Navantia Cartagena, the first S-80 Submarine takes form
Navantia Cartagena, the AIP, Fuel cell propulsion system arrived today
The first of the S-80 class submarines being constructed in the Cartagena Navantia shipyard is beginning to take shape.
Today the yard took delivery of the first fuel cell AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) system for the S-81 currently under construction, one of four being built for the Spanish Navy.
The fuel cell is the heart of this system, which will increase exponentially dive times of submarines in the S-80 series , giving it a clear differential compared with other conventional diesel submarines in the world.
The fuel cell has been developed by U.S. firm UTC, United technologies Corporation, a world leader in the industry and NASA's sole supplier, which has used its developments to equip the Apollo rockets and space shuttles, among others. UTC are world leaders in dense fuel cell technology, and this technology will give the S-80 an operating system at the forefront of renewable energy efficient alternatives and is an important indicator of the commitment made to making this series of submarines world pioneers.
The fuel cell system generates electrical power when fed with a stream of gases rich in hydrogen and pure oxygen. Compared to other battery technologies, the one selected by Navantia is technologically more secure because it is a derivation of space programs, has a high power density, enabling faster start and operate the system at low temperature.
Once in operation the submarine will have a 60 day mission duration capability, with 30 day immersion potential.
Recently what´s called the "Vela" of the submarine was delivered to the yard in a complicated operation across land and sea, bringing the 13 ton structure from Mecánicas Bolea in Cartagena where it was constructed.
This is the periscope tower which was driven by truck to the portside, then loaded onto a barge for the trip across the bay of Cartagena to the shipyard.
This piece alone measures 6 metres by 13 metres and will be put into position during the second half of the year, the plans being for the submarine to be completed by the end of 2012 or the early part of 2013, with intensive testing planned for 2013 so that it can enter into service in 2014.
Work on the secnd of the series is already well underway.
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