The Defense Minister, Margarita Robles, today visited the Navantia shipyard in Cartagena to inquire about the evolution of the latest-generation S-80 submarine program, the first to be entirely Spanish in design and construction.
During his visit, Robles was able to see first-hand the evolution of the schedule for the S-80 program, which is carried out in compliance with NASA safety standards, a very complex weapons system comparable to space vehicles as an engineering challenge .
The minister highlighted the importance of a project that represents an achievement for the national defense industry by guaranteeing its strategic independence for the defense of the country, as well as the projection of its industry, and has defined it as a “solid programme”, in which “a lot of Navantia, the Navy and Spain are at stake”.
After her arrival at the San Javier Air Base, where she was received by her boss, Colonel Pascual Soria, the minister went to the Navantia-Cartagena shipyard, where she was welcomed by the president of Navantia, Ricardo Domínguez, who thanked you for your presence.
“This is a pioneering program, few countries in the world are capable of doing this. Our technology is cutting-edge and the design it entails will have to go through milestones that are sometimes challenging”, said Domínguez in his speech.
Subsequently, the head of the S-80 program, Ship Captain Francisco Javier del Corral, its test commander, Ship Captain Juan Manuel Torrijos, and the shipyard director, Germán Romero, informed the minister about the general situation of the program , as well as its industrial and technological relevance.
In this same line, they have addressed the high qualification of the personnel that will form part of the submarine’s crew, for which an exhaustive training plan for Navy personnel is being followed.
The minister, accompanied by the Secretary of State for Defense, Esperanza Casteleiro, by the Chief of Staff of the Navy (AJEMA), Admiral Antonio Martorell, and by the Navantia team, then visited the exterior of the S-81 ‘Isaac Pear tree. There he thanked the members of the crew for their work, who have told him that they are “very excited” with the results of the latest tests and their next outing to sea.
The S-81’Isaac Peral’, the first of the four submarines that make up the program for the Navy, is currently undergoing port trials, which will continue until March. Later it will make its first surface navigation and its first dive is scheduled for June this year. Delivery to the Navy is planned for February 2023.
This very week, the ‘Isaac Peral’ has successfully completed the mooring propulsion tests at the Navantia Cartagena facilities, where it was built. This is the sixth safety milestone that a submarine must pass and that allows verifying the operation of the propulsion and the line of axes with the submarine moored to the dock and with autonomous power from its batteries.
In another of its safety milestones, the S-81, was launched last May in a ceremony presided over by His Majesty King Felipe VI.
The S-80 program positions Navantia internationally as a submarine design authority and represents Spain’s entry into the small number of countries that have such capacity.
The S-80 will be the most advanced conventional (non-nuclear) submarines in the world, with an overall length of 80.8 meters, a diameter of 7.3 meters and a submerged displacement of 3,000 tons.
As for the technological advances of the S-80 program, they will have a combat system that will integrate all the sensors and weapons for an adequate and rapid response to any threat. In addition, a weapons system will be added that will include heavy torpedoes, mines and the ability to launch tactical missiles, which is a unique functionality in non-nuclear NATO submarines.
Likewise, it will have an atmosphere independent propulsion (AIP) system that will allow it to obtain electrical energy at any depth, reducing its need to go out to periscopic level, where it is more easily detectable, and will allow it to stay much longer in a deep dive.
On the other hand, an Integrated Communications System and another Platform Control System will allow the crew to operate the navigation, propulsion, power generation or mast and periscope systems, among others, locally or remotely. Its high degree of automation will make it possible to reduce the ship’s crew to 32 sailors and include eight places for boarding additional personnel.
After the S-81, other submersibles will arrive with names of other pioneers of underwater navigation: the S-82 ‘Narciso Monturiol’, with delivery scheduled for December 2024; the S-83 ‘Cosme García’, in October 2026 and the S-84 ‘Mateo García de los Reyes’, in February 2028.
The S-80 program is also a boost to the economy and employment, with the participation of a hundred companies from 11 different autonomous communities, generating nearly 2,000 direct quality jobs and auxiliary industry jobs in the Murcia region alone and aggregated with up to 7,000 quality jobs in periods of high load. In addition, it generates an annual impact on the Spanish GDP of more than 250 million euros.