On 18 February 2006, S 101, the first German-built South African Type 209/1400 submarine, left Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) shipyard in Kiel, sailing for Simon's Town, South Africa, where she will soon enter service with the Republic of South Africa's Navy. Construction began on the ship in 2004, the first of three Type 209 submarines due to enter service with South Africa by 2007. On 9 March, the second submarine of the class, S 102 (shown to the right) began sea trials off the coast of Germany. Her maneuverability and propulsion, engineering, and navigation systems were tested in the trials. In April, deep-sea diving tests took place off Norway. South Africa's newest submarines are fitted with eight bow torpedo tubes and displace roughly 1,500 tons. They are intended to replace the French-built Daphné -class submarines, in service since the 1970s. The boats typically operate at depths of 200 meters (656 feet).
In March, BAE Systems in the United Kingdom launched a new autonomous unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) known as Talisman . The private venture, which has completed initial sea trials, has been under design since 2004. Constructed using carbon fiber composites, the UUV is fitted with vectorable thruster pods that allow for increased maneuverability, permit underwater hovering, and the ability to perform 360º turns within its own length. It is capable of carrying a number of different payloads. Operational missions can be pre-programmed into Talisman prior to deployment, thus permitting autonomous operations, or a human operator can enter the command loop at any time. Instructions are sent via radio frequency and satellite communications while on the surface, or using acoustic methods while submerged. Additional sea trials of the Talisman system are planned to continue throughout 2006.
Dutch shipbuilder Merwede launched New Zealand's new multi-role vessel (MRV) amphibious warship, the largest part of New Zealand's Project Protector naval modernization program, on 11 February 2006. Displacing 9,000 tons, the MRV is based on the civilian-use roll-on roll-off ferry Ben My Chree , operating in the Irish Sea. Laid down on 6 September 2005, the MRV-to be named Canterbury -will enter service with New Zealand early in 2007 and be able to transport up to 250 troops along with one SH-2G Super SeaSprite and four NH-90 helicopters. To be armed with a single 25-mm dual-purpose cannon and two 12.7-mm machine guns, the ship is 131 meters long. The Project Protector program also includes two offshore patrol vessels (OPV) being built in Melbourne, Australia, and four smaller inshore patrol vessels (IPV) built at Whangarei, New Zealand. The offshore ships will be named Otago and Wellington and the four inshore ships will carry lake names- Taupo , Rotoiti , Pukaki , and Hawea . Prime contractor of the program is Tenix, Australia. The Royal New Zealand Navy currently consists of two ANZAC (MEKO-200ANZ)-class frigates, Te Kaha and Te Mana (shown to the right), the auxiliaries Endeavour , Resolution , and Manawanui and a number of smaller patrol ships and service craft.