January 16, 2008:
South Korea has
received its first Type 214 submarine, the Son Won Il. The boat was built in
South Korea, using licensed technology from the German developer (HDW) of the
Type 214 boats.
Two years ago, the South Koreans
dropped plans to built several large, 3,000 ton, diesel-electric subs. Instead, six more 1,600 ton Type 214 subs
will be built over the next 14 years, in addition to the three already planned.
South Korea already has nine 1,100 ton Type 209 subs, designed and built in
Germany. The Type 214 boats use fuel cells, enabling them to stay underwater
for up to two weeks. The South Koreans like their 209s, but are now getting
nervous because the first 214 recently received by Greece, had a long list of
Greece bought four Type 214 submarines from
Germany. The first one arrived a little
over a year ago, and the Greeks quickly found themselves with a list of 400
defects. The other three 214s are being built in Greece, and the first one of
those is about ready for launch. Everyone was nervous. The problems were
resolved over the next year. Most of the fuss had more to do with a recent
change of power in the Greek government, than to any fundamental flaws in the
The Type 214 is a 1,700 ton, 202 foot
long boat, with a crew of 27. It has four torpedo tubes and a top submerged
speed of 35 kilometers an hour. Maximum diving depth is over 1,200 feet.