Submarines: June 2, 2001


The UAE (United Arab Emirates) has unveiled two new midget submarines (classed as Swimmer Delivery Vehicles or Long Range Submersible Carriers). Both vehicles have a pilot in front with a navigator behind him under separate quick-release canopies. Both have an air system and the crew can switch back and forth between the on-board system and their own rebreathers. Both vehicles are made from nine layers (80mm total thickness) of glass-reinforced plastic and carbon composites. Both are powered by an eight kilowatt electric motor; the batteries provide ten hours of power. Both are designed to cruise at 6 knots at 30 meters below the surface, but they can dive to 50 meters and can reach seven knots. Both have a low acoustic and low magnetic signature. Both have a depth sounding system able to reach 30 meters and a sonar with a range of 150 meters. The manufacturer is designing an advanced vehicle able to carry up to ten divers. The Class-4 entered service in 1994 and several are used by the UAE special forces. It is 7.35m long, 0.95 meters in diameter, and can deliver a payload of 200kg plus the two-man crew. It uses Silver-Zinc batteries. The Class-5 has just been ordered and should enter service next year. It is 9.1m long, has a diameter of 1.15m, and can deliver a payload of 450kg. --Stephen V Cole


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