African countries with the highest number of submarines in 2024

Some African countries are making giant strides in modernizing their defence forces, extending beyond the traditional reliance on tanks, fighter jets, and surface ships. One of the most notable advancements in recent times has been the acquisition and deployment of submarines.

African countries that have the highest number of submarines in 2024
  • Business Insider Africa presents the African countries with the highest number of submarines in 2024
  • This list is courtesy of Global Firepower.
  • Egypt ranks number one on this list.

Submarines represent a significant leap in military technology due to their stealth, endurance, and versatility. Unlike surface ships, submarines can operate undetected for extended periods, providing a strategic advantage in defensive and offensive maritime operations.

On the continent, the adoption of submarine technology marks a new era in naval warfare, enabling countries to enhance their maritime security, protect territorial waters, and deter potential aggressors.


According to a Global Firepower report, most modern, and notable forces globally keep a standard fleet of about five or more boats.

On the continent, only three countries have submarine fleet. The GFP listing does not make a distinction between nuclear- and diesel-electric-powered types nor does it take into account submarine classification (conventional attack, nuclear attack), age, and construction quality.

Below are the African countries with the highest number of submarines in 2024:


Egypt has invested massively in its naval capabilities, including a fleet of submarines. Egypt has 4 Type 209 German submarines and also operates 4 ex-Chinese Romeo-class submarines which have been revitalized to use Western periscopes, trailing GPS, passive sonars, a fire control system, and the ability to fire US-made Harpoon missiles

The Algerian Navy operates several Russian-made Kilo-class submarines. Algeria's submarine fleet includes units of the Project 636 class, namely Messali el Hadj, Akram Pacha, El Ouarsenis, and El Hoggar. These submarines have undergone upgrades to enhance their capabilities.


South Africa operates a small but capable submarine fleet as part of its naval defense strategy. The South African Navy possesses Heroine-class (Type 209/1400) diesel-electric submarines, acquired from Germany.

These submarines enhance the country's maritime security and patrol capabilities, particularly along its extensive coastline and surrounding waters. The Heroine-class submarines are equipped with advanced sonar systems, torpedoes, and anti-ship missiles, allowing them to perform a variety of missions.


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