Six new German made model Type 212CDs Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) submarines (formerly the 212NG) are slated to deploy to northern Europe by the mid-2020: two more will be added to the German Navy, expanding its submarine fleet to eight boats by 2027, while four will go to Norway by around 2025 to replace its six Ula-class boats, purchased from Germany back in 1989.
In announcing the deal in February 2017, Norway’s Defense Minister Ine Søreide mentioned that the upgrade to the Norwegian Navy was necessary to counter “increasingly unpredictable behavior” from Russia.
The contract for the Type 212CD will not be formally signed until 2019, but the four subs are expected to cost Norway about $1.81 billion—significantly less than the cost of a single U.S. nuclear-powered submarine.
Up to ten more of the fifty-seven-meter-long German submarines could be ordered by Italy, the Netherlands and Poland, depending especially on the procurement decisions of the latter two nations.
To maximize stealth, the 212 has a nonmagnetic hull and uses two hydrogen fuel cells to generate power, allowing it to remain underwater for weeks a time (conventional diesel-electric submarines need to surface after only a few days at best), while generating less noise than a nuclear-powered submarine.