Friday, December 31, 2010
Portugal takes delivery of second sub
Portugal took delivery of the second of two Class 209PN diesel submarines, the NRP Arpao, handed over at the Baltic coast shipyards of Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft.
In August, the navy took delivery of the Arpao's sister ship Tridente.
The handover to the Portuguese navy and the ship's commissioning at HDW in Kiel, Germany, completes the $1 billion contract signed with the German submarine consortium in 2004 for the two vessels.
But controversy surrounding the contract is far from over.
The sale is under investigation in Germany and Portugal for alleged bribes that were made in exchange for contracts won by GSC, which includes the naval shipbuilders HDW and Ferrostaal.
The Portuguese inquiry is focusing on seven Portuguese nationals and three Germans for allegedly submitting false bills in connection with the contract.
The ships were built by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems through GSC. The consortium comprises its subsidiary HDW, industrial power and project management Ferrostaal AG, based in Essen, Germany, and shipyard Nordseewerke, a subsidiary of Schaaf Industrie AG, based on the River Em near Germany's Baltic coast.
Nordseewerke builds naval, freight and container ships as well as cruise liners, including the Pacific Princess, which was the film location for the U.S. television series "The Love Boat."
Portugal's class 209 vessels have many upgrades found on the improved class 214 submarine. The 223-foot vessels displace 1,840 tons, accommodate a crew of 32 and have air-independent, fuel-cell propulsion systems.
The class 209 and 214 ships are a modular design from the late 1960s and aimed specifically at the export market. None are known to have been bought by the German navy but more that 60 units have been sold to 14 navies with many variants depending on client requirements.
The first ship was ordered by Greece in 1967 for commissioning in 1971. Other buyers include Chile, Brazil, Turkey, Indonesia and South Korea. Turkey has been the biggest purchaser, picking up six.
Costs have been kept down by making the vessel a distinctly German product from known suppliers. These include Siemens for propulsion motors and electric control systems, MTU for the four diesel engines and generators, Varta and Hagen for battery supply, Zeiss for periscopes and Gabler Maschinenbau for snorkel and antennae.
However, radar and fire control systems are supplied by Dutch company HSA, French manufacturer Thomson, U.S. company Singer Librascope and British firm Ferranti.
HDW is one of Germany's oldest shipyards. It was started in 1838 and survived the dismantling of post-war Germany's shipyards after 1945. It continued to make ships and was eventually bought by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems in January 2005.
HDW is one of several ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems units that include Kockums in Malmo, Sweden; and Hellenic Shipyards in Skaramangas, Greece.
In 2009, HDW worked with Kockums and Northrop Grumman to offer a Swedish Visby class stealth corvette derivative in the American Focused Mission Vessel Study, a precursor to United States near-shore Littoral Combat Ship program.