The export-minded Type 214 diesel-electric attack submarine is an evolution of the earlier Type 212 boat developed by German-based Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbH (HDW). The new design sports a hydrogen fuel cell-based "Air-Independent Propulsion" (AIP) system, an improvement over traditional diesel-electric propulsion schemes. As it stands, the Type 214 series has been taken into service with the navies of Greece, Portugal, South Korea, Turkey. Twenty-three total boats in the series are planned with some fifteen completed to date (2020). Construction is being had through various shipyards including HDW in Germany, Hellenic Shipyards Company of Greece, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI)/DSME of South Korea, and Golcuk Naval Shipyard of Turkey.
The class features a surfaced displacement of 1,700 tons and a submerged displacement of 1,860 tons. Hulls have a length of 213.2 feet, a beam of 20.7 feet, and a draught of 19.7 feet. Aboard is a modest crew of 27 personnel while the boat has endurance to cover eighty-four days at-sea before requiring a resupply (up to three weeks submerged without snorkeling). Performance specs include a maximum submerged speed of 20 knots and a surfaced speed of 12 knots. Range is out to 12,000 miles when surfaced though this value is decidedly reduced when traveling submerged for any length of time. The hull is tested to depths of beyond 800 feet.
Power is through a diesel-electric arrangement involving 2 x MTU 16V-396 diesel engines with 2 x Piller Ntb56.40 charging generators, a single Siemens "Permasyn" electric motor, and 2 x HDW PEM BZM120 fuel cell module making up the AIP system.
Armament are 8 x 533mm torpedo tubes of which four are capable of launching the American "Harpoon" anti-ship missile.
Thales Deutschland Kiel supplies the SPHINX-D (4kW) pulse / tactical LPI radar fit.
Boats like the Type 214 series are powered by conventional means as opposed to expensive, dangerous nuclear propulsion schemes and are typically operated in defensive and scouting roles. They are capable of "deep water" work (as opposed to serving strictly in the coastline defense role) and can be called to operate independently or as part of the main fighting force. The weapons suite is typical of vessels of this type and size. The limited crew complement also indicates a boat of relatively compact form.
As of 2020, the Hellenic Navy is contracted for six total boats of which four have been delivered. South Korea has taken on a fleet of nine total boats (as the Sohn Wonyil-class), making it the largest operator of the series. The Portuguese Navy is the proud owner of two Type 214 boats and is followed by the Turkish Navy and its commitment of six boats.
For the South Korean Navy, the Type 214 forms a critical portion of a three-pronged submarine attack force that includes the Chang Bogo-class (based in the German Type 209) and newer Dosan Ahn Changho-class boats.