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Type 214 submarine
S-120 Papanikolis 1.jpg
Greek submarine Papanikolis (S-120) at the HDW building yard in Kiel, 2008.
Class overview
Builders: Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft
Hellenic Shipyards Co.
Hyundai Heavy Industries
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering
Gölcük Naval Shipyard
Operators:  Republic of Korea Navy
 Hellenic Navy
 Portuguese Navy
Subclasses: Tridente-class submarine
Cost: $330 million (2008)[1]
In service: 2007
Building: 2
Planned: 15
Completed: 9
Active: 6
General characteristics
Displacement: 1,690 tonne (surfaced), 1,860 tonne (submerged)
Length: 213 feet 3 inches (65.0 m)
Beam: 20 feet 8 inches (6.3 m)
Draught: 19 feet 8 inches (6.0 m)
Propulsion: Diesel-electric, fuel cell AIP, low noise skew back propeller
Speed: 12 kt surfaced
20 kt submerged
Range: 12,000 miles (19,300 km) surfaced
420 nmi (780 km) @ 8 kt
1,248 nmi (2,311 km) @ 4 kt
Endurance: 84 days
Test depth: 250m (400m theoretical)
Complement: 5 officers + 22 crew
Armament: (8) 533 mm torpedo tubes, (4) subharpoon-capable

The Type 214 is a diesel-electric submarine developed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbH (HDW). It features diesel propulsion with an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system using Siemens polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) hydrogen fuel cells. The Type 214 submarine is derived from the Type 212,[2] but as an export variant it lacks some of the classified technologies of its smaller predecessor most important of which is the non magnetic steel hull which makes the Type 212 submarine impossible to detect using a Magnetic Anomaly Detector.

A contract to build three boats for the Hellenic Navy was signed 15 February 2000 and a fourth one was ordered in June 2002. The first boat was built at HDW in Kiel, Germany and the rest at the Hellenic Shipyards Co. in Skaramangas, Greece. The Hellenic Navy named them the Papanikolis class.

The Republic of Korea Navy has ordered nine Type 214 submarines, designated as Son Won-Il class, to be built in Korea by Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering; three first batch models had entered service since 2007, and six second batch models will enter service from 2012.

Due to improvements in the pressure hull materials, the Type 214 can dive nearly 400 meters.[3] The Type 214 can carry food, fresh water and fuel for 84 days of operation.


Type 214TN: German-Turkish co-production version which will utilize 80% Turkish designed and manufactured systems (this includes a Turkish designed and produced C4I system).[4] However, classified technology of Germany, such as the propulsion, will not be produced by Turkey. Therefore, classified parts will be preassembled in Germany and then shipped to Turkey.[5]



The Greece Papanikolis U214 class is equipped with a hoistable radar mast which does not penetrate the pressure hull of the submarine. In the top of the radar mast the radar transmitter is installed. This transmitter is part of the SPHINX Radar System supplied by Thales Defence Deutschland GmbH in Kiel. The radar sensor is a FMCW transceiver which can't be detected by ESM systems in medium terms. This technology is so called LPI radar, which means "Low probability of intercept". The transmitting power is lower than the power of a mobile phone but the resolution more precise compared to high power Pulse radar. Thales SPHINX radar is a tactical radar, designed for submarines.

Republic of Korea

The South Korean Son Won-il U214 Class Submarine (Hangul: 손원일급 잠수함, Hanja: 孫元一級潛水艦) is equipped with a SPHINX-D Radar System supplied by Thales Defence Deutschland GmbH. It uses an additional pulse transmitter in the top of the mast. The combination of high power pulse radar and a very low power LPI transmitter is very effective for submarines. During surface operations, the boat sails with an open pulse fingerprint for ESM systems, but within a secret mission the operator switches to LPI mode. The boat remains invisible to others.

USS Nimitz (CVN-68) is moored near the ROKS Son Won-il (SS 072), a Type 214 submarine, in Busan Naval Base, Republic of Korea.

