Type 214 submarine

The Type 214 is a diesel-electric submarine developed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbH (HDW). It features diesel propulsion with an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system using Siemens polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) hydrogen fuel cells. The Type 214 submarine is derived from the Type 212,[4] but as an export variant it lacks some of the classified technologies of its smaller predecessor, the most important of which is probably the non-magnetic steel hull, which makes the Type 212 submarine difficult to detect using a magnetic anomaly detector.

Greek submarine Papanikolis (S-120) at the HDW building yard in Kiel, 2008.
Class overview
Succeeded by: Dosan Ahn Changho-class submarine (ROKN)
Subclasses: Tridente-class submarine
Cost: $330 million (2008)[3]
Built: 2001–present
In commission: 2007–present
Planned: 23
Building: 2
Completed: 15
Active: 14
General characteristics
Displacement: 1,690 t (surfaced), 1,860 t (submerged)
Length: 213 feet 3 inches (65.0 m)
Beam: 20 feet 8 inches (6.3 m)
Draught: 19 feet 8 inches (6.0 m)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric, fuel cell AIP, low noise skew back propeller
  • 12 kt surfaced
  • 20 kt submerged
  • 12,000 miles (19,300 km) (surfaced)
  • 420 nmi (780 km) @ 8 kt (submerged)
  • 1,248 nmi (2,311 km) @ 4 kt (submerged)
Endurance: 84 days
Test depth: more than 250m (820 feet)(400m theoretical, 1312 feet)
Complement: 5 officers + 22 crew
Armament: (8) 533 mm torpedo tubes, (4) subharpoon-capable

A contract to build three boats for the Hellenic Navy was signed 15 February 2000 and a fourth unit was ordered in June 2002. The first boat was built at HDW in Kiel, Germany and the rest at the Hellenic Shipyards Co. in Skaramangas, Greece. The Hellenic Navy named them the Papanikolis-class.

The Republic of Korea Navy has ordered nine Type 214 submarines, designated as Son Won-Il-class, to be built in Korea by Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering; three first batch models had entered service since 2007, and six second batch models will enter service from 2012.

Due to improvements in the pressure hull materials, the Type 214 can dive nearly 400 meters.[5] It can also carry food, fresh water and fuel for 84 days of operation.

General characteristics

  • Displacement: 1,690 t surfaced / 1,860 t submerged
  • Dimensions: length 213 feet 3 inches (65 m) / beam 20 feet 8 inches (6.3 m) / draught 19 feet 8 inches (6 m)
  • Pressure hull: HY-100[6]
  • Armament: 8 x 533 mm torpedo tubes, 4 subharpoon-capable
  • Propulsion: low noise skew back propeller
  • Diesel engines: 2 x MTU 16V-396 (3.96 MW)
  • Charging generators: 2 x Piller Ntb56.40-10 0.97 MW
  • AIP system: 2 x HDW PEM fuel cell module BZM120 (120 kW x 2)[7]
  • Electric motor: 1 x Siemens Permasyn (2.85 MW)
  • Speed: 10 kn surfaced / 20 kn submerged
  • Speed on fuel cells: 2-6 kn estimated
  • Range surfaced: 12,000 miles (19,300 km)
  • Range submerged: 420 nmi @ 8 kn (780 km @ 15 km/h)
  • Range on fuel cells: 1,248 nmi @ 4 kn (2,310 km @ 7 km/h)
  • Mission endurance: 12 weeks
  • Submerged without snorkelling: 3 weeks
  • Operating depth: more than 250 m (820 feet) officially, 400 m estimated (1312 feet)
  • Complement: 5 officers + 22 crew
  • Navigation radar: SPHINX-D with 4 kW pulse and tactical LPI radar sensor [Thales Deutschland Kiel]



The Hellenic Navy ordered four Type 214 submarines to be known as the Papanikolis class. The first, Papanikolis, was built in Germany; the following three were scheduled for construction at HDW's Hellenic Shipyards in Greece. In December 2006, StrategyPage reported that Papanikolis was found to have numerous technical problems.[8] Among the reported problems with the submarine were excessive propeller cavitation, overheating of the air-independent propulsion system's fuel cells, and excessive rolling in bad weather when surfaced. Seapower magazine reported the Hellenic Navy refused to accept Papanikolis; additional problems noted were inadequate air-independent propulsion system output power, inappropriate periscope vibration, sonar flank array problems and seawater leakage into the ship's hydraulics.[9]

