Type 212 submarine
Type 212 submarine in dock at HDW/Kiel
|Operators:|| German Navy
|Preceded by:||Type 206 submarine, Sauro class submarine|
|Displacement:||1,450 tonnes (1,430 long tons) surfaced
1,830 tonnes (1,800 long tons) submerged
|Length:||56 m (183.7 ft)
57.2 m (187.66 ft) (2nd batch)
|Beam:||7 m (22.96 ft)|
|Draft:||6 m (19.68 ft)|
|Propulsion:||1 MTU 16V 396 diesel-engine
9 HDW/Siemens PEM fuel cells, 30–40 kW each (U31)
2 HDW/Siemens PEM fuel cells each with 120 kW (U32, U33, U34)
1 Siemens Permasyn electric motor 1700 kW, driving a single seven-bladed skewback propeller
|Speed:||20 knots (37 km/h) submerged, 12 knots surfaced|
8,000 nm (14,800 km, or 9,196 miles) at 8 knots (15 km/h) surfaced
3 weeks without snorkeling, 12 weeks overall
|Test depth:||over 700 m (2,296 ft)|
|Complement:||5 officers, 22 men|
|Armament:||6 x 533 mm torpedo tubes (in 2 forward pointing groups of 3) with 13 DM2A4, A184 Mod.3, Black Shark Torpedo, IDAS missiles and 24 external naval mines (optional)|
The German Type 212 class, also Italian Todaro class, is a highly advanced design of non-nuclear submarine (U-boat) developed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG (HDW) for the German and Italian Navy. It features diesel propulsion and an additional air-independent propulsion (AIP) system using Siemens proton exchange membrane (PEM) hydrogen fuel cells. The submarine can operate at high speed on diesel power or switch to the AIP system for silent slow cruising, staying submerged for up to three weeks without surfacing and with no exhaust heat. The system is also said to be vibration-free, extremely quiet and virtually undetectable.
Type 212 is the first of the only two fuel cell propulsion system equipped submarines ready for series production by 2007, the other being the Project 677 Lada class submarine designed by Russian Rubin Design Bureau.
The final programme started in 1994 as the two navies of Germany and Italy began working together to design a new conventional submarine, respectively to operate in the shallow and confined waters of the Baltic sea and in the deeper waters of the Mediterranean sea. The two different requirements were mixed into a common one and, because of significant updates to the design, the designation has been changed to Type 212A since then.
In 1996 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) gave the start to the cooperation. Its main aim was the construction of identical boats and the start of a collaboration in logistic and life-cycle support for the two navies.
The German government placed an initial order of four Type 212A submarines in 1998. The German Submarine Consortium built them at the shipyards of HDW and Thyssen Nordseewerke GmbH (TNSW) of Emden. Different sections of the submarines were constructed at both sites at the same time and then half of them were shipped to the respective other yard so that both HDW and Thyssen Nordseewerke assembled two complete submarines each.
The German Navy ordered two additional, improved submarines in 2006, to be delivered from 2012 on. They will be 1.2 meters longer to give additional space for a new reconnaissance mast.
On 21 April 2008 the Italian Navy ordered a second batch of submarine in the same configuration of the original ones. Some upgrading should involve materials and components of commercial derivation, as well as the software package of the CMS. The intention is to keep the same configuration of the first series and reduce maintenance costs.
Partly owing to the "X" arrangement of the stern planes, the Type 212 is capable of operating in as little as 17 metres of water, allowing it to come much closer to shore than most contemporary submarines. This gives it an advantage in covert operations, as SCUBA-equipped commandos operating from the boat can surface close to the beach and execute their mission more quickly and with less effort.
A notable design feature is the prismatic hull cross-section and smoothly faired transitions from the hull to the sail, improving the boat's stealth characteristics. The ship and internal fixtures are constructed of nonmagnetic materials, significantly reducing the chances of it being detected by magnetometers or setting off magnetic naval mines.
Although hydrogen–oxygen propulsion had been considered for submarines as early as World War I, the concept was not very successful until recently due to fire and explosion concerns. In the Type 212 this has been countered by storing the fuel and oxidizer in tanks outside the crew space, between the pressure hull and outer light hull. The gases are piped through the pressure hull to the fuel cells as needed to generate electricity, but at any given time there is only a very small amount of gas present in the crew space.
