Submarines: Super U-Boats Off Japan

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January 16, 2008: South Korea has received its first Type 214 submarine, the Son Won Il. The boat was built in South Korea, using licensed technology from the German developer (HDW) of the Type 214 boats.

Two years ago, the South Koreans dropped plans to built several large, 3,000 ton, diesel-electric subs. Instead, six more 1,600 ton Type 214 subs will be built over the next 14 years, in addition to the three already planned. South Korea already has nine 1,100 ton Type 209 subs, designed and built in Germany. The Type 214 boats use fuel cells, enabling them to stay underwater for up to two weeks. The South Koreans like their 209s, but are now getting nervous because the first 214 recently received by Greece, had a long list of problems.

Greece bought four Type 214 submarines from Germany. The first one arrived a little over a year ago, and the Greeks quickly found themselves with a list of 400 defects. The other three 214s are being built in Greece, and the first one of those is about ready for launch. Everyone was nervous. The problems were resolved over the next year. Most of the fuss had more to do with a recent change of power in the Greek government, than to any fundamental flaws in the subs.

The Type 214 is a 1,700 ton, 202 foot long boat, with a crew of 27. It has four torpedo tubes and a top submerged speed of 35 kilometers an hour. Maximum diving depth is over 1,200 feet.

 


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