Defence Industry

Naming ceremony of fuel cell submarine U-35 for German Navy
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 16 Nov , 2011

Dr. Sigrid Hubert-Reichling, the wife of the Mayor of Zweibrücken,  named one of the most modern non-nuclear submarines in the world at the Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbH (HDW) shipyard in Kiel. HDW is a ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems company

The submarine has been named “U 35”. Zweibrücken, a town in southwestern Germany, has partnered U 35. The new submarine, which operates using air independent propulsion provided via the most modern fuel cell technology is the first boat of the second batch of Class 212A submarines built for the German Navy.

The contract to deliver a second batch of two further Class 212A submarines was signed on 22nd September 2006 in Koblenz with the German Office for Military Technology and Procurement. The submarines are built at the shipyards of HDW in Kiel and Emder Werft- und Dockbetrieben in Emden.

The two latest boats are largely identical to their sister submarines from the first batch. Like the batch one boats, they are equipped with the air-independent fuel cell propulsion system which has already given excellent results in operations. To meet changes in operational scenarios and to take constant technological advances into account, a number of modifications have been made to the batch two submarines:

  • Integration of a communication system for Network Centric Warfare
  • Installation of an integrated German Sonar and Command and Weapon Control System
  • Replacement of the flank array sonar by a superficial lateral antenna
  • Replacement of one periscope by an optronics mast
  • Installation of a hoistable mast with towable antenna-bearing buoy to enable communication from a deeply submerged submarine
  • Integration of a lockout system for Special Forces
  • Tropicalisation to enable world-wide operations

In his speech at the ceremony, TKMS Executive Board member Walter Freitag underlined the ability of the boat to carry out operations lasting several weeks while remaining deeply submerged. This capability is provided by the ultra-modern fuel cell technology on board. With virtually undetectable heat and noise emissions and a hull of non-magnetic steel, the boat will be exceedingly difficult to detect and thus able to operate unnoticed, discreetly gathering important information, monitoring sea areas or supporting covert operations.

The Italian Navy has also decided in favour of a second batch of two Class 212A submarines, which are being built under licence by the Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri. That means that the Italian Navy will soon also have four boats of this class available for operations.

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