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Chilean Navy advances plans to replace Type 209/1400-L submarines.

According to information published by Infodefensa on May 16, 2024, the Chilean Navy is progressing in its studies to replace its two Type 209/1400L submarines. The institution has gathered data to help define the specifications, estimated cost, and design options for the new units.
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Chilean Type 209/1400-L submarine Simpson. (Picture source: Dvids)

The Chilean Navy currently operates two Type 209/1400-L submarines, known as the Thomson class, alongside two newer Scorpène-class submarines. The Type 209/1400-L submarines, named Thomson (SS-20) and Simpson (SS-21), were built by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft in Kiel, Germany, and were commissioned in 1984.

These submarines are diesel-electric attack submarines, each with a length of 61.2 meters and a beam of 6.25 meters. They can travel at speeds of up to 22 knots when submerged and are equipped with eight 533mm torpedo tubes capable of carrying up to 16 torpedoes.

The Thomson-class submarines have undergone several modernizations over the years, including upgrades to their combat systems and weaponry. Between 2007 and 2009, they were equipped with the capability to launch SM39 Exocet anti-ship missiles, significantly enhancing their operational effectiveness.

Despite these upgrades, the Type 209 submarines are approaching the end of their operational life. The Chilean Navy is considering replacements to maintain and enhance its underwater warfare capabilities.

The likely replacements are expected to be more modern submarines with advanced stealth, endurance, and combat capabilities, similar to the Scorpène-class, which feature air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems and advanced sonar and weapon systems.

The Scorpène-class submarines, introduced in 2005 and 2006, are already a significant upgrade, featuring improved stealth characteristics, greater submerged endurance, and the ability to launch a mix of torpedoes and anti-ship missiles.

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