Dr Sigrid Hubert-Reichling christened one of the most modern non-nuclear submarines in the world today at the shipyard of Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbH (HDW), a company of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, under the name of U 35. She is the wife of the Lord Mayor of Zweibrücken, the town that has assumed sponsorship of U 35. U 35 is the first boat of the second batch of Class 212A submarines built for the German Navy.
The contract to deliver a second batch of two further Class 212A submarines was signed on September 22 2006 in Koblenz with the German Office for military technology and procurement. The submarine building activities are taking place at the shipyards of HDW in Kiel and Emder Werft- und Dockbetrieben in Emden.
The two additional units will be largely identical to their sister ships from the first batch. Of course, they are also equipped with the air-independent fuel cell propulsion system which has already given excellent results in operations with the boats of the first batch. To meet changes in operational scenarios and to take constant technological advances into account, a number of modifications have been made:
- Integration of a communication system for Network Centric Warfare
- Installation of an integrated German sonar and command and weapon control system
- Replacement of the flank array sonar by a superficial lateral antenna
- 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 lockout system for Special Operation Forces
- Tropicalisation to enable world-wide operations
In his speech at the ceremony, member of the Executive Board of TKMS Mr Walter Freitag underlined the ability of the boat to carry out operations lasting several weeks continuously deep submerged, thanks to the ultra-modern fuel cell technology on-board. With virtually undetectable heat and noise emissions and a hull of non-magnetic steel, the boat will be exceedingly difficult to detect and thus able to operate unnoticed, discreetly gathering important information, monitoring sea areas or supporting covert operations.
The Italian Navy has also decided in favour of a second batch of two Class 212A submarines, which are being built under licence by the local Italian shipyard Fincantieri. That means that the Italian Navy will soon also have four boats of this class available for operations.