Egyptian Type 209 submarine heading home

The new Egyptian Navy Type 209/1400 submarine S41 (861) is on its way home from Kiel, Germany.

It was seen transiting the Kiel Canal, which links the North Sea and Baltic Sea, on its way to Alexandria on 28 March. 

Egypt has four Type 209 submarines on order from Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS). S41 is the first of them, and was handed over at the shipbuilder’s facilities in Kiel on 12 December, a year after TKMS announced the launch of the vessel. At the same time TKMS held a naming ceremony for the next vessel, S42.

TKMS noted that S41 and S42 are the first two of four submarines. “Since the start of production of the first submarine at ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in Kiel, the construction programme has proceeded on schedule and achieved further important milestones with today’s naming of submarine S42 and handover of submarine S41 to the customer,” TKMS said at the time.

The Egyptian military said the vessel will be used to protect Egypt’s national security, protect its economic interests and ensure safe and free navigation of the Suez Canal and other regions. According to a statement by the Egyptian military, the vessels have a range of 1 000 nautical miles, a top speed of 21 knots and displacement of 1 400 tonnes.

Egypt said the Type 209/1400s will be able to launch missiles and torpedoes – it is believed they will be fitted with Harpoon anti-ship missiles.

The new Type 209s will most likely replace the Egyptian Navy’s four elderly Romeo class vessels delivered in 1983/84.

News of the Egyptian submarine contract first surfaced in August 2012 when the deal was confirmed by Rear Admiral Osama Ahmed el-Gundi, the chief of the Egyptian navy staff. Preliminary negotiations for ex-German Navy Type 206A boats were reported to have begun in December 2004. Two new Type 209s were ordered in 2011 and another two in 2014.

The Type 209 attack submarine was developed for export by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft of Germany. Five variants of the class (209/1100, 209/1200, 209/1300, 209/1400 and 209/1500) have been exported to over a dozen countries, with more than 60 submarines being built and commissioned.

The average Type 209 has a crew of 30 and displaces 1 594 tons submerged. The type is 62 metres long with a 6.2 metre pressure hull diameter. It can dive to a maximum depth of 250 metres and is armed with eight torpedo tubes with 14 torpedoes. Speed is ten knots on the surface and 21 knots dived.