Navantia, the global shipbuilding company from Spain, are present this week at the world's largest defence exhibition, IDEX and NAVDEX, demonstrating to the Middle-East region a combination of tools which include new innovative ship designs. What is striking about their presence this year are their hands-on simulators, giving potential operators a chance to experience the whole ship design in real time, whilst providing an augmented way to showcase their upcoming designs such as the LPD module configurator and S80 submarine platform.

One of the highlights was their completely immersive simulation training platform ‘Navantis’ which was on display alongside the Royal Saudi Naval Forces corvette program. The real-time application completely replicates the future ships and prepares the navy operators with an in-depth understanding of the ship's mechanics and fundamentals. Coupling this with some of the most innovative designs in modern naval fleets, leaves the industry with further appetite for what else could be around the corner.

DSSI managed to sit down with Abel Mendez, International Defence & Security Director who gave us a synopsis of their key display this year.

Hello Abel, it is great to speak to you again. We spoke a few weeks ago at Surface Warships about your innovative frigate programs; could you tell us a bit about what brings Navantia to IDEX 2021 in Abu Dhabi this week; to begin could you explain a bit about your Navantis simulator (on display) and its role with the Saudi Arabia corvette program?

Navantis simulator is included in the scope of the program training to be “supplied” to the Royal Saudi Naval Forces as part of the contract for the construction of the five Avante 2200 corvettes. As you can see the simulator is an immersive tool (avatar type) in which you control one member of the crew and you can walk through every single room and part of the vessel. The complete vessel has been recreated in a 3D virtual model and all the equipment, systems and tools on board have been recreated. The training objective is for the crews to be capable of familiarizing with the vessel time in advance to having the real corvette available. They can also perform some exercises like react to emergency situations (like for example a fire alarm) or conduct maintenance tasks like removing one main engine filter.

We noticed Navantia has two stands this year, one in the IDEX pavilion and another in the NAVDEX pavilion, there is plenty of innovation on display, could you briefly explain a bit about the main technology lines on offer?

Navdex is the pure Naval side of the exhibition. So in that part we are showcasing an update over our S80 submarine program for the Spanish Navy. We have created an interactive area where our visitors can easily access data about the characteristics and capabilities of the submarine and also some videos showing the current status of the project. The first unit of this innovative submarine will be launched in the next months and this year is going to be a very important one for us in this field, since we are participating in the P75I tender in India.

Regarding IDEX we are showing some services and technologies that we have developed for Navy applications but that can be easily adapted to other scenarios like for example land forces. The training simulator we talked about earlier, some augmented reality applications to show data over real images, and also our LPD configurator that shows Navantia’s commitment with our clients needs.

One of the innovative displays we have seen from Navantia this week is your LPD configurator, could you explain a bit about the role of your LPD, and how this modular design offers a platform to respond to regional threats? 

Each client has particular requirements and needs that may be fulfilled by changes made over an existing design. But sometimes this means losing part of the proven parts of the design and increasing the risk of going through a prototype phase again. We want to give flexibility to our clients but reduce that risk. So we have updated our LPD design using this modularity concept.

First we concentrate equipment and systems on board on certain areas of the vessel related to similar capabilities, so if you require changes in one of those only one area of the design will be modified but the rest will still be unchanged.

Second we increase flexibility and multirole options of the design by having in mind the possibility of using containerized mission modules for specific missions (like for example a towed array sonar or an emergency hospital).

Last, but not least, we have designed certain systems in a scalable mode. So each client can decide between different scopes. These systems are for example communication systems or combat systems.

With all these ideas we have updated our LPD design creating a menu of options that each client can choose from to configure the vessel according to particular needs keeping the proven design advantages fully applicable.

You also mentioned an augmented reality application, what vessel is it about?

We are currently working together with the Spanish Armada on the final details of the design for the F110 frigate. This is going to be a major step ahead for us, as it will be a smart vessel with an innovative digital twin development. For showing all that in an exhibition we have brought a model of the vessel, and by running the AR tool you can display a lot of detailed information over the real model. Like for example details about the propulsion system, the combat system and the digital twin tool.

After the great success we had with the F100, the new F110 is born with the objective of being the leader of the segment for the next 20 years.