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.

S41 (861), a Type 209/1400mod submarine of the Egyptian Navy, during sea trials.
Class overview
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
  • 11.5 knots (21 km/h), surfaced;
  • 22.5 knots (42 km/h), submerged
  • 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)
Endurance: 50 days
Test depth: 500 metres (1,600 ft)
Complement: 36


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]


The submarine was designed by Ingenieur Kontor Lübeck (IKL) headed by Ulrich Gabler and is largely based on previous German submarine designs (in particular the Type 206) with increased equipment. The design is single hulled and allows the commanding officer to see the entire submarine from the bow to stern while standing at the periscope.[7] Four 120-cell batteries are located forward and aft of the command center in the lower deck and make up about 25% of the boat's displacement.[6] Two main ballast tanks with forward and aft trim tanks allow the boat to dive. They are powered by four MTU diesels and four AEG generators.[8] The AEG electric motor is attached directly to a five- or seven-bladed propeller.


Type 209 submarines are armed with 8 bow 533 mm torpedo tubes and 14 torpedoes. The Type 209/1200s used by Greece and South Korea, and the Type 209/1400s used by Turkey are also armed with Sub-Harpoon missiles.[9] Ships used by South Korea can be armed with 28 mines in place of torpedoes and Harpoon missiles; while the Indian boats can carry 24 mines externally.[4]

The class can be armed with a variety of torpedo models depending upon the country. The majority of boats carry SUT - Surface and Underwater Target (Greece, India, Indonesia, South Africa, South Korea) or the SST - Special Surface Target (Argentina, Peru, Turkey's 209/1200s, Venezuela) torpedoes. The boats can also carry the Mark 24 Tigerfish (Brazil, Turkey's Preveze class 209/1400), DM2A3 (Colombia), Blackshark (Chile), A184 mod. 3 (Ecuador),[4] DM2A4 (Turkey's Gür class 209/1400) and Mark 37 (Argentina).

Brazil’s boats will receive new integrated combat systems from Lockheed Martin to enable use of the Mark 48 torpedo.[2] Successful tests of the new combat system occurred on Tapajó S-33 in December 2011.[10]


Five variants of this submarine have been produced: Type 209/1100, Type 209/1200, Type 209/1300, Type 209/1400 and Type 209/1500. The U-209PN ordered by the Portuguese Navy is actually a Type 214.[11] The first three Dolphin class submarines built for the Israeli Navy are based on the Type 209 although heavily modified and enlarged.

Several modifications have occurred in the class resulting in these variants including the fitting of newer diesel engines. New air conditioning and electronics features have been added to accommodate orders from South America. The displacement in some variants has increased by nearly 50% in order to install new equipment, modernize accommodations, and extend range.[12]

The team of Ingenieur Kontor Lübeck (IKL) and Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) proposed an enlarged Type 209 submarine, the Type 2000, for the Collins class submarine program.[13] The proposed design was roughly 500 tons more than the Type 209/1500's for India and lost to the Type 471 from Kockums, an enlarged Västergötland class submarine.

The Thomson class built for the Chilean Navy has escape hatches fitted in the torpedo and engine room. An additional aft hatch is fitted in the sail with access to the machinery.[14] The boats are fitted with higher masts to compensate for regional ocean wave conditions.

The Tikuna class built by the Brazilian navy is a modified Type 209/1400. The boat is 0.85 m longer and fitted with higher power diesels, different electric motors, batteries, electronics and sensors.

The Shishumar class built for and by India is unique for having an IKL-designed integrated escape sphere. The sphere has accommodations for the entire crew with an eight-hour air supply.[15]

The Sabalo class built for Venezuela was slightly lengthened during a modernization at HDW in the early 1990s. The increased length is due to the addition of a new sonar dome that is similar to the model found on the German Type 206.[1]

Between 2004 and 2006, the Indonesian Type 209/1300 submarine Cakra underwent a refurbishment by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering in South Korea. The refurbished submarine featured new batteries, overhauled engines, and modernized combat system.[16] Both submarines' existing STN Atlas-Elektronik CSU 3-2 sonar suite were replaced with L-3 ELAC Nautik's LOPAS 8300 passive sonar system and Kongsberg MSI-90U MK2 CMS.[17] In 2009, Daewoo won another order to refurbish Nanggala, which was completed in early 2012.[18]