The Hellenic Navy officers in charge of the testing program at the Kiel shipyards in Germany made their case clear in a 2007 investigative journalism program called "Neoi Fakeloi" on Skai TV (Greece). Retired Rear Admiral M. Simionakis, who had been in charge of the Papanikolis program for the navy, told the interviewer that the manufacturer had made two attempts to fix a severe balance problem in the submarine, including shifting 21 tons of material from the top to the bottom, yet the vessel continued to heel as much as 46 degrees in sea trials. Photographic evidence of the severe heeling was presented. In the same TV program, the officer replacing Simionakis in Kiel, Capt. K. Tziotis, listed sevenongoing, serious problems with the vessel, including balance problems when traveling on the surface, problems with the AIP system, problems with the weapon system, problems with the periscope, and problems with flooding.

For its part, TKMS, the German shipbuilder of Type 214, has asserted that it solved all the boat's technical problems in 2006 (before the interviews of the Greek officers mentioned above) and claimed the Greek Navy's continuing complaints about Papanikolis' technical condition are just a ploy to justify a price reduction. Therefore, TKMS refused to deliver the boat to the Greek Navy until all debts were paid and Papanikolis remained in Kiel harbor.[10] Despite this position by TKMS, the Hellenic Navy officers in charge of the submarine delivery have repeatedly stated there are problems with Papanikolis. In October 2008, Papanikolis conducted a new round of trials, which showed that the excessive rolling problem had finally been fixed. The rest of the problems are considered solved. According to the Greek defence press, acceptance of the vessel was imminent.[11] The second boat, Pipinos, was officially launched on 6 October 2014 and passed through Greek harbour acceptance trials in Elefsina.

On September 21, 2009 TKMS announced that the contract with the Greek Navy for all four submarines had been cancelled due to country's arrears of more than 520 million Euros. TKMS began seeking arbitration to resolve the matter.[12][13]

On October 27, 2009 the Greek Ministry of Defence confirmed that they intended to accept the three boats built in Greece.[14] The Greek Papanikolis U214 class is equipped with a hoistable radar mast which does not penetrate the pressure hull of the submarine. In the top of the radar mast the radar transmitter is installed. This transmitter is part of the SPHINX Radar System supplied by Thales Defence Deutschland GmbH in Kiel]]. The radar sensor is a FMCW transceiver which can't be detected by ESM systems in medium terms. This technology is so called LPI radar, which means "Low probability of intercept". The transmitting power is lower than the power of a mobile phone but the resolution more precise compared to high power Pulse radar. Thales SPHINX radar is a tactical radar, designed for submarines.Greece ordered four submarines and paid six times the list price(2 bn euros)[15]

Republic of Korea

The South Korean Son Won-Il U214-class submarine (Hangul: 손원일급 잠수함, Hanja: 孫元一級潛水艦) is equipped with a SPHINX-D Radar System supplied by Thales Defence Deutschland GmbH. It uses an additional pulse transmitter in the top of the mast. The combination of high power pulse radar and a very low power LPI transmitter is very effective for submarines. During surface operations, the boat sails with an open pulse fingerprint for ESM systems, but within a secret mission the operator switches to LPI mode. The boat remains invisible to others. Total of 9 are planned and 8 are in active duty. South Korea ordered its first three KSS-II/ Type 214 boats in 2000, which were assembled by Hyundai Heavy Industries. The Batch 2 order will add six more submarines to the Navy, to be built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.

In March 2008, it was reported in the media that the first Type 214 submarine of the Republic of Korea Navy suffered from defects related to excessive noise from the screw, according to anonymous sources.[16] Later ROKN denied the report.[17] There were no further reports of such noise problems in succeeding South Korean Type 214 submarines. The first three Type 214 submarines of South Korea were built by Hyundai Heavy Industries. In August 2008, South Korea signed another contract with HDW for six more Type 214 submarines. The Batch 2 order will add six more submarines to the Navy, to be built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering. Hong Beom-do, a specialized guided missile submarine was launched on 7 April 2016.[18]


In 2005 Portugal awarded a contract to Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft for two Type 214 submarines, which were delivered in 2010.


