Spain decommissions Tramontana sub after 218,000 miles underwater

In a momentous occasion steeped in naval tradition and camaraderie, the accomplished submarine Tramontana bid adieu to its active service. This farewell ceremony took place at the submarine base of the arsenal in Cartagena, graced by the presence of none other than the Chief Admiral of the Cartagena Arsenal, Vice Admiral Pedro Luis de la Puente García-Gang. The gathering was made even more significant by the attendance of former commanders and crew members of Tramontana, all partaking in the ceremonious decommissioning. 

Spain decommissions Tramontana sub after 218,000 miles underwater
Photo credit: Spanish Navy

Built with meticulous precision at the Empresa Nacional Bazán shipyards, now known as Navantia, in Cartagena, the Tramontana holds a significant place in Spain’s naval history. As the fourth submarine of the illustrious Galerna class, it first touched the water on November 30, 1984. Concepción Villalba Ibáñez, wife of then Defense Minister Narcís Serra y Serra, had the honor of presiding over the launch event, acting as the ship’s ceremonial sponsor. 

Under the proficient command of Lieutenant Commander German Medina Sanchez, Tramontana embarked on its inaugural underwater journey on July 5, 1985. By the end of that year, it was officially enlisted into the navy’s service. Since then, Tramontana, with its devoted crew, has charted an impressive journey covering 315,144 nautical miles in its lifetime. Astonishingly, 218,384 of these miles were braved while submerged, creating an indelible legacy that rises from the depths.

Multiple operations

Tramontana’s team has diligently worked since its maiden voyage, taking part in numerous national and international operations and exercises. Some noteworthy accomplishments include the launching of a combat torpedo in October 2004, sinking a surface ship during naval drills, and playing a crucial role in resolving the Perejil crisis of 2002. 

In 2011, Tramontana found itself in the middle of a significant undertaking, being dispatched to the Libyan conflict. It made significant contributions to Operation Unified Protector. As a part of NATO, Tramontana has shown an admirable commitment to counter-terrorism efforts, frequently engaging in Active Endeavor and Sea Guardian operations. Furthermore, its part in Operation Sofia has been pivotal on European Union turf. 

Spain unveiled the S-80 sub with air-independent propulsion [AIP]
Photo credit: Navantia

It’s crucial to note the period from 2014 to 2017 when Tramontana underwent its fourth extensive examination. This vital inspection of its components and equipment was conducted by Navantia and other supporting companies. After this stringent audit, the submarine resumed operations for the Navy in May 2017, with a plan to remain operational until its projected decommissioning date on February 16, 2024.

Submarine s74 Tramontana I

Wielding immense offensive power and equipped for lengthened stealth operations, submarines indeed play a pivotal role in “defense and deterrence” missions. The incomparable traits of these vehicles become especially critical in acquiring maritime control, whether to deter potential adversaries or to ensure safe passages for merchant ships and our military forces. 

Beyond this, the adaptive versatility and the ability to remain undetected make submarines instrumental for various tasks and missions associated with naval power projection. This includes everything from carrying out special operations to enhancing maritime awareness through intelligence gathering and providing essential support to naval forces in advanced areas.

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