The Type 209-class diesel-electric attack submarine was a West German export-minded product of the Cold War that allowed budget-conscious navies of the world access to a fully modern attack class. This compact submarine design became a smart blend of cost effectiveness, noise reduction practices, firepower, and undersea performance to instantly provide any discerning customer with a useful underwater weapon for deep blue patrolling. There originally proved 64 boats completed for the class though only 61 of this total were completed with three cancelled. As of 2014, the class still sees 59 of its boats in operational service.
The Type 209-class succeeded the outgoing Type 206 series which were built from the period spanning 1968 to 1975 and numbered eighteen. The Type 209's themselves have since been succeeded by the newer Type 214-class boats appearing from 2007 onwards. Nine of the fifteen planned of this class have already been completed (2014) and serve Greece, Portugal, and South Korea with Turkey having contracted for six boats in 2011.
Operators of the Type 209-class went on to include Argentina, Brazil. Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Greece, India, Indonesia, Peru, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, and Venezuela. The first boats were commissioned in 1971 and many went on to see refit and modernization for threats of the new century. The largest operator became Turkey with fourteen total boats - the most recent of these coming into service during 2007 (the "Birinci Inonu").
Due to their global reach, Type 209 submarines were allowed local-licensed construction by foreign shipyards beyond those of Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft and Nordseewerke of Germany. Builders included Arsenal de Marinha of Brazil, Mazagon Dock Limited of India, Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering of South Korea, and the Golcuk Naval Shipyard of Turkey.
Standing as its own complete class, there exists several variants within the Type 209-class recognized by the model numbers of 1100, 1200, 1300, 1400, and 1500. Dimensions vary slightly between them though all are powered through a combination diesel-electric arrangement that features 4 x diesels tied to the sole shaft for surface operation and 4 x 120-cell batteries for undersea service. All but the 1500 model output at approximately 5,000 shaft horsepower with the 1500 outputting at 6,100shp with 4 x 132-cell battery arrangement instead of the usual 120-cell. Speed is generally around 11 knots on the surface with up to 22.5 knots undersea and range reaches 11,000 nautical miles at snorkel depth with a mission endurance window of about 50 days before requiring resupply. The vessels have been tested to a depth of 500 meters. As with all diesel-electric submarines, the class requires the boat to surface to recharge its battery stores and take on fresh oxygen supplies. The total crew complement of the boats range from 31 in the 1100 to 36 in the 1500.
Armament for the class is consistent across the variants - a collection of 8 x 533mm torpedo tubes with fourteen reloads carried. The vessels are also equipped to dispense naval mines and an optional fitting allows for support of UGM-84 "Harpoon" anti-ship missile launching.
With many Type 209-class boats still in service today (2014), the group should remain vital players on the global stage for the foreseeable future. While not as powerful or tactically flexible as their nuclear counterparts in the United States, Britain, France, and Russia, they still provide a much-needed underwater capability at cost without the dangers (and environmental waste) inherent in nuclear propulsion.
Salta; San Luis; Tupi; Tamoio; Tapajo; Tikuna; Thomson; Simpson; Pijao; Tayrona; Shyri; Huancavilca; Glavkos; Nireus; Triton; Proteus; Poseidon; Amfitriti; Okeanos; Pontos; Shishumar; Shankish; Shalki; Cakra; Nanggala; Chang Bogo; Lee Chun; Choi Museon; Park Wi; Lee Jongmu; Jeong Un; Lee Sunsin; Na Daeyong; Lee Eokgi; Angamos; Antoagasta; Pisagua; Chipana; Islay; Arica; Manthatisi; Charlotte Maxeke; Queen Modjadji I; Atilay; Saldiray; Batiray; Yildiray; Doganay; Dolunay; Preveze; Sakarya; 18 Mart; Anafartalar; Gur; Canakkale; Burakreis; Sabalo; Caribe
Argentina; Brazil; Chile; Columbia; Ecuador; Greece; India; Indonesia; Peru; South Africa; South Korea; Turkey; Venezuela
(OPERATORS list includes past, present, and future operators when applicable)
Traveling under the surface to search, track, and / or engage or reconnoiter areas.
Active patroling of vital waterways and maritime areas; can also serve as local deterrence against airborne and seaborne threats.
Serving in support (either firepower or material) of the main surface fleet in Blue Water environments.
211.0 ft 64.31 m
21.0 ft 6.40 m
20.0 ft 6.10 m
4 x Diesel engines delivering 6,100 shaft horsepower to 1 x shaft.
11.5 kts (13.2 mph)
22.5 kts (25.9 mph)
6,517 nm (7,500 mi | 12,070 km)
kts = knots | mph = miles-per-hour | nm = nautical miles | mi = miles | km = kilometers
1 kts = 1.15 mph | 1 nm = 1.15 mi | 1 nm = 1.85 km
Varies based on nation. Includes any of the following systems:
Harpoon surface-to-surface anti-ship missiles
8 x torpedoes
(Not all weapon types may be represented in the showcase above)
Ribbon graphics not necessarily indicative of actual historical campaign ribbons. Ribbons are clickable to their respective naval campaigns / operations / periods.
The "Military Factory" name and MilitaryFactory.com logo are registered ® U.S. trademarks protected by all applicable domestic and international intellectual property laws. All written content, illustrations, and photography are unique to this website (unless where indicated) and not for reuse/reproduction in any form. Material presented throughout this website is for historical and entertainment value only and should not to be construed as usable for hardware restoration, maintenance, or general operation. We do not sell any of the items showcased on this site. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com.
Part of a network of sites that includes GlobalFirepower, a data-driven property used in ranking the top military powers of the world, WDMMA.org, the World Directory of Modern Military Aircraft, and SR71blackbird.org, detailing the history of the world's most iconic spyplane.