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Type 209 (class)

Diesel-Electric Attack Submarine

Germany | 1971

"The Type 209 attack submarine class was developed in the 1960s and produced in over 60 examples."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 04/30/2021 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
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.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one sea-going vessel design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for Type 209 (class).
4 x Diesel engines delivering 6,100 shaft horsepower to 1 x shaft.
11.5 kts
13.2 mph
Surface Speed
22.5 kts
25.9 mph
Submerged Speed
6,517 nm
7,500 miles | 12,070 km
The bow-to-stern, port-to-starboard physical qualities of Type 209 (class).
211.0 ft
64.31 meters
O/A Length
21.0 ft
6.40 meters
20.0 ft
6.10 meters
Displacement (Submerged)
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of Type 209 (class).
Varies based on nation. Includes any of the following systems:

Harpoon surface-to-surface anti-ship missiles
8 x torpedoes
Acoustic Decoys
Ships-in-Class (61)
Notable series variants as part of the Type 209 (class) family line as relating to the Type 209-class group.
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
Global operator(s) of the Type 209 (class). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national naval warfare listing.

Shipbuilder(s): Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft Nordseewerke - West Germany
National flag of Argentina National flag of Brazil National flag of Chile National flag of Ecuador National flag of Greece National flag of India National flag of Indonesia National flag of Peru National flag of South Africa National flag of South Korea National flag of Turkey National flag of Venezuela

[ Argentina; Brazil; Chile; Columbia; Ecuador; Greece; India; Indonesia; Peru; South Africa; South Korea; Turkey; Venezuela ]
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Image of the Type 209 (class)

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to seaborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
Type 209 (class) Diesel-Electric Attack Submarine appears in the following collections:
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