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For the first time a Type 212 A U-boat of the German Navy crosses the Atlantic Ocean

On 10 February 2013 U-boat U 32 of the German Navy under Commander Christian Moritz left its homeport Eckernförde to sail for the US East Coast to participate in the work up training for US Navy Carrier Battle Groups. This represents the first time a U-boat of the 212A Class will cross the Atlantic Ocean. The return of U 32 and its supporting tender Main under Commander Carsten Egerland is scheduled for the end of August 2013. The voyage is part of the exercise “WESTLANT Deployment 2013”. After U 32 had departed from Eckernförde, also the Main followed on 15 February 2013. Both units met off the Azores and jointly did a stopover at the Azores main port of Ponta Delgada between 22 and 27 February 2013. Meanwhile they have reached the US at the US Naval Base Mayport, Florida on 19 March 2013.

This is already the fourth trans-Atlantic voyage of U-boats of the German Navy after WW II. There have been three of such deployments in the past to train in the US Navy exercise areas off Puerto Rico in the Caribbean: In 1997 it was U 17 and U 26, in 1999 it was U 5 and U 25 and in 2001 it was U 24 and U 28, all of the 206A Class.

The air independent propulsion Type 212A U-boats have repeatedly demonstrated their novel capabilities not reached so far by any conventional submarine. Besides their capability the operate submerged beyond 2 weeks they have clearly proven to be able to execute long lasting and far reaching deployments while relying on other bases than their homebase, including foreign Naval bases. Two examples: After being 103 days absent from homeport U 31 returned on 04 September 2010 from deployment in the Mediterranean and Atlantic Ocean, and on 10 December 2011 U 34 returned from a 7months deployment from NATO operation “Active Endeavour” in the Mediterranean. Twice the crew of U 34 was changed in the area of operation to maintain a balanced number of days absent from home among the U-boat crews of the 1st Submarine Flotilla of the German Navy. It is known that the German Navy has introduced officially its multiple crew concept in April 2011, with 8 fully trained crews (crews “ALFA” to “HOTEL”) ready to operate those 6 U-boats the German Navy will keep again in 2013 in its inventory, with no crew being assigned permanently to a certain U-boat.

In line with that, U 32 is operated by crew “DELTA” of the 1st Submarine Flotilla for the next weeks to come. Period two of the deployment of U 32 being marked by further training activities on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and the return leg to homebase will be executed by crew “BRAVO” under Commander Christian Michalski.


At last Canadian Navy operates two combat ready submarines in the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean

Twice we have reported about the operational readiness of the Canadian submarine force (see our “Flotsam” of December 2011 and April 2012). Now, finally some good news came from the four conventional submarines of this Navy, when HMCS Windsor (SSK-877) ended her “Extended Docking Work Period/ EDWP” at Halifax on 14 December 2012 after its start in 2007, to have begun since her sea trials and combat readiness training. With that, the Canadian Navy will eventually operate as of summer of this year one combat ready submarine each in the Atlantic Ocean (HMCS Windsor) and the Pacific Ocean (HMCS Victoria/ SSK-876). However, overall goal remains to have 3 of the 4 submarines of the Canadian Navy in various status of readiness, with just 1 submarine at the time being in the 2 ½ year minimum EDWP.

HMCS Windsor
HMCS Windsor

It is widely known that the four submarines of the “Victoria”-Class, as they are called in Canada, have been procured from the UK under thought so very favorable conditions for a mere 750 Mill CAD (= 560 Mill Euros). These submarines were built for the Royal Navy between 1983 and 1990, but were mothballed after s short service time only in favor of further operation and new construction of an entire nuclear propelled British submarine fleet. After extensive works and training to re-commission the submarines under Canadian flag the boats were transferred across the Atlantic Ocean between 2000 and 2004. Since, they have been troubled by a series of technical problems and incidents. Costs arising from that have passed the 1 Bill. Euros mark already.

Following HMCS Windsor and HMCS Victoria another Atlantic boat, the HMCS Chicoutimi (SSK-879), is scheduled to regain its full operational readiness still in 2013, after it had been ferried in May 2009 on a dockship from the Atlantic Ocean via the Panama Canal to the Pacific Naval Base of Esquimalt near Vancouver, to undergo a lengthy EDWP. According to media reports this submarine has maintained unrestricted full operational readiness for just 2 days within 13 years under Canadian flag. The Canadian Navy´s fourth submarine, HMCS Corner Brook has been put into EDWP at Esquimalt prematurely after it hit the seabed off Vancouver on 04 June 2011, with the intent to return to full operational readiness in 2016.

The Canadian Navy plans to operate the submarines of this class under regular conditions, EDWPs included, until about 2030. Homeport for HMCS Victoria is Esquimalt at the Pacific Ocean, the three other submarines are based at Naval Base Halifax in Newfoundland at the Atlantic Ocean.


Fifth submarine for Israel´s Navy put to water at HDW at Kiel

On 06 June 2013 the fifth submarine of the German export class 209 (better: Type 214mod) for the Navy of Israel has been lowered to water from its construction dock at TKMS/ HDW. Israel designates these submarines as “Dolphin”-Class. With that, an important step in the process of construction for this submarine has been completed, the remaining work will follow and the sea trials will be resumed in the near future.

This submarine, said to carry the name Rahav, had been ordered at HDW on the basis of the export type 214, and it is already the second submarine of the “Dolphin II”-Class (also: “Super Dolphin”), which receives an air independent propulsion system (AIP), same as its sister boat Tanin, but other than the first three diesel-electric “Dolphin I”-Class submarines for the Navy of Israel.

We have reported about the submarine building program for Israel´s Navy in our “Flotsam” issues of September 2011, December 2011 and January 2012. It is known, that Israel ordered two submarines of the German diesel-electric export type 209 after the first Gulf War in 1991, financed at 100% by the Federal Republic of Germany. Both were commissioned in 1999 as INS Dolphin and INS Livyathan. In 1994 a third submarine of this type was ordered, this time financed at 50% by Germany, The INS Tekuma was commissioned in 2000. In July 2006 building order was given for two more submarines and an option placed for a sixth submarine, all for an improved version of the “Dolphin”-Class, i.e. AIP included. These submarines will be financed at 33% by Germany. INS Tanin was the first submarine of this new batch ready and was handed over to Israel in a ceremony at HDW on 03 May 2012. The Tanin is undergoing extensive combat readiness training since. The “Rahav” is scheduled to be delivered to the Navy of Israel in 2014. The sixth “Dolphin” submarine (name not know yet) meanwhile under construction at TKMS/ HDW is scheduled for delivery not later than 2017.