Armada española: upcoming closure of the hull of the Spanish submarine Isaac Peral

The symbolic step of closing the hull of the first submarine of the program series should intervene next week (Esteban Villarejo, “ Navantia, at the point of assembling the helmet of the primer submarine S-81 », Por Tierra, Mare y Aire, December 12, 2019). The continuation of the project will then be able to focus on the final completion works with the launching, sea trials and admission to active service on the horizon, currently estimated at 2022.

The program series derives from a collaboration between DCN International and Izar in the 1980s leading to the development of two parallel projects, one of which will become the Scorpène (variants then called CA-2000, CM-2000 et AM-2000) and the other series0 which was presented at the Le Bourget naval show in 1990. There was talk of bringing the two projects together with a proposal made to Spain to order a series Scorpène in 1998. Franco-Spanish differences appear gradually until the climax: the rupture between DCNS et Hoist. The case was brought before an arbitration court which ruled in favor of the French naval company in entrusting it alone with the Scorpène program. Izar received the order for the first studies for the submarine then called S-80A on March 23, 2004.

The program then estimated at 1756 million euros (2004) was to allow the design then construction of four S-80A the first of which would have been delivered in 2011. The S-80A does not benefit from the budgetary priorities of the Spanish Ministry of Defense, like other programs such as the F-110. Not only is the financial estimate increased from 1756 million euros (2004) to 2212 million euros (2010) but, in addition, the delivery of the first boat is postponed to 2015.

Le series, the first building of the S-80 program in its S-80A variant, was laid down on December 13, 2007. The Spanish Armada named the four buildings on January 31, 2012:

  • series Isaac Peral (2022?),
  • series Daffodil Monturiol (2024?),
  • series cosme garcia (2026?),
  • series Mateo García de los Reyes (2027?).

The industrialization phase of the program experienced prodigious difficulties:

The integration of aerobic propulsion was one of them. THE series (1980s – 1998) benefiting from Franco-Spanish work could receive aerobic propulsion MESMA (Anaerobic Underwater Energy Module). The module is integrated into the hull as an additional section. Izar became Navantia (2005) had entrusted in 2007 to the Spanish company Hynergreen the care of developing aerobic propulsion. The difficulties encountered were such that an alternative solution was considered because the module was considered unable to be delivered on time in 2018.

Another major difficulty, Navantia had to reveal in 2013 that the S-80A had too large a mass, of the order of 75 to 100 tonnes, likely to jeopardize the buoyancy of boats in the context of Archimedes' thrust when they navigate under the sea. Solving the problem required the intervention of the American company General Electric Boat. The proposed solution is radical: lengthening the hull by 10 meters, bringing the total length from 71 to 81,05 meters, and reversing the order of construction between the series et series in order to delay the program as little as possible, the construction of theIsaac pear tree being considered too advanced to allow modification on hold. Finally, the construction order was not changed and the additional hull ring was welded to it in 2016.

S 80 and S 80 Plus Air Independent Propulsion AIP | Defense Analysis | Defense Contracts and Calls for Tenders
This Spanish infographic has the great merit of specifying how the S-80A saw its hull lengthened between 2013 and 2014 in the detailed studies commissioned for this purpose. The most unfortunate thing is that these rings increasing the total length from 71 to 81,05 meters do not seem to benefit the increase in operational capabilities, particularly with regard to the number of tactical weapons.

After the addition of these different modifications the S-80A is no more and the program series then included a new variant, the S-80Plus. The financial estimate increases once again, being able to only follow the lengthening of the hulls and therefore the increase in diving displacement. The cost of the program reaching 3685 million euros in 2018 and it would even be more than 3900 million euros in 2019.

Closing the hullIsaac Peral during the week of December 16 to 22, 2019, the home stretch of the completion work will begin. The next symbolic steps will be the appearance of the hull dressed all in black then its launching in 2021. The construction and military tests should then be carried out between this last date and until the boat's admission to active service in 2022.

The S-80Plus are boats with a hull length of 81,05 meters and a diameter of 11,68 meters, giving them a hull finesse of 6,93. Their surface displacement would ultimately be 3200 tonnes for a diving displacement reaching 3700 tonnes. They can travel at up to 12 knots on the surface, between 20 and 25 knots when diving. Their autonomy is planned for 4300 nautical miles at 3 knots on the surface and 15 days of continuous underwater navigation thanks to aerobic propulsion. They will be armed by a crew of 32 sailors with the possibility of accommodating eight special forces men.

Their armament consists of six 533 mm torpedo tubes. The capacity of the tactical weapons bay(s) is not specified but taking into account the displacement and the length of the hull, it should be around twenty weapons. Heavy torpedoes will be DM2A4. The firing directions retained from American companies make it possible to learn that the planned anti-ship missiles are UGM-84 Sub-Harpoon block II and that they will also allow the implementation of UGM-109 Tomahawk (Madrid entered into an agreement with Washington to acquire cruise missiles in 2005 but abandoned it in 2009). Multi-influence mines will also be able to integrate tactical weapons racks.

Le series Isaac Peral will be followed by the delivery of the other three boats in 2024, 2025 and 2027.Armada española hopes to be able to order an additional batch of two submarines which would logically be the series et series. It remains to obtain the approval of the Spanish government in order to produce this effort.

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