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Electric Boat Called in To Fix Flawed Spanish Sub

Image of the Spanish Navy's planned S-80 diesel attack submarine. Navantia Photo

Image of the Spanish Navy’s planned S-80 diesel attack submarine. Navantia Photo

General Dynamics Electric Boat has been asked by the U.S. Navy to help correct problems with the Spanish Navy’s S-80 submarine to correct design flaws, several sources have told USNI News.

Setup through the U.S. Foreign Military Sale office, EB will consult in assisting the Spanish Navy and shipbuilder Navantia correcting problems with the S-80 that could prevent the submarine from surfacing after it dived.

According to reports in the Spanish press, the diesel-electric S-80 was as much as 75 tons overweight.

U.S. Naval Sea Systems Command confirmed a FMS deal with Spain and EB but would not specify it was work on the S-80.

“Under this agreement, the Program Executive Officer, Submarines, is providing advice in responding to specific work of a Spanish Navy program,” wrote NAVSEA in a statement. To USNI News

As to the scope of the work EB will help the Spanish with is still unclear.

“We won’t know anything for a couple of months,” a spokesman for Navantia told IHS Jane’s on May, 27 2013.
“Until we see the final report we cannot be more concrete as to solutions, costs, and new dates.”

The design fault was found in a design check by Navantia shipbuilders prior to the launch of the first-in-class Isaac Peral (S-81) earlier this month.

Some estimates say correcting the problem could delay Spain’s first operational S-80 submarine by two years from 2015 to 2017. Spain is still committed to the program.

“This is a long-term project in which our country has decided to take on the technological risks involved,’ said Spanish Secretary of State for Defense Pedro Argüelles on May, 23.
“The ultimate objective is to achieve autonomy and operative advantage for our armed forces, and state of the art industrial and technological capacity in this area.”

Spain has plans to build four S-80s at a cost of $700 million a boat.

Categories: Budget Industry, News & Analysis, Submarine Forces, U.S. Navy
Sam LaGrone

About Sam LaGrone

Sam LaGrone is the editor of USNI News. He has covered legislation, acquisition and operations for the Sea Services since 2009 and spent time underway with the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the Canadian Navy.