October 12, 2017

Australian Navy Growing in Size & Missiom

Australia's brief was relatively easy when Australia was the US's "deputy sheriff" covering the "Arc of Instability" (mainly islands from East Timor through PNG, Solomons to Fiji) up until about 2008. But now Australia's "Worry Creep" is even more complex with broader problems, including North Korea terrorising northeast Asia and China coveting (at least economically) the entire
 Indo-Pacific Region.
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AUSTRALIA INCREASING NAVAL EXERCISES

In August 2017 Australian personnel took part in joint US-Korean military exercises

Exercise Haedoli Wallaby

In solidarity with South Korea (considering the North Korean threat) Australian frigates HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Parramatta will be making port visits to South Korea and conducting "Haedoli Wallaby" exercises with the South Korean Navy in late October 2017. "Haedoli" means "dolphin" in Korean.

Exercise Indo-Pacific Endeavor 2017

China would be aware that Australia is in touch with other countries in the region. During September to November 2017 HMAS Melbourne and Parramatta are also participating in a more widespread Indo-Pacific Endeavor 2017. Australian participants also include the newly commissioned landing helicopter dock HMAS Adelaide (photo below) - also the frigates HMAS Darwin, HMAS Toowoomba and replenishment ship HMAS Sirius. This is the largest Australian naval exercise in 40 years and involves visits to and/or interaction with naval forces from Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Micronesian Islands, India, again South Korea, Singapore, Thailand and East Timor. More at The Diplomat (paysite).

The Australian vessels are also exercising with those US destroyers that are still undamaged in the region.

Growing in size and becoming more active. Landing Helicopter Dock ships HMAS Canberra and HMAS Adelaide as well as smaller Royal Australia Navy vessels at Fleet Base East (Sydney). (Photo courtesy Australia in the Great War)
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AUSTRALIAN-SOUTH KOREAN DIPLOMACY

In the face of the North Korean threat Australia is taking other measures in solidarity with South Korea.

The third ROK-Australian 2 + 2 meeting in Seoul was held on October 12 and 13, 2017. This is between Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Defence Minister Marise Payne with their South Korean counterparts. Here is the Australian Ministers’ Joint Media Release.


It is highly likely that if North Korea attacked US forces in South Korea, in Japan/Okinawa or US forces at sea this would invoke the ANZUS Treaty. US and probably Australian forces would then be fighting against North Korea. See more at the (Australian) ABC News article by Andrew Greene.

Pete

October 11, 2017

October 2017 Donor Report: South Korea’s Next Submarine Class Dilemma

Hi Donors

I've just emailed you the 
October 2017 Donor Report: South Korea’s Next Submarine Class Dilemma

Please check your spam bin if you don't see it in your IN box.

Regards

Pete
Director

October 10, 2017

Some (likely) Naval Group Approaches to Australia's Future Submarine

After much discussion on Submarine Matters (here and here) and elsewhere on the direction Naval Group is going with Australia's Future Submarine...

Some observations are:

Descriptions of a huge 50 year to design, build and upgrade submarine program are made by different people, at different times, for different purposes, targeting different audiences.

Disruptions to the future submarine selection process made it difficult for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and contestants to nail down final submarine requirements and designs. Up to February 2015 then Prime Minister Abbott unilaterally chose Japan. From February 2015 a selection process hid the reality that Japan was quietly still the winner. Japan was ahead until Abbott was removed from the Prime Ministership in September 2015. Once Prime Minister Turnbull was appointed the field was opened up to the 3 contestants (Germany, France and Japan) with a normally 3 year submarine selection period being compressed into 7 months (September 2015 to April 2016).

Turnbull chose to rapidly publicise the Future Submarine winner on April 26, 2016 in order to win South Australian votes in the early July 2, 2016 National Election. With the pork barrel of a $50 Billion project mainly at Osborne, Adelaide, South Australia Turnbull’s submarine-to-win-the-election-strategy succeeded in getting his government over the line by one crucial electorate/district/seat/vote.

