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article imageSpain's new S-80 class submarines sink but won't float

By Anne Sewell     May 23, 2013 in World
Madrid - Just as Spain’s Ministry of Defense has seen its budget cut by some 30% as part of recent austerity measures, it turns out they have spent some $680 million on the design of a brand new S-80 class submarine. One big problem, the darn thing won't float.
According to Spanish engineers, the new generation S-80 class submarine is a major “technical innovation.” However it seems that an excess weight of 100 tons has been added to the submarine during construction which means that should it be submerged into the water, it may never see the light of day again.
Local Spanish media explained that this excess weight may cause a significant problem in the craft's buoyancy and "severely affect its ability to submerge and resurface from depth."
The state-owned Navantia construction company has already spent around a third of the huge $2.2 billion budget on the construction of the "overweight" submarine.
According to Spain's Ministry of Defense, Navantia has detected "deviations" in the new sub's design, which will now delay its scheduled launch, set to happen in March 2015, for one or two years.
According to Navantia, due to the excess weight which has been added during construction, the company may have to totally redesign the whole submarine. The company is considering lengthening the hull in order to re-balance the weight.
However, one big problem with this idea will be that every extra meter added to the submarine will cost the austerity-stricken country more than €7.5 million ($9.7 million).
Navantia, the shipbuilders based in Cartagena, southern Spain, are now seeking "technical experts from abroad" to help with the redesign of what was billed as the "most modern conventional submarine".
Apparently the president of the Navantia board has defended their work and has complained of "meddling" by unqualified people.
United Left, Spain's opposition party, has reportedly mocked the development of the submarine in parliament and is demanding explanations.
However, the row was downplayed by the Ministry of Defense, who said that delays and adjustments in such complex technological problems are “within normality.”
Apparently the ministry is now “studying the scope of the problem to determine its impact in terms of time and money” and is considering “various alternatives.”
In the meantime, while Spain is awaiting four S-80 class subs to be modified and completed, there will only be two submarines in service. On top of this they may need to spent €30 million ($38.8 million) to repair the aging S-74 Tramontana sub (pictured above).
Seems like these new groundbreaking submarines are rather like the Spanish economy these days, going down...
More about Spain, cartagena, Madrid, Ministry of Defense, navantia
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