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Spanish S-80 Plus Submarine Emerging as Top Contender in Project-75I to Replace Aging Kilo-Class Fleet: Insider Insights

Source : IgMp News Bulletin

Spanish S-80 Plus Submarine Emerging as Top Contender in Project-75I to Replace Aging Kilo-Class Fleet: Insider Insights
Spanish Navy first S-80 plus class submarine Sir Isaac Peral (S-81) [File Photo]
According to an undisclosed source within the Indian Navy, discussions are underway regarding the replacement of India’s aging Kilo-class submarines, which are nearing the end of their operational lifespan. The source indicates that the Spanish-made S-80 Plus class submarines are being seriously considered as a potential solution.

Since their procurement in the mid-1980s, the Kilo-class submarines have played a significant role in India’s maritime defense strategy. Despite undergoing extensive refits and upgrades, their usefulness is now reaching its limits. Therefore, the Navy is actively seeking alternatives for their replacement through the Project-75I tender, which aims to introduce six new submarines to replace the existing Kilo Class.

The S-80 Plus submarine has emerged as a strong contender for several reasons. With a submerged displacement exceeding 2,965 tons, it offers a larger capacity compared to its competitor, the German U-214 submarine from TKMS. This means it can carry more fuel, facilitating longer missions and covering a greater operational range—an essential feature given the vast expanse of India’s maritime territory. Additionally, both the S-80 Plus and Kilo-class submarines share similar submerged displacement characteristics.

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German Type-214 or U-214 submarine (File Photo)

Cost-effectiveness is another notable advantage of the S-80 Plus. Although specific price details have not been disclosed officially, it is believed to be a more economically viable option compared to the U-214.

Despite India’s existing fleet of 4 Type-209 submarines from TKMS and the positive rapport with the German company, the S-80 Plus presents a more contemporary platform with potentially superior capabilities.

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Indian Navy Shishumar class (Type-209) class submarine (File Photo)

Notably, TKMS previously lost to a French-Spanish bid in the Project-75 tender due to pricing concerns, as the Scorpène-class submarine proved to be more cost-effective than the German offerings. TKMS is wary of a similar outcome and has proposed a government-to-government deal for the submarines.

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Indian Navy sailors salute onboard the INS Vela, a French designed fourth Scorpene submarine under the Kalvari-class submarine Project-75 (AFP)

Moreover, the Indian Navy’s established relationship with Navantia, demonstrated through the operation of Scorpène-class submarines—a collaboration between France and Spain—further strengthens the case for selecting the S-80 Plus.

Given the stringent technical requirements set by the Indian Navy, only two submarines currently meet the criteria outlined in the Project-75I tender, emphasizing the S-80 Plus’s potential as a frontrunner in the selection process.

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