Naval Group (then DCNS) had to publicly react quickly to Turnbull’s premature (April 26, 2016) announcement with as positive and concrete a submarine package as possible. For example Naval Group’s concept submarine was termed the “Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A” to indicate to the public that it was a solid building block in a highly developed submarine program. Shortfin was also presented as a conventional outgrowth of an already highly developed Barracuda nuclear submarine program.

Final Issues To Be Decided In Years To Come

In fact in a huge submarine program specific submarine characteristics can only be assessed and finalised once a finalised scale model can be hydro-dynamically tested or even after the full-sized first of class begins trials in the open sea (noise? cavitation?) in about 2031. Issues include:

-  length will fluctuate depending on many variables including the size of the bow sonar (Lockheed
   Martin (LM) input as one small part of its combat system) and whether a pump jet is added or
   rejected.
-  diameter could fluctuate (how many decks, bunk sizes and numbers, arrangement of how many
   torpedo tubes (LM), VLS? how many and size of diesels, batteries, fuel tanks, water ballast?
-  fuel cell AIP? inefficient to carry the LOX over Australia’s long transit distances, lack of
   observable French progress with Fuel Cell and lack of observable RAN interest
-  the first pump jet as standard on a SSK class. This would be a radical solution for the
   technologically conservative RAN 
-  RAN conservatism would also likely reject Australia becoming the second LIBs user after Japan.

At 8/10/17 5:13 PM someone with access to Naval Group thinking commented, in part:

“I think you will find that the [Australian Government] govt was well aware that both the DCNS & TKMS designs were just concepts (basic design only). Both required complete detailed design from scratch. Both would have used existing designs for reference (you don't reinvent the wheel unless you have to)...It will definitely be more like a conventional powered Barracuda than a stretched Scorpene (for a start you would have to stretch a Scorpene in all directions, not just make it longer)...”


A submarine builder’s technical design knowledge base, influencing future submarine designs, often goes back a century. The designs of the Scorpenes and Barracudas are only the latest. See the Table below.

Naval Group Submarine Development TABLE (by Pete)

Submarine
(how many built?)
First Sub Laid Down
Last Sub Commissioned
Some still building?
Classes pre Agosta
26 Daphne
1863 the Plongeur 
1957 France only
1960?
many classes pre 1957
1960
1975 France & Export
No. eg. WWI era. Interwar and WWII 
No
Redoutable SSBNs
6 built France only
1964 (1st commissioned 1971
2008
No
Agosta SSKs
13 built
Early 1970s French, Spanish & Pak Navy
2006, 3 Spanish, 5 Pakistani remain
No
Rubis SSNs
6 built 2,500 tonnes
1976
Re-commissioned as AMETHYSTEs
No
Rebuilds of the 6 existing Rubis SSNs
1995
No
Triomphant SSBNs
4 built
1986
2010
No
Scorpene SSKs (14 total)
2 built---------------------
2 built---------------------
1 built so far
-----------------------------

1999 O’Higgins Chile
2009 INS Kalvari India
2010 SBR-1-4 Brazil

2006
2009 Malaysia
2016 (1st planned)
2020 (1st SBR-1)

No
No
5 x Kalvaris 1 per year
4 x SBRs (1 per year)
SN-BR SSN just 1 DCNS designing non-nuclear portion. 4 to 5,000 tonnes.
2024 (maybe) after the
 SBR-SSKs
Brazil building reactor.
2034 (or later) likely. Also depends on Brazilian economy.
1 in medium-long term
French only SSNs
6 planned
2007
2029 for the last of the six
Yes
2028?
2052? Assuming all are SSKs? 1 built/2 years?
Future
France’s Next Generation SSBN (SSBN NG)
4 likely
2035?
Armed with 10? to 16? M51.3 SLBMs

2050? Assuming one sub built every two years
Future

Pete

October 9, 2017

Mutiny? on HMS Vigilant nuclear missile submarine.

HMS Vigilant, with crew, in happier times (Photo courtesy Royal Navy, 2012)
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What do you call it when:

1.  the Captain of nuclear missile submarine HMS Vigilant (SSBN) is removed for an inappropriate
     relationship with a female crew member,

2.  then his second in command (Executive Officer) is also removed – same reason – different female
     crew member, and

3.  then it is revealed these shenaniganssparked anger among crew members, with five [officers]
     threatening to resign?

