Comparing the German Type 206 with the British Upholder*

*Moderator’s Note: This post captures a few comments that were contained in two emails between us over the past few days.

Mr. Shirlaw wrote: “Look at the care put in the layup of the last of the FRG Type 206 boats decommissioned this year [as shown in this picture]. Six [are] believed going to Thailand and two to Colombia. Compare this to the [lack of similar care with the] Upholder Class layup.

For what its worth - my two beefs on the sub program:

1. Why were they ‘dumbed down’ after acquisition with the removal of the mine laying and Harpoon missile capability? Wouldn't it have been better to be ‘fitted for but not with’? [These changes] suggest there was no intent to have them operate in a hostile environment. [It seems the navy is] still stuck in the WWII ASW training mentality.

2. ALL parties involved in the fiasco are to blame to varying degrees.”

In one of my replies to Mr. Shirlaw, I wrote:

“Range surfaced and dived, diving depth, turning circle, plus time to surface and submerge were highly classified data fields originally, but that time is long passed, especially for the Oberons. My odd sense of humour says, “The deeper you go, the more classified you become.”

I think that if we are ever going to make a good case FOR these [Upholder] submarines it is time to be much more forthright about their advantages versus their limitations.

What I suspect is that, in some aspects, the Upholders were (perhaps still are) inferior to the Oberons, and it looks like their short range and lack of air conditioning for tropical operations are just two such issues.  So, if they have advantages, it is time to ‘come out with them’.

The Canadian government is very ‘bloody-minded’ at the moment and the navy has been told to get the Victoria-class boats operating pronto, or they will be chopped.  This is a case of ‘speak now, or forever hold your peace’, but I am afraid it will be at a funeral, not a wedding, unless the navy becomes more pro-active.”