Last April, His Majesty King Felipe VI of Spain presided over the launching ceremony of S-81, the first submarine of S-80 class, at the Navantia Shipyard in Cartagena (Murcia, Spain). The submarine was sponsored by Her Royal Highness the Princess of Asturias, who cut the christening ribbon, as the maritime tradition demands.
With the S-80 program, Spain becomes one of the few countries that can design and build submarines, an extremely complex task due to the hostile environment in which those vessels operate. The Spanish Government undertakes with this program a strong commitment with national technological development, and thus, with national defence as well as with the international positioning of the Spanish industrial sector.
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 adopts the role of a Technical Design Authority for the first time. In addition, besides the achievements of the early stages in the electric propulsion submarine concept (beginning of 20th century), Navantia is completing the cycle of technological evolution: from building in Spain with a foreign design to building in Spain with Spanish design.
Ricardo Domínguez, president of Navantia, 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 it achieved with the F-100s and the ‘LHD’ amphibious assault ships.
The next steps before commissioning to the Spanish Navy will be the acceptance trials, which include diving to the maximum operating depth. The first sailing is scheduled for early 2022 and delivery to the Navy in early 2023.
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 combat system and integrated platform control system developed by Navantia Sistemas. They will be fitted with BEST-AIP (Bio-ethanol Stealth Technology 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. By doing so, the 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 submarine and has drawn the attention of several navies, positioning Navantia in a highly technological international market segment.
The S-80P submarines are proposed as baseline for the P75(I) project, a cornerstone in Indian Defence Strategy Atmanirbhar Bharat, where India is committed to become self-reliant in significant naval programs for the Indian Navy. Taking into account the advanced stage of construction of these submarines in Spain, and the fact that the Indian Navy requirements are very similar, the S80 appears as the lower risk solution.
Navantia is fully committed with the Make in India philosophy, having walked the same path through a similar experience over the last decades, evolving from manufacturer only (using foreign designs), to a turn-key supplier able to go through all design, building, commissioning and life-cycle support phases, positioning Navantia to assist other navies and international shipbuilders with a wide range of Transfer of Technology solutions.
Navantia has been present in India for 15 years. The company participated in the design and transfer of technology to India’s six Scorpene submarines being built by MDL (Mumbai), deploying a resident team in India between 2006 and 2013. Besides, it is currently participating in the LPDs tender, teaming with Larsen & Toubro Defence, and benefits from the full support of the Spanish Navy and the Spanish Government. As an evidence of the good relations between India and Spain, the Spanish Navy’s “Juan Carlos I” LHD ship called port at Mumbai in 2017 on a goodwill visit to India.
For the P75(I) project, in the same collaboration spirit, Navantia is willing to provide India the required know-how through a Technology Transfer program to boost design, construction and maintenance capabilities in India.
Navantia wishes the Indian Navy a very Happy Indian Navy Day