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).
By Eric Wertheim, Editor, Combat Fleets of the World