Can cars submerged under water still work?

People are ready to make great efforts when it comes to testing war material and further developing military technology: During an Atlantic crossing, a German submarine set a new record with a dive of 18 days.

"This is the longest and farthest submerged transit of a submarine of the German Navy", announced the naval command. U 32, a boat of the type212 A, had avoided the bad weather and the waves up to eight meters high during the trip in the Atlantic.

According to the Navy, the dive trip is the longest of a non-nuclear, conventional submarine. The record for the longest diving trip ever is held by the Russian nuclear submarine TK-208: In 1984 the then Soviet boat remained under water for 121 days without interruption - ten days longer than the previous record holder, the British submarine HMS Warspitethat had dived 111 days a year earlier. Both submarines were nuclear powered. Such boats can remain under water as long as the crew has sufficient provisions and oxygen supplies.

German submarines have also been diving for longer than U 32. So explained the commander of the U 977 the German Navy, his boat remained under water for 66 days after the end of the war in 1945 while fleeing to Argentina. Only the diesel engines were supplied with fresh air at night via so-called snorkels. Even two days longer at maximum snorkeling depth allegedly drove that in 1943 U 978 during a patrol off Norway. A record is the diving trip of U 32 therefore only to the extent that, unlike its predecessors, the boat did not even have to rise near the surface of the water.

Already in 2006 U 32, which has been in service since 2005, set its first record with 14 days underwater. The submarine has a hybrid drive, which makes it largely independent of outside air supply. Its fuel cells convert water and oxygen into electrical energy without exhaust gases. In contrast to the older submarines, it does not have to appear at snorkeling depth in between.

U 32 and the tender Main had left for a major maneuver off the US east coast in Eckernförde in February. Both units reached the Mayport naval base in Florida on Tuesday after 4,600 nautical miles (8519 kilometers) as planned.

In April the defense research ship planet strengthen the association. It should leave Kiel in the next few days. A maritime patrol aircraft from Marinefliegergeschwader 5 from Nordholz in Lower Saxony takes part in some exercises. National research projects are planned during the breaks between maneuvers.

U 32 and tender Main already performed some exercises during the transit. The submarine practiced fictitious attacks on the tender "in order to be as prepared as possible for the maneuvers," it said. The climax of the exercises with the US Navy is supposed to be a simulated combat between U 32 and an aircraft carrier formation.

The return of the submarine and supply ship is scheduled for the end of August. In order to limit the stresses on U 32 the crew was replaced by a new crew after a few months. The crews and units will have covered 15,000 nautical miles - almost 28,000 kilometers - when they get back to Eckernförde.

© Süddeutsche.de / dpa / mcs / rus