The first request by the Turkish Naval Forces was made in 2009 and considered to be delivered in 2014. However, due to delay, a new contract was signed in 2016 and it is planned to be delivered in 2020.[1] The Turkish Navy had commenced negotiations with HDW for six licence-built Type 214 class air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarines. According to the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries of the Turkish Government these submarines will be produced with maximum local content at Gölcük Naval Shipyard in Kocaeli, Turkey.

On 2 July 2009, HDW and the Turkish Ministry of Defence entered into an agreement for the licensed production of six platforms. The agreement was the largest defence acquisition project in Turkey at the time after the firm order for 116 F-35 fighters at a cost of in excess of $10 billion. Ankara hoped that its advanced, locally produced and highly modified Type 214 submarines will enter into service by 2015.[19][20][21] Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul stated that "Turkish industrial participation in the project would be worth around 80 percent of the total value of the deal".[22]

As the Turkish Type 214 will have a significant amount of Turkish indigenous systems on board, this variant of the Type 214 will be known as the Type 214TN (Turkish Navy). HDW will preassemble structural and mechanical parts of the submarine in Germany, or classified elements such as the fuel cells and propulsion system and will then ship them to Turkey. All electronic and weapon systems (including the C4I system) will be of Turkish production.

On 1 July 2011, the 2 billion euros order for six U 214 submarine material packages placed with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems by Turkey entered into force with receipt of the advance payment. This enabled ThyssenKrupp to begin executing the order. The order was designated to contribute to securing employment at HDW in Kiel, as well as at many subcontractors in Germany and Turkey, for the next ten years. Yet, recently Turkey has received around 2 Million euros compensation from ThyssenKrupp due to delayed manufacturing of the Type214TN. Possible reason for this delay is Turkeys demand for in-house developed software within the submarines.[23]

Failed bids


In 2008, the Pakistan Navy entered in negotiation of possibly purchasing three Type 214 to be built in KESW through a technology transfer, and the HDW CEO Walter Freitag confirming and reportedly telling the news media in Pakistan during the IDEAS 2008 convention that: "The commercial contract has been finalised up to 95 per cent."[24]

It was reported that the first Type 214 diesel-electric submarine would be delivered to the Pakistan Navy in 64 months after signing of the contract while the rest would be completed successively in 12 months.[24][25] After wavering for over two years, Pakistan dropped out from this deal when successfully negotiating with China to develop and design Eight Type 039A submarine that features the AIP technology with a complete transfer of technology to be built in Pakistan.[26]

Vessels by nation

Country Pennant Name Laid down Launch Date Commission Date Builder

2000 4 Boats
2010 2 Boats
S 120 Papanikolis 27 February 2001 April 2004 2 November 2010 Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft
S 121 Pipinos February 2003 October 2006 Summer of 2015 Hellenic Shipyards Co.
S 122 Matrozos February 2004 November 2007 23 June 2016 Hellenic Shipyards Co.
S 123 Katsonis 2005 2007 23 June 2016 Hellenic Shipyards Co.
unknown Hellenic Shipyards Co.
unknown Hellenic Shipyards Co.
 South Korea

2000 3 Boats
2008 6 Boats
SS 072 ROKS Son Won-il October 2002 9 June 2006 27 December 2007 Hyundai Heavy Industries
SS 073 ROKS Jeong Ji 2004 13 June 2007 2 December 2008 Hyundai Heavy Industries
SS 075 ROKS An Jung-geun 4 June 2008 1 December 2009 Hyundai Heavy Industries
SS 076 ROKS Kim Jwa-jin 2008 13 August 2013[27][28] 30 December 2014 Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering
SS 077 ROKS Yun Bong-gil 2009 3 July 2014[29] 21 June 2016 Hyundai Heavy Industries
SS 078 ROKS Yu Gwan-sun 2010 7 May 2015 10 July 2017[30] Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering[31]
SS 079 ROKS Hong Beom-do 2011 5 April 2016 23 January 2018 Hyundai Heavy Industries
SS 081 ROKS Lee Beom-seok 2012 8 November 2016 13 May 2019 Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering
SS 082 ROKS Shin Dol-seok 2013 7 September 2017 2019 Hyundai Heavy Industries
2010 2 Boats
S 160 NRP Tridente 2005 2010 May 2010 Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft
S 161 NRP Arpão 2005 2010 preliminary delivery in December 2010, final delivery on 28 April 2011[32] Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft
2009 6 Boats
unknown TCG Pirireis October 2015 Gölcük Naval Shipyard
unknown TCG Hızırreis Gölcük Naval Shipyard
unknown TCG Murat Reis 25 February 2018 Gölcük Naval Shipyard
unknown TCG Aydın Reis Gölcük Naval Shipyard
unknown TCG Seydi Ali Reis Gölcük Naval Shipyard
unknown TCG Selman Reis Gölcük Naval Shipyard