South Korea ordered its first 3 KSS-II/ Type 214 boats in 2000, which were assembled by Hyundai Heavy Industries. The Batch 2 order will add 6 more submarines to the Navy, to be built by Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering.


The Pakistan Navy negotiated for the purchase of 3 Type 214 submarines to be built in Pakistan in 2008. During the IDEAS 2008 exhibition, the HDW chief Walter Freitag told “The commercial contract has been finalised up to 95 per cent,” he said. The first submarine would be delivered to the Pakistan Navy in 64 months after signing of the contract while the rest would be completed successively in 12 months.[6][7] After wavering for over two years Pakistan dropped the deal in favor of a new negotiation with China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co. Ltd. for a set of submarines that have yet to be designed.[8]


The Turkish Navy had commenced negotiations with HDW for the co-production of six Type 214 class air-independent propulsion (AIP) submarines. According to the Undersecretariat for Defence Industries of the Turkish Government these submarines will be "co-produced" with "maximum local content at Gölcük Naval Shipyard" in Kocaeli, Turkey.

On 2 July 2009, HDW and the Turkish Ministry of Defence entered into an agreement for the co-production of 6 platforms. The agreement was the largest defence acquisition project in Turkey at the time after the firm order for 116 F-35 fighters at a cost of in excess of $10 billion. Ankara hoped that its advanced, locally produced and highly modified Type 214 submarines will enter into service by 2015.[9][10][11] Defence Minister Vecdi Gonul stated that "Turkish industrial participation in the project would be worth around 80 percent of the total value of the deal".[12]

As the Turkish Type 214 will have a significant amount of Turkish indigenous systems on board, this variant of the Type 214 will be known as the Type 214TN (Turkish Navy). HDW will preassemble structural and mechanical parts of the submarine in Germany, or classified elements such as the fuel cells and propulsion system and will then ship them to Turkey. All electronic and weapon systems (including the C4I system) will be of Turkish design and production.

On 1 July 2011, the 2 billion euros order for six U 214 submarine material packages placed with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems by Turkey entered into force with receipt of the advance payment. This enabled ThyssenKrupp to begin executing the order. The order was designated to contribute to securing employment at HDW in Kiel, as well as at many subcontractors in Germany and Turkey, for the next ten years.[13]

NRP Tridente (S161) submarine, 2010.


The Portuguese government awarded in 2005 a contract to Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft for two type 214 submarines, which have been delivered in 2010.

International setbacks

The Type 214 procurement programs of international customers have had a history of technical problems. The first Type 214 submarine sold to Korea, Son Won-il, was reported to suffer noise problems allegedly due to faults in HDW's Type 214 design. South Korean and Greek Type 214 submarines had a host of other nearly identical problems, including instability while surfaced, periscope vibrations and seawater leaking in the hydraulics. While these problems in the South Korean Type 214s have been reportedly resolved, the noise level has yet to be reduced as promised by HDW. The company was fined $4.1 million by DAPA in February 2008 for ongoing technical problems. In November, a South Korean National Assembly demanded price reductions for the remaining six submarines, arguing that HDW was using the South Korean market to correct faults in the Type 214 to increase the submarine's overall international export potential. It is uncertain if DAPA received a price reduction for the fourth unit when it was contracted to DSME.[14]


Country Pennant Name Laid down Launch Date Commission Date Builder

2000 4 Boats
2010 2 Boats
S 120 Papanikolis 27 February 2001 April 2004 2 November 2010 Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft
S 121 Pipinos February 2003 November 2006 pending Hellenic Shipyards Co.
S 122 Matrozos February 2004 November 2007 pending Hellenic Shipyards Co.
S 123 Katsonis 2005 2007 pending Hellenic Shipyards Co.
unknown Hellenic Shipyards Co.
unknown Hellenic Shipyards Co.
 Republic of Korea

