Spanish defense ministry refutes reports of new submarines being too long for their pens

Spanish news site El Pais on Tuesday ran a report which said the Spanish Navy’s elongated new S-80 submarines were now too long fit into their designated pens at the naval base Cartagena.

The report says that, in addition to the submarines being over budget and late, the MoD would now have to invest some EUR16 million to allow the subs to dock at the base.

A Spanish defense ministry spokesman has refuted this, according to independent journalist Matthew Bennett, saying that the El Pais report contained nothing new as a project to extend the submarine pens had been in the works since at least 2009.

“There is no modification of the project or decision taken in the MoD that implies the lengthening of the pens for the submarines,” the spokesman was quoted as saying.

The El Pais report suggested that the reason submarine pens were being extended was the length of S-80 submarines which were initially designed as 71-meter boats but later had to be elongated by 10 meters to solve weight issues.

The four S-80 submarines were at various stages of construction in 2013 when the main contractor Navantia figured out the submarines were 70 tons too heavy to be able to float. To solve this issue, the submarines received three extensions which brought their overall length to 80.8 meters.

Latest estimates suggest the total cost of the four air-independent propulsion submarines will be EUR3.68, or EUR920 million per boat, up from the initial EUR1,75m for the design and construction.

The four boats will be named Isaac Peral (S-81), Narciso Monturiol (S-82), Cosme García (S-83) and Mateo García de los Reyes (S-84). They will replace the ageing S-70 (Agosta-class) submarines which have been in service since the 1980s.

Isaac Peral (S-81) is expected to be delivered in 2022 with the rest following in two-year intervals.

Photo: Spanish Navy file photo of the Cartagena naval base