And they are coming just in the nick of time.
Germany’s submarine fleet has been going through a rough patch lately. By the end of 2017, all six of the Type 212A submarines, which use hydrogen PEM fuel cells for super quiet Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP), were either undergoing trials and overhauls or awaiting repairs for unexpected accidents—a process slowed to a glacial pace due to a failure to procure spare parts in advance.
Nonetheless, on the long term both German submariners and the Type 212’s manufacturer have reason for cheer. Six new model Type 212CDs (formerly the 212NG) are slated to deploy to northern Europe by the mid-2020: two more will be added to the German Navy, expanding its submarine fleet to eight boats by 2027, while four will go to Norway by around 2025 to replace its six Ula-class boats, purchased from Germany back in 1989.
Ironically, Norway is one of a handful of small European countries to have waged a modern coastal-defense war: in 1940, Norwegian and British forces sank half of Nazi Germany’s destroyer force, as well as three cruisers and six U-Boats, before being overwhelmed.
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