬for six MH-60R helicopters or four NH-90‭ (‬marinized version‭) ‬

The ship will also be prepared to support the operation of Unmanned Air Vehicles‭ (‬UAV‭), ‬which will be stowed in the hangar sharing the space with the helicopters‭.‬


The ship has the following amphibious/transport spaces‭:‬

1 A floodable dock of approx‭.  ‬890‭ ‬m2‭ ‬with capacity for 4‭ ‬LCM and additional RHIBs‭, ‬or the possibility of transporting up to 16‭ ‬tanks‭.‬

2 A main vehicle garage of approx‭. ‬725‭ ‬m2‭ ‬with the capacity to transport up to 50‭ ‬light vehicles or 14‭ ‬tanks‭.‬

3 A secondary vehicle garage of approx‭. ‬285‭ ‬m2‭ ‬with the capacity to transport up to 16‭ ‬light vehicles‭.‬

4 There is also the possibility of transporting light vehicles on the flight deck‭ (‬up to 100‭ ‬light vehicles‭) ‬and hangar‭ (‬36‭ ‬light‭ ‬vehicles‭) ‬not compatible with air operations‭.‬

The dock‭, ‬vehicle garages‭, ‬flight deck and hangar are connected‭ (‬either direct connection or through elevators‭) ‬to facilitate the deployment of vehicles and equipment both from the dock‭ (‬via landing crafts‭) ‬and from the flight deck‭ (‬via helicopters‭).‬

Apart from roll-on/roll-off cargo‭, ‬the vessel can carry up to 700‭ ‬tonnes of miscellaneous cargo‭, ‬allowing it to stay between two‭ ‬and five months without entering port‭.‬

An essential complement to the LPD is the LCM‭. ‬The LCM-1E is a Navantia design‭, ‬with 24‭ ‬crafts in operation with the Spanish and‭ ‬Australian Navies‭. ‬They are high speed crafts‭ (‬13‭ ‬kt in full load/22‭ ‬kt in lightship condition‭), ‬high load capacity‭ (‬up to 65‭ ‬t‭), ‬fully compatible with the ATHLAS 13000‭ ‬LPD‭, ‬allowing vehicles‭, ‬troops and material to be deployed on the beach in a very reduced time‭.‬


ATHLAS 13000‭ ‬LPD has a hospital with a resuscitation and triage room‭, ‬an operating theatre‭, ‬two full operating theatres‭, ‬an intensive care unit with eight beds and an infectious ward with four beds‭, ‬a consultation room‭, ‬radiology‭, ‬sterilisation‭, ‬dentist‭, ‬laboratory and pharmacy


The LPD Combat System is based on the Navantia‭ ‬“CATIZ”‭ ‬CMS already in service in the Spanish Navy and other navies‭. ‬The‭ ‬“CATIZ”‭ ‬CMS integrates the ship’s effectors and sensors‭, ‬providing assistance in tactical planning‭, ‬classifying the environment‭, ‬providing interpretation and evaluation of the combat information and sensor data‭, ‬disseminating the evaluated data‭, ‬allowing the assignment of targets and directing engagements orders to the weapons systems‭. ‬

The Integrated Navigation and Bridge System is based on the Navantia‭ ‬“MINERVA”‭ ‬which provides‭, ‬among other features‭, ‬efficient route planning and monitoring using Electronic Nautical Charts‭, ‬safe ship steering and navigation control‭, ‬centralized and ergonomic monitoring and control from the Bridge‭, ‬and on-board distribution of a common and precise set of coherent navigational information‭. ‬

The Integrated Internal and External Communications System is based on the Navantia‭  ‬“HERMESYS”‭ ‬Integrated Communications Control System which provides reliable‭, ‬fast and secure internal/external voice and data communications‭, ‬Radio Equipment to cover the transmission and/or reception in VLF‭, ‬HF‭, ‬VHF and UHF bands‭, ‬GMDSS Radio Equipment‭, ‬SATCOM‭, ‬Integrated Internal/External Communications‭, ‬Telephone Systems‭ (‬Automatic‭ & ‬self-powered‭), ‬Public Address and Recreation System and‭ ‬CCTV monitoring‭. ‬


Navantia presented for the first time at the IDEX-NAVDEX exhibition its new LPD configurator‭, ‬a tool that allows customising the‭ ‬different alternatives of a ship to the client’s needs and which is based‭, ‬in turn‭, ‬on an innovative modular design system‭.‬

In naval design‭, ‬each ship is unique in terms of mission‭, ‬areas of operation and required capabilities‭, ‬usually becoming a prototype of that series of ships‭. ‬The modular design provides agility in the design‭, ‬which reduces construction and life cycle times‭ ‬and costs‭, ‬facilitates the incorporation of new technologies and provides greater operational flexibility to multi-mission vessels‭. ‬

Navantia is a pioneer in the naval sector in the use of this technique‭, ‬which consists of dividing the ship into modular units associated with different capabilities‭, ‬such as the propulsion system‭, ‬air capacity or habitability‭. ‬

This solution allows the client to configure the ship‭, ‬adapting it more effectively to their needs‭, ‬including or eliminating features in a simple way‭. ‬The configurator is a virtual tool that allows the customer to visualise the different configurations of‭ ‬the vessel‭.‬

In addition‭, ‬two other concepts have been incorporated‭. ‬On the one hand‭, ‬the use of containerised mission modules‭, ‬which increase the ship’s versatility without the need to increase its size or the complexity of the equipment and services permanently installed on board‭. ‬On the other hand‭, ‬systems have been defined that can be scalable in scope according to the customer’s wishes and‭ ‬needs‭, ‬such as combat or communications systems‭, ‬so that the customer can select the one that best suits his requirements from‭ ‬among various levels of performance‭. ‬

By:Ikram Bandalla‭

‭(‬a military researcher‭)‬

Al Jundi

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