Spain’s First S-80 Submarine Launched by Navantia | World Defense

Spain’s First S-80 Submarine Launched by Navantia

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Spain’s First S-80 Submarine Launched by Navantia

His Majesty King Felipe VI, accompanied by Her Majesty the Queen, Her Royal Highness the Princess of Asturias and Her Royal Highness Infanta Sofia has presided over the launching ceremony of S-81, the first submarine of S-80 class, in Navantia shipyard in Cartagena (Murcia, Spain).


Naval News Staff
24 Apr 2021

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Navantia press release

Her Royal Highness the Princess of Asturias sponsored the submarine. As the maritime tradition demands, Her Royal Highness has cut the ribbon that activates the mechanism and smashes the bottle. Prior to the ceremony, Their Majesties and Their Royal Highnesses have visited the Engineering unit of the shipyard and its Virtual Design Centre (CDV)

With S-80 program, Spain becomes one of the few countries that can design and build submarines, an extremely complex task because these vessels must operate autonomously in a hostile environment. Therefore, represents a strong commitment with national technological development, and thus, with national defence as well as with the international positioning of Spanish industrial sector.

The launching ceremony has been attended by the Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles; the President of Región de Murcia, Fernando López Miras; the Chief of the General Staff (JEMAD), Almirante General Teodoro López Calderón and the Admiral Chief of Staff of the Navy (AJEMA), Almirante General Antonio Martorell Lacave, as well as the President of Navantia, Ricardo Domínguez and the President of the Spanish State-owned holding (SEPI), Belén Gualda, among other authorities.

The S-80 programme is the greatest industrial and technological challenge ever faced by the national defence industry. Navantia is taking a huge technological step forward, as it is taking the role of Technical Design Authority for the first time. In addition, Navantia is completing the cycle of technological evolution: from building in Spain with a foreign design to building in Spain with Spanish design.

The ceremony, which has been held under health and safety precautions due to the current health situation, has taken place days ahead of the process of setting the submarine afloat. This process, which takes long hours, will be carried out by shipyard staff as a routine of work in the following week.

The next phases will be harbour tests and sea tests, which include sailing up to the maximum operating depth. The first sailing is scheduled for early 2022 and delivery to the Navy in early 2023.
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Aquí la dotación de quilla con el Comandante de Pruebas, pronto podrán probar las bondades del S-81 #IsaacPeral. @Armada_esp @NavantiaOficial @Defensagob pic.twitter.com/FGXMLlFTQt
— baturrillo_submarino (@BaturrilloSUB) April 22, 2021
Navantia’s President has expressed his gratitude to the Ministry of Defence and the Navy for their “committed and unwavering support they have given to the programme, in view of its strategic importance for Spain”. He has also commended the workers of the company and the collaborating industry as a great example of Spain technological capabilities.

Ricardo Domínguez has underlined that the S-80 class “gives a major boost to Spanish industry and puts Navantia firmly in the forefront giving the firm a major international profile with many opportunities in other countries”. Navantia expects to repeat the successes obtained with the F-100s and the ‘LHD’ amphibious assault ships.

The Admiral Chief of Staff of the Navy has underlined that “the submarine is proof of Spanish industrial capacity and its firm commitment to technological innovation”. He has added that “the S-80 provides the Navy, along with the projection capacity represented by the amphibious ships, marine infantry and embarked aviation, the escorts and the maritime action force, the means that makes it relevant in the international context”.

Finally, the Minister of Defence has defined today as a historic day for Spain. She has said that the submarine means “science, innovation, technology, it is the future” and has recognized the work and effort of all those who have made possible the S-81, which she has described as a “masterpiece”.

The S-80 submarines have an overall length of 80.8 metres, a diameter of 7.3 metres, and a submerged displacement of around 3,000 tonnes. They include the integrated combat system and platform control system developed by Navantia Sistemas. They will have BEST-AIP, an atmosphere-independent propulsion system, which supplies the ship with electrical power at any depth so that it can remain underwater for longer periods.

Therefore, S-80 has improved considerably its stealth capabilities, the main attribute of a submarine. The S-80 stands as the world’s most advanced conventional submarines and has drawn the attention of several navies and opened opportunities in a highly technological international market.

