Type 209 submarine

The Type 209 is a class of diesel-electric attack submarine developed exclusively for export by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft of Germany. The original variant (Type 209/1100) was designed in the late 1960s. Despite not being operated by the German Navy, five variants of the class (209/1100, 209/1200, 209/1300, 209/1400 and 209/1500) have been successfully exported to 13 countries, with 61 submarines being built and commissioned between 1971 and 2008.

Type 209 submarine
Class Ship
Type Submarine
Manufacturer Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft
Origin Argentina
Country Name Origin Year
Argentina 1971
Country Name Operational Year Retirement Year
Argentina 1974 View
Chile 1984 View
Colombia 1975 View
Ecuador 1978 View
Greece 1971 View
India 1986 View
Indonesia 1981 View
Korea 1993 View
Peru 1975 View
South Africa 2005 View
Turkey (Ottoman Empire) 1976 View
Venezuela 1976 View
ManufacturerName Production From Production To Quantity
Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft View
Nordseewerke View
Arsenal de Marinha do Rio de Janeiro View
Mazagon Dock Limited View
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering View
Golcuk Naval Shipyard View

In the early 1970s, many navies began to need replacements for WWII-era submarines, aging United States GUPPY conversions, and British units transferred postwar.[6] During this time, few western submarine designs were available for export as most were large, expensive, sophisticated and difficult to operate and designed for the Cold War. Several designs originally built for specific nations were available including the French Daphne Class, British Oberon Class, and the Soviet Foxtrot Class submarines.[7] The design, designated by the German Ministry of Defense as the “Type 209” provided a solution providing the combination of size, performance, relative ease of operation for small or inexperienced navies, reasonable price and economy of operation.[8]


Countries operating the Type 209 include Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Greece, India, Indonesia, Peru, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and Venezuela. All Type 209s remain in service except for ARA San Luis (S-32) which was stricken in 1997 after an incomplete overhaul and Glavkos S-110 decommissioned in 2011. Iran had an order for six Type-209 submarines that was cancelled by Khomeini in 1979.

The first user was the Hellenic Navy which purchased four Type 209/1100 and four Type 209/1200 submarines.

The largest operator of the Type 209 is the Turkish Navy which operates six Type 209/1200 submarines (commissioned between 1976 and 1989) and eight Type 209/1400 submarines (commissioned between 1994 and 2007). At present, the Turkish Navy is also the largest operator of German designed submarines in the world.

Three new Type 209/1400 submarines were delivered to South Africa in 2006, costing $285 million each.

Type 209s are often supplemented with other submarine designs or are scheduled to be replaced by them. Argentina received two TR-1700 class submarines (Santa Cruz class) during the 1980s. Ten Kilo class submarines were purchased by India in the 1980s and 90s (Sindhughosh class submarine), along with Akula class submarine INS Chakra in 2011. Two Scorpène class submarines have been commissioned by Chile, while Brazil has four and India has six ships ordered or under construction. Nine Type 214 submarines (Son Won-il class) are commissioned, building, or planned by South Korea to supplement its force, while Greece is replacing its aging Glaukos class with four Type 214 submarines (Papanikolis class), and Turkey will be replacing early Atilay class ships with six Type 214 submarines.

During the Falklands War the Argentinian Type 209/1200 submarine "San Luis" performed a war patrol. While on their way to the area assigned the fire control computer went out of order. The vessel continued on to the combat area, and managed to fire at least 3 wire guided SST4 mod0 torpedoes at the British fleet. The torpedoes suffered from various issues, with the guide wire cut a minute after launch and the torpedoes going off the assigned course. After the war testing revealed that the torpedoes electric gyroscopes had reversed polarity, which resulted in a complete refit of the entire Argentinean torpedo stock, and a conversion of a portion of this stock from Mod0 to Mod1, performed by the firm which produced these weapons (AEG). Beside the torpedo issue, "San Luis" patrolled mostly undetected.

On 31 August 2012, the Egyptian Navy commander General Osama Ahmed stated that a contract has been signed with the German side to build two type 209 submarines for the Egyptian Navy including the latest technology this type has reached. The first vessel is scheduled to be delivered in 2016. Egypt is planning to exercise an option of the contract for another two type 209 submarines.

Class overview
Builders: Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft
Nordseewerke
Arsenal de Marinha
Mazagon Dock Limited
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering
Gölcük Naval Shipyard
Operators: See Below
Preceded by: Type 206 submarine
Succeeded by: Type 214 submarine
In commission: 1971-present
Planned: 64
Completed: 61
Cancelled: 3
Active: 59
Laid up: 2
General characteristics
Type: Type 209/1500 submarine
Displacement: 1,810 tonnes (1,780 long tons) submerged
Length: 64.4 metres (211 ft)
Beam: 6.5 metres (21 ft)
Draft: 6.2 metres (20 ft)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric, 4 diesels, 1 shaft, 6100 shp
Speed: 11.5 knots (21 km/h), surfaced;
22.5 knots (42 km/h), submerged
Range: 11000 Nautical miles (nmi) at 10 knots, surfaced,
(20,000 km at 20 km/h);
8,000 nmi at 10 knots, snorkeling,
(15,000 km at 20 km/h);
400 nmi at 4 knots, submerged
(740 km at 7 km/h)
Test depth: 500 metres (1,600 ft)
Complement: 36
Armament: 8 x 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes,
14 torpedoes; optional UGM-84 Harpoon integration

End notes