Greece has finally accepted delivery of the German-built submarine Papanikolis, its first Type 214 boat. The move reverses the controversial Greek decision to accept only domestically produced submarines of the class. The Papanikolis, commissioned into the Hellenic Navy on 2 November 2010, actually was completed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft GmbH shipyard several years earlier, but was rejected by Greece because of what it claimed were technical difficulties. When the boat was certified to be in working order, however, analysts began to perceive the refusal as a Greek funding problem rather than a German technical one. Once the contract dispute was resolved, the submarine sailed for Greece, arriving at her new homeport of Salamis in time to welcome the New Year. Three sister submarines are being built in Greece and two additional units of the class have been ordered. The Type 214 class represents one of the most advanced submarines in the world. Fitted with an air-independent propulsion system, the boats are able to remain submerged for extended periods. Each displaces 1,950 tons submerged and is operated by a crew of 27.
By Eric Wertheim