April 4, 2017

Egypt, the Med & Red Seas - TKMS Submarine Lakes?

It would appear that supplying regional navies with Type 209s and/or 214s (and variants) makes the Mediterranean-Red Sea TKMS’s most lucrative market. TKMS’ competition have their work cut out breaking into this German near monopoly. 

As has been recounted before in Submarine Matters TKMS' possession of probably the most advanced operational air independent propulsion (AIP) technology may be TKMS' main marketing advantage.

Conventional diesel-electric submarines perform especially well in littoral-shallow seas and narrows. The Mediterranean and Red Seas are also target rich environments for electronic monitoring using  conventional subs (which at 2,000 tons or less are small by nuclear submarine standards).

Arguably Israel is the most powerful regional submarine navy - with the help of:
3 x non-AIP Dolphin 1s (TKMS Type 209 variants), and
2 x advanced AIP Dolphin 2s (Type 214 variants). A third Dolphin 2 is due to be commissioned in 2019.
It is the "Popeye Turbo" nuclear missiles the Dolphins carry that make Israel’s submarine force the most powerful.

On sheer numbers of submarines Turkey might have been considered most powerful, with:
6 x Ay class (40+ years old, maybe all inactive) Type 209s
4 x Preveze class, Type 209s
4 x Gür class, Type 209s, and
6 x Reis class, Type 214s to be built in Turkey.
But unlike Israel Turkey only has conventional missiles and other conventional weapons on its subs.

Not to be outdone Turkey’s near opponent, Greece, has;
3 x Glavkos class, Type 209s
3 x Poseidon class, Type 209s
1 x Okeanos class, a unique Type 209 fitted with AIP!
4 x Papanikolis class, Type 214s with AIP

TKMS is now building 4 x Type 209s for Egypt (suspicious of all). Egypt (different site) has just recieved its first Type 209 built at TKMS-HDW’s Kiel shipyard. The 209s will replace the Egyptian Navy’s four elderly Soviet/Chinese built Romeo class vessels which were delivered in 1983/84.

Three more 209s are on order. Unlike Turkey’s and Israel’s latest submarines Egyptian subs lack AIP.

Is Egypt looking for submarine owner prestige or do its submarines have useful missions?  “The Egyptian military said the vessel will be used to protect Egypt’s national security, protect its economic interests and ensure safe and free navigation of the Suez Canal and other regions. According to a statement by the Egyptian military, the vessels have a range of 11 000 nautical miles...” 

Electronic intelligence gathering and watching opponents' submarines (Russians leaving Tartus or Israeli missile Dolphins leaving Haifa?) might be added.

TKMS submarine central. Part of the Med and all of the Red Seas. (Map courtesy World Atlas).

A November 2016 Youtube of the re-equipping of Egypt's Navy:
-  43 seconds in is one of the 2 x DCNS designed and built Mistrals that Egypt bought (likely helped
    by US aid money)
-  48 seconds in is a shot of Egypt's first Type 209 sub.
-  2:30 Egypt ordered a frigate from DCNS
-  2:42 the "aging [Romeo] submarine fleet is being replaced"
-  3:00 the main mention of the DCNS Mistrals and shot of the helicopter airwing.



Ztev Konrad said...

Not sure about US money helping to buy the French built Mistrals, as like its defence aid for Israel, the US mostly requires the money to be spent in US.
This source ( not necessarily 100% reliable) says its would be Saudi and Gulf money

Peter Coates said...

Hi Ztev

Thanks for https://sputniknews.com/military/201509241027460211-saudi-arabia-egypt-mistrals-deal/ . Though Sputnik is a Putin organ, like RT, I wouldn't be surprised if Saudi + Gulf state money indeed financed the Egyptian naval and other non-US purchases.

With Egypt buying from:

- France, 2 Mistrals, 4 ‘Gowind’ corvettes, 1 FREMM frigate and 24 Rafale jetfighters

- Germany with the 4 x Type 209 subs actually sold less to Egypt!

- from Russia 50 x MiG-35s https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_Air_Force#Future

How can Egypt ever repay the Saudis? It appears Egypt is part of the Saudi led Arab coalition that is fighting the Iranian backed Houthi rebels in the Yemeni Civil War https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yemeni_Civil_War_(2015%E2%80%93present)#Saudi-led_intervention_in_Yemen