Exploring the depths: U-34 (S184) and its general characteristics in service to Germany

With a Siemens Permasyn electric motor and an MTU diesel engine that allow it to travel at underwater speeds of 20 knots, the German submarine U-34 (S184), a Type 212 class craft, exhibits impressive capabilities.

Hailing from Germany, U-34 (S184) is the fourth submarine of its class to enter active duty and is a prestigious member of the German Navy’s Type 212A submarine fleet. The submarine’s construction, which began in December 2001 at Howaldtswerke in Kiel, demonstrated the fine craftsmanship characteristic of these innovative military vessels. U-34 was formally launched in July 2006, and on May 3, 2007, it was finally brought to full readiness, a major turning point in its operational life.

The Bavarian municipality of Starnberg has granted U-34 the honorary patronage, indicating the close relationship between the submarine and the community. This patronage, which reflects a great legacy of naval heritage, emphasises the relationship between the vessel and the people it serves.

General Characteristics:

Built for underwater operations, the German submarine U-34 (S184) is a member of the Type 212 class. It has a displacement of 1,450 tonnes surfaced and 1,830 tonnes submerged. Its dimensions are 56 m (183.7 ft) in length (which increases to 57.2 m 187.66 ft in the second batch), 7 m (22.96 ft) in beam, and 6 m (the 19th foot) in draft.

The submarine is propelled by a Siemens Permasyn electric motor Type FR6439-3900KW, producing 2,850 kW, and an MTU-396 16V diesel engine, producing 2,150 kW. With one MTU 16V 396 diesel engine, nine HDW/Siemens PEM fuel cells (30–40 kW each in U31 and 120 kW each in U32, U33, and U34), and a Siemens Permasyn electric motor with 1700 kW that powers a solitary seven-bladed skewback propeller, this vessel is driven by its propulsion system. With this configuration, the U-34 can dive at 20 knots (37 km/h) and surface at 12 knots.

Capable of travelling 8,000 nautical miles (14,800 km or 9,196 miles) at 8 knots (15 km/h) on the surface, the submarine has an amazing operational range. Its endurance is exceptional; it can last three weeks without snorkelling and a total of twelve weeks. The test depth for the U-34 is more than 700 metres (2,296 ft).

With a crew of five officers and twenty-two men, the U-34 is outfitted with sophisticated sensors and processing equipment, such as the Kelvin Hughes Type 1007 I-band navigation radar, ISUS90-20 sonar, and CSU 90 (DBQS-40FTC). The EADS FL 1800U package offers electronic warfare capabilities.

The U-34 is equipped with six 533 mm torpedo tubes, which are grouped into two groups of three and pointed forward. It can carry up to 24 external naval mines in addition to IDAS missiles, 13 DM2A4, A184 Mod.3, and Black Shark Torpedoes. In naval operations, this deadly mix makes the U-34 a flexible and formidable submarine.

Service History:

The operational and service history of the German submarine U-34 (S184) is noteworthy, especially considering its involvement in several maritime operations and exercises. To support Operation Active Endeavour, U-34, a component of the 1st Ubootgeschwader, left its base in Eckernförde, Germany, in January 2009 and headed for the Mediterranean. Later, in May 2011, the submarine was sent back to the southeast Mediterranean for Operation Active Endeavour. The multi-crew idea, which rotated three crews to man the submarine, was successfully implemented by U-34 during this time, reducing the amount of time sailors had to dedicate to their work and the amount of time the boat was idle. The trial was declared successful, proving the effectiveness of the operation.

To join Standing NATO Maritime Group 2, the U-34 set out on a new mission in May 2015, sailing Eckernförde and arriving in Tallinn on May 30. U-34 participated in many exercises in the Baltic Sea while acting as the group’s “Silent Partner.” Alongside surface vessels from the German, Polish, and Swedish navies, the submarine participated in international CASEX exercises in September of that same year. In October, U-34 continued its training exercises with the Royal Norwegian Navy by taking part in Grüner Aal (Green Eel) manoeuvres and torpedo training exercises.

Setting off from Eckernförde to the Scottish coast, U-34 sailed again on March 30, 2016. The submarine took part in the renowned maritime exercise Joint Warrior and joined Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 during this deployment. After assisting NATO maritime forces in their cooperative efforts and earning invaluable experience in a range of operational circumstances, the submarine made its way back to its homeport in May. The adaptability of U-34 in engaging in foreign missions, training exercises, and effectively executing crew management techniques is evident in its service career.