Greece Submarine Capabilities

Glavkos (Type 209/1100 & 1200) Submarine "S-113," Hellenic Submarines,

The Hellenic Navy currently employs a submarine flotilla of eight Type 209/1100, Type 209/1200, and Type 214 vessels, all of which were ordered from Germany's Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW).

The Glavkos-class includes four Type 209/1100 diesel-electric submarines, constructed at the HDW shipyard in Kiel and delivered to the Hellenic Navy between 1971 and 1973. In 1991, as the submarines neared 20 years of service, the Greek government initiated the Neptune I program to modernize the boats with more advanced sonar and the ability to fire Harpoon missiles. [1] The first Glavkos-class was retrofitted in Germany from 1991-1993, while the other three underwent renovations at the Salamis Naval Base in Greece at 2-3 year intervals completed in 2000. [2]

In the late 1970s, Greece requisitioned a second set of four German Type 209/1200 submarines named the Poseidon-class in Greece. [3] The third vessel of this class, the Okeanos, was modernized with an air-independent propulsion (AIP) system at a Greek shipyard as part of the Neptune II program, and re-commissioned into the Navy in 2009. [4]

Submarine Tables for Greece

In 1998, Greece ordered a batch of four new Type 214 Papanikolis-class submarines; the first of class was built in Kiel, and the rest at Hellenic Shipyards, which was acquired by HDW in 2002. These vessels feature AIP systems. [5] However, a legal battle ensued after the Hellenic Navy refused to accept the first submarine due to technical problems, such as excessive rolling when it surfaced on the high seas. [6] Ultimately, in 2010 Greece agreed to accept the Papanikolis, and to order two additional Type 214 submarines as part of the Neptune II program instead of refurbishing existing Type 209/1200 submarines. [7]

However, in May 2011 HDW cancelled the contract for the additional two Type 214 vessels in response to bribery allegations involving Abu Dhabi Mar, which became the majority shareholder of Hellenic Shipyards in 2010. Agence France-Presse reported that this dispute would not affect the delivery of the three Type 214 vessel that had already been completed, the Pipinos, Matrozos, and Katsonis. [8] Nevertheless, none of them had been commissioned into service as of July 2013.

The Hellenic Navy presides over an archipelago that includes about 2,000 islands. Its headquarters is at Salamis, near Athens; another major base is at Suda Bay, on the isle of Crete. Since a significant share of Greek commerce is maritime, the Hellenic Navy is chiefly concerned with the security of its sea lines of communication (SLOC). Control over the Aegean Sea is increasingly important as it may become a passageway for oil and gas from the Caspian region. [9] The Hellenic Navy has also increasingly been involved in supporting peacekeeping operations, including the EU intervention force. [10]

Greek security concerns are heightened by unresolved maritime, territorial, air, and boundary disputes with Turkey, particularly over Cyprus and the Aegean Sea. While both Turkey and Greece are NATO members, NATO has been called both a restraining influence as well as a contributor to heightened tensions between the two nations. [11] In this context, Athens views the deterrent capability provided by its submarines as ensuring stability, security, and peace. [12]

[1] "Χαρακτηριστικά Υποβρυχίων τύπου "Γλαύκος" [Characteristics, 'Glavkos'-type Submarine]," Hellenic Navy,
[2] "Χαρακτηριστικά Υποβρυχίων τύπου "Γλαύκος" [Characteristics, 'Glavkos'-type Submarine]," Hellenic Navy, "Submarine Forces, Greece," Jane's Underwater Warfare Systems, 2 November 2010.
[3] "Χαρακτηριστικά Υποβρυχίων τύπου "Ποσειδών" [Characteristics, 'Poseidon'-type Submarine]," Hellenic Navy,
[4] "Submarine Forces, Greece," Jane's Underwater Warfare Systems, 2 November 2010.
[5] Aminesthai, October 16, 2003; in "Greek defense supplement on Navy's submarine command," FBIS Document GMP20031022000255; "Millionenauftrag fuer HDW aus Griechenland," Associated Press Worldstream, 3 June 2002; in Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe,
[6] "Greek Inspectors Eye German Sub Deal," UPI, 28 March 2011,; "Submarine Forces, Greece," Jane's Underwater Warfare Systems, 2 November 2010.
[7] "Submarine Forces, Greece," Jane's Underwater Warfare Systems, 2 November 2010.
[8] "German Group Pulls Out of Greek Submarine Order: Minister," Agence France- Presse, 16 May 2011,; "HDW Cancels Contract with Greek Submarines," International Resource News, 25 May 2011,; "German HDW Cancels EUR 650m Order in Greece - Report," SeeNews Shipping, 24 May 2011,
[9] Timothy Scott Baxter, "Keeping a fragile peace," United States Naval Institute Proceedings, March 2000, Vol. 126, No. 3, pp. 78-79; in ProQuest Information and Learning Company,
[10] "Modern navies: a force for good," Jane's Navy International, 1 April 2005, Jane's,
[11] Ronald R Krebs, "Perverse institutionalism: NATO and the Greco-Turkish conflict," International Organization, vol. 53, no. 2 (Spring 1999), pp. 343-77; in PAIS International; in FirstSearch,
[12] Interview with Hellenic Minister of National Defense Apostolos-Athanasios Tsohatzopoulos, Military Technology, May 2001, Vol. 25, No. 5, pp. 61-62; in ProQuest Information and Learning Company,

August 16, 2013
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