U36: Another Fuel Cell Submarine for the German Navy

16 May 2013

HDW Class 212A submarine

One of the most modern non-nuclear submarines in the world has been named during a ceremony at the shipyard of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems GmbH, a company of ThyssenKrupp Industrial Solutions AG. This marks another important milestone in the ongoing shipbuilding programme for the German Navy: U36 is the second boat of the second batch of HDW Class 212A submarines destined for operation in the Navy. The German town of Plauen has assumed sponsorship for U36. The ultra-modern submarine was named by Silke Elsner, companion to the Mayor.

The contract to deliver a second batch of two HDW Class 212A submarines was signed on 22nd September 2006 in Koblenz with the German Office for Military Technology and Procurement/BWB (now the German Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Employment of the Bundeswehr/BAAINBW). The submarine building activities are taking place at the shipyards of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in Kiel and Emder Werft- und Dockbetriebe in Emden.

The two additional units will be largely identical to their sister ships from the first batch. They are also equipped with the HDW air-independent fuel cell propulsion system which has already given excellent results in operations with the boats of the first batch. The German Navy submarine U32 gave renewed proof of this in April 2013. On the way to participate in naval exercises in the USA the boat produced a new record for non-nuclear submarines with 18 days in submerged transit without snorkelling.

To meet changes in operational scenarios and to take constant technological advances into account, a number of modifications have been made in the second batch:

  • Integration of a communications system for Network Centric Warfare
  • Installation of an integrated Sonar and Command and Weapon Control System
  • Installation of a superficial lateral antenna sonar
  • Replacement of one periscope by an optronics mast
  • Installation of a hoistable mast with towable antenna-bearing buoy to enable communication from the deep submerged submarine
  • Integration of a lock system for Special Operation Forces
  • Tropicalisation to enable world-wide operations.

The Italian Navy has also decided in favour of a second batch of two HDW Class 212A submarines, which are being built under licence by the Italian shipyard Fincantieri. That means that the Italian Navy will soon also have four boats of this class available for operations.


U36 – Technical Data:

General boat data:
Length over all: approx. 57 m
Height including sail: approx. 11.5 m
Maximum hull diameter: approx. 7 m
Displacement: approx. 1,500 t
Crew: 28
Pressure hull built of non-magnetic steel

Propulsion system:
Diesel generator
SIEMENS Permasyn® motor
HDW fuel cell system [SIEMENS PEM fuel cell]
Low-noise skew-back propeller


Source: taken from ThyssenKrupp AG press release

Image of HDW Class 212A submarine courtesy of HDW


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