Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Hellenic Navy Submarine Fleet Facing Severe Problems

German submarine builder HDW and Hellenic Shipyards have announced they will seek legal remedies over the purchase of 4 Type 214 submarines by the Greek Navy. The prototype submarine (Papanikolis) was not accepted by the Greek Navy due to serious issues that developed during her sea trials. HDW claims all the problems have now been fixed but so far the first submarine has not been accepted.

Currently the Greek Navy operates 4 Type 209/1100 and 4 Type 209/1200 subs. Most of these are technologically outdated and in need of replacement. One Type 209/1100 (Okeanos) was recently upgraded by HDW/Hellenic Shipyards. This submarine is not back in service with the Greek Navy and it looks like it will not enter back into service for some time due to the legal issues between the two sides.

This leaves the Greek Navy with 7 active duty subs while the force level requirement for the fleet is 14.

The timing of the move by HDW is interesting as it comes after elections were scheduled in Greece. The elections will almost certainly be won by the Socialist party which was in power when the original contract with HDW was signed. It will be interesting to see how the new government will handle the situation.

If a solution with HDW can be found it could mean the acceptance of the 4 Type 214 subs, return to service of the upgraded Type 209/1100 and the purchase of an additional 2 new subs with AIP (Air Indepent Propulsion) technology.

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