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Daphne class

Patrol submarine

Daphne class submarine

All Daphne class submarines have now been retired from the French navy

Country of origin France
Entered service 1964
Crew 54 men
Diving depth (operational) 300 m
Diving depth (maximum) 575 m
Dimensions and displacement
Length 57.8 m
Beam 6.8 m
Draught 4.6 m
Surfaced displacement 869 tons
Submerged displacement 1 043 tons
Propulsion and speed
Surfaced speed 13.5 knots
Submerged speed 16 knots
Diesel engines 2 x SEMT Pielstic
Electric motors 2 x 2 600 shp
Torpedoes 12 x 550 mm torpedo tubes
Mines influence ground mines in place of the torpedoes


   In 1952 plans were requested from STCAN for a second-class ocean-going submarine to complement the larger Narval class. Designated the Daphne class, the boats were designed with reduced speed in order to achieve a greater diving depth and heavier armament than was possible with the contemporary Arethuse design of conventionally powered hunter-killer submarines.

   To reduce the crews workload the main armament was contained in 12 externally mounted torpedo tubes (eight forward and four aft), which eliminated the need for a torpedo room and reloads. Further crew reductions were made possible by adopting a modular replacement system for onboard maintenance.

   The design was based on the double-hull construction technique with the accommodation spaces split evenly fore and aft of the sail, below which was the operations and attack centre. A total of 11 units was built for the French navy. The Daphne, Diane, Doris, Eurydice, Flore, Galatee, Minerve, Junon, Venus, Psyche and Sirene entered service between 1964 and 1970. Of these two were lost (the Minerve in 1968 and the Eurydice in 1970) with all hands while operating in the western Mediterranean. The remaining boats all underwent an electronics and weapons modernisation from 1970 onwards, but have now all been retired.

   Another 10 were built for export, Portugal receiving the Albacore, Barracuda, Cachalote and Delfim, of which Cachalote was sold to Pakistan in 1975 as the Ghazi. The Albacore and Delfim remained in service in the early 2000s. Pakistan also had the Hangor, Shushuk and Mangro, armed with Sub-Harpoon. Ordered in 1967, South Africa took delivery of the Maria Van Riebeeck, Emily Hobhouse and Johanna Van der Merwe, of which two remained in service in the early 2000s, renamed as the Umkhonto and Assegaai. These received a weapons system upgrade (including sonar) and features to improve habitability in 1988-90.

   A further four, the Delfin, Tonina, Marsopa and Narval were built under license in Spain and were later updated similar to than which was applied to the French boats between 1971-81. In 1971 the Pakistani submarine Hangor sank the Indian Navy's frigate Khukri during the Indo-Pakistan War of that year: this was the first submarine attack since the end of World War II.



Daphne class submarine

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Daphne class submarine

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Daphne class submarines

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