U-32 (S182): unveiling the general characteristics of Germany’s state-of-the-art Type 212A submarine

The German submarine U-32 (S182), a Type 212A, was put into service in 2005. It is an amazing vessel with innovative propulsion, an impressive underwater endurance of eighteen days, and an excellent arsenal that includes missiles and torpedoes.

Presently serving as the second vessel of its class to be commissioned, U-32 (S182) is a fearsome Type 212A submarine in the German Navy. A historic launch took place on December 4, 2003, marking the completion of the German Submarine Consortium’s construction at the Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft in Kiel and the Thyssen Nordseewerke shipyards in Emden. In Eckernförde on October 19, 2005, German Minister of Defence Peter Struck performed the joint commissioning ceremony for U-32 and its sister ship, U-31.

U-32 is outfitted with an electric motor driven by two fuel cells and a diesel engine, showcasing state-of-the-art propulsion technology. A remarkable achievement in naval engineering, the submarine has a cavitation-free screw that makes it nearly undetected. A significant accomplishment in its operating past was when the U-32, hailed as the world’s first non-nuclear submarine, managed to stay below for an astounding two weeks.

Korvettenkapitän Michael Bornholt is U-32’s commanding officer and a skilled commander who leads the unit through its strategic manoeuvres. To conduct manoeuvres along the U.S. east coast, U-32 made a lengthy transatlantic flight in March 2013. During its journey, the submarine reached a significant milestone when it stayed underwater for an astounding eighteen days—the greatest period any German submarine had ever gone underwater. The capabilities and successes of U-32 highlight its critical role in contemporary naval operations, demonstrating the Type 212A class’s technological superiority and strategic importance.

General Characteristics:

Under the Type 212 class, the German submarine U-32 (S182) is a powerful underwater vehicle. It has a length of 56 metres (183.7 feet), which increases to 57.2 metres (187.66 feet) in the second batch. Its displacement is 1,450 tonnes when it is surfaced and 1,830 tonnes when it is submerged. The submarine has a draft of six metres (19.68 feet) and a beam of seven metres (22.96 feet).

An MTU-396 16V diesel engine producing 2,150 kW and a Siemens Permasyn electric motor Type FR6439-3900KW with a capacity of 2,850 kW power this advanced submarine. One MTU 16V 396 diesel engine, nine HDW/Siemens PEM fuel cells (30–40 kW each for U31, 120 kW each for U32, U33, and U34), and a Siemens Permasyn electric motor with a 1700 kW power output that powers a solitary seven-bladed skewback propeller make up the propulsion system. The U-32 can travel at a speed of 12 knots when surfaced and 20 knots (37 km/h) when submerged because of its arrangement.

When surfacing, the submarine’s range is 8,000 nautical miles (14,800 km or 9,196 miles) at a speed of 8 knots (15 km/h). It demonstrates an impressive endurance of 12 weeks when snorkelling and 3 weeks when not. At a test depth of more than 700 metres (2,296 feet), the U-32 is capable of operating. There are 22 men and 5 officers in the crew.

Effective detection and navigation capabilities are ensured by the submarine’s modern sensor and processing systems, which include the CSU 90 (DBQS-40FTC), Sonar (ISUS90-20), and Radar (Kelvin Hughes Type 1007 I-band nav.). Decoys and electronic warfare are controlled by the EADS FL 1800U package.

Six 533 mm torpedo tubes, grouped into two forward-pointing groups of three, are among the formidable arsenal of weapons carried by the U-32. It can fire a wide range of weapons, such as IDAS missiles, Black Shark torpedoes, A184 Mod.3 and DM2A4 torpedoes, and it may optionally carry 24 external naval mines. The Type 212 submarine class’s U-32 is a flexible and potent weaponry.