The Spanish S80 Submarine Program has recently completed the final tests for the development of an Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system.
The new milestone came a few months after the closure of the resistant hull of the first S80 submarine, the S-81 Isaac Peral, by the boat’s builder Navantia.
The new AIP System will provide the Spanish Navy with tactical and discretion capabilities that do not currently exist.
Conventional submarines require daily snorkeling operations to recharge their batteries with diesel engines, which makes them vulnerable to detection and attack. The AIP System will minimize this indiscretion by recharging the submarine’s batteries in immersion with a fuel cell, which uses hydrogen produced through bioethanol and oxygen processing to generate electricity, allowing the submarine to sail for weeks without surfacing.
The Spanish Ministry of Defense initially entrusted two Spanish companies – Abengoa Innovation and Técnicas Reunidas – for the development of the bioethanol processor, one of the most complex elements of the AIP system. Following rigorous trails, Abengoa’s system was selected to be installed on the S80 submarines.
The first submarine that will have this AIP system installed is the third submarine of the S80 program, S-83 Cosme García. The submarine is expected to be installed with the system in July 2021.
The first two submarines, Isaac Peral (S-81) and Narcíso Monturiol (S-82) currently under construction, will be retrofitted with the new AIP system during their first upgrade.
S-80 Plus-class submarine
The S-80 Plus class is a class of four Air Independent Propulsion (AIP)-equipped conventional attack submarines in production by Navantia in its Cartagena shipyard for the Spanish Navy. The class is also called as Isaac Peral-class after the lead ship of the class, S-81 Isaac Peral.
The submarines of the class are named Isaac Peral (S-81), Narciso Monturiol (S-82), Cosme García (S-83) and Mateo García de los Reyes (S-84).
Last year, the closure of the resistant hull of the first S80 submarine, the S-81 Isaac Peral, was completed. The construction of the second boat of the class is progressing at the Cartegena shipyard.
S-80 Technical Specifications:
• Length: 80.81 m
• Total Sleeve: 11.68 m
• Total Strut: 13.69 m
• Diameter: 7.30 m
• Surface/submerged displacement: 695 / 2,965 t
• Accommodation: 32 staff + 8 special forces
• Conventional submarine of high autonomy equipped with anaerobic propulsion
• Extremely low acoustic signature
• Excellent maneuverability at low speed
• Systems with high automation
• Next-generation combat system
• State-of-the-art Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system
• Integrated high complexity design