ABB says it has secured a breakthrough contract with the Spanish state-owned Navantia shipbuilding company to retrofit the Spanish Navy flagship, ‘Juan Carlos I’ with an electrical propulsion system based on dual ABB Azipod units.
Due for completion in 2025, the project is believed to be the first of its kind on a naval ship. Following the commissioning, Juan Carlos I will benefit from enhanced efficiency and manoeuvrability to support its varied and demanding naval operations. The contract follows a study undertaken by ABB in 2020 to determine the feasibility of installing new propulsors on the ship. The study identified ABB Azipod as a solution to meet the vessel’s requirements for reliability, efficiency, manoeuvrability and safety.
Sindre Satre, Business Line Manager, Coast Guard and Navy, ABB Marine and Ports, said: “We are proud to see our Azipod propulsion system chosen for this project. We already have a long track record with highly efficient solutions on the commercial market and now see that our technologies are becoming increasingly viable also for naval vessels.”
ABB’s scope of supply for Juan Carlos I comprises two Azipod propulsors and medium-voltage drives, with support and maintenance available locally from the ABB service centre in Spain and worldwide via ABB’s service network.
While the order represents the first retrofit of an ABB Azipod propulsion system aboard a naval vessel, the solution has been applied to the naval patrol segment for several years, including a 2019 voyage by the Norwegian Coast Guard icebreaker KV Svalbard which was the first Azipod-powered vessel to reach the North Pole, where the system’s manoeuvrability and icebreaking capabilities proved critical.
Across its 30-plus years in operation, Azipod propulsion has claimed an availability rate of 99.8% with fuel consumption cut by up to 20% when compared with traditional shaftline propulsion systems. The solution’s manoeuvrability eliminates the need for tugs in harbour operations while minimising vibrations, saving space on board and facilitating maintenance.