Submarines: Egypt Upgrades To Dolphin Light


January 11, 2017: At the end of 2016 Egypt received the first of four Type 209 submarines from manufacturer. These German built boats displace 1,300 tons, are 59 meters (183 feet) long, have eight torpedo tubes, and carry 14 torpedoes (or anti-ship missiles) and a crew of 36. Top speed on the surface is 21 kilometers an hour and twice that submerged. That speed difference is because of the tear-drop shape hull, which the 209 was among the first diesel-electric boats to adopt it. The 209s can operate for up to 50 days on internal fuel and supplies. Operating with a snorkel (a periscope like device which allows the diesel engine to be use while submerged) they can operate for 30 days. Operating submerged on battery power they can operate for about 100 hours (moving at 7 kilometers an hour, a third of the cruising speed while using the diesels). Max depth is 500 meters (1,600 feet).

These are world class subs that first appeared in the early 1970s and are still in production. Only two of the 61 put into service have been retired because these boats proved quite durable and amenable to refurbishment and upgrades. Currently Type 209s cost $500-600 million each, depending on how you equip them.

These 209s replace four Chinese Type 033s acquired in the mid-1980s and were refurbished and upgraded by the United States in the late 1990s. Neighbor Israel has six Dolphin class subs, which replaced older German Type 206s by 2002. These are much upgraded Type 209s. The first one entered service in 1999 and the fifth one in 2016. The sixth one is under construction. The first three were 1,600 ton boats, the second three were 2,100 ton subs that were more advanced than the Type 2012.


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