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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A different class: new upgrades bring vintage Type 209s back into fashion

The Hellenic Navy's Neptune I programme has seen the service's four Type 209/1100 Glavkos-class boats given extensive upgrades. (TKMS/HDW)

 The international diesel-submarine market has been dominated by Germany over the past 40 years, with the Type 209 design very much the lynchpin of this global export success.
This stemmed from 1967 when the Kiel-based shipyard then known as Kieler Howaldtswerke signed a contract in Athens, Greece, to build four Type 209/1100 Glavkos-class submarines for the Hellenic Navy (HN).
These 1,000-ton submerged displacement boats could trace their lineage to the German Navy's smaller (450 tons displacement) Type 206 submarines. While somewhat larger, they used many of the same components, in some cases by doubling up on certain equipment such as generators.
Adopting a single-hull construction arrangement, the philosophy underpinning the Type 209 design was for a simple and clearly laid out vessel that would enable the commanding officer, standing at a central position by the periscope, to see along the entire length of the pressure hull – from the torpedo tubes in the bow to the end of the engine room.
The command room was situated about halfway along the hull. Forward and aft of this area the lower deck consisted of large battery spaces, with battery cells constituting about 25 per cent of total displacement and accounting for very good submerged endurance. Another notable feature was the low-revolution 5,000 hp electric motor, acting directly on the propeller shaft and enabling speeds of more than 20 kt.
These standout characteristics of good submerged reach, high submerged speed and excellent handling went on to establish the Type 209 as the export submarine of choice for two generations (