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Spain's first S-80 Plus class submarine was christened on April 22, 2021 by Princess Leonor of Asturias at the Navantia shipyard in Cartagena. With “Isaac Peral” (S-81) and its three sister boats, the Spanish Navy, and with it the naval industry, is expecting a technological leap into modern times.

U-Bootbau: Spaniens erstes U-Boot der Klasse S-80 Plus getauft
Princess Leonor of Asturias at the christening of "S-81 Isaac Peral", photo: Spanish royal court

So far, the Armada Española still has two submarines of the French Agosta class, which go back to the 1980s, "Galerna" (S-71) and "Tramonatana" (S-74). The former four boats of the Spanish submarine flotilla were built under license by Bazan. "Mistral" (S-73) was decommissioned in June 2020.

There are high expectations for the S-80 program. Capability gaps are emerging for the Spanish Navy, which the program is intended to address. Together with the French Naval Group (or its predecessor organization DCN (Direction des Constructions Navales)), Navantia markets the diesel-electric submarines of the Scorpène class. A variant of these boats can be equipped with an external air-independent MESMA drive.

The christening of the "Isaac Peral" marks a historic turning point, as Navantia is presenting the first submarine designed and produced entirely in Spain. The pride about it takes off: "S-80 Plus, the most advanced submarine in the world", says

In European submarine construction, Navantia becomes another competitor with the S-80 Plus. With BEST - Bio-Ethanol Stealth Technology - the group brings its air-independent drive (AIP) onto the market. However, operational use will still be a long time coming. Because the first two boats, “Isaac Peral” (S-81) and “Narciso Monturiol” (S-82) will initially be put into service without the external air-independent drive (AIP). It is to be retrofitted in both boats at a later date. Hull number 3, "Cosme García" (S-83) and the last boat, "Mateo García de los Reyes" (S-84), are to be delivered with the AIP. The Spanish self-confidence is still strong: “S-80 Plus brings us to the top of shipbuilding worldwide,” says Agustín Álvarez Blanco, the program manager at Navantia.

The development of the program and the construction of the submarines were not without complications and delays. The construction contract was signed five years in advance in 2004, at that time still under the designation S-80. Everything went according to plan until weight problems made a revision necessary in 2012. At the end of this four years later there was a boat ten meters larger with a displacement of almost 3,000 tons. The original budget of 2.135 million euros became 3.900 million euros.

U-Bootbau: Spaniens erstes U-Boot der Klasse S-80 Plus getauft
Navantia submarine type S-80, Photo: Navantia

In a later stage, the submarines of the S-80 Plus class will also be armed with cruise missiles in addition to the propulsion system that is independent of the outside air. Gamesa Electric supplies the drive motors, UTC Power supplies the fuel cells, which are operated by a bioethanol processor supplied by Abengoa. Bionet developed the system for discharging the resulting carbon dioxide. The propulsion system is said to allow speeds of ten knots surfaced and nineteen knots submerged.

U-Bootbau: Spaniens erstes U-Boot der Klasse S-80 Plus getauft

The armament of the S-80 Plus class includes torpedo DM2A4 and / or MK48, UGM-84 Sub-Harpoon (ship-to-ship missiles). The boats can also lay mines. A later armament with Tomahawk cruise missiles (BGM -109) is prepared. Lockheed Martin became a partner in the sonar system and weapon deployment system.

Der „Isaac Peral“ steht nun ein umfangreiches Erprobungsprogramm bevor. Die Übergabe an die Marine ist für Februar-März 2023 vorgesehen. „Narciso Monturiol” soll im Dezember 2024, “Cosme Garcia” im Oktober 2026 und “Mateo García de los Reyes” im Februar 2028 ausgeliefert werden, wie der spanische Königshof mitteilte.


Length 81 meters
Pressure hull diameter 7.3 meters
Height above tower 11.6 meters
Draft (surfaced) 6.3 meters
displacement 2965 tons
Speed 10 knots surfaced Submerged 19 knots
arming 6 torpedo tubes Torpedo, missile, mines
Storage for 12 torpedoes / missiles
drive 3 × 1200 KW diesel
battery 2 × 180 cells
autonomy 50 days In AIP operation: 3 weeks
crew 32 Additional accommodation for 8 people (special forces)


Hans Uwe Mergener