Croatia’s only naval submarine fully restored.
The first and the last submarine of the independent Croatia, the famous Velebit submarine, has finally been restored. After it spent years languishing at the naval port Lora in Split, with large and unsightly patches of rust, its colour faded from the sun, the submarine now looks completely different. The Ministry of Defence has published first photos of the submarine after the outside of its hull has been restored, reports Slobodna Dalmacija on October 28, 2015.
From bow to stern, it is now completely painted in distinctive dark blue colour. On the sides of the hull, a larger number 1 shows the number under which it was registered in the navy fleet. On the lower parts of the stern and the bow, new metal plates have been installed, so the submarine again has its elegant form.
The Velebit submarine, as far as is publicly known, did not participate in the naval battles during the Patriotic War, but its enormous value was in psychological warfare. During the war and until the mid-1990s, when it was withdrawn from service, it regularly sailed the seas. It is little known that the submarine took part in an exercise with NATO ships. The task was to locate the Croatian submarine after a dive. However, according to insiders, Velebit was nowhere to be found. Due of its length of 21 meters and exceptionally well shaped hull, Velebit was virtually invisible to NATO sonar equipment.
Velebit was actually an enhanced version of Una class of submarines which were made for former Yugoslav navy at the Split shipyard for specialized vessels. These submarines were designed for the transport of saboteurs, anti-ship mines and small submersibles. According to military plans of former Yugoslavia, in case of conflict with NATO, these submarines had the task to come to the coast of Italy, deploy raiders, carry out attacks on major facilities such as oil tanks and vital buildings, and them slip back into the depths of the Adriatic.
Despite media speculation, Croatia will not be renewing its submarine forces, because there is simply not enough money. The tasks of the Croatian Navy within NATO do not provide for the restoration of this technologically extremely complex branch of the navy.