Reprinted with permission from AMI HOT NEWS, an internet publication AMI Intemational, PO Box 30, Bremerton, Washington, 98337.
From the October 2005 Issue
Scorpene Deal Done
On 06 October 2005, Armaris and the Indian Government signed a construction contract for the procurement of six Scorpene class submarines. This follows an 08 September Indian Government announcement that the purchase had been formally approved. The transaction valued at US$ l .8B involves the construction of six submarines at India’s Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL). The approval follows delays that began following the November 2002 announcement that the Scorpene design had been chosen.
Construction will probably begin on the first unit by mid-2006 with commissioning expected by 2010. Units two through six will probably begin at one-year intervals with the sixth unit of the batch being commissioned by 2015.
In a related story, on 07 October 2005, the Indian Ministry of Defense awarded Matra BAE Dynamics Alenia (MBDA) a contract (undetermined amount) for the submarine launched SM-39 Exocet anti-ship missile (ASM). The SM-39s are being procured for the six Scorpene class submarines.
Navy To Lease Two Russian Akula Class Submarines
In late October 2005, AMI received information that the Indian Navy would lease two Akula class submarines from Russia beginning in 2008. This information follows November 2004 reports that the sea service was on the brink of an agreement with Russia concerning the Akula II submarine RYS, which was started in 2003 for the Russian Navy but never completed.
Since the Indians would not receive the submarines until 2008, one of the units could in fact be the RYS and the second vessel could originate from Russian inventory. The Russian Navy, which rarely goes to sea, will probably be willing to lease one of their own hulls to the Indian Navy since it will probably be better maintained by India rather than sitting pier side in Russia.
India has been in negotiations with Russia for nuclear-powered submarines since 2004 in an attempt to lease several vessels for training. India is attempting to maintain a professional group of nuclear trained personnel for the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) (Indian nuclear submarine), which is hoped to enter service sometime after 2011.
In The Market For Submarines
Press reporting in early October 2005 indicates that the Venezue-lan Navy continues to explore its option for three new submarines. The latest naval plan (Naval Medium Term Plan of 2005) indicates that the sea service is in need of at least three submarines to replace the two Sabalo (Type 209) class, of which both units are undergoing a modernization effort in Porto Cabello.
The latest naval plan is very aggressive and outlines the acquisition of over 100 vessels including an aircraft carrier, submarines, corvettes, offshore patrol vessels (OPVs), landing craft, amphibious support ships, auxiliaries, patrol craft and naval aircraft. The corvette, OPV and naval aircraft requirements are expected to be met by a US$ I .68B Venezuelan/Spanish Government deal in which the Venezuelan Navy/Coast Guard will receive four corvettes, four OPVs and 12 C-235 aircraft.
The aircraft carrier(completely unrealistic by AMl’s assessment), submarines, auxiliaries and amphibious ships are in various stages of discussion. In regards to the submarine acquisition, it is known that the Venezuelan Navy is already considering the German Type 212/214 and the French/Spanish Scorpene. Reporting now indicates that the Russian Amur design is also on the table and is being seriously considered. AMI believes that the inclusion of a Russian-built submarine is probably for political purposes only. The Venezue-lan Navy currently operates German built submarines and just completed a deal with Spain for the acquisition of surface vessels and aircraft. It seems that Venezuela would continue with the procurement of either German or Spanish-built submarines.
More than likely President Hugo Chavez, who is vehemently anti-US, is probably stoking the political flames by considering the procurement of weapons from Russia including submarines as well as amphibious and landing craft.
The current submarine acquisition plan calls for all three submarines to be in service by 2010. However, it will be difficult to meet this schedule considering the sea service has yet to make a decision on the design or how to finance the program. In addition, with the modernization and extended service life of the Sabala class, the Navy will now have more time before it has to commit to a new construc-tion submarine program indicating that the selection of design and construction contract could be several years down the road before any firm decisions are made. When a firm decision is finally made, it is unlikely that Amur will be chosen, rather a European solution.
Hike in 2006 Defense Budget, Naval Programs Funded
According to an announcement on 26 September 2005 from French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, the defense budget for 2006 will see an increase of 3.4% bringing it to €37.6B (US $45.28) excluding pensions. This increase in the overall budget translates to a naval acquisition budget increase of €500M (US$60 l .4M) bringing it to US$4.8B for the year.
Increasing the Navy’s portion of defense spending will enable the sea service to continue to fund all its major projects throughout the 2006 fiscal year. These projects include:
- PA2 aircraft carrier -€926M (US$ I. I B)
- M5 l sub-launched nuclear missile -€793M (US$954.4M)
- Rafael fighter aircraft -€752M (US$905. IM)
- Scalp naval cruise missile -€552M (US$664.3M)
- Le Triomphant class SSBN -€362M (US$435.7M)
- Syracuse III communications satellite -€245M (US$294.8M)
- ASMP/A guided missile -€218M (US$262.3M)
- Barracuda class SSN -€188 M (US$226.2M)
With the increase in the procurement budget for 2006, as well as a recent €127.SM (US$154.IM) contract with DCN Services Brest for through-life support services for Brest based warships, it appears that the French Navy will see their fleet well supported and modernized in the coming years.
