Minister of Defence visits the Navy’s S-80 submarine program in Cartagena

The Defence Minister, Margarita Robles, has visited the Cartagena Arsenal and the Navantia Shipyard, in the same town, to learn about the status of the construction of the four submarines of the S-80 Program that will place the Spanish Navy between the best endowed in the world.

Robles has reiterated that the S-80 submarine program is “an essential and fundamental program” for the Spanish Navy. And she has indicated that “advances continue in the different steps” of the process. The minister has shown her support for the work carried out by Navantia, and has stressed that “for the Ministry of Defence, everything that helps and, where appropriate, the increase in staff, so that the program is faster, that is where they will meet”.

Before visiting the Navantia offices, the minister met with the “supporters of the S-80 Program” and Vice Admiral Pedro de la Puente assured her that this is the submarine the Navy needs to deter and defend. Likewise, he has indicated that the schedule for the program will be met and that Arsenal’s main mission is the security of the program and “to ensure that the submarine crew is ready, which it is.”

Subsequently, Robles, who travelled accompanied by the Secretary of State for Defence, Amparo Valcarce, went to the Navantia Shipyard, where the company’s president, Ricardo Domínguez, was waiting for her, along with senior company officials. With them she has held another meeting on the current situation in the construction of the four S-80s, a program with which Spain enters the group of ten countries with the capacity to build high-performance conventional submarines.

The president of the company has assured the minister that “Navantia’s priority commitment at this time is the Ministry of Defence and the Navy”.

The first of the submarines, the S-81 ‘Isaac Peral, was launched in May 2021 and is currently undergoing the latest seaport tests before it is delivered to the Navy this year.

The design of these submarines, with a length of 80.8 metres and a diameter of 7.3 metres, resembles that of a spaceship more than that of a surface ship and is designed to operate autonomously, and with great stealth, for long periods of time, thanks to a revolutionary propulsion system independent of the atmosphere that allows it to generate and store electrical energy.

State-of-the-art technology and economic impact

The state-of-the-art S-80 conventional ocean submarine program means that the Spanish Navy is among the best equipped in the world in terms of submarine weapons, and for Navantia it is among the ten countries capable of designing and building conventional submarines in the world.

Among the great technological advantages of this new program are an integrated combat system, an atmosphere-independent propulsion (AIP) system, great listening capabilities thanks to a set of hull, flank, and detection sonars for obstacles and mines, and towed sonar.

This important technological program also means the generation of direct, indirect and induced employment of more than 6,000 people a year, which in terms of wealth generation represents an industrial tractor for the Cartagena region and the Murcia region.