It is also possible to upgrade these submarines with the latest Air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems. The first ships to receive this upgrade were to be three ships of the Greek Poseidon class Type 209/1200 under the Neptune II upgrade program.[19] They were to be upgraded by cutting the boat in half aft of the control room and adding a 6 m plug with a 120 kW Siemens AIP system to the ship.[14][20] The program was canceled in 2009 due to cancellation of the Archimedes Project (Type 214), but not before Okeanos (S118) completed the upgrade.[21] After the Archimedes Project settlement was reached, it was decided that instead of upgrading the remaining two Type 209s, two additional Type 214 ships were to be ordered, but that deal was cancelled by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft.[22][23]

Chang Bogo upgrades/variant

The South Korean Chang Bogo-class submarines (Hangul: 장보고급 잠수함, Hanja: 張保皐級潛水艦) have reportedly been heavily upgraded in the 21st century,[24] which if undertaken was supposed to include domestic hull stretch augmentation from 1,200 tons to 1,400 tons and installment of domestically developed Torpedo Acoustic Counter Measures (TACM).[25] Some upgrades could have been affected or altered due to Korean economic problems of the late 1990s, which modified other plans to acquire nine 1,500-ton AIP-equipped boats or upgrade six 1200 boats to 1,500-tons AIP-equipped boats,[25][26][27] although the more ambitious plan to acquire nine 1,800-ton Type 214 AIP submarines was preserved and put under progress, not unaided by the quick recovery of the South Korean economy in 1999,[28] which will reportedly be wrapped up in 2018 when all submarines of the type are scheduled to be commissioned. LIG Nex1 began producing TACM for unspecified submarine types of the ROKN as well, which finished development in 2000.[29][30] Outfitting of the submarines with Sub-Harpoon launching capability was a part of the upgrade,[25] and seems to have been carried out on several submarines by 2008.[4][31][32] They can equip the White Shark heavy torpedo,[29][33][34] and can possibly equip submarine-launched Hae Sung anti-ship missiles later on.[35][36] AIP and flank-array sonars are planned for future modernizations.[37]

In December 2011, Daewoo won a contract to build Indonesia three 1,400-ton Chang Bogo-class submarines for $1.07 billion.[38] Construction of the submarines will start in January 2012 for delivery by 2015 and 2016, for commissioning in the first half of 2018. They'll be equipped with torpedoes and guided missiles.[39] The submarines are described to be Korea's original model, bigger and more advanced than Indonesia's refurbished Type 209/1300.[40] Initially the offered submarines were going to be in-service ROKN submarines.[41] The sale will be done without the involvement of German companies.[42] South Korea is currently the only country outside Germany independently offering the Type 209 for sale. Indonesia was also offered two license built Type 209 submarines manufactured by a group of Turkish (SSM - Undersecretariat for Defense Industries) and German companies (HDW/ThyssenKrupp), a deal reported to be valued at $1 billion.[43] SSM was also offering the leases of Type 209 submarines until new submarines could be completed.[42] The offer has since been superseded by the DSME submarine contract. The three new submarines would be equipped with the Kongsberg MSI-90U MK2 combat systems, Indra's Pegaso RESM system and Aries-S LPI radar.[44]


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 Grand Ayatolla Khomeini in 1979, following the Iranian Revolution.[45]

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 Glavkos class with four Type 214 submarines (Papanikolis class), and Turkey will be replacing early Atılay class ships with six Type 214 submarines.[46]

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 SST-4 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.[47][48]

Egypt initially ordered two Type-209/1400mod submarines in 2011 and later ordered two more in 2014.[49] The shipbuilder TKMS started building the first submarine S41 (861) in March 2012, the vessel was launched in December 2015 after 57 months of construction work.[50] The Egyptian Navy received the S41 in December 2016, the second submarine S42 was launched during the same month.[51][52] In April 2017, The S41 arrived at its home port in Alexandria and officially entered service, after a long journey from Kiel. Before reaching its naval base, the S41 conducted its first naval exercise with other units from the Egyptian Navy, ensuring its readiness to join the fleet.[53] The Egyptian submarines have 8 x 21-inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes and are able to carry and launch up to 14 missiles and torpedoes, in addition to deploying naval mines. They will be fitted with SeaHake mod 4 torpedoes and UGM-84L Harpoon Block II missiles.[54][55]

