Navantia launches ‘Monodon’, an innovation cell to accelerate the adoption of disruptive technologies


  • Inspired by the scientific name of the narwhal, the unicorn of the sea, ‘Monodon’ will research and test early-stage technologies and collaborate with research centres and start-ups.
  • The new brand will be presented at the FEINDEF Defence and Security exhibition, where Navantia will sponsor the Innova for Def&Sec space.

Navantia has created ‘Monodon’, an open innovation cell with the aim of promoting research and experimentation with disruptive technologies and speeding up their implementation within the company.

The new brand is based on the Latin term ‘monodon monoceros’, the scientific name for the narwhal, a species also known as the marine unicorn. ‘Monodon’ will be officially presented at the FEINDEF Defence and Security exhibition, to be held in Madrid between 17 and 19 May, where Navantia will sponsor the space dedicated to start-ups, called Innova for Def&Sec.

‘Monodon’ will be the spearhead for testing, experimenting and attracting technologies and interacting with the technological and entrepreneurial ecosystem before these new technologies are adopted by Navantia. It will also explore markets adjacent to the sectors in which the company operates and collaborate with projects of different degrees of maturity.

Thus, its main objective will be to articulate a mechanism to increase access to technology, bring innovations to the company in a more agile way, achieve disruptive products in less time and support the national industrial fabric through strategic joint investments with other actors in the innovation ecosystem.

“Companies must operate in permanent transformation and technological updating, and even more so in a field such as defence. With ‘Monodon’, Navantia equips itself with the tools to guarantee long-term innovation and to experiment with and integrate disruptive technologies,” explained Navantia’s president, Ricardo Domínguez.

“The creation of ‘Monodon’ is a further step in our R&D&I strategy, that involves.  the adoption of technologies such as Artificial Intelligence or the Internet of Things, both in our processes and in the products and services we offer our customers. Navantia is today a leading company and to maintain this position it must use new mechanisms”, said the director of Technology and Digital Transformation and director of Systems and Services at Navantia, Donato Martínez. To fulfil its functions, ‘Monodon’ will have several tools at its disposal:


The ‘Monodon’ laboratory will experiment with deep tech technologies, in order to be present in the initial phases of research products and to determine those technologies in which Navantia must invest in order to be differential.

‘Monodon’ will collaborate with research centres, universities and start-ups to detect future trends, carry out pilot projects and act as a pole of attraction for talent.


‘Monodon’ will have an open innovation strategy to encourage universities, research centres, technology centres and start-ups to work together on a technology of common interest.

In this way, the driving role that Navantia plays in industry will be replicated in the field of innovation with ‘Monodon’ as a hub for collaboration with joint research units (UMIs), companies, innovation forums and research centres. This strategy has already taken its first steps in areas such as quantum technology, robotics, new materials, nanotechnology, and 4D printing, among others, all with a focus on the naval and defence sectors.


With the creation of hubs with other companies, access to new solutions and connection to international networks will be promoted, as well as the extension of infrastructures and demonstration and experimental spaces to test technologies in an integrated way.

In this way, it will be possible not only to detect technologies and carry out pilot projects to validate them along the entire value chain, but also to scale and industrialise them, minimising risks. In short, the aim is to establish solid and systematic collaboration networks with which to co-develop, validate and scale deeptech technologies.


‘Monodon’ will be an independent cell that will interact with Navantia’s entire R&D&I structure, from the research projects linked to the programmes (including the S80 submarines or the F110 frigates) to the network of Centres of Excellence (Navantia CoEx) linked to its different businesses.