2000 3 Boats
2008 6 Boats
SS 072 Son Won-il October 2002 9 June 2006 27 December 2007 Hyundai Heavy Industries
SS 073 Jeong Ji 2004 13 June 2007 2 December 2008 Hyundai Heavy Industries
SS 075 An Jung-geun 4 June 2008 1 December 2009 Hyundai Heavy Industries
SS 076 Kim Jwa-Jin 2009 13 August 2013[15][16] 2014 Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering
SS 077 2010 2015 Hyundai Heavy Industries
SS 078 2011 October 2016 Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering[17]
SS 079 2012 Hyundai Heavy Industries
SS 081 2013 STX Offshore & Shipbuilding
SS 082 2014 2018
2010 2 Boats
S 160 NRP Tridente 2005 May 2010 Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft
S 161 NRP Arpão 2005 preliminary delivery in December 2010, final delivery in 28 April 2011[18] Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft
2011 6 Boats Contract
2011 - Contract came into force Gölcük Naval Shipyard

General characteristics

  • Displacement: 1,690 t surfaced / 1,860 t submerged
  • Dimensions: length 213 feet 3 inches (65 m) / beam 20 feet 8 inches (6.3 m) / draught 19 feet 8 inches (6 m)
  • Pressure hull: HY-100[19]
  • Armament: 8 x 533 mm torpedo tubes, 4 subharpoon-capable
  • Propulsion: low noise skew back propeller
  • Diesel engines: 2 x MTU 16V-396 (3.96 MW)
  • Charging generators: 2 x Piller Ntb56.40-10 0.97 MW
  • AIP system: 2 x HDW PEM fuel cell module BZM120 (120 kW x 2) [20]
  • Electric motor: 1 x Siemens Permasyn (2.85 MW)
  • Speed: 12 kt surfaced / 20 kt submerged
  • Speed on fuel cells: 2-6 kt estimated
  • Range surfaced: 12,000 miles (19,300 km)
  • Range submerged: 420 nmi @ 8 kt (780 km @ 15 km/h)
  • Range on fuel cells: 1,248 nmi @ 4 kt (2,310 km @ 7 km/h)
  • Mission endurance: 12 weeks
  • Submerged without snorkelling: 3 weeks
  • Operating depth: more than 250 m officially, 400 m estimated
  • Complement: 5 officers + 22 crew
  • Navigation radar: SPHINX-D with 4Kw pulse and tactical LPI radar sensor [Thales Deutschland Kiel]

Greek Navy orders

The Hellenic Navy is procuring four Type 214 submarines to be known as the "Papanikolis-class". The first, Papanikolis, was built in Germany; the following three were scheduled for construction at HDW's Hellenic Shipyards in Greece.

In December 2006, StrategyPage reported that Papanikolis was found to have numerous technical problems.[21] Among the reported problems with the submarine were excessive propeller cavitation, overheating of the air-independent propulsion system's fuel cells, and excessive rolling in bad weather when surfaced. Seapower magazine reported the Hellenic Navy refused to accept Papanikolis; additional problems noted were inadequate air-independent propulsion system output power, inappropriate periscope vibration, sonar flank array problems and seawater leakage into the ship's hydraulics.[22]

The Hellenic Navy officers in charge of the testing program at the Kiel shipyards (Germany) made their case clear in a 2007 investigative journalism program called "Neoi Fakeloi" on Skai TV (Greece). Retired Rear Admiral M. Simionakis, who had been in charge of the Papanikolis program for the navy, told the interviewer that the manufacturer had made 2 attempts to fix a severe balance problem in the submarine, including shifting 21 tons of material from the top to the bottom, yet the vessel continued to heel as much as 46 degrees in sea trials. Photographic evidence of the severe heeling was presented. In the same TV program, the officer replacing Simionakis in Kiel, Capt. K. Tziotis, listed 7 ongoing, serious problems with the vessel, including balance problems when traveling on the surface, problems with the AIP system, problems with the weapon system, problems with the periscope, and problems with flooding.