See also


  1. Güngör Uras (29 April 2014). "Torpidoları aldık ama denizaltı yok". Milliyet.
  2. "Cerbe Sınıfı Yeni Tip Denizaltı Projesi ve Yerli Katkı Oranı" (in Turkish). Üsküdar. 19 September 2014.
  3. "Pakistan's 214 Submarines made in Karachi with German help - World Politics". Zimbio. Archived from the original on 2012-02-01. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
  4. "U212 / U214 Submarines". naval-technology.com. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  5. "Type 212". Retrieved 2006-10-21.
  6. Urlich Gabler: Submarine Design, Bernard & Graefe Verlag, ISBN 3-7637-6202-7, s. 151-153
  7. Dr. Albert E. Hammerschmidt(Siemens AG, Erlangen), Fuel Cell Propulsion of Submarines (PDF), archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-16
  8. "Type 214 Stumbles Into Greece". StrategyPage.com. 2006-12-11. Retrieved 2007-11-30.
  9. "Greece Refuses Delivery Of First Type-214 Submarine". Seapower. Navy League of the United States. December 2006. Archived from the original on 2010-01-12. Retrieved 2007-11-30.
  10. "TKMS will not deliver the boats until all debts are paid". Segeberger Zeitung. March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-31.
  11. "Ειδήσεις με αξία από την Ελλάδα και τον Κόσμο". www.pronews.gr. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  12. "ThyssenKrupp cancels Greek submarine order". Reuters. 21 September 2009.
  13. "Germany Cancels Submarine Contract with Greece". Defense-update.com. Archived from the original on 2012-03-31. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
  14. "Google Übersetzer" (in German). Translate.google.com. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
  15. "Πληρώσαμε τα νέα υποβρύχια 50% παραπάνω από τους Τούρκους".
  16. "Newest submarine for Navy is defective". chosun.com. 2008-03-14. Retrieved 2008-03-14.
  17. "알림메세지". navy.mil.kr. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
  18. "South Korea launches guided-missile submarine".
  19. Turkey Inks Sub Deal With German Consortium, Defence News, 2 July 2009
  20. Germany, Turkey sign deal to build submarines, Today's Zaman, 3 July 2009
  21. New Type Submarine (AIP) Project Archived 2011-07-22 at the Wayback Machine, Undersecretariat for Defence Industries of the Republic of Turkey
  22. Turkey, Germany ink sub deal, Hurriyet Daily News, 3 July 2009
  23. ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (1 July 2011). "ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems – Restructuring largely complete / Strategy confirmed by Turkish submarine contract" (Press release). defense-aerospace.com. Retrieved 6 July 2011.
  24. "Global Naval Forces - News and Defence Headlines - IHS Jane's 360". Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  25. "Satisfied with COAS Gen. Kayani performance: PM Gilani". PakTribune. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
  26. Defense News, March 14, 2011, p. 1
  27. "SBS 뉴스 :: 리다이렉트 페이지". Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  28. "DSME Launches 4th Type 214 1,800-ton SSK Submarine for ROK Navy". August 14, 2013.
  29. "김정은 '고물' 잠수함 허세에…1800톤급 최신예 '윤봉길함' 내달 초 진수 :: 뉴스zum". Archived from the original on 11 January 2016. Retrieved 19 December 2014.
  30. "Navy Takes Delivery of 1,800-Ton Submarine". Chosun Ilbo. 11 July 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  31. "Kbs News". News.kbs.co.kr. 2011-05-24. Archived from the original on 2012-02-29. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
  32. "Defesa: Submarino "Arpão" chega sábado à Base Naval de Lisboa". Sapo notícias. 2011-04-28. Archived from the original on 2011-04-30. Retrieved 2011-04-28.
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