Currently, the Type 212A is capable of launching the fiber optic-guided DM2A4 Seehecht ("Seahake") heavyweight torpedoes, the WASS A184 Mod.3 torpedoes, the WASS BlackShark torpedoes and short-range missiles from its six torpedo tubes, which use a water ram expulsion system. Future capability may include tube-launched cruise missiles.
The short-range missile IDAS (based on the IRIS-T missile), primarily intended for use against air threats as well as small or medium-sized sea- or near land targets, is currently being developed by Diehl BGT Defence to be fired from Type 212's torpedo tubes. IDAS is fiber-optic guided and has a range of approx. 20 km. Four missiles fit in one torpedo tube, stored in a magazine. First deliveries of IDAS for the German Navy are scheduled from 2014 on.
A 30 mm auto-cannon called Muräne (moray) to support diver operations or to give warning shots is being considered too. The cannon, probably a version of the RMK30 built by Rheinmetall, will be stored in a retractable mast and can be fired without the boat emerging. The mast will also be designed to contain three Aladin UAVs for reconnaissance missions. This mast is likely to be mounted on the 2nd batch of Type 212 submarines for the German Navy.
List of boats 
|Germany||S181||U-31||20 March 2002||19 October 2005|
|Germany||S182||U-32||4 December 2003||19 October 2005|
|Germany||S183||U-33||September 2004||13 June 2006|
|Germany||S184||U-34||July 2006||3 May 2007|
|Germany||S185||U-35||21 August 2007||planned for 2011|
|Germany||S186||U-36||planned for 2012|
|Italy||S526||Salvatore Todaro||3 July 1999||6 November 2003||29 March 2006|
|Italy||S527||Scirè||27 May 2000||18 December 2004||19 February 2007|
|Italy||S528||Pietro Venuti||planned for 2013|
|Italy||S529||Romeo Romei||planned for 2014|
General characteristics 
- Displacement: 1,450 tonnes surfaced, 1,830 tonnes submerged
- Length: 56 m (183.7 ft), 57.2 m (187.66 ft) (2nd batch)
- Beam: 7 m (22.96 ft)
- Draft: 6 m (19.68 ft)
- Speed: 20 knots (37 km/h) submerged, 12 knots surfaced
- Depth: over 700 m (2,296 ft)
- 8,000 nautical miles (14,800 km, or 9,196 miles) at 8 knots (15 km/h)
- Endurance: 3 weeks without snorkeling, 12 weeks overall
- STN Atlas DBQS40 sonar suite:
- TAS-3 passive low-frequency towed array sonar (deployed from sail)
- FAS-3 passive low-, and medium-frequency hull-mounted flank array sonar
- MOA 3070 mine detection sonar
- Riva Calzoni periscope masts and snorkeling systems
- Kelvin Hughes Type 1007 I band navigation radar
- EADS FL 1800U ESM suite
- WASS hydrophones
- Avio GAUDI autopilot and hydraulic systems
- Kongsberg MSI-91 combat system
- STN Atlas DBQS40 sonar suite:
- Crew complement: 23–27 (incl. 5 officers)
See also 
- Dolphin class submarine
- Gotland class submarine
- Scorpène class submarine
- S-80 class submarine
- Marlin class submarine
- Lada class submarine
- A26 submarine
- "MTU 16V 396 diesel engine". Retrieved 2006-10-08.
- "Uboote Klasse 212A". Archived from the original on 2007-07-18. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
- "Deutsche Marine TV-Interview" (in German). Retrieved 2007-04-17.
- "Dette er ubåtsjefens våte drøm - nyheter". Dagbladet.no. 2010-11-18. Retrieved 2011-12-27.
- "Classe Todaro page at Marina Militare website". Retrieved 2010-04-27.
- DM2 A-4 Uses a fibre-optic-wire
- "Diehl BGT IDAS missile". Archived from the original on 2008-07-10. Retrieved 2008-07-11.
- Erprobung des Lenkflugkörpers IDAS, german
- 24 Torpedoes ATLAS DM2A4
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Type 212 submarine|
- German Bundeswehr official Type 212A web page
- naval-technology.com — U212/U214 Attack Submarines, Germany
- German Type 212A deal bolsters submarine force Jane's Navy International, 28 September 2006
- Classe Todaro (U-212A)