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ORP Sokol - Kobben class coastal submarines

Five small coastal subs were purchased from Norway. Four were placed in service and the 5th used for parts. All were completely rebuilt 1989-1992; the hulls were lengthened, and new combat systems provided. The Kobben class submarines are able to operate all over the world. They are equipped with modern NATO command and communication and fire control systems. They are mainly used by German, Danish and South America`s navies. The Kobben class submarines were built in Rheinstahl-Nordseewerke shipyard in Emden, Germany, in 1964-67. In 1990-1992 they were fully modernized and upfitted to the most recent NATO standards.

Submarines are one of the most effective combat means used in the contemporary theater of maritime operations. Their main task is, first of all, to fight enemy surface ships and transporters, fight submarines, conduct reconnaissance and transport special groups. Submarines cover the passages of operationally important naval combat units and the state's communication lines. The operation of a submarine is characterized by stealth and mobility, therefore it can be used for counter-terrorist operations by covertly transferring special units to the area of ??operations.

A submarine is very difficult to detect even with the use of modern underwater observation techniques and the use of satellite means. Submarines carry a large amount of weapons, without the need to frequently recreate combat readiness at sea bases and regardless of the hydrometeorological conditions. According to the tactical assumptions, the very probability of the presence of a submarine in the area requires that the opposing forces engage many times greater forces to combat submarines.

The high autonomy and unlimited seagoing ability of submarines enable their use at a great distance from their home bases. Thanks to this, submarines are the first to detect and recognize the early symptoms of hostilities far from the sea border of the country. The main tasks of submarines are, first of all, fighting enemy surface ships and transporters, fighting submarines, conducting reconnaissance and transporting special groups. Submarines cover the passages of operationally important naval combat units and the state's communication lines. The operation of a submarine is characterized by stealth and mobility, therefore it can be used for counter-terrorist operations by covertly transferring special units to the area of ??operations.

According to the tactical assumptions, the very probability of the presence of a submarine in the area requires the involvement of up to a hundred anti-submarine ships and helicopters from the counter-submarine forces. One submarine is able to effectively block even a large naval base. As far as the tasks of the allied forces are concerned, submarines cooperate with permanent NATO ship teams as well as with frigate and corvette class ships. Submarines are currently one of the most expensive combat assets in the maritime theater of operations.

The Submarine Squadron consists of 3 ships (one of the Kilo type and two of the Kobben class). Submarines are used for reconnaissance, reconnaissance and strike and strike operations, as well as for breaking and creating sea blockades and for covering surface ship teams. The high autonomy and unlimited seagoing ability of submarines enable their use at a great distance from their home bases. Thanks to this, submarines are the first to detect and recognize the early symptoms of hostilities far from the sea border of the country.

The main tasks of submarines are, first of all, fighting enemy surface ships and transporters, fighting submarines, conducting reconnaissance and transporting special groups. Submarines cover the passages of operationally important naval combat units and the state's communication lines. The operation of a submarine is characterized by stealth and mobility, therefore it can be used in anti-terrorist operations by covertly transferring special units to the area of ??operations. Submarines also perform mine-laying and mine-breaking tasks.

One of the main tasks performed by submarines on sea communication routes during actual combat operations are torpedo attacks. The ship also practiced this element of underwater combat during this exit. In an emergency, an attack with the use of underwater weapons must be carried out flawlessly, and for this you need the efficient cooperation of all members of the ship's crew. During the actual combat alert, there is no room for doubt, therefore, during each exit, the submarine crew performs several sham torpedo attacks to maintain proper habits.

By 2019 the Navy operated two Kobben-class ships - ORP Bielik and ORP Sep. They would be replaced by at least one Swedish A17 Södermanland submarine. Negotiations in the law to purchase two such units had been conducted since November 2019. The trouble is that the “Orka” program aimed at introducing the “Orzel” replacement has been suspended. Meanwhile, the Swedish gap-filler proposal has turned out to be too expensive. It remains unknown, as to what solution would be adopted to rectify these circumstances.

The condition of submarines in the Navy can be called catastrophic. The Navy has three units of this type: ORP Orzel (project 877 of the Paltus / Kilo type entered into service in 1986), ORP Sep (commissioned in 1966) and ORP Bielik (commissioned in 1967). Everything seemed to indicate that currently none of the Navy's submarines is technically fully operational, and their use is possible only thanks to the sacrifice and desperation of their crews. In addition, Poland has lost the logistical ability to maintain these units, as it is becoming increasingly difficult to find companies in Poland capable of repairing more complex failures.

The process aimed at decommissioning the two last remaining Kobben-class submarines was initiated on 02 March 2021. The ORP “Sep” was towed by Nosorozec G-01 and Nosorozec G-02 pushers from Gdynia to Gdansk. The Gdansk-based Stocznia Remontowa im. J. Pilsudskiego S.A. shipyard would be dealing with extracting the SUNLIGHT 2X38ST10A batteries (138 double cells each) from ORP “Sep”, and then, from ORP “Bielik”. The work would be performed within the framework of an agreement signed by and between the shipyard and the Command of the Gdynia base of the Polish Navy, with a value of 999,990 zlotys.

As all of the Polish Koben-class submarines have been decommissioned, the Polish Navy currently operates a single submarine - the ORP “Orzel” (Project 877) vessel.



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Page last modified: 30-06-2021 12:04:29 ZULU