In 1967, the Kieler Howaldtswerke shipyard (now Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG) signed a contract for the delivery of four submarines of approximately 1000 tons displacement to the Royal Hellenic Navy. That contract was the first of many for what the German Ministry of Defence designated "Type 209" and became the most frequently constructed non-nuclear submarine class of the West.
By the early 1970s, many navies found themselves needing to replace their pre-war submarines and those won by the Allied forces after World War II. Orders were received in 1969 from Argentina, 1970 from Peru and Colombia, 1971 from Turkey, and 1972 from Venezuela.
The design of this submarine was initially based on those built for the Volksmarine. The single hull construction was simply laid out -- an officer to standing at the periscope could see along the entire submarine from the torpedo tubes in the bow to the aft end of the engine room. Below the single deck, large battery rooms totalled about 25% of the total displacement of the boat. The low-speed 5000-horsepower electric motor was directly attached to the shaft (without reduction gears) and could drive the boat at more than 20 knots.
The design grew as the subs were assigned to more diverse missions. The propulsion system, initially equipped with suction diesel engines, switched to supercharged engines with notably increased performance. As orders were received with mission profiles including operations in the Caribbean or Southeast Asian waters, it became necessary to develop and install adequate air-conditioning facilities for crew and electronics. Depending on the specific requirements ordered by different customers, the size of the submarines increased from the original 1000t displacement and in some cases by as much as 50%. The additional size and space were needed to accommodate increases in range, crew living quarters, more electronic equipment and in some instances increased diving depth. Battery capacity was improved in both low and high power usage, resulting in submerged range and maximum speed being retained in spite of increases in hull size and displacement. The various modifications of the Type 209 are known by their (rounded off) displacement; see the table below for examples.
Type 209 users include
|Surface Displacement:||1105 tons||1180 tons||1454 tons|
|Submerged Displacement:||1230 tons||1290 tons||1586 tons|
|Length:||54.4 meters||55.9 meters||62 meters|
|Hull Diameter:||6.2 meters||6.2 meters||6.2 meters|
|Engine Power:||1760 kilowatts||1760 kilowatts||2800 kilowatts|
|Surface Speed:||11 knots||11 knots||15 knots|
|Submerged Speed:||21.5 knots||21.5 knots||22 knots|
|Submerged Range:||20 nm at 20 knots, 400 nm at 4 knots|
|Snorkel Range:||8000 nm at 10 knots|
|Surfaced Range:||10,000 nm at 10 knots|
|Mission Endurance:||50 days|
|Maximum Depth:||500 meters|