November 15, 2015

Columbia's Newly Renovated TKMS Type 206s

Model of a TKMS-HDW Type 206 submarine - ugly but effective. 206s weigh 450 tons (surfaced) 500 tons (submerged), 23 crew, 8 torpedo tubes (Photo courtesy find model kit)
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Columbian Navy Acquires Two Subs From Germany

Two [Type 206(see photo above)] submarines left the ThyssenKrupp Shipyard in Kiel, Germany and headed to Colombia, November 11, [2015] and are expected to arrive at the Naval Base ARC Bolívar by November end.

...The newly arrived [206s] will receive the same names as their predecessors, namely ARC Intrepido and ARC Indomable and will be used for drug interdiction operations.

The purchase agreement for the [206s] was concluded in August, 2012, between Colombian Ministry of National Defense and the German Federal Ministry of Defence.

Modernization and upgrades were performed by [TKMS] in Kiel, Germany. Each of the submarines has a displacement of 500 tonnes, accommodates 23 people and measures 49 meters.

These units will strengthen the existing fleet of two ocean-going Pijao-class, [TKMS] Type 209 submarines and replace the two Italian made SX-506 submarines (see photo below)  with 40 years of service in the Colombian submarine force.

Columbia's two (90 ton (submerged) SX-506 mini-subs (Scroll 2/3s down here for photo and specifications)
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Both 206s being loaded on BBC Sapphire for the journey to Columbia (Photo courtesy Kieler Nachrichten)
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I was also leafing through the Kieler Nachrichten as usual :) the other day when I noticed an article in it  published: Sunday, 08.11.2015 in which Frank Behling reported the two 206s being loaded on a ship. The ship will be sailing from Kiel, Germany to Columbia (see photo above) http://www.kn-online.de/News/Aktuelle-Nachrichten-Kiel/Nachrichten-aus-Kiel/Kieler-Marinearsenal-Kolumbianische-U-Boote-reisen-huckepack

 "Colombian submarines traveling piggyback

...The overhaul of [206s] for Colombia had according to unconfirmed information only [cost ] in the lower double-digit million [Euro] range. While [ex] "U 23" and "U 24" [are now] "Indomable" and "Intrepido" [return to] use, German sister boats "U 16" and "U 18" [have been sold to Columbia for cannibalization - spare parts].

COMMENT/BACKGROUND

I have a theory that the Columbian 206s will be heavily involved in monitoring drug/narco submarines and low profile boats travelling from Columbia to central America and Mexico. (see map below).

If the anti-drug function is central then it would be interesting to know the extent that US anti-drug and military money funded the 206s? US funds may have perhaps (?) gone to the Columbian military or to the German Government and onto TKMS to part-fund the upgrades to the two 206s. Such part funding may explain the low costs of the 206 upgrades (perhaps as low as 10 million Euros each judging from the Kieler Nachrichten article.

The 206s modernization/upgrades may include new sonars, electronics in the combat system, air conditioning for warmer tropical water and climate, new paintjob in Columbian Navy colours and de-rusting for the steel hulls.

The two Pijao-class (ARC Pijao and ARC Tyrona), Type 209/1200 submarines are 40 year old, commissioned in 1975, they were upgraded in 2009 and 2011 but would be nearing retirement in the 2020s? TKMS may have priced the 206 renovations at low prices as a sweetener to encourage Columbia to perhaps buy Types 210mods in the next decade.

(Map courtesy Honduprensa) The mainly cocaine drug flows north from Columbia and Venezuela to central America for further transporting up to the US.
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One of Columbia's Pijao class sub Type 209/1200s (just 1,200 tons surfaced) sails slowly into the East (or West) (Photo courtesy Pan American Defense)


Pete

8 comments:

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
My Question is, how many Type 206's are left in Germany because according to Wiki, U-15,U-17, U-22, U-25 & U-29 are all left. So dose this Mean Germany may consider selling them to Thailand or do they have another customer in mind.

As for the Type 210Mod, are they an evolution of the Type 206 and are the Type 206, 210mod and the subclass the Gal class submarines true shallow water, Littoral submarines.?

As for the Colombian Navy, what do you think their Next submarine will be? I am suspecting that Columbia would go for the Type 214 or Type 218 that Singapore is getting.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

Your first para - see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_206_submarine#List_of_units . Thailand was just playing at wanting to buy Chinese subs or any subs.

Seecond - Yes 206s were influential in all subsequent German models (209 through to 218).

Third - Columbian Navy may well buy two newer but used 209s in the 2020s. Maybe 210s if Columbia can afford it. 214s and 218s likely above its price range.

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
How influential is the Type 206 to the Type 210Mod? Would the Type 210Mod would be viable for countries that have shallow water and littoral waters.

Also would the Type 209 still be viable after 2020 or would Columbia would be looking for Type 214's with American assistance.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

Your 1st para. Very influential. Yes 210 viable - especially for Baltic countries with money. Other littorals, including Columbia, may do better with South Korea's 500 ton KSS-500A concept - see http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2015/10/south-korean-hhis-hds-400-small.html.

214 probably too big for Columbia's needs, too high running costs. US wouldn't want to get too involved in new modern sub deals as US was to maintain avoidance of organising new subs for Taiwan. If Columbia is happy enough buying the two 42 year old 206s it may well buy 35 year old 209s off of many countries including South Korea.

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

HI Pete,
That's why I think for Columbia, they could go with the Type 214 but I don't know how long they can keep the Type 209 lines going before they switch to the Type 214 line. What about the Chang Bogo class SSK, would that be an option for them?.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

Do you think Columbia buying very old, ultra cheap, very small, 206s says something about the likelihood that Columbia would NOT buy 214s or Chang Bogos?

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
I think for Columbia, they could keep the Type 209 running but for how long, who knows. Though I think they may look to Germany for the Type 210mod or the Type 214

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

Columbia, like Singapore, has a sound record of buying good used subs. So I agree, Columbia has experience of TKMS 209s and 206s so buying 209s, 210s would continue the beneficial TKMS association.

Columbia might also consider buying 500 ton KSS-500As for delivery by 2025 - built by South Korea (with much design input from TKMS).

Regards

Pete