This is very serious on account of HMS Vigilant constituting Britain’s whole active nuclear deterrent during the three to six months it is on patrol. During that period the other three Vanguards would be inactive while training or being overhauled. 

This Lockheed Martin document [PDF 10MB] also raises a third activity on page 6 - that is the Vanguards also regularly have their rented Trident missiles [right click mouse to translate] restocked at the US-UK Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic (SWFLANT) at the US SSBN Base at King's Bay, Georgia. 

Kings Bay Base is large, at 16,000 acres and employing 9,000 people. A likely photo of US-UK Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic's giant SSBN sheds is below - courtesy French Wikipedia

See inside one shed [on page 1. same PDF 10MB]
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A.  In view of the Vigilant Scandal the issue of having female crew on UK and US SSBNs is likely to
      be reviewed.

B.  The five officer threat to resign from what is a front line vessel might approach mutiny by some
      definitions. The most famous Mutiny on the Bounty was much more insignificant in comparison.
      HMS Bounty was an ex-collier only mounting 4 to 14 small guns. Vigilant is more a like a whole
      fleet in one vessel – mounting up to 16 city smashing “guns”.

Pete 

October 6, 2017

Mainstream Media Misses Naval Group's Misspeak *

In response to KQN's comment of 6/10/17 6:30 AM,:

Yes the Naval Group's Executive Director, Australian Submarine Program, Mr Billig, saying we are designing the Shortfin "from scratch" doesn't seem to have been picked up by the journos of the Mainstream Media.

Mr Billig's misspeak directly contradicts Naval Group's 2016 reference to Shortfin using the Barracuda AND Scorpene as design references. This 2016 reference was in Sean Costello's (then CEO Naval Group/DCNS Australia) who stated in ASPI's The Strategist, April 8, 2016.

"The main area where Barracuda design references were not used [for Australia's future Shortfin submarine] was in the area of the electrical system (batteries and voltage), power generation (induction and diesel generators) and propulsion (main electric motor)."

"In these systems the design reference comes from the Scorpene class of diesel electric submarines, or from an existing submarine technology within DCNS. Existing technologies are re-used in all systems in the Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A. System by system, the whole ship performance is validated and the design loop closed."

Comment - Maybe there's a French to English translation glitch?

Pete

October 4, 2017

Is Naval Group Backpedaling on the Australian Future Submarine Pump Jet Promise?

Thinking back on the pivotal April 26, 2016 announcement that Naval Group won the Australian Future Submarine competition.

A major part of Naval Group's public presentation was that Australia would benefit from stealth technology from France's nuclear submarine program. This was to be specifically in the shape of the winning French design having
"pump jet propulsion that replaces obsolete propeller technology".

See the pump jet offer 15 seconds into to Naval Group's (was DCNS) winning 2016 promotional Youtube.

At Pacific 17 reported by AAP via Australia's SBS (October 4, 2017) is a presentation by Naval Group executive director of the Australian submarine program Jean-Michel Billig: "The vessels may end up with conventional propellers...Mr Billig said." [Comment - Such propellers are what Naval Group previously described as "obsolete"]

Mr Billig dismissed fears about engineering difficulties. "We are not converting a nuclear-powered submarine into a conventional submarine, we are starting from scratch," he said.
[Comment - This is a big step back from the original major selling point of the French winner - that the French design would benefit from stealth technology from the French nuclear submarine program!]

On a another tack - did Australia criticise the German TKMS Type 216 entrant (in 2016) on high modelled noise because it did not have that vital French pump jet?

What Naval Group (then DCNS) offered Australia in its winning presentation, at the point of competition decision in 2016. Note the pump jet promise 16 seconds in. Beware this Youtube is likely to be taken down in the next few days.
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Details courtesy Naval Group (was DCNS) - via Sydney Morning Herald, April 26, 2016. Note  "Super-quiet pump jet propulsion instead of propellor" is featured.
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Pete

October 3, 2017

Choice of Submarine LIBs - Management and Operation

In Submarine Matters' ongoing examination of Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs) Anonymous's research and comments are always helpful. Anonymous's comments of  September 16 to 27, 2017 reveal much about the likely choice, management and operation of LIBs on submarines. Japan is leading the way with LIBs - planning full conversion to LIBs on new submarines launched from 2018 onwards (see Table below).


