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Overweight Spanish Submarines

Posted February 18, 2019 12:00 AM by RSBenner
Pathfinder Tags: S-80 S-80 Plus spain submarine

The Spanish submarine navy is small – currently operating only three French-built, Agosta-class, S-70 submarines. During the 1980’s, when these boats were commissioned, Spain began planning for their successor, the S-80. Developed by the Spanish shipbuilder Navantia, one of the major enhancements of this new design was the incorporation of a bio-ethanol air independent propulsions (AIP) system which would enable the boats to be submerged for longer spans of time than their diesel-electric predecessors. Additionally, this new design touted highly automated systems allowing for a smaller crew, advanced armament capabilities and a significant decrease in the boats’ magnetic, infrared, visual and radar signatures. The first boat was scheduled to enter naval service in 2015.

However, the S-80 development came to a screeching halt in 2013 when, during testing, it was determined that weight imbalances caused the boat to lack proper buoyancy. In short, the submarine could submerge without a problem, but may not be able to resurface afterwards! During a review, it was determined that the 2300-ton displacement of the original design was overshot by more than 70 tons, thus causing the buoyancy problem. But, how did this happen? A former Spanish official stated that a decimal point was placed in the wrong spot early on during the engineering design phase of the project and 'nobody paid attention to review the calculations'.

General Dynamics, Electric Boat Division in Groton, CT was hired to find an answer to the buoyancy problem. The proposed solution was to lengthen the S-80 submarine from 71 to 81 meters in order to increase the buoyancy.

But wait, there is more.

In July of 2018, it was announced that the length added to the S-80 submarine, sometimes now called the S-80 Plus, caused the boat to be too long to fit into the 78-meter-long docks at the Cartagena Naval Base in Spain where it will be stationed. The port will need to be dredged and reshaped in order to properly dock the S-80.

As a result of all these changes, the per boat cost of the S-80 submarines increased from an originally estimated €439 million ($503 million US) to €978 million ($1.12 billion US). General Dynamics was paid €14 million ($16 million US) for their consulting fees which necessitated an estimated €16 million ($18 million US) expansion project at the naval yard. And the 2015 delivery date for the first boat of this class has been rescheduled to 2022.

Always check your work - especially your decimal points!

Note: As if the above problems were not enough, the AIP design will not be ready for installation until the third boat is deployed in 2026, with the first two boats receiving refits in 2032.

References:

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/spain%E2%80%99s-billion-dollar-ethanol-powered-s-80-super-submarines-are-too-big-fit-their-docks

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5968067/Sub-standard-900million-Spanish-submarine-heavy-sail-big-dock.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/18/world/europe/spain-military-submarine.html

Image: https://www.elsnorkel.com/2017/07/el-sistema-aip-de-los-s-80-plus.html

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Guru

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#1

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/18/2019 2:32 PM

When they built the Armada, they didn't have to fiddle with those pesky weight and moment calculations...

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Guru

Join Date: Aug 2012
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#3
In reply to #1

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/18/2019 10:37 PM

Nor did they bother with the Vasa!

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Guru
Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - Hmmm...

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#18
In reply to #3

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/19/2019 1:31 PM

Link:

Vasa

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Associate

Join Date: Apr 2018
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#19
In reply to #18

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/19/2019 2:02 PM

https://cr4.globalspec.com/blogentry/29051/The-Impact-on-Modern-Business-of-a-17th-Century-Ship

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Guru

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#20
In reply to #18

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/19/2019 2:24 PM

Thanks! Sorry for being lazyon the link.

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Guru

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#2

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/18/2019 3:28 PM

Brand new submarines would have been less expensive.

Who would care to double-check when the deep pockets of government money will pay for the mistake? More work!

War

Hmm

Good God

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#16
In reply to #2

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/19/2019 1:19 PM

Spain has been bankrupt since the GFC , they can’t afford the clusterMess of the remedy let alone barely afford the initial costs.

