Updated. Originally posted Oct 10 2016 and Feb 27 2020.

Original artwork - CLICK for HIGH-RESOLUTION image.

Delfin Class: The Cuban Navy's Only Submarine

Flag Cuba maintains a shroud of secrecy around its sole active submarine, the 21m (70ft) Delfin. She is active and operates from both her home base at Cabanas and more recently from the capitol Havana. Very little is known about the boat but we can deduce some basic facts. She is a ~21m (68ft) dry sub with a crew of at least five people.
Mystery of the Cuban Navy's Defin Class midget sub
Back during the Cold War the Cuban Navy had three FOXROT class diesel-electric attack submarines supplied by the Soviet Union. But like most of their larger ships these have long since been retired. Today the Cuban Navy operates a hodgepodge of vintage Soviet equipment, converted fishing trawlers and improvised torpedo craft. The Delfin is the most impressive of these homegrown vessels. It is probable that the Delfin uses some parts salvaged from the FOXTROT class. Mystery of the Cuban Navy's Defin Class midget sub

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Rumors that she is of North Korean design appear in error although there is evidence from North Korean defectors that Cuban officials inspected North Korean submarines in 1990s. So it is possible that the Cuban program was influenced by North Korean designs such as the Yugo Class. A stronger influence appears be the Russian SPLC X-Craft.
Soviet Project 1015 'SPLC' Special Purpose midget submarine

Recently the submarine was featured on TV celebrating the Cuban Navy (watch on Youtube). Like much of the recent OSINT (Open Source intelligence) about this submarine, this was first shared by OSINT analyst Sahureka.

The footage showed her test firing a torpedo, from the surface. I had previously written that I believed external carriage of torpedoes to be most likely. This was because of the submarine's small size and small hull diameter. The video does appear to show the torpedo tube outer shutters open (outwards similar to the Ghadir Class). This suggests internal carriage. If this is the case, it will greatly limit space in the forward half of the boat. Regular heavyweight torpedoes would extend until under the sail.
Mystery of the Cuban Navy's Defin Class midget sub

Selected Satellite Imagery of the Submarine

Havana, December 2019:
Mystery of the Cuban Navy's Defin Class midget sub

Cabanas, February 2014:
Mystery of the Cuban Navy's Defin Class midget sub

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Cabanas, January 2013:
Mystery of the Cuban Navy's Defin Class midget sub

Havana, November 2019
Cabanas, August 2018
Cabanas, March 2018
Cabanas, November 2016
Cabanas, April 2008

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