On 19 October 2005, the German Type 212 submarines U3 l and U32 were commissioned into the German Navy.
From the November 2005 Issue
Naval Plans Moving Forward
As of late November 2005, it appears that Germany is still planning to move forward with its modernization effort in order to replace existing ships as well as support the nations shipbuilding industry. The following programs are currently planned to be funded or started beginning in 2006:
- A third Berlin class Combat Group Support Ship (EGV) to supplement the two already in commission.
- Two additional Type 212A submarines to supplement the four units that are already in commission or under construction.
- Four Type 125 class Stabilization Vessels.
- The initial units of up to 30 NH-90 ASW and SAR helicopters designated for the German Navy
Programs that may begin in the near term (2006 through 2008) are a result of several courses of action since 2002 including steps to realign the armed forces into a smaller force while at the same time trying to maintain core competencies within the defense industry, specifically the naval shipbuilding industry. Major cutbacks announced since 2002 include reduction of the K-130 corvette program from fifteen to five units, the Type 125 stabilization vessel from eight units to four, the Type 2 l 2A submarine program from eight to six units and the cancellation of the Amphibious Transport Ship (LPD-EtrUS) program.
At the same time, the Minister of Defense took some positive steps and modified several procurement programs in order to shore up domestic orders for the German shipbuilding industry. These changes include:
- Move two additional units of the Type 212A submarines (units five and six) to the left to immediately follow the first four units in 2006 (could be delayed) with the two Israeli Dolphin class being constructed first.
The fifth and sixth units of the Type 2 l 2A could also begin construction by late 2006 or early 2007 in order to keep a steady work flow at HDW, which wi II commission the fourth Type 2 I 2A in late 2006. It must be noted that the 22 November decision by outgoing Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to sell two additional Dolphin class submarines to Israel could affect this program. Germany is expected to contribute US$452.1 M to the program from an undetermined Ministry (could be MinistryofDcfense), which may or may not effect the funding for the Type 212A. Additionally, if the Israeli Dolphins begin construction by 2006, this could delay the start of the German Type 212As by several years.
Swedish Submarine Procurement Now Firm
On 06 November 2005, the Singapore Ministry of Defense (MIN DEF) officially accepted the offer to procure two Vastergotland (A 17) class submarines from Sweden for US$128.3M. This follows September 2005 press reporting that indicated the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) made the decision to procure Sweden’s final two Vastergotland (A 17) class submarines. Commissioned in the late 1980s, the last two units of the class (Vastergotland and Heisingland) will be decommissioned by 2006 in order to meet the reduced Submarine Force level prescribed in Sweden’s Defense Resolution of 2004.
The transfer agreement between the Singapore MINDEF and Kockums of Sweden calls for the transfer of both units by 2010 with Kockums conducting a modernization package prior to transfer. The package will include modernization and conversion for tropical waters, a logistics package and training for the crews; very similar to the transfer package for the four units of the Sjoormen class that were transferred to Singapore from 1997 through 2001.
The RSN plans on replacing two of the Sjoormens (Challenger class -first commissioned in 1969) with two Vastergotlands (com-missioned in 1987-8 8) in order to maintain a four-submarine fleet.
The procurement also deepens Singapore’s ties with Sweden and improves the chances for a viable Viking project in the future.
Submarine Procurement Approved By Germany
In late November 2005, press reporting indicated that Germany had agreed to sell two additional Dolphin class (Type 800) submarines to Israel. The € l.l 7B(US 1.3 78) deal was approved by outgoing Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who departed office on 22 November 2005. At least one third of the total price (US$452. l M) will be paid for by the Gennan Government.
The agreement was formalized on 28 November 2005. A construction contract will probably be in place by early 2006 with construction beginning at ThyssenKrupp Marine’s HOW Shipyard in Kiel by the close of 2006.
Reports also indicate that the two submarines will be powered by a Siemens/HOW PEM AIP fuel cell/battery propulsion plant but will retain a conventional diesel-electric propulsion system to charge batteries that can support high-speed operations, while the added AIP capability can recharge the batteries and support extended low-speed operations. The first three Dolphins purchased by Israel were powered by an all diesel-electric propulsion system.
With construction beginning by the close of2006, both units will probably be delivered and commissioned into the Israeli Navy by 2012.
On 03 November 2005, the first South African Navy Type 209, SI 01, was commissioned in Germany. S 101 is scheduled to arrive in South Africa in late March 2006, following training in the Baltic Sea. Two additional units of the class are under construction at HDW in Germany.