In the development of new LIB materials and control equipment for Japan's latest Soryu submarines, rigorous testing, prior to operational use, is required. LIB materials and equipment may fail under accelerated and severe condition testing. This includes testing under:
-  high or very low temperatures (the operational temperature of LIBs on Japanese submarines is
   within the range of 10-45 degrees C for efficient and safe operation) 
-  high pressures
-  strong mechanical stress, and
-  continuous vibration testing, etc.

Tri-ring advised the two simplest ways to avoid the particular LIB problem of "lithium plating" is to:
-   prevent over voltage during charging of LIBs (above 4.2 volts per cell), and
-   charging and discharging at low temperature (below 15⁰C). 
He adds that to counter thermal runaway of LIBs, great advances have been made in material science. One of them is a ceramic separator that has much higher resistance against heat.

The Japanese Ministry of Defence's (MOD) Acquisition, Technology & Logistic Agency (ATLA) and the Japanese Navy have been (and will be) conducting such testing of LIBs. For more accurate establishment of LIB safety standards, non accelerated testing under normal condition is preferable, even if this is time-consuming. 

Choice of LIBs

Japan has explored submarine use of many LIB combinations, including two that show exceptional stability at low temperatures and long charge-discharge cycle lives. These are 

-  Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) 2,000 cycle lives. As indicated here Anonymous advises the next
   subclass of TKMS Type 212As may adopt LFP (Pete would say the new 212As would be launched

   during the 2020s) 

-  Lithium Titanate (LTO) ( Li4Ti5O12 ) 7,000 cycles, made by Toshiba. 

For LFP and LTO such stability at low temperatures and with long cycle lives comes at the cost of  relatively low energy density.

-  Lithium nickel cobalt aluminium oxide (NCADrawing from this article. To remedy this low LIB
   energy density problem Japan may well have settled on NCA ( LiNiCoAlO) LIBs for its Navy.
   These 
LIBs are made by GS Yuasa. Such LIBs are ideal for the Japanese Navy's mid-range
   continuous 
patrol operations.

All this LIB testing and subsequent use on Soryu submarines via liaison with France's Naval Group may contribute to use of LIBs on Australia's Shortfin Future Submarines (FSM). LIBs on Shortfins may be added from the first Shortfins onwards or fitted to later build Shortfins. TKMS, Saab-Kockums, Naval Group, Russia, China and MHI/KHI may develop fundamentally different LIBs for other submarines. Also their differing diesel engines are an additional diesel-electric variable. This means the efficiency and safety of LIBs developed by one submarine builder may note ensure efficient and safe use by other builders. 

For example Saab-Kockums and Russia that build submarines mainly for cold water operations may prefer LFP LIBs that may be more efficient in icy temperatures. As a customer Canada may prefer low temperature LIBs for its near Arctic Ocean operations. 

LIBs Management and Operation

Anonymous does not think a submarine's LIBs are discharged homogeneously (all at once and evenly). The numbers of charges and discharges of  LIBs during (say) a total of 4 charge-discharge phases over 96 hours) might occur as follows:
i)  half of the LIBs in the forward battery section may be used for the sub's first fully submerged dive and then charged in the first snorting
ii)  the other half of the forward LIBs is used for the second dive, then charged in the second snorting phase 
iii)  half of the LIBs in aft battery section is used for the third dive and then charged in the third snorting, and
iv)  the another half of the LIBs in the aft battery section is used for the fourth dive and then charged in the fourth snorting.

The management/operation (M/O) system of batteries/propulsion of  Japanese Oyashio and Soryu submarines is shown in 1 to 3 below. 

