The German Navy Submarine U-33 (S183) sailed to the Kiel shipyard on April 28 where she went into drydock. There, a repair team will locate a leak in a torpedo tube that could not be precisely located while the boat was at sea. Then, the shipyard will fix the error. The leak was detected at sea by the crew last week. To allow accurate fault-finding and repair, the boat unloaded its torpedoes in the ammunition depot on April 27. The Class 212A boat will be out of service for maintenance, and is expected to resume normal operations no later than May 11. In addition to U 33, this week two more submarines were at sea.
The Submarine U-33 (S183) is the third Type 212A submarine of the German Navy. It was laid down 30 April 2001 by HDW in Kiel, launched in September 2004 and commissioned on 13 June 2006. The U-33 is currently part of the 1st Ubootgeschwader, based in Eckernförde. The submarine’s first mission was participation in Operation Active Endeavour in 2007. Currently, the Submarine U-33 is capable of launching the fiber optic-guided DM2A4 Seehecht (“Seahake”) heavyweight torpedoes, the WASS BlackShark torpedoes and short-range missiles from its six torpedo tubes, which use a water ram expulsion system. Future capability may include tube-launched cruise missiles.
The German Type 212 class is a highly advanced design of non-nuclear submarine developed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG (HDW) for the German and Italian navies. It features diesel propulsion and an additional air-independent propulsion (AIP) system using Siemens proton exchange membrane (PEM) compressed hydrogen fuel cells. The submarines can operate at high speed on diesel power or switch to the AIP system for silent slow cruising, staying submerged for up to three weeks without surfacing and with little exhaust heat. The system is also said to be vibration-free, extremely quiet and virtually undetectable.