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At last, U 35 officially commissioned

On 23 March 2015 the official commissioning of the 5th Type 212A U-boat for the German Navy was executed at Eckernförde/ Kiel following years of repeated delays of this act. With that, a long history of construction and sea-trials of the first of two U-boats of batch 2 (U 35 and U 36) of the procurement program of a total of 6 Type 212A U-boats has seen an end, at least for the time being.

We have reported about it in our “Flotsam” issue of February 2015, after the German Navy on 17 January 2015 gave notice of the commissioning intended to occur “still in March 2015”.

The U-boat (length=27.2 m, beam=6.7 m, displacement at surface 1,700 t, submerged=1,980 t, propulsion by Diesel- and Electric engines plus 9 fuel cells for air independent underwater operation, 6 bow torpedo tubes, 28 crew) was keel-laid at HDW at Kiel on 21 August 2007 and christened on 15 November 2011. Both batch 2 U-boats differ from their 4 sister boats (U 31 to U 34) by having a slightly larger hull, the integration of a chamber for covert delivery of up to 4 special forces, a new communication system allowing network enabled operations, a new towed communication bouy (“Callisto”) enabling comms during underwater operations, a new optronic mast replacing the traditional periscopes, and the loading of heavy weigth torpedoes DM2A4 “Seehecht” to be launched from 6 bow torpedo tubes.


New Polish submarines to carry cruise missiles?

Last time we reported about the Polish submarine plans in our “Flotsam” issue of June 2012. At that time there was talk of two new submarines for the Polish Navy until 2022. At the moment, the Navy operates 1 “Kilo”-Class submarine (ORP Orzel, procured in 1986) and 4 older submarines of the German export type 207, bought from Norway´s fleet of “Kobben”-Class submarines between 2002 and 2004 (ORP Sokol, ORP September, ORP Bielik and ORP Kondor).

In mid-March 2015 news came to light indicating some movement in the program of the Polish submarine flotilla of modernization and new procurement. According to that, it seems that the ORP Orzel will receive some extention of its service time beyond 2017, while the aging ex “Kobben”-Class submarines will be retired.

The submarine designers in Europe have been invited for some years to foward proposals for the delivery of new submarines to Poland. However, a formal tender for offers is not expected to be launched by the Polish Navy before the 4th quarter of 2015. Even, when the the selection and the formal award for meanwhile 3 new submarines will occur still in 2016/2017, these submarines will not join the fleet before 2020, most probably somewhere between 2022 and 2025. This would constitute the Polish Navy accepting a capability gap for several years in underwater warfare due to the unavoidable phasing-out of its aging submarines. It is said that TKMS/HDW is one of the potential bidders offering its export AIP submarine of the Type 214. The other hopeful candidate is DCNS offering its “Scorpene”-Class AIP submarine.

In March 2015 media reported about an addition to the Polish tender in waiting, according to that the new Polish submarines are to receive a capability to launch long-range cruise missiles for land attack as well. Allegedly, certain contacs have been established to France with a view on the French 800 km “SCALP Naval” cruise missile, and also to the US considering its more capable “Tomahawk” cruise missile. Some observers think that France in the race for the submarine order might profit from its ready made combined offer of “Scorpene”-Class submarines with integrated French made cruise missiles.


  • www.marineforum.info (link obsolete) (Issue 03-2015 and DailyNews of 12 March 2015),
  • www.en-maktoob.news.yahoo.com/poland-seeking-submarine-launch-cruise-missiles-112635557–sector.html (link obsolete) (News Agency AFP of 11 March 2015)

New movement in the procurement program of new submarines for Egypt

We did report about the plans for exporting submarines to Egypt last time in our “Flotsam” issue of November 2012. At that time we referred to a contract signed by TKMS/ HDW and Egypt about the delivery of two submarines of the German export Type 209, however, with no air independent propulsion. Media tend to publish confusing dates about the exact date of the building order for the 2 Type 209 submarines by Egypt, as dates range from the Summer of 2011 to August 2012.

As early as 2009 Egypt did express interest in buying submarines from Germany. Negotiations started soon, and in November 2011 a contract about two submarines ready for signing was approved in general by the German government. As admitted by the government in response to an official parliamentary question the formal building order approved by the government was given in the Spring of 2012. In September 2012 some political concerns came to light against the deal caused not only by protests from the opposition parties in Parliament but foremost by the protests from Israel. Main arguments against the building order were on the one hand geostrategic concerns in the Middle East region and on the other hand the ongoing political unrest in Egypt at that time. However, the differences with Israel could be solved politically thereafter. In the meantime, the construction of the two submarines went on at HDW at Kiel, executing a building order of allegedly worth amazing 900 Mio. Euros. However, the system price per submarine was specified later to be in the region of 220 Mio. Euro.

Following a period of hardly any notice new pieces of news came out in early February 2015 talking of an addition to the building order for submarines to Germany as two more Type 209 submarines were to be built at TKMS/ HDW, which would made the total building order for submarines for Eygpt growing to 4 units. With that, new movement seem to have developed within the procurement project, when German Minister for Economy and Trade, Sigmar Gabriel, visited the HDW shipyard on 10 February 2015 indicating the export approval given by the government for further two submarines to be built at Kiel.

According to the media the Security Council of the German Government is to have approved of the export of Type 209 submarines to Egypt, while the Foreign Ministers of the EU states had agreed on an export stop of arms to Egypt in August 2013. Interestingly enough, the ban by the EU did refer to projects ready for immediate delivery only, whereas building orders under ongoing construction were allowed to be continued. With that, the completion and delivery of the first two submarines currently under construction seem to be in safe waters, as their delivery was not scheduled before 2016.
It remains to be seen what will happen to the procurement project of the further two submarines, as the further political development in and around Egypt has to be observed before the delivery is due in several more years to come, allowing another approval procress then.


