The Royal Norwegian Navy (RNoN) operates Ula Class diesel electric submarines. Six subs were designed and built by Germany based Thyssen Nordseewerke (TKMS) between 1989 and 1992.
Ula Class was jointly developed by Norway and Germany. The German designation for the submarine is U-Boot-Klasse 210. The hull sections were built in Norway and assembled in Germany.
The first submarine in class, KNM Ula (S-300), was launched in July 1988 and commissioned in April 1989.
KNM Utsira (S-301) was launched in November 1991 and commissioned in April 1992. KNM Utstein (S-302) was launched in April 1991 and commissioned in November 1991. KNM Utvaer (S-303) was launched in April 1990 and commissioned in November 1990. KNM Uthaug (S-304) was launched in October 1990 and commissioned in May 1991. The last ship in class, KNM Uredd (S-305), was launched in September 1989 and commissioned in to the RNoN in May 1990.
Ula Class submarines are one of the quieter and more manoeuvrable subs in the world. The submarine can be hardly detected by enemy surface vessels due to its trimmed profile.
It has a length of 59m, beam of 5.4m and a draft of 4.6m. The surfaced and submerged displacements of the submarine are 1,040t and 1,150t respectively. The submarine can accommodate 21 crew members.
Ula Class submarine upgrades
The Ula Class upgrade programme commenced in 2006. The entire fleet will be upgraded with new combat systems, periscopes, navigation and sensor systems, communications equipment, electronic warfare systems, steering controls and engines by 2015.
About 60 systems will be modernised on each submarine during the upgrade. Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) will provide engineering assistance throughout the upgrade programme.
The upgrades will ensure the Ula Class submarines remain in service until 2020.
In December 2010, Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace was contracted to supply navigation and radar systems for the Ula Class submarines.
In October 2011, Saab received a SEK105m ($15m) contract from Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation to upgrade steering control consoles of the Ula Class submarines.
Command and control systems on the Ula Class diesel electric submarines
The Konsberg MSI-90U command and weapons control system of Ula is based on a high-capacity databus and a distributed computer system. The system uses a local area network or point-to-point connections to communicate with the onboard sensors, weapons and navigation system.
The multifunction operator console provides tactical information based on the data available from sensors and other sources. The MSI-90U is also operational with the Type U212A submarines of Germany and Italy.
In May 2008, the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation placed an order with Kongsberg Defence & Aerospace for the delivery of a new combat system integration infrastructure, passive sonar system, echo sounder systems and an upgraded tactical simulator for six Ula Class submarines. Delivery is scheduled to conclude by mid 2012.
Torpedoes, sensor / radar systems and countermeasures of the Norwegian subs
Ula Class is fitted with eight 533mm bow torpedo tubes for launching Atlas Elektronik DM2A3 torpedoes. The DM2A3 can carry a 260kg warhead up to a maximum range of 28,000m.
The existing sonar systems are being replaced with Konsberg submarine sonar processing suite which includes passive sonar, passive ranging sonar, intercept sonar, towed array sonar and flank array sonar. The surface search radar fitted is the Kelvin Hughes 1007.
In December 2010, ITT Corporation was awarded a contract by the Norwegian Defence Logistics Organisation to supply six tactical radar electronic support measures (ESM) and surveillance systems for the Ula Class submarines.
The ES-3701 precision ESM system from ITT performs automatic threat detection and warning by monitoring electromagnetic energy generated by other vessels or objects. The system provides accurate outcomes while operating in high density environments.
The Ula Class is powered by diesel-electric propulsion system consisting of two improved MTU 12V 396 diesel engines and an electric motor.
The power plant generates a total power output of 6,000shp. The propulsion system provides a surfaced speed of 11kt and submerged speed of 23kt.
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