>Greek Submarine Force

>It is getting complicated to follow the restructuring and modernisation of Greek submarine force.

Hellenic navy has 8 Type 209 submarines of German origin. The first 4 of them Glavkos, Nereus, Triton, Proteus are built between 1968 – 1972 and have 1100 tons displacement. The second batch Poseidon, Amphitrite, Okeanos, Pontos are built between 1976 – 1979 and have 1200 tons displacement. The second batch has an improved sensor suit and weapon control system.

In 1989 Greek Navy decided to update the first batch. The aim of the programme called Neptune 1 was to install a flank array sonar, a modern fire control system, a GPS, an updated ESM and a modern inertial navigation system. Additionally these boats would receive sub Harpoon firing capability. The first boat completed the Neptune 1 refit in 1993 and the last boat in 2000.

In 1998, while the Neptune 1 programme was still running, Greek Navy announced that it has decided to buy 3 brand new Type 214 submarines with one submarine as option. The 214 has a fuel-cell based air independent propulsion capability and is regarded as one of the best conventional submarines designs. The contract was signed in 2000 and the construction of the first submarine Papanikolis started in 2001. She was launched in 2004. The construction of the second boat Pipinos started in 2001 and she was launched in 2007. Neither of these two submarine are in active service. In November 2006 Greek Navy refused to accept the first boat in the class, Papanikolis, on the grounds of that her performance was not up to the contract values. The second Type 214 boat, Pipinos, finalised her harbour acceptance trials in March 2008 and was declared ready for sea acceptance trials.

In 2002 before the problems with Type 214 submarines ever surfaced Greek Navy initiated Neptune 2 programme. The aim of this programme was to modernise the second batch of the Type 209 boats by cutting them in half and inserting a 6,5m extension to incorporate a fuel-cell based AIP system. Additional a flank array sonar, a modern fire control system, a electro-optic mast, SATCOM and sub Harpoon firing capability was to be fitted. On 26th February 2009 the first boat Orkeanos was relaunched after ending of the modernisation.

On 24th February, two days before the launching of the Orkeanos, Greek Navy declared that it has decided to buy two new Type 209 submarines of 1400 tons displacement with air independent propulsion.

Now this is news to me. The only other country that ordered a Type 209 submarine with AIP is: Portugal. They have bought two Type 290 Pn submarines from Germany in 2004.

This photo of Valerij Uhlich from shipspotting.com shows the Greek Papanikolis and Portugese Tridente side by side in Kiel, Germany. One is a Type 214 and the other is a Type 209 PN. But which one is which? It is obvious that the Portuguese Type 209 is a Type 214 in reality. I have no clue why the Portuguese submarines are reclassified; possibly of political reasons.

So the big questions is, if Greek Navy declines to accept the two Type 214 submarines because they are technically inferior why did it decided to buy two Type 209 AIP submarines? What is the difference?

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12 Responses to >Greek Submarine Force

  1. Saturn 5 says:

    >Now this! Just when I have started to understand something about the whole issue, it gets more complicated. Thanks for the info.

  2. marialaxara says:

    >The Portuguese subs are called U-209PN for contractual reasons. The procurement process took an eternity & was initially between the U-209 & the French Scorpene. As the process dragged on from the late 90's to 2000's the Germans were now pushing their new U-214s. However due to some bs language in the initial procurement tender neither party was allowed to submit proposals for a "new" sub, but rather only upgraded models of U-209 & Scorpene. So the Germans were in a tight spot & decided to submit their final proposal as an upgraded U-209PN because a U-214 proposal would have amounted to self disqualification. The Portuguese Navy for their part were initially leaning to the French Scorpene, since they'd had a 40 year relationship with the French who had supplied their still in service subs. But upon seeing that the U-209PN (aka U-214) were to be equipped from the get-go with AIP, they went with the Germans & pretended not to see that the subs were U-214 clones.

  3. Saturn 5 says:

    >@ marialaxara:Thank you for the detailed insider info about the Portugese boats. It gives also a good idea how big procurement projects are done.

  4. marialaxara says:

    >Procurement processes among European countries seem really complex, but then with the whole issue of technology transfers & counter-party payments…….the whole thing gives me a headache. But then for the Portuguese navy these 2 subs are going to be the only ones that they'll be permitted to buy for the next 30+ years so it's a really big decision.One thing that I found interesting about the whole Papanikolis saga is that the Portuguese subs Tridente & Arpao are the 2nd & 3rd U-214s built entirely by HDW in Germany. Both have been in sea trials for many months now & the unofficial word seems to be that they're both doing very well. Additionally the South Korean license built U-214s have had no big issues either. In fact one of them has already entered service, I believe. So it would seem to me that either the Papanikolis long list of "problems" are either a case of extreme bad luck or that they may be highly exaggerated claims to mask a inability or unwillingness to pay for the one submarine that was to be built outside of Greece. It's my understanding that "payment issues" have a long history in Greece procurement. Or perhaps it is true that, just like in cars, one should never buy the first model year :)

  5. Saturn 5 says:

    >It's my understanding that "payment issues" have a long history in Greece procurement. Or perhaps it is true that, just like in cars, one should never buy the first model year :)This two just sums up everything I guess. By the way the rumor is the name Papanikolis was erased from her hull recently. She might be sold soon.

  6. marialaxara says:

    >They should just use removable decals for the new name. In the last few months I've heard of rumors of it being sold to Poland, Taiwan & even one that was published in Germany where it was going to be "offered" to Portugal at no cost. Portugal denied that possibility premptively as it could not afford the additional expense of a 3rd sub. Not to mention that the Papanikolis was built to specs for mostly Mediterranean service whereas the Portuguese subs will operate almost exclusively in the Atlantic. For similar reasons I'd be surprised if Poland or Taiwan bought it. Have you heard of another interested country?

  7. Saturn 5 says:

    >Have you heard of another interested country?As a matter of fact yes: Egypt.

  8. marialaxara says:

    >Interesting….. that would actually make sense. Egypt operates in the Med & their super-Romeo class subs have got to be 30+ years old. Maybe the Germans will work out a 2 for the price of 1 deal. That way they'd get rid of the Papanikolis now & have ample time to help the Egyptians train 2 crews for when the 2nd sub is delivered in say 3-4 years.

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