The start of the S81 Isaac Peral is planned for this spring. If there are no setbacks, it will enter service in 2023 and is the first in a planned line of four very modern submarines that could be expanded to include two more. Some time ago we learned through the Ministry of Defense’s technology and innovation portal that the General Directorate Armaments and Materials (DGAM) was launching Phase I of the BARRACUDA program (autonomous and umbilical-controlled submarines for defense).
The aim is to involve the national technological fabric in order to promote technical solutions with which unmanned naval vehicles can be procured. In phase I, the capacities offered by the national providers are assessed. In Phase II, technologies necessary to meet the requirements of the Navy are developed, and in Phase III, the skills developed in a relevant test environment are assessed.
The aim of this quest, which appears to have been presented with concepts of small size and limited capabilities, is to obtain systems capable of performing the following operational missions: Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR); Detection, identification and neutralization of explosive devices; Rapid Environmental Assessment (REA) tasks and other underwater intervention activities such as rescue and rescue or hydrographic activities.
In this thesis we learned that there is an intention soon to have a UUV (Unmmaned Underwater Vehicle) system with which the submarines S80 Plus can be equipped and equipped with considerable capacity to expand or carry out their field of application Actions close to the coast without exposing yourself to the threat of the enemy. Since the diameter of the torpedo tubes could only be used to launch the smallest of its concept, the idea could be, to have the ability to use different types, to use one type of container on deck to transport and operate them. with them wherever their use may be required.
Due to the operational prospects and the closest neighborhood to our coasts where they could operate, a medium / large vehicle or family of them is required. The idea would be that they could stay on patrol for long periods of time and that their propulsion would be electric to maintain a patrol speed of around 5 knots.
A dual approach would be chosen, which apparently companies like Navantia are already working on, which has its own research and development project that considers the vehicle and a number of interchangeable sensor packages. In either case, it is important that they include powerful communication capabilities for surface links, an acoustic modem for submarine links, multiband sonar for obstacle or threat detection, and an optronic package.
The navy already needs a modern, powerful and efficient UUV, an operational solution that is already in use in other navies. The S80 Plus hopes that one day it can count on Tomahawk cruise missiles to truly be a strategic weapon. It has a versatile platform and the UUVs will be of great help in doing their job. (Octavio Dec Cmara)
Photo: The S80 Plus will begin its test drives in a year and be ready for use in two years. Therefore it is imperative to plan the installation of the UUVs that it will be transporting. (Navantia)
There are several western technical solutions around these autonomous underwater vehicles, although a system of national development is sought in Spain.
The United States has decided to equip its Navy with a large family of autonomous systems that can assist it in carrying out various activities and missions.
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