Navantia Commissions S-81 “Isaac Peral” Submarine to the Spanish Navy

Cartagena (Spain), 30th. November 2023 – Navantia has commissioned the S-81 “Isaac Peral” submarine to the Spanish Navy in the Naval Base in Cartagena. The event has been presided by the Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles, and attended by the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral general Teodoro López Calderón; the Chief of Staff of the Spanish Navy, Admiral general Antonio Piñeiro; along with Navantia’s Chairman, Ricardo Domínguez and Navantia’s shareholder (SEPI) Chairwoman, Belén Gualda.

During the ceremony, the handover and transfer documentation was signed between Navantia and the Directorate General for Armaments and Material of the Ministry of Defence and from the latter to the Cartagena Arsenal. In addition, the first commander of the unit, Lieutenant Commander Manuel Corral, was sworn in and the ship was presented with its flag.

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The commissioning of the Isaac Peral is a significant milestone for the Spanish Navy, as it will help to strengthen the country’s naval defence capabilities. The S-80 class, one of the most advanced NATO conventional submarines, is capable of carrying out a wide range of missions, including anti-surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, intelligence gathering and surveillance among others. They were also designed to incorporate land attack capability in the future.

 ‘Isaac Peral’ is the first of four S-80 class submarines. With this programme, Spain becomes one of the few countries that can design and build submarines, extremely complex vessels which must operate autonomously for long periods of time in a hostile environment.

The S-80 programme is the greatest industrial and technological challenge ever faced by the Spanish industry. It is a huge technological leap for Navantia, who has accomplished the building of a submarine based in its own design and takes the role of Technical Design Authority for the Life Cycle Support of the vessels.

Navantia’s Chairman, Ricardo Domínguez, has commended the role of the Ministry of Defence and of the Navy. “The success of this program lies mainly in two key factors: the skills of the women and men that have designed and are building these submarines, and the collaboration approach that we have adopted as a working method and that will continue throughout the entire life cycle of the submarines. Trust and cooperation with our customer and with the user of our product are undoubtedly key for Navantia”, he stated.

“We are taking a giant step forward in this programme and today we feel particularly proud of our Navy, heir to the great seafarers of history who transformed the world”, said the Minister of Defence, Margarita Robles, who added that “Spain’s international presence is guaranteed with this Spanish Navy and with this programme”.

Robles thanked the city of Cartagena, the Navy and all the Navantia and Ministry of Defence personnel for their involvement in the project.

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The Chief of Staff of the Spanish Navy emphasised that “today marks the beginning of an exciting stage, in which we are incorporating cutting-edge technology in a submarine that is destined to play an important role in naval operations”, and thanked the Minister of Defence for promoting a project “that would not have been possible without her determined and personal support”.

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, which are probably the most advanced in the market. The combat system core has been developed in collaboration with Lockheed Martin, who also supplies the sonar suite. The submarines also integrate a weapon system which provides the submarine with the capacity to launch torpedoes, anti-surface missiles, and tactical land attack missiles.

They will have BEST-AIP, an atmosphere-independent propulsion system based on bio-ethanol reforming technology, which supplies the ship with electrical power at any depth so that it can remain underwater for weeks. The AIP will be installed on S-83 and S-84 and will be incorporated into the first two submarines of the series in their first overhaul.

In addition, the S-80 class submarines can be operated by a reduced crew of only 32 people without reducing its capabilities.

With first unit in service, S-82 already in process of joining sections, and S-83 and S-84 also in advanced phase of construction, the S-80 submarine programme is making strong progress. The S-80 submarines are expected to have a significant attention of the international market in the coming years.

Photos courtesy Navantia