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The First S-80-Plus Class Submarine Will Launch New Era For Spanish Navy
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S-81 Isaac Peral is one of the largest non-nuclear submarines in the world. The long-range 2,965 ton boat will bring new capabilities to the Spanish Navy and is being offered on the export market. Uniquely for a Western non-nuclear submarine it is equipped to launch Tomahawk missiles.
H I Sutton


On a sober day, as the submarine community awaits news of the missing Indonesian sub, KRI Nanggala, there are submarines elsewhere with more positive stories. New submarines are being launched. The Royal Navy’s fifth Astute Class boat, HMS Anson, has been rolled out in Barrow-in-Furness, UK. And in Spain another new submarine, the first in its class, is being launched by Navantia.

The Spanish Navy’s new submarine, Isaac Peral (S-81), is being christened today in Cartagena, Spain. It is one of the largest non-nuclear submarines in the world and promises to be a major step up for the Spanish Navy (Armada Española).

Its S-80 Plus design will be characterized by its use of a bioethanol fuel cell AIP (air independent power) system. Known as BEST (Bio-Ethanol Stealth Technology) by the submarine’s builder, Navantia, this offers some advantages over other AIP systems. After use the ethanol is reformed which overcomes the need to separately store hydrogen aboard. Other AIP submarines need hydrogen tanks. Additionally, the ethanol is a relatively available fuel to source.

The submarine will be armed with three primary weapons. These are the DM2A4 heavyweight torpedo, UGM-84 Sub-Harpoon anti-ship missile and SAES seabed mines. It was also planned to equip them with the UGM-109 Tomahawk land attack cruise missile. This would place the Spanish Navy in an elite group of submarine operators with a ‘first night’ strategic strike capability. While the Tomahawk order has passed into history, the submarine retains the capability to carry them if they are acquired in the future. This capability is unique among non-nuclear NATO submarines.

About The Name: Issac Peral

The lead boat’s name harkens back to a time when Spanish engineers were among the first pioneers of submarine warfare. Isaac Peral (1851-1895) was a naval officer and engineer who designed the first all-electric submarine. The craft was commissioned into the Spanish Navy in 1889, more than 10 years before the US Navy and Royal Navy commissioned their first Holland Class submarines.

In his honor, the name Isaac Peral has been given to three more previous submarines of the Spanish Navy. Despite Peral’s pioneering work the Spanish postwar submarine fleet has partly been built from acquired types. Local production of French designs started at Cartagena in the late 1960s with the Daphné-class. Four of these were build, followed by four Agosta Class boats in the 1980s.

In the 1990s Navantia (Spain) and DCNS (Now Naval Group, France) started the joint development of the Scorpène Class submarine. This was aimed at the export market and has been successful with sail to Chile, Malaysia, India and Brazil.

However the design was too small for Spanish requirements and the S-80 submarine program was launched. At this point Navantia and Naval Group parted ways and the S-80 is seen as a Spanish design. Naturally there are some general characteristics of the Scorpène in the design. This is most visible in the sail where the resemblance is clear.

Compared to the Scorpène Class

Compared to the Scorpène the S-80 has a wider hull. The pressure hull diameter is 7.3 meters (24 ft) compared to 6.2 meters (20 ft). This seemingly small difference is enough to allow for an extra deck level. It also means that the same number of torpedoes can be carried but with the torpedo room not taking up the entire height of the forward part of the submarine. Length is also greater at 80.8 meters (232 ft) compared to 61.7 meters (202 ft).

Another major difference is that the S-80 has been designed from the start as an AIP submarine. Currently no Scorpène class boats have AIP although there are plans for them to catch up. French submarine builder Naval Group, who now market the Scorpène exclusively, offer a system. And in India a local AIP system will be retrofitted to the Kalvari Class variant.

The development of the S-80 has not been without complications and delays. The first two boats, Issac Peral (S-81) and Narciso Monturiol (S-82) will enter service without the AI. Instead it will be added during a later overhaul. The third hull, Cosme García (S-83), should have the AIP installed this year. The last boat, Mateo García de los Reyes (S-84) will also receive it during construction.

The new class promises to bring the Spanish Navy’s submarine fleet thoroughly up to date. Most recently the launch of the first boat has been delated due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The AIP has endurance of about 3 weeks and can be operated throughout the entire depth-range of the submarine. Combined with the low crewing requirements, just 32 people, this may make it attractive on the international market. So it may also have some export potential, although it faces tough competition. It is reportedly in the running for India’s next non-nuclear submarine program, the P-75I.
 

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S80 during construction
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