1994 Tayrona Submarine
1995 Cartagena submarine
L 11.7m, W 2m
Capacity 1.5 tons
Discovered by Colombian police in Cartagenita/Facatativa in September 2000.
Type 1A Submarine
L 30m, W 3.5m
Capacity - 15-20 tons
By far the most advanced design captured to date, this appears to be the work of Russian advisers and has many features similar to real military diesel-electric submarines. The boat was to be 'double hulled' with a single shrouded screw. Crew is thought to be up to 12 persons. Construction cost is estimated at 10 million USD.
If completed this sub would have been capable of extremely long ranged missions and would have operated similarly to a military submarine.
At 30m long the Facatativa boat is about the same size as an MG-110 or IS-120 military midget submarine. The Facatativa boat has a greater internal volume that either of these boats with a larger diameter pressure hull. The pressure hull also appears to extend almost the full length of the boat, maximizing storage space. The narco sub would likely have depth sonar, satellite comms, GPS and a navigation radar - advanced stuff but not comparable to the military boats. Additionally as a cargo carrier the Facatativa boat does not have torpedo tubes or it seems diver lock-out facilities.
Size progression, approximate scale:
L - 11m, W - 3m
Load: 1 ton
Captured by Spanish Police on the Atlantic coast, this submarine is thought to be locally produced and not closely related to the Colombian subs in design terms. The boat is made from steel with ballast tanks on the flanks. An interesting design feature is the use of separate props for the diesel (main) and electric drive. The craft was likely intended for short transits between the cargo ship and shore.
2010 Ecuador 30m Sub
L - 30m, W - 3m
Designed to be even harder to detect than low-profile boats, but cheaper than proper crewed submarines, the 'torpedo' is towed behind a boat (disguised as a fishing, commercial or leisure craft) at a depth of about 30m. The torpedo is released if the authorities approach, and discharges beacons after a set period of time to allow recovery by a back-up boat after the authorities have left the area.
Example semi-submersible boats....
1993 San Andres semi-sub
L (approx) 7m
Capacity 1 - 2 tons
L - 18m, W - 3.1m
Example low-profile boats....
The first low profile boats amounted to a sealed 'go-faster' boat which rode lower in the water. Typical arrangement had cabin at rear and cargo hold amidships.
2006 Pital capture
L - 18m, W - 3.8m
Load: 4 tons
This craft is unusual for its twin engine, twin prop arrangement, but otherwise is a generic low-profile design. The craft was captured in March 2006 near Pital on the River Timbo outside Buenaventura, Columbia.
So-called because "narco-subs" were widely reported but within the US military no-one had actually caught one. That changed with the capture of a low-profile "sub" in November 2006. US forces had seen the earlier craft captured by the Colombians so the design was not that unexpected. Bigfoot-1 is quite different in shape to the more common hull design (typified by Bigfoot-2), having a rounded hull, but it is not unique in this characteristic either.
2007 Guajira low-profile boat
L - 20m, W - 3m
Load: 10 tons
Captured by US forces 2008. Often described as "Semi-Submersible" but fitting our Type-3 Low Profile classification system in actual capability.
L - 18m, W - 3.66m
Nacro sub generally similar to Bigfoot-2