Ula-class submarine

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S304 Uthaug S305 Uredd Bergen 2009 2.JPG
Ula-class submarines
Class overview
NameUla class
OperatorsFlag of Norway, state.svg  Royal Norwegian Navy
Preceded by Kobbenclass
Succeeded by U212-CD class
Built1987–1992 (in Germany)
In commissionApril 1989 [1] – present
General characteristics
Type Submarine
  • Surface: 1,040 tons
  • Submerged: 1,150 tons
Length59 m (194 ft)
Beam5.40 m (17.7 ft)
Draft4.60 m (15.1 ft)
  • Diesel-electric
  • 2 MTU 16V 396 diesel engines (970kW each)
  • 1 propeller. 1 Siemens Permasyn "silent" electric motor 2,200 kW (3,000 hp). [2]
  • Surface: 11  kn (20 km/h; 13 mph)
  • Submerged: 23 kn (43 km/h; 26 mph)
Range5,000 nautical miles (9,300 km) at 8 knots (15 km/h; 9.2 mph)
Test depth200 m (656 ft)+ [2]
Complement21 [3]
Sensors and
processing systems
NotesUnit cost: 700,000,000 NOK; [1]
Utstein participating in the exercise Odin-One in August 2003 The Norwegian ULA class submarine Utstein (KNM 302) participates in NATO exercise Odin-One.jpg
Utstein participating in the exercise Odin-One in August 2003
An Ula-class submarine near Bornholm Island, Baltic Sea in March 2007 SubmarineUla.jpg
An Ula-class submarine near Bornholm Island, Baltic Sea in March 2007

The Ula class is a Norwegian submarine type which was assembled in Germany in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The class, consisting of six vessels, is currently the only submarine type in service with the Royal Norwegian Navy.



The ordering of a new Norwegian submersible design stemmed from a 1972 decision to modernise the Royal Norwegian Navy (RNoN) submarine flotilla, which then consisted of the aging Kobben-class submarines. The contract was signed on 30 September 1982 for six boats with Thyssen Nordseewerke, Emden. An option for two more submarines was included in the original deal, however, it was never picked up. [4]

The construction of the vessels was an international project. The combat systems were made in Norway by Kongsberg, the attack sonar is German and the flank sonars French. The hull sections were produced in Norway and assembled in Germany by Thyssen Nordseewerke. In Germany, the design is known as the U-Boot-Klasse 210.

When commissioned, the Ulas were the first Norwegian submarines to have enough bunks for the entire crew and a shower. [1]

The Ula-class submarines are among the most silent and maneuverable submarines in the world. This, in combination with their relatively small size, makes them difficult to detect from surface vessels and ideal for operations in coastal areas. The Ula class is regarded as both the most effective and cost-effective weapons in the RNoN.[ citation needed ]

Ship history

In 1989, while undergoing trials, Ula was damaged by a practice torpedo. In March 1991, Uredd was involved in an accident while docking. In February 1992, Uredd suffered a control room fire. [4]

In recent years, several submarines of the Ula class have been deployed in the Mediterranean Sea in support of the NATO Operation Active Endeavour, where their intelligence-gathering ability surpassed expectations. Their operational availability proved to be highest of all ships taking part in the operation. This mission highlighted a need for better temperature regulation for crew comfort in warm waters. As a result, HNoMS Ula was "tropicalized" by the installation of new cooling systems, and two more of the class designated for "tropicalization".

Future submarine capability

During 2006-2008 the Ula class was slated for modernisation. Most notably, new communication equipment (Link 11), new electronic warfare support measures and a periscope upgrade. [5] In May 2008, a contract for new sonars was signed, with the first submarine to have new sonar 21 months after that, and the last 52 months later. [3] Furthermore, Kongsberg was contracted in 2012 to upgrade the submarines' combat systems. [6] The 2020 long-term defence plan envisages the Ula class being kept in service until replaced by the new Type 212CD submarines in around 2030. [7]

In 2012 the Norwegian MoD set 2014 as a deadline for deciding whether to further extend the operative life of the Ula class after their slated end-of-life in 2020, or to replace them with a new fleet. [8] In December 2014, the Norwegian Ministry of Defence made the decision to begin the process of replacing the Ulas. As part of that decision, the Ula-class submarines would be kept in service for a further five years, but would not exceed 35 years total service as that would be too costly. [9] Given the delay in replacing the Ula-class, it was subsequently decided to further life-extend the Ula-class through the 2020s until a new class of submarines entered service. [10]

In 2016, two suppliers (DCNS and Thyssen Krupp) were shortlisted to provide competing options to replace the Ula-class boats. In February 2017, Thyssen Krupp was selected to provide four replacement submarines based on the Type 212-class for service entry in around 2030. A firm build contract had been anticipated in the first half of 2020. [11] However, as of the end of 2020, the contract had not yet been signed. In March 2021 it was indicated that an agreement had been reached between Norway and Germany to initiate the acquisition program, pending approval by the Bundestag. The contract was signed in July 2021 and construction of the first vessel is to begin in 2023. [12] Delivery of the first boat to the Royal Norwegian Navy is anticipated in 2029. [13]


Six submarines were delivered (1989–1992) to the RNoN. All are based at Haakonsvern in Bergen. The boats are all named after places in Norway, with the exception of Uredd ("Fearless" in English), in honour of the World War II submarine HNoMS Uredd (P-41). The ship prefix for RNoN vessels is KNM (Kongelig Norsk Marine, Royal Norwegian Navy), in English HNoMS (His Norwegian Majesty's Ship).

Vessel list

Ula class [14]
#NameLaid downLaunchedCommissionedStatus
S 300HNoMS Ula29 January 198728 July 198827 April 1989Active
S 301HNoMS Utsira15 June 199021 November 199130 April 1992Active
S 302HNoMS Utstein6 December 198925 April 199114 November 1991Active
S 303HNoMS Utvær8 December 198819 April 19908 November 1990Active
S 304HNoMS Uthaug15 June 198918 October 19907 May 1991Active
S 305HNoMS Uredd23 June 198822 September 19893 May 1990Active

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 Hvem Hva Hvor 1990 (in Norwegian). Aftenposten. 1989. ISBN   82-516-1267-5.
  2. 1 2 "Ula (Type P6071)". GlobalSecurity.org. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  3. 1 2 "Ula Class Submarines, Norway". naval-technology.com. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  4. 1 2 Gardiner & Chumbly, 1995. p.292
  5. "Videreutvikling av ULA-klasse u-båter" (in Norwegian). Forsvarsdepartementet. 12 October 2005. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  6. "Kongsberg to Upgrade Norwegian Submarine Combat Systems". DefenseIndustryDaily.com. 16 January 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  7. https://www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/3a2d2a3cfb694aa3ab4c6cb5649448d4/long-term-defence-plan-norway-2020---english-summary.pdf
  8. "Request for Information (RFI) regarding submarine capability beyond 2020 has been forwarded to shipyards". Norwegian Ministry of Defence. 16 November 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  9. "Norway Pursues New Procurement for Future Submarine Fleet". DefenseIndustryDaily.com. 6 December 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
  10. https://www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/f134b420fc8f4d4889aaa06b2400c08e/2017-04-07-u-faf-2017-2025-english---final.pdf
  11. "German, Norwegian officials huddle over joint submarine program". 30 April 2019.
  12. "TKMS to Build Six Type 212CD Submarines for German and Norwegian Navies". 8 July 2021.
  13. "Norway's new subs especially designed for covert, shallow water operations".
  14. Saunders, 2004. p.513


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