1 Oyashio class (built 1994-2006, see Table below)
In the eleven Oyashio class subs are classic DC motors reliant on limited capacity LABs. These make  the sub's fully submerged speed control complex. LABs are in 2 identical sections fore and aft (ie. 4 identical sections overall)
M/O of LABs are in parallel or series connection in sections/subsections
Propulsion: 2 identical DC motors

2 Soryu MK 1's (built 2005-present)
In the ten Soryu Mk 1s, latest Permanent Magnet Synchronous Motors (PMSMs) make speed control of the submarine easier. But the management of two power supply systems (LABs & AIP) is complex.
LABs: fore and aft sections consisted of 2 identical subsections, respectively (ie. 4 identical sections overall)
Stirling AIP
M/O of LABs: unknown
Propulsion: smaller and bigger AC motors; smaller one is for low speed

3 Soryu Mk 2s (estimation)(built 2015 (see Table) perhaps through to 2018)

Soryu Mk 2s adopt the simplest M/O system among Japanese submarines.
LIBs: fore and aft sections will consist of 2 identical subsections, respectively (ie. 4 identical sections overall)
M/O of LIBs: unknown, but may be in 4 phases, see i) to iv) above.
Propulsion: 2 identical AC motors

 TABLE - SORYU & Oyashio Program as at October 3, 2017 


SS
No.
Build No
Name
Pennant
No.
MoF approved amount ¥
Billions FY
LABs, LIBs, AIP
Laid Down
Laun
-ched
Commi
ssioned
Built
By
5SS Oyashio
8105 Oyashio
SS-590/ TS3608
¥52.2B FY1993
LABs only
 Jan 1994
Oct 1996
Mar 1998
 KHI
6SS-15SS
Oyashios
10 subs
8106
-8115
various
SS-591-600
¥52.2B per sub
FY1994-FY2003
LABs only
 15SS Feb
2004
15SS
Nov
2006
15SS
Mar 2008
 MHI
&
KHI
16SS
Soryu Mk 1
8116
Sōryū
SS-501
¥60B FY2004
LABs + AIP
Mar 2005
Dec 2007
Mar
2009
MHI
17SS
8117
Unryū
SS-502
¥58.7B FY2005
LABs + AIP
Mar 2006
Oct 2008
Mar
2010
KHI
18SS
8118
Hakuryū
SS-503
¥56.2 FY2006
LABs + AIP
Feb 2007
Oct 2009
Mar
2011
MHI
19SS
8119
Kenryū
SS-504
¥53B FY2007
LABs + AIP
Mar 2008
Nov 2010
Mar
2012
KHI
20SS
8120
Zuiryū
SS-505
¥51B FY2008
LABs + AIP
Mar 2009
Oct 2011
Mar
2013
MHI
No
21SS
No 21SS built
22SS
8121
Kokuryū
SS-506
¥52.8B FY2010
LABs + AIP
Jan 2011
Oct 2013
Mar
2015
KHI
23SS
8122
Jinryu
SS-507
¥54.6B FY2011
LABs + AIP
Feb 2012
Oct 2014
7 Mar 2016
MHI
24SS
8123
Sekiryū
SS-508
¥54.7B FY2012
LABs + AIP
KHI
25SS
8124
SS-509
¥53.1B FY2013
LABs + AIP
22 Oct 2013
12 Oct   2016
Mar? 2018
MHI
26SS
8125
SS-510
LABs + AIP
2014
?
Mar 2019?
KHI
27SS First
Soryu Mk 2
8126
SS-511
LIBs only
2015
2017?
Mar
2020
MHI
28SS  Second
Soryu Mark 2
8127
SS-512
¥63.6B FY2016
LIBs only
2016?
2018?
Mar 2021?
KHI
29SS First Soryu Mk 3
8128
?
¥76B FY2017
LIBs only
?
?
2023?
MHI?
30SS Second Soryu Mk 3
8029?
?
¥71.5B FY2018
LIBs only
?
?
2024?
KHI?
Table from information exclusively provided to Submarine MattersLABs = lead-acid batteries, AIP = air independent propulsion, LIBs = lithium-ion batteries. ¥***B = Billion Yen. MHI = Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, KHI Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation of Kawasaki Heavy Industries.
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So LIB Management and Operation is complex but as the batteries work to computer terminals a submarine's engineers should be able to manage and operate LIBs more easily than lead-acid batteries.

By Anonymous & Pete