The Type 206 is a class of diesel-electric submarines developed by Howaldtswerke-Deutsche-Werft AG (HDW). Its design is based on the preceding Type 205 submarine class. These very small and agile submarines were built in the Cold War era to operate in the shallow Baltic Sea and attack Warsaw Pact shipping if the war had turned hot. The pressure hulls were built out of antimagnetic steel to counter the threat of magnetic naval mines and make detection with MAD sensors more difficult.
Of the 18 submarines built for the Bundesmarine (West German Navy), 12 have been modernized in the early 90s and were redesignated as Type 206A, the others have been decommissioned. The current German Navy is starting to decommission some 206A vessels now with more of the new Type 212 submarines getting commissioned.
A slightly larger variant of the Type 206 (which even includes the distinctive dome, or buldge, in the front of the boat), the Gal class submarine for the Israeli Navy was built to Israeli specifications as the Vickers Type 540 in the UK rather than Germany for political reasons. Three such boats were built, the first one comissioned in 1976. When the Israeli navy received its new Dolphin class submarines (also built by HDW), the Gals were retired. As of 2006, one was scrapped and two were sent to HDW in an attempt to find them a buyer.