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Type 209 is a class of diesel-electric attack submarine developed exclusively for export in the late 1960s and constantly been modernized by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werftmarker of Germanymarker. Despite not being operated by the German Navy, the class has been successfully exported to 13 countries with over 60 boats being constructed.


In the early 1970’s, many navies began to need replacements for pre-WWII submarines, aging United States GUPPY, and British units transferred postwar. During this time, few western submarine designs were available for export as most were large, expensive, and designed for the Cold War. Several designs originally built for specific nations were available including the French Daphne Class, British Oberon Class, and the Soviet Foxtrot Class submarines. The design, designated by the German Ministry of Defense as the “Type 209” provided a solution with an adequate armament and reasonable price.


The submarine was designed by Ingenieur Kontor Lübeck (IKL) and is largely based on previous German submarine designs (Type 206) with increased equipment. The design is single hulled and allows the commanding officer to see the entire submarine from the bow to stern while standing at the periscope. Four 120-cell batteries are located forward and aft of the command center in the lower deck and make up about 25% of the ships displacement. Two main ballast tanks with forward and aft trim tanks allow the ship to dive. They are powered by four MTU diesels and four AEG generators. The AEG electric motor is attached directly to a five or seven bladed propeller.


Type 209 submarines are armed with 8 bow 533 mm torpedo tubes and 14 torpedoes. The ships used by Greecemarker, South Koreamarker and Turkeymarker are also armed with Sub-Harpoon missiles. Ships used by South Korea can be armed with 28 Mines in place of Torpedoes and Harpoon while the Indian ships can carry 24 Mines externally.

The class can be armed with several different torpedoes depending upon the country. Some torpedoes carried include the SST (Special Surface Target) – Argentina, SUT (Surface and Underwater Target) - Indonesia, and the Mark 24 Tigerfish - Turkey. Brazil’s ships will receive new integrated combat systems from Lockheed Martin to enable the use of the Mark 48 torpedo.


Five variants of this submarine have been produced: Type 209/1100, Type 209/1200, Type 209/1300, Type 209/1400 and Type 209/1500. The U-209PN ordered by the Portuguese Navy is actually a Type 214.

Several modifications have occurred in the class resulting in these variants including the fitting of newer diesel engines. New air conditioning and electronics features have been added to accommodate orders from South America. The displacement in some variants has increased by nearly 50% in order to install new equipment, modernize accommodations, and extend range.

The Thomson class built for the Chilean Navy has escape hatches fitted in the torpedo and engine room. An additional aft hatch is fitted in the sail with access to the machinery. The boats are fitted with higher masts to compensate for regional ocean wave conditions.

The Tikuna class built by the Brazilian navy is a modified Type 209/1400. The boat is 0.85 m longer and fitted with higher power diesels, different electric motors, batteries, electronics and sensors.

The Type 209/1500 built for India is unique for having an IKL-designed integrated escape sphere. The sphere has accommodations for the entire crew with an eight hour air supply.

It is also possible to upgrade these submarines with the latest air independent propulsion systems. The first ships to receive this upgrade will be three ships of the Greeks Poseidon class Type 209/1200 under the Neptune II upgrade program. They will be upgraded by cutting the boat in half aft of the control room and adding a 6 m plug with an 120 kW Siemens AIP system to the ship.

The Dolphin class submarines built for the Israeli navy are a based the Type 209 design.


Countries operating the Type 209 include Argentinamarker, Brazilmarker, Chilemarker, Colombiamarker, Ecuadormarker, Greecemarker, Indiamarker, Indonesiamarker, Perumarker, South Africa, South Koreamarker, Turkeymarker and Venezuelamarker. All Type 209’s remain in service except for ARA San Luis (S-32) which was stricken in 1997 after an incomplete overhaul.

The first user was the Hellenic Navy which operates four Type 209/1100 and four Type 209/1200 submarines.

The largest operator of the Type 209 is the Turkish Navy which operates six Type 209/1200 submarines (commissioned between 1976 and 1990) and eight Type 209/1400 submarines (commissioned between 1994 and 2007). At present, the Turkish Navy is also the largest operator of German-designed submarines in the world.

