The German Navy has decommissioned six out of ten submarines in a bid to save maintenance expenses.

The German Defence Ministry said the six 206A-type submarines were initially scheduled to remain in operation until 2015, according to The Associated Press (AP).

Currently, the German Navy has four modern 212 type submarines powered by fuel cells, according to a defence ministry spokesman.

In addition, the navy will sell or scrap an additional six aging submarines powered by conventional diesel engines, AP said, quoting the German DAPD news agency.

Last month, the defence ministry announced that the German military would be restructured, saving up to €1bn ($1.24bn) a year.