First Spanish S-80 Plus submarine starts sea trials

by Kate Tringham

The Spanish Navy's first S-80 Plus SSK, Isaac Peral (S-81), sets out for initial sea trials on 27 May. (Navantia)

The first of the Spanish Navy's new class of S-80 Plus diesel-electric submarines (SSKs) has started initial sea trials.

First-in-class Isaac Peral (S-81) was put to sea for the first time from state-owned shipbuilder Navantia's facilities in Cartagena, where the boat was built and launched, on 27 May.

Navantia is building four S-80 Plus submarines for the Spanish Navy under a contract awarded in 2004. The boats are intended to replace the Spanish Navy's Galerna (Agosta)-class (S-70) SSKs.

Laid down in 2007 and launched in 2021 following multiple delays, Isaac Peral is on track to be handed over in 2023. Under current planning, its delivery will be followed by that of Narciso de Monturiol (S-82) in 2024, Cosme García (S-83) around early 2026, and Mateo García de los Reyes (S-84) around mid-2027.


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RNLAF helps Luftwaffe prepare Chinook capability

by Gareth Jennings

A Dutch Chinook (foreground) arrived at Holzdorf Air Base in mid-April to help the Luftwaffe prepare for the arrival of its own Chinooks into the station from 2027. In the background is a Luftwaffe CH-53G currently based at the location. (Bundeswehr)

The Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) is helping the Luftwaffe prepare for its upcoming Chinook heavy-lift helicopter capability, dispatching one of its own helicopters to the type's future operating station in mid-April.

The Bundeswehr said on 18 April that an RNLAF CH-47F Block 1 Chinook landed for the first time at Holzdorf Air Base (also known as Schönewalde), south of Berlin, to help the Luftwaffe prepare for the arrival of the first of its CH-47F Block II Chinook Standard Range (SR) air-to-air refuelling (AAR)-capable heavy-lift helicopters from 2027 to 2032.

“With the future stationing of the CH-47, Holzdorf Air Base will become a hub for helicopter transport. The [Luftwaffe] is gaining initial experience with the Chinook transport helicopter with its Dutch allies – in flight operations, refuelling, and training,” the Bundeswehr said.


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RAF, RAAF reform respective 80 Sqns as US-based F-35 data centres

by Gareth Jennings

The chiefs of the RAF and RAAF reconstituting their respective 80 Squadrons during a joint ceremony at Eglin AFB in the US. (Crown Copyright)

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) stood up their respective 80 Squadrons on 17 April to serve as US-based data units for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

Announced by the RAF, the two separate but linked squadrons were reconstituted during a joint ceremony at Eglin Air Force Base (AFB) in Florida.

“At the event, the [UK] Chief of the Air Staff, [Air Chief Marshal] Sir Richard Knighton, and [Australian] Chief of the Air Force Air Marshal Robert Chipman, formally awarded the dormant 80 Squadron number plates for each service to their respective teams within the Australia, Canada, and United Kingdom Reprogramming Laboratory [ACURL],” the RAF said.


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France touts new modular trainer aircraft with Spain, UK

by Gareth Jennings

With France having an approaching requirement to replace its Alpha Jets, the country has touted the possibility of a joint modular solution with Spain and the UK. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

France has raised the possibility of developing or acquiring a new modular advanced jet trainer aircraft with Spain and the United Kingdom.

Responding to a question in the National Assembly on 16 April, Minister of the Armed Forces Sébastien Lecornu said that, with France's Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jets nearing the end of their service lives, the country is considering a replacement tied to the future training requirements of its two European neighbours.

“Beyond 2032 … all solutions are conceivable and being studied, particularly with the United Kingdom and Spain,” the minister said, adding, “These solutions consist of developing or acquiring a modular aircraft that meets the needs of both [the Patrouille de France national aerobatic display team] and ‘Red Air', but also [other] aircraft, in the light of the [training requirement for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS)/Système de Combat Aérien du Futur (SCAF)] and its manned [aircraft component], the NGF [New Generation Fighter].”


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https://www.janes.com/defence-news/defence/latest/first-spanish-s-80-plus-submarine-starts-sea-trials

The first of the Spanish Navy's new class of S-80 Plus diesel-electric submarines (SSKs) has started...

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