News about building programs, launchings, de-commissionings and commissionings in other Navies

Russian Navy

In early March 2015 several weeks long sea trials have begun in the eastern Baltic Sea of the third of the series of “Kilo III”-Class SSKs, the Stary Oskol, currently under construction at the Admiralty shipyard at St. Petersburg. Now, the commissioning of the unit is scheduled for June 2015, after a commissioning was stated to occur at the “end of November 2014” for a long time.


  • www.marineforum.info (link obsolete) (DailyNews of 07 March 2015)

Two pieces of news were spread by the Russian media on the occasion of the “Day of the Russian Submariner” on 19 March 2015, i.e. the beginning of construction of two more submarines.

At Svesdoshka shipyard at Severodvinsk, Siberia, meanwhile unit No. 6 of the SSGN of the SSGN of the “Yasen”-Class (Project 885M), the Archangelsk, was keel-laid. With that, this class has one unit commissioned (the Severodvinsk/ K-560 as of 17 June 2014) and further 5 under construction, i.e. the Kasan (Keel-laying 24 July 2009), the Nowosibirsk (Keel-laying 26 July 2013), the Chabarowsk (Keel-laying 27 July 2014), the Krasnojarsk (Keel-laying 27 July 2014) und now the Archangelsk.

At the same day, SSK No. 3 of the “Lada”-Class (Project 677) was resumed at the Admiralty shipyard at St. Petersburg. Renamed Velikiye Luki the construction of the former Sevastopol (construction started on 10 November 2006) is being continued after there was a stop in construction and redesign going on in order to integrate the experiences gained with the First-of-Class “Lada”-unit, the St.Petersburg (Commissioned on 08 May 2010). Meanwhile the Russian AIP-technology seems to be operational, allowing to resume the construction of the “Lada”-Class SSKs, which was interrupted for some time (see our “Flotsam” issue of April 2012). With the St.Petersburg/ B-585, the Kronstadt/ B-586 (Construction started in 2006, was stopped and resumed on 09 July 2013) and the meanwhile redesigned ex Sevastopol (Construction started in 2006 and stopped) the procurement programm of the “Lada”-Class submarines seem to have resumed unrestricted. Allegedly, the Russian AIP-submarines are to have much better performance data than comparable submarines from NATO states (Scorpenes, Type 212A, Type 214, even the Swedish Type A-26), e.g. the capability for unrestricted underwater operations is said to be 25 days.


US Navy

On 07 March 2015 the keel-laying ceremony was staged at the North Kingstown shipyard of General Dynamics Electric Boat Company at Rhode Island for the 15th unit in the series of SSGNs of the “Virginia”-Class under construction. The submarine will carry the name of the Federal State of Colorado. Pre-fabrication of parts had started already in 2012, the commissioning is scheduled for 2017.


  • www.koaa.com/story/28286794/construction-begins-on-attack-submarine-uss-colorado (link obsolete) (NBC News v. 07.03.2015)
  • www.abc6.com/story/28287210/keel-laying-set-in-rhode-island-for-new-navy-submarine (link obsolete) (ABC News v.07.03.2015)
  • www.marineforum.info (link obsolete) (DailyNews of 07 March 2015)

Navy of Singapore

On 12 March 2015 media reported about the de-commissioning of the two “Challenger”-Class (ex Swedish “Sjöormen”-Class) SSKs of the Navy of Singapore, the Centurion and the Challenger. We remember that in 1995 Singapur bought 5 SSKs of the “Sjöormen”-Class from Sweden, where they were built between 1967 and 1969 and operated since. 4 units were kept operational while the 5th unit was used for spare parts. We have reported about the submarines of the Navy of Singapur in our “Flotsam” issue of February 2012.


  • www.marineforum.info (link obsolete) (DailyNews of 12 March 2015)

Navy of Japan

On 09 March 2015 it was reported that Kawasaki Heavy Industries delivered the 6th “Sōryū”-Class SSK to the Navy of Japan, the Kokoryu (S-506).


  • www.marineforum.info (link obsolete) (DailyNews of 09 March 2015)

South Korean Navy

In mid-March 2015 it became known that the next “214”-Class AIP submarine under construction in South Korea and scheduled for delivery in November 2015, will be named after Yu Gwan-Sun, one of the prominent female fighters against Japanese rule in 1919. Last time, we did report about the submarines of this state in our “Flotsam” Issue of September 2014.

Currently, the Navy of South Korea operates 13 submarines, i.e. 9 of the “Chang Bogo”-Class of the German export Type 209, built and commissioned between 1993 and 2001, as well as 3 AIP submarines of the first batch of the “Son Won-il”-Class (the Song Wong-il/ SS-072, the Jeong Ji/ SS-073 and the An Jung-geun/ SS-075, all commissioned between 2007 and 2009), plus the first unit oft he second batch oft he “Song Wong-il”-Class with 6 units total planned. With that, batch 2 construction goes on of the Yong Bong-gil/ SS-077 (launched on 03 July 2014), the above mentioned Yu Gwan-Sun/ SS-078 (launched on 01 March 2015), plus the last three unit of this batch (SS-079/ SS-081/ SS-082), all keel-aid meanwhile. The commissionings of these submarines under construction is scheduled to occur btw. 2015 and 2018.

The Navy of South Korea plans for a force of 18 submarines in the long term, with the older submarines of the “Chang Bogo”-Class to be replaced by larger size AIP submarines with 3,000 t plus displacement. On 01 February 2015 the South Korean Navy officially established a new Submarine Command within the organisational structure of the Navy, located at the Jinhae Naval Base in the province of Gyenongsang, interims Commander being named as Rear Admiral l.h. Yun Jeong-sang.