Spain approves critical design review of S-80 submarine

The Spanish Ministry of Defense has approved Navantia’s Critical Design Review (CDR) for the country’s troubled S-80 air-independent propulsion submarines, first of which is now five years late.

According to the shipbuilder’s announcement on July 15, the new class of submarines can now transition to production.

To remind, four S-80 submarines were at various stages of construction in 2013 when Navantia figured out the submarines were 70 tones too heavy to be able to float.

Navantia as the prime contractor for the submarine program then brought in outside expertise to help deal with this problem.

Part of the solution was to extend the pressure hull of the air independent propulsion (AIP) submarine that was originally intended to be delivered by 2018. This was completed in April this year when the company said it would be working on the CDR (Critical Design Review) of the first submarine, the S81 Plus, throughout this year.

The submarines are built under a 2004 contract between the Spanish government and Navantia (former IZAR). Four submarines were expected to cost around €1,756m to design and build, but by 2010 this had increased to €2,212m (approximately US$700m/boat).

The director of the Shipyard and of the S-80 submarine program, Admiral José Manuel Sanjurjo Jul, commented the latest milestone: “The program for the design and construction of the S-80 submarine is the most complex engineering project being undertaken at the national level. Therefore, the technical difficulties that have appeared throughout the program are normal in the development and implementation of a project that requires unprecedented technological solutions.”