Delfin Class: The Cuban Navy's Only Submarine
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.
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.
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.
Selected Satellite Imagery of the Submarine
Havana, December 2019:
Cabanas, February 2014:
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Cabanas, January 2013:
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