Technical specifications

Displacement (submerged) 1,207 t1,285 t1,390 t1,586 t1,810 t
Dimensions 54.1 × 6.2 × 5.9m55.9 × 6.3 × 5.5m59.5 × 6.2 × 5.5m 61.2 × 6.25 × 5.5m64.4 × 6.5 × 6.2m
Pressure Hull Diameter 6.8 m
Propulsion Diesel-electric, 4 diesels, 1 shaft
5,000 shp6,100 shp (4,500 kW)
4 x 120-cell batteries4 x 132-cell batteries
Speed (surface) 11 knots (20 km/h)11.5 knots
Speed (submerged) 21.5 knots22 knots22.5 knots
Range (surface) 11,000 nmi (20,000 km) at 10 knots (20 km/h)
Range (snorkel) 8,000 nmi (15,000 km) at 10 knots (20 km/h)
Range (submerged) 400 nmi (700 km) at 4 knots (7 km/h)
Endurance 50 days[56]
Maximum depth 500 m

8 x 533 mm torpedo tubes

Crew 31 33 30 36


Operator Class Name Type Notes
1100 1200 1300 1400 1500
 Argentine NavySalta class1(1*)ARA Salta (S-31) underwent midlife upgrades from 1988 to 1995 and 2004 to 2005.
(*) ARA San Luis (S-32) stricken in 1997 after incomplete overhaul.
 Brazilian NavyTupi class
Tikuna class
4(1*)(*) The Tikuna (S-34) is a modified Type 209/1400.
Additional modified Type 209/1400 Tapuia (S-35) cancelled.
All Type 209's will be fitted with new combat systems capable of using the Mk.48 torpedo.[2]
 Chilean NavyThomson class2SS Simpson (SS-21) is scheduled for refit and upgrade in ASMAR, Chile this year.
SS Thomson (SS-20) refit and upgrade was completed in early 2009, this works include integration of SUBTICS combat management system and BlackShark torpedoes.
 Colombian National NavyPijao class2Both scheduled to be upgraded between 2009 and 2011 in the state-owned shipyard COTECMAR, with the assistance of HDW.[57]
 Ecuadorian NavyShyri class2SS Shyri (S101) is under modernization in ASMAR, Chile since 2009; was slightly damaged after the tsunami in Talcahuano.
SS Huancavilca (S102) is under modernization in ASMAR, Chile since November 15, 2011 with completion scheduled for 2014.[58]
 Egyptian NavyType-209/1400mod class4S41 (861) officially entered service in April 2017.[53]
S42 (864) was handed over to the Egyptian Navy in August 2017.[59]
 Hellenic NavyGlavkos class
Poseidon class
3(1*)4Glavkos class overhauled under the Neptune I program from 1993 to 2000.
Poseidon class Neptune II upgrade program cancelled, but not before Okeanos (S118) completed the upgrade.[21]
(*) Glavkos (S-110) was decommissioned on June 9, 2011.s
 Indian NavyShishumar class4Option for two additional Indian built boats not taken up after several reviews.[3]
Equipped with integrated escape sphere for full crew.
Underwent midlife refits from 1999 to 2005, talks underway with HDW for additional upgrades.[60]
 Indonesian NavyCakra class
Chang Bogo class
23KRI Cakra was refitted by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, South Korea between 2004 and 2006.
KRI Nanggala refit contract was awarded to Daewoo in 2009 and completed in 2012.[18]
(*) Indonesia has awarded DSME a contract for three 1,400 ton Chang Bogo class submarines in December 2011. All three vessels will be commissioned by the first half of 2018.
 Republic of Korea NavyChang Bogo class9Further information in #Chang Bogo upgrades/variant section
 Peruvian NavyIslay class
Angamos class
24Both 209/1100 (Islay class) were locally upgraded in 2008.
Upgrade of the 209/1200 (Angamos class) is in process.
 South African NavyHeroine class3Commissioned between 2006 and 2008 replacing Daphné-class boats.
 Turkish Naval ForcesAtılay class
Preveze class
Gür class
68Atılay class mid-life refit with AIP propulsion cancelled. Early Atılay class ships will be replaced by Type 214 submarines starting in 2020.[46]
Modernization for S-351 Doğanay and S-352 Dolunay will include new periscopes, ESM, and Inertial Navigation Systems.[61]
 Bolivarian Armada of VenezuelaSabalo class2Sabalo modernized in the state-owned shipyard DIANCA from 2004–2011, included new computer, engineering, mast, and snorkel systems.

