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The Submarine SAELEN S323 – Copenhagen Warships

The Submarine S323 SAELEN was commissioned into the Royal Danish Navy in 1990 as the last submarine in Danish service. The Submarine SAELEN was the only submarine to ever participate in combat.

The Submarine SAELEN is a small diesel-electric submarine, particularly suited for operations in coastal waters where it could encroach without detection.

About the Submarine SAELEN S323?

SAELEN was Denmark’s last submarine and was decommissioned in the year 2004 and considered to be the main arm of the Royal Danish Navy. So ends a proud Danish submarine tradition that began in 1909 with the purchase of the submarine DYKKEREN.

SAELEN was built for the Royal Norwegian Navy in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1965. In 1985 the government of Denmark planned to acquire three submarines for its fleet from the Norwegian Navy. In 1990 SÆLEN was commissioned in the Royal Danish Navy.

SAELEN became well known to the public as a part of the Danish contribution to the Iraq war in 2004.

The Submarine monitored traffic and communication with its advanced listening devices SAELEN was the last Danish submarine. But she was also the first Danish vessel to take part in wartime operations since World War 2.

This interesting history motivated the submarine to be lifted onshore and opened to the public.

Mission Undertaken by The Submarine SAELEN?

After the 2001 terrorist attack in the USA, a naval task force in the Mediterranean was deployed by NATO. The main objective of the task force was to monitor the area for any terrorist activities. At NATO’s request, SAELEN was sent on patrol in the Mediterranean.

In 2003 it was decided to redeploy the Submarine SAELEN from the Mediterranean naval task force to the Persian Gulf to partake in the attack on Iraq. SAELEN was tasked with monitoring the activities and traffic in the Straits of Hormuz.

In 2004 it was decided by the Danish parliament to terminate the submarine from the Royal Danish Navy fleet which resulted in the submarine SAELEN being decommissioned as the last submarine and later on donated to the National Museum of Military History.

Armament in Submarine

Submarine SAELEN

Submarine SAELEN was armed with eight torpedo tubes and could deploy navy seals.

Details of The Submarine SAELEN?

Submarine saelen

SAELEN is 47 m long and weighs 400 tones. It was capable of diving down 200 meters in depth. On the surface, it had a top speed of 18 km per hour (10 knots). Submerged it achieved a top speed of 30 km per hour (17 knots).

The submarine was powered by an electric engine therefore a large part of its “gut” is filled with batteries. These batteries enabled the submarine to sail submerged. At the very small inhabitable space lived a crew of  25 men (and sometimes women) when the submarine was on patrol. The patrols lasted up to 30 days.

Basic Information of the Submarine SAELEN?

BuilderRheinstahl Nordseewerke
ClassKobben (Norwegian) Tumleren (Danish)
Norwegian service1965-1990
Norwegian nameKNM UTHAUG
Danish service1990-2004
Danish nameHDMS SAELEN
Speed-submerged17 knots
Armament8 x 533 mm torpedo tubes
Length47.20 Meters
Width4.70 meter
Draught3.80 meter
Displacement370 tones (435 tones submerged)
Machinery2 MTU diesel engines 1100 Hp
1 electric engine1700 Hp
Speed-surface10 knots

What to experience on a Submarine Tour?

The Submarine Tour is open to the general public as it is a part of the Historic Cold War Museum and there are other ships too that can be visited which include Frigate PEDER SKRAM, Fast Attack P547 SEHESTED.

Once you are in the Submarine you can deep dive into the history of the SAELEN and experience the life of 24 sailors, Weapons, and technology used during the old days.

The Submarine Mission During Cold War?

Due to the low detectability, the SAELEN Submarine of the Royal Danish Navy was feared by the enemy as it played a major role in safeguarding the borders.

In 2002 Submarine SAELEN participated in NATO counterterrorism operations in the Mediterranean.

The submarine was diverted to the Arabian Gulf shortly before it was scheduled to return to Denmark, where it and the corvette OLFERT FISCHER carried out vital missions during the second Iraq War.

The Submarine SAELEN Retirement?

Submarine SAELEN was among the last submarine of the Royal Danish Navy and was decommissioned in 2004.

Later on, as the last submarine in service, The submarine was donated to the National Museum of Military History and now it is open to the general public.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What all to cover in the Floating Cold War Museum?

    The Historic Floating Cold War Museum is one of the most demanding tours where you can experience the life onboard and explore the Royal Danish Naval Warships which are PEDER SKRAM Frigate, Fast Attack SEHESTED P547, Submarine SAELEN and Mast Crane can be undertaken.

  2. Where the tickets can be purchased for Submarine SAELEN?

    The tickets for the Submarine SAELEN can be purchased from the ticket office in the white building Infront of the frigate PEDER SKRAM or they can be purchased online from

  3. Where is the submarine SAELEN at present?

    The Submarine SAELEN warship tour is open to the general public opening hours and timings you can visit at present the Cold War Museum is in Naval Base Holmen, Nyholm.

  4. Where is the Copenhagen Warship Museum?

    The Museum is in Naval Station Holmen, which is in the military area of Nyholm.

  5. Can the ticket for the submarine tour be purchased online?

    Yes, the tickets can be purchased online in advance from the official website

  6. Can video or photos be taken inside the Submarine?

    Yes, you can capture photos and videos inside the submarine as there are guided tours and there are volunteers who provide all the information about the Submarine.

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I am a certified mountaineer and a passionate explorer traveling worldwide pursuing my adventures which have taken me to the far corners of the globe, I am from the hills known as Devbhoomi "Lands of God - Uttarakhand", I have a deep love for the Himalayas and always believe in living a simple life, I am not just exploring but also documenting my incredible journeys through travel blogs and informative videos.Let's Join Joshi and get ready for an unforgettable global expedition with Joshi Milestoner as your guide.

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