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Spain Asks U.S. for More Help to Fix Flawed 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

In a recent U.S. visit, the Spanish Secretary of State for Defense Pedro Argüelles asked American officials for more help to correct design problems with its S-80 diesel-electric submarine program.

Argüelles asked the U.S. for “continued cooperation,” with S-80 builder Navantia to “resolve a technological [rough] patch,” in the program, according to readout of his three-day visit by the MoD reported by Jane’s Defence Weekly.

U.S. submarine builder General Dynamics Electric Boat was contracted last year through a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) contract to help correct a problem with the first-in-class Isaac Peral (S-81) — the first of four boats in the $3.3 billion program.

The submarine was found to be up to 75 tons overweight, according to local press reports.

Last week, Navantia told Jane’s the problem with the submarine should be solved by June, “when it expects to be able to release details about the extent of the redesign, the time needed to sort it out, and the extra costs involved.”

“Among the people Argüelles met during his visit to Washington were the US Acting Deputy Secretary of Defense Christine H Fox and the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisitions, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall, who is in charge of industrial policy,” reported Jane’s.

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