For its part, TKMS, the German shipbuilder of Type 214, has asserted that it solved all the boat's technical problems in 2006 (before the interviews of the Greek officers mentioned above) and claims the Greek Navy's continuing complaints about the Papanikolis' technical condition are just a ploy to justify a price reduction. Therefore, TKMS has refused to deliver the boat to the Greek Navy until all debts are paid and the Papanikolis had been lying in Kiel harbor ever since 2006.[23]

Despite this position by TKMS, the Hellenic Navy officers in charge of the submarine delivery have repeatedly stated there are problems with the Papanikolis. In October 2008, the Papanikolis conducted a new round of trials, which showed that the excessive rolling problem has finally been fixed. The rest of the problems are considered solved. According to the Greek defence press, acceptance of the vessel was imminent.[24]

The second boat, Pipinos, was officially launched in February 2007 and is at present going through Greek harbour acceptance trials in Piraeus.

On September 21, 2009 TKMS announced that the contract with the Greek Navy for all four submarines had been cancelled due to country's arrears of more than 520 million Euros. TKMS is now seeking arbitration to resolve the matter.[25][26]

On October 27, 2009 the Greek Ministry of Defence officially confirmed that they intend accepting the three boats built in Greece. The first-of-class boat built in Kiel will not be accepted, and will be offered for sale. Proceeds from the sale will be used to pay the debt to TKMS.[27]

Korean Navy orders

In March 2008, it was reported in the media that the first Type 214 submarine of the Republic of Korea Navy suffered from defects related to excessive noise from the screw, according to anonymous sources.[28] Later ROKN denied the report.[29] There were no further reports of such noise problems in succeeding South Korean Type 214 submarines.

The first three Type 214 submarines of South Korea were built by Hyundai Heavy Industries. In August 2008, South Korea signed another contract with HDW for six more Type 214 submarines.

See also


  1. "Pakistan’s 214 Submarines made in Karachi with German help - World Politics". Zimbio. Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  2. url=
  3. "Type 212". Retrieved 2006-10-21. 
  4. "". Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  5. "ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems showcases its modern submarines at IMDEX Asia 2013". May 13, 2013. 
  6. Pakistan on verge of selecting HDW submarine
  7. "Satisfied with COAS Gen. Kayani performance: PM Gilani". PakTribune. Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  8. Defense News, March 14, 2011, p. 1
  9. Turkey Inks Sub Deal With German Consortium, Defence News, 2 July 2009
  10. Germany, Turkey sign deal to build submarines, Today's Zaman, 3 July 2009
  11. New Type Submarine (AIP) Project, Undersecretariat for Defence Industries of the Republic of Turkey
  12. Turkey, Germany ink sub deal, Hurriyet Daily News, 3 July 2009
  13. ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (1 July 2011). "ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems – Restructuring largely complete / Strategy confirmed by Turkish submarine contract". Retrieved 6 July 2011. 
  14. South Korea Awards Contracts for Two Trouble-Plauged Ship Programs
  15. "Error: no |title= specified when using {{Cite web}}". 
  16. "DSME Launches 4th Type 214 1,800-ton SSK Submarine for ROK Navy". August 14, 2013. 
  17. "Kbs News". 2011-05-24. Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  18. "Defesa: Submarino "Arpão" chega sábado à Base Naval de Lisboa". Sapo notícias. 2011-04-28. Retrieved 2011-04-28. 
  19. Urlich Gabler: Submarine Design, Bernard & Graefe Verlag, ISBN 3-7637-6202-7, s. 151-153
  20. Dr. Albert E. Hammerschmidt(Siemens AG, Erlangen). "Fuel Cell Propulsion of Submarines". 
  21. "Type 214 Stumbles Into Greece". 2006-12-11. Retrieved 2007-11-30. 
  22. "Greece Refuses Delivery Of First Type-214 Submarine". Seapower. Navy League of the United States. December 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-30. 
  23. "TKMS will not deliver the boats until all debts are paid". Segeberger Zeitung. March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-31. [dead link]
  24. DefenceNet (Greek)
  25. "ThyssenKrupp cancels Greek submarine order". Reuters. 21 September 2009. 
  26. "Germany Cancels Submarine Contract with Greece". Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  27. "Google Übersetzer" (in de). Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  28. "Newest submarine for Navy is defective". 2008-03-14. Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  29. original Korean Navy statement:

External links

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