Inside the Drug Smuggling Submarine

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Remember the drug smugglers’ submarine that was captured by Ecuadoran police last year? The 75-foot boat was capable of shipping about 9 tons of cocaine. Jim Popkin of Wired wrote a detailed look at its design after reading a report by the US Navy:

The hull, they discovered, was made from a costly and exotic mixture of Kevlar and carbon fiber, tough enough to withstand modest ocean pressures but difficult to trace at sea. Like a classic German U-boat, the drug-running submarine uses diesel engines on the surface and battery-powered electric motors when submerged. With a crew of four to six, it has a maximum operational range of 6,800 nautical miles on the surface and can go 10 days without refueling. Packed with 249 lead-acid batteries, the behemoth can also travel silently underwater for up to 18 hours before recharging…

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