Navantia released a press statement last week that they had begun work on both S-81 and S-82, the first two submarines of the S-80 class. Both submarines are being built for the Spanish Navy.
Spanish Navy Admiral Sanjurjo Jul, Director of Naval Constructions, and Juan Pedro Gómez Jaén, CEO of Navantia, have presided on 13th. December, the ceremony of the cut of the first steel for the second S-80 submarine (S-82), and afterwards, the ceremony of the keel laying of the first unit (S-81).
The S-80 submarine, 100% Navantia design, is in these moments the most technologically advanced conventional submarine in the world. Navantia becomes, thanks to this programme, a pioneer company in submarines construction and system integration, as it happened before in the surface ships.
These submarines, equipped with an AIP system, will be delivered to the Spanish Navy in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
It also listed the expected "official" statistics.
- Length overall: 71.05 m.
- Hull length: 51.76 m.
- Hull diameter: 7.30 m.
- Displacement Submerged: 2,426 t.
- Displacement Surface: 2,198 t
- Floatability: 9.5%
- Power (MEP): 3,500 Kw
- Number of Battery Elements: 360
- Generators Power: 3,600 Kw
- Crew: 32 p (+8)
- Speed: 20 knots
- Endurance: 50 days
I haven't been paying as close attention as I should to the S-80, because I didn't realize how big it is. At 2,426 tons submerged displacement the S-80 class is the largest AIP submarine in the world. What is also interesting about the S-80 class is these are not coastal submarines like what we are seeing exported from Germany, these are fleet submarines like what we are seeing exported from Russia.
Consider a few things. It has been reported in the media lately that discussions on the Collins class submarine replacement have begun in Australia. The Collins class is a fleet submarine, and it's replacement will have to be a fleet submarine as well. Australia recently picked Navantia to build amphibious ships and surface combatants. Australia is almost certainly not going to work with the Swedes again on the Collins replacement, and will look for a new partner. Whatever submarine they build will need to be compatible with American submarine systems, from the Combat center to just about every other piece of equipment that might be deployed on a submarine. Most importantly, it is almost a certainty the new Collins class replacement will leverage fuel cell technology.
Given the shipyards in Spain are working at peak capacity for the next several years, and this is before additional export orders, it seems very likely that Navantia would agree to licensing terms to allow a modified S-80 be built in Australia. While it is not very likely that Australia has approached Navantia at this early stage, I wouldn't be surprised if they have mentioned it in passing, or implied the possibility. Of all the submarines on the market, while not as large as the Collins class, the S-80 represents the most likely design to be used as a basis for the Collins replacement to date, and as the Collins submarine replacement discussions get started it will be interesting to see if Navantia is mentioned as a partner in the discussion.
The first step of coarse is to get the S-80 on time and on budget, and for that we will have to wait and se