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U-212A class

Patrol submarine

U-212A class submarine

The U-212A class submarines are notable for their AIPS and streamlined exterior lines

Entered service 2005
Crew 27 men
Dimensions and displacement
Length 55.9 m
Beam 7 m
Draught 6 m
Surfaced displacement 1 450 tons
Submerged displacement 1 830 tons
Propulsion and speed
Surfaced speed 12 knots
Submerged speed 20 knots
Diesel engines 1 x 4 245 hp
Electric motors 1 x 3 875 hp
Torpedoes 6 x 533-mm tubes for 12 wire-guided torpedoes


   Since the 1980s there has been a steadily rising level of interest among the world's navies in the advantages offered by the introduction of an air-independent propulsion system (AIPS) to create true submarines out of what are otherwise conventionally powered submersibles.

   Germany trialed such a system in a U-205 boat adapted with an AIPS in 1988-89, and then moved forward to the creation of a highly streamlined boat designed from the outset with an AIPS, in this case using a hybrid fuel cell/battery propulsion arrangement based on Siemens PEM fuel cell technology. In 1992, ARGE 212 (a consortium of Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft and Thyssen Nordseewerke, supported by IKL) completed the initial design of the U-212A class, and an initial four boats were authorized in July 1994. However, it was only in July 1998 that the first metal was cut as the programme had been slowed to allow the incorporation of changes (including improved habitability and a greater diving depth) to maximize commonality with two boats ordered by Italy.

   The four German boats, which may be complemented by a further eight, are the U-31 to U-34. These are based on forward and after sections produced by HDW at Kiel and TNSW at Emden, with the boats completed alternately at the two yards. The first boat was launched in 2002.

   The design in based on a partial double hull in which the larger-diameter forward section is connected to the narrower-diameter after section (carrying the two liquid oxygen tanks and the hydrogen tankage) by a tapered section accommodating the fuel cell plant. The underwater propulsion can provide a maximum speed of 20 kts declining to 8 kts on just the fuel cells.

   The two Italian boats, called the Salvatore Todaro and Scire, have been built at Muggiano by Fincantieri. These were commissioned in 2006-2007 and are essentially similar to the German boats. Two more Italian boats are planned to be completed in 2013 and 2014.

   The German U-214 class is based on the features of the U-212A, however it is aimed at the export market.




Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
U-31 (S181) ? 2002 2005

active, in service

U-32 (S182) ? 2003 2005

active, in service

U-33 (S183) ? 2004 2006

active, in service

U-34 (S184) ? 2006 2007

active, in service

U-35 (S185) ? 2007 expected in 2011

under construction

U-36 (S186) ? ? expected in 2012





Name Laid down Launched Commissioned Status
Salvatore Todaro (S526) 1999 2003 2006

active, in service

Scire (S527) 2000 2004 2007

active, in service

? (S528) ? ? expected in 2013


? (S529) ? ? expected in 2014



Video of the Type 212A class patrol submarine

Additional Info
U-212A class submarine

U-212A class submarine