Three new Type 209/1400 submarines were delivered to South Africa in 2006, costing $285 million each.

Technical specifications

1100 1200 1300 1400 1500
Displacement (submerged) 1,207 t 1,285 t 1,390 t 1,586 t 1,810 t
Dimensions 54.1×6.2×5.9 m 55.9×6.3×5.5 m 59.5×6.2×5.5 m 61.2×6.25×5.5 m 64.4×6.5×6.2 m
Propulsion Diesel-electric, 4 diesels, 1 shaft
5000 shp
Speed (surface) 11.5 knots
Speed (submerged) 21.5 knots 22 knots 22.5 knots
Range (surface) at
Range (snorkel) at
Range (submerged) at
Endurance 50 days
Maximum depth 500 m
Armament 8x 553 mm torpedo tubes
Crew 31 33 30 36


Operator Class Name Type Notes
1100 1200 1300 1400 1500
Salta class 1(1*) ARA Salta (S-31) underwent midlife upgrades from 1988-95 and 2005
(*) ARA San Luis (S-32) stricken in 1997 after incomplete overhaul
Tupi class
Tikuna class
4(1**) (**) The Tikuna (S-34) is a modified Type 209/1400
Additional modified Type 209/1400 named Tapuia canceled
All Type 209's will be fitted with new combat systems capable of using the Mk.48 torpedo

Thomson class 2 SS Simpson (SS-21) is scheduled for refit and upgrade in ASMAR, Chile this year
SS Thompson (SS-20) refit and upgrade was completed in early 2009, this works include integration of SUBTICS combat management system and BlackShark torpedoes.
Pijao class 2 Both scheduled to be upgraded between 2009 and 2011 in the state-owned shipyard COTECMAR, with the assistance of HDW.
Shyri class 2 SS Shyri (S-11) is under heavily overhaul and upgrade in ASMAR, Chile
Glavkos class
Poseidon class
4 4 Glavkos class overhauled under the Neptune I program from 1993-2000
3 Poseidon class ships will receive Siemens AIP under the Neptune II upgrade program
Shishumar class 4 Option for two additional Indian built boats not taken up after several reviews
Equipped with integrated escape sphere for full crew
Underwent midlife refits from 1999-2005

Cakra class 2
Chang Bogo class 9
Islay class

Angamos class
2 4 Both 209/1100 (Islay class) were locally upgraded in 2008

Upgrade of the 209/1200 (Angamos class) is on evaluation
Heroine class 3 Commissioned between 2006 and 2008 replacing Daphné-class boats.
Atilay class
Preveze class
Gur class

6 8
Sabalo class 2

Individual Ships

 -         Salta class
Type Designation Name Commission
1100 S-31 Salta 1974
1100 S-32 San Luis 1974

 - Tupi class and Tikuna class
Type Designation Name Commission
1400 S 30 Tupi 1989
1400 S 31 Tamoio 1994
1400 S 32 Timbira 1996
1400 S 33 Tapajó 1999
1400Mod S 34 Tikuna 2005

 - Thomson class
Type Designation Name Commission
1300L 20 Thomson 1984
1300L 21 Simpson 1984

 - Pijao class
Type Designation Name Commission
1200 S028 Pijao 1975
1200 S029 Tayrona 1975

 - Shyri class
Type Designation Name Commission
1300 S101 Shyri 1977
1300 S102 Huancavilca 1978

 - Glavkos class and Poseidon class
Type Designation Name Commission
1100 S 110 Glaukos 1971
1100 S 111 Nireus 1972
1100 S 112 Triton 1972
1100 S 113 Proteus 1972
1200 S 116 Poseidon 1979
1200 S 117 Amfitriti 1979
1200 S 118 Okeanos 1979
1200 S 119 Pontos 1979

 - Shishumar class
Type Designation Name Commission
1500 S 44 Shishumar 1986
1500 S 45 Shankush 1986
1500 S 46 Shalki 1992
1500 S 47 Shankul 1994

 - Cakra class
Type Designation Name Commission
1300 401 Cakra 1981
1300 402 Nanggala 1981

