Sunday, November 27, 2011

German Navy Christens New High-Tech Submarines

BONN - The German Navy on Nov. 15 christened its most modern submarine at the Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) shipyard in Kiel. The vessel includes improved communication, sensor and combat systems.

The U35 is an updated version of the Navy's four 212A-class submarines, which were put into service between 2005 and 2007. After having bought the four boats, the German military in 2006 placed an order with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems subsidiary HDW for two additional vessels. While staying with the basic design, the U35 and U36 will benefit from recent experiences with the first batch of subs.

With an air-independent propulsion system that combines hydrogen fuel cells and diesel engines, they can remain submerged for weeks. At about 56 meters, both boats are about 1.2 meters longer than the earlier version. The two submarines have a displacement of about 1,450 tons and are operated by a crew of 27 sailors. The two new submarines feature a communications system suitable for network-centric warfare, as well as an integrated German sonar, command and weapon control system. The Callisto B submarine communication system, with its towable transmitter buoy, allows each boat to communicate while remaining deeply submerged.

The flank antenna array will be substituted with a superficial lateral antenna. One periscope will be replaced by the Carl Zeiss Optronics OMS 100 Optronic non-hull penetrating mast system. It can be remotely controlled via a multifunctional combat system console. The mast system offers various automatic functions such as sector scan or quick look-round. The sensor unit consists of a third-generation thermal camera and a high-definition TV camera, and it can be refitted with a laser rangefinder.

The improved boats also feature a special diver lock-out system integrated into the sail to deploy special forces. U35 is expected to be officially put into service in the summer of 2013. Until then, systems checks and sea trials will be conducted. U 36 is scheduled to be put into service in the winter of 2013.

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