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#4

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/18/2019 10:52 PM

I wonder if anyone was subjected to the Spanish Inquisition over this?

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/19/2019 12:35 AM

Based on popular opinion they were burnt at the stake.

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#9
In reply to #5

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/19/2019 5:26 AM

Burnt like a steak ?

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#21
In reply to #5

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/19/2019 3:26 PM

I thought they were poked with a soft cushion . . . or !!!!!

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#6

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/19/2019 3:56 AM

If I were a Spanish submariner, I would be taking the nearest tape measure and checking the length, size etc of every nut and bolt.

On another note/ now that Boeing is going to supply the u.s. navy with the xluuuv, this game changer immediately makes 99% of all manned military submersibles obsolete.

The achille's heel for this design is that it needs to surface partly to run the diesel to charge the batteries, once the snorkel pops the surface, its location gets painted. Maybe they will have a future plan to use some type of salt water energy conversion system.

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#8
In reply to #6

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/19/2019 5:25 AM

XLUUV looks technically interesting , does anyone want to throw ideas at the wall as to how longrange underwater communications are done ? ( including non military)

Not expecting any classified top secret stuff ..

ELF only works at near surface and can potentially give away a vessels location plus it only tranmits at low data rate which can’t service a digitally aware craft like the XUUUV.

hopefully the systems used won’t cause 2000 whales to beach themselves every time the UV makes a left turn.

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#10
In reply to #8

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/19/2019 5:48 AM

I better point out that my interests are recreational underwater drones (to avoid agencies trying to climb up my network)

2 minutes googling shows lasers are being played with , connecting to different towed antennas .

if sub commanders didn’t have that little war thing to contend with they could just deploy surface transmitters every 500 km to get the latest Facebook posts .

with bulletproof encryption the enemy would only see 10,000 surface buoys around the worlds oceans but still wouldn’t know where the subs are .

https://www.wired.com/2010/07/run-wired-run-deep-subs-may-finally-get-online/

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#12
In reply to #6

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/19/2019 10:37 AM

I'm sure they will develop stealth snorkel technology. Either that or disguise it with an animatronic Flipper.

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#13
In reply to #6

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/19/2019 12:28 PM

Here are a few ideas, I don't know if they will work.

A. Micro frequencies hidden in a tone, kinda like undulations. These could be hidden in the surface waves - breaks.

B. Chemical changes in surrounding water, similar to the way a shark can detect blood from several miles.

C. Learned response in alligators to determine distance, mass, distress, from ripples.

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#14
In reply to #6

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/19/2019 12:43 PM

The XLUUV has specific missions for which it is well suited, but it complements the submarine force, but in no way will replace the need for fast attack (SSN), ballistic missile (SSBN), or land strike/special operations (SSGN) submarines. It is just another tool in our 'belt'.

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#15
In reply to #14

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/19/2019 1:01 PM

Since they are unmanned they should be able to sit or burrow on the seafloor. They could be camoflague hidden in the open as part of : shipwreck, coral reef, sand bar. When a vessel enters their area, munitions are released.

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#22
In reply to #15

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/19/2019 3:51 PM

They can't hide from the sound (sonar). Even sitting on the bottom amongst other 'clutter'. Their best uses are in motion collecting data of interest. And then exfiltrating that data back home.

What you are referring to is already a DARPA program called Hydra.

https://www.darpa.mil/program/hydra

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#7

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/19/2019 5:13 AM

Are you sure this wasn't an Italian Submarine?

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#23
In reply to #7

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/22/2019 9:20 AM

Mmmmm. Italian sub with capacola. Now I can't wait for lunch!

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#11

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/19/2019 9:52 AM

Measure twice, cut once. Same as it's always been & always will be.

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#17
In reply to #11

Re: Overweight Spanish Submarines

02/19/2019 1:25 PM

That didn’t work too well on the joint strike fighter.

fall out of the sky you say ?

no matter , just invoice the redesign and re-working to the poor fools who got sucked in to investing in the development from day one.

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