 - Chang Bogo class
Type Designation Name Commission
1200 061 Chang Bogo 1993
1200 062 Lee Chun 1994
1200 063 Choi Museon 1996
1200 065 Park Wi 1996
1200 066 Lee Jongmu 1996
1200 067 Jeong Un 1998
1200 068 Lee Sunsin 2000
1200 069 Na Daeyong 2000
1200 070 Lee Eokgi 2001

 - Islay class and Angamos class
Type Designation Name Commission
1200 SS31 Angamos 1980
1200 SS32 Antofagasta 1980
1200 SS33 Pisagua 1982
1200 SS34 Chipana 1983
1100 SS35 Islay 1975
1100 SS36 Arica 1975

 - Heroine class
Type Designation Name Commission
1400 S 101 Manthatisi 2005
1400 S 102 Charlotte Maxeke 2007
1400 S 103 Queen Modjadji 2008

 - Atilay class, Preveze class, and Gur class
Type Designation Name Commission
1200 S 347 Atilay 1976
1200 S 348 Saldiray 1977
1200 S 349 Batiray 1978
1200 S 350 Yildiray 1981
1200 S 351 Doganay 1984
1200 S 352 Dolunay 1989
T1.1400 S 353 Preveze 1994
T1.1400 S 354 Sakarya 1995
T1.1400 S 355 18 Mart 1998
T1.1400 S 356 Anafartalar 1999
T2.1400 S 357 Gür 2003
T2.1400 S 358 Canakkale 2005
T2.1400 S 359 Burak Reis 2006
T2.1400 S 360 Birinci Inönü 2007

 - Sabalo class
Type Designation Name Commission
1300 S 31 Sabalo 1976
1300 S 32 Caribe 1977


Image:S31ARASalta.jpg|Argentine Navy submarine Type 209 Class (S-31) ARA "Salta" in Base Naval Mar del Plata.Image:BAP Pisagua (SS-33) 2008.jpg|BAP Pisagua in his anchorage, during the Peruvian Navy Exhibition of October 2008, in the Callao naval baseImage:Type 209-1200 Istanbul.jpg|A Type 209/1200 (Atılay class) submarine of the Turkish Navy leaving the Bosporusmarker and entering the Sea of Marmaramarker near the historic peninsulamarker of IstanbulmarkerImage:ChangBogoSSK061Typ209Uboat.jpg|Republic of Koreamarker (ROK) Chang Bogo Type 209/1200 Submarine Chang Bogo heads out to sea during exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2004.Image:ROKS Lee Sunsin (SS 068) arrives at Naval Station Pearl Harbor.jpg|The Korean submarine Lee Sunsin (SSK 068) arrives at Naval Station Pearl Harbormarker, becoming the first foreign vessel to arrive to take part in the Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise.Image:CS Simpson SS-21.jpg|CS Simpson (SS-21) prepares to render honors to the USS Arizona Memorialmarker as the submarine pulls into port in Pearl Harbormarker, Hawaiimarker.Image:Type 209-1400 Bosphorus.jpg|A Type 209/1400 (Preveze class) submarine of the Turkish Navy at the Bosporusmarker in IstanbulmarkerImage:Type 209-1400 Galata.jpg|A Type 209/1400 (Preveze class) submarine of the Turkish Navy at the Bosporusmarker in Istanbulmarker, with the Galata Towermarker in the background.

See also


  1. Type 209
  2. The World of Type 209 Submarines
  3. U-209PN: Submarino de ataque (SSK)/tipo U-214
  4. ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems - Class 209 / 1400mod
  5. Shishumar class Patrol submarine
  6. Naval Highlights at Defendory 2006
  7. Submarino de ataque (SSK) classe Poseidon / 209-1200 (tipo U-209)
  8. SSK Tupi Class Attack Submarine
  9. Contract for the modernisation of Colombian Class 209 submarines
  10. Hellenic Navy Submarines
  11. Hellenic Shipyards S.A. - The Neptune II Program
  12. New breath for submarines
  13. Shishumar {HDW 209} Class
  14. Official Turkish Navy Website

External links

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