Berlin - Germany is to retire six of its Type 206A submarines in order to save money as its defence budget dwindles, a spokesman said in the Baltic naval port of Gluecksburg on Thursday.
The German Navy had originally planned to phase out its 10 remaining Type 206A subs gradually. The six were scheduled to be retired by 2015 and sold to other navies, but the order has now been given to mothball them with immediate effect.
The diesel-electric submarines, which were designed to attack shipping in the shallow Baltic Sea, have been in service for 40 years. They are being replaced by the Type 212A, a hush submarine that can remain underwater for weeks thanks to its fuel-cell motor.
A naval spokesman said the decision was for economic reasons. The Defence Ministry has been told to prepare for drastic budget cuts.
The spokesman said the Navy would redeploy the six idle Type 206A crews to share duties in rotation on the remaining four submarines of the same class.