Individual Boats

Country Class name Type Pennant Name Commissioned Decommissioned
 ArgentinaSalta class1200S-31Salta1974
 ArgentinaSalta class1200S-32San Luis197423 April 1997
 BrazilTupi class1400S-30Tupi1989
 BrazilTupi class1400S-31Tamoio1994
 BrazilTupi class1400S-32Timbira1996
 BrazilTupi class1400S-33Tapajó1999
 BrazilTupi class1400modS-34Tikuna2005
 ChileThomson class1400LSS-20Thomson1984
 ChileThomson class1400LSS-21Simpson1984
 ColombiaPijao class1200S-28Pijao1975
 ColombiaPijao class1200S-29Tayrona1975
 EcuadorShyri class1300S101Shyri1977
 EcuadorShyri class1300S102Huancavilca1978
 EgyptType-209/1400mod class1400mod861S412017
 EgyptType-209/1400mod class1400mod864S422017
 GreeceGlavkos class1100S-110Glavkos19719 June 2011
 GreeceGlavkos class1100S-111Nirefs1972
 GreeceGlavkos class1100S-112Triton1972
 GreeceGlavkos class1100S-113Protefs1972
 GreecePoseidon class1200S-116Poseidon1979
 GreecePoseidon class1200S-117Amfitriti1979
 GreecePoseidon class1200AIPS-118Okeanos1979
 GreecePoseidon class1200S-119Pontos1979
 IndiaShishumar class1500S44Shishumar1986
 IndiaShishumar class1500S45Shankush1986
 IndiaShishumar class1500S46Shalki1992
 IndiaShishumar class1500S47Shankul1994
 IndonesiaCakra class1300401Cakra1981
 IndonesiaCakra class1300402Nanggala1981
 IndonesiaNagapasa class1400403Nagapasa2016
 IndonesiaNagapasa class1400404Ardadedali2017
 IndonesiaNagapasa class1400405Alugoro2019
 South KoreaChang Bogo class1200SS-061Chang Bogo1993
 South KoreaChang Bogo class1200SS-062Lee Chun1994
 South KoreaChang Bogo class1200SS-063Choi Museon1996
 South KoreaChang Bogo class1200SS-065Park Wi1996
 South KoreaChang Bogo class1200SS-066Lee Jongmu1996
 South KoreaChang Bogo class1200SS-067Jeong Un1998
 South KoreaChang Bogo class1200SS-068Lee Sunsin2000
 South KoreaChang Bogo class1200SS-069Na Daeyong2000
 South KoreaChang Bogo class1200SS-071Lee Eokgi2001
 PeruAngamos class1200SS-31Angamos ex-Casma1980
 PeruAngamos class1200SS-32Antofagasta1980
 PeruAngamos class1200SS-33Pisagua ex-Blume1982
 PeruAngamos class1200SS-34Chipana ex-Pisagua1983
 PeruIslay class1100SS-35Islay1975
 PeruIslay class1100SS-36Arica1975
 South AfricaHeroine class1400modS101Manthatisi2005
 South AfricaHeroine class1400modS102Charlotte Maxeke2007
 South AfricaHeroine class1400modS103Queen Modjadji2008
 TurkeyAtılay class1200S-347Atılay197630 November 2016
 TurkeyAtılay class1200S-348Saldıray19772014
 TurkeyAtılay class1200S-349Batıray1978
 TurkeyAtılay class1200S-350Yıldıray 1981
 TurkeyAtılay class1200S-351Doğanay1984
 TurkeyAtılay class1200S-352Dolunay1989
 TurkeyPreveze classT1.1400S-353Preveze1994
 TurkeyPreveze classT1.1400S-354Sakarya1995
 TurkeyPreveze classT1.1400S-35518 Mart1998
 TurkeyPreveze classT1.1400S-356Anafartalar1999
 TurkeyGür classT2.1400S-357Gür2003
 TurkeyGür classT2.1400S-358Çanakkale2005
 TurkeyGür classT2.1400S-359Burakreis2006
 TurkeyGür classT2.1400S-360Birinci İnönü2007
 VenezuelaSabalo class1300S-31Sabalo1976
 VenezuelaSabalo class1300S-32Caribe1977


See also

Media related to Type 209 submarine at Wikimedia Commons


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