Contact Us   |    Join   |    Donate


The Author, TMC(SS) Patrick Meagher USN(Ret), qualified and served 011 USS CUSK SS-348, USS ANDREW JACKSON SSBN-619B, and USS BARBEL SS-580. Chief Meagher served 011 active duty with the Submarine Force from 1960 through 1977. He is a Life Member of USSVI, and an Associate Member of USSV WWII.

A submarine mine plant is a very different experience from a torpedo shoot. First of all, mine plants occur infrequently as compared to torpedo shooting. Second, a mine plant is, in reality, a navigation, piloting, and plotting exercise for the attack center. There is no fire control problem to be solved, and no weapons input unless mobile ground mines are employed. The real challenge of a mine plant occurs in the torpedo rooms. The rapid pace of shooting mines and reloading tubes requires a high degree of coordination by the torpedo gang and reload parties, and the torpedo tube battery to operate flawlessly.

1962-USS CUSK SS-348

My first experience with submarine mine plants took place in early spring of 1962 onboard USS CUSK SS-348. At that time I was TM2(SS) assigned to the After Torpedo Room. CUSK was the designated submarine mine layer during the period we were in WesPac. We had just finished participating in OPERATION TALUNGAN, a major amphibious exercise in Philippine waters, as part of the Opposition Force. We arrived at Subic Bay with over 100 other ships taking part in that operation. Shortly after arrival we received word that we would be shifting berths the next day to Cubi Point, to offload torpedoes and load drill mines. Following our move the next morning we offloaded all our MK 14 Mod 3 air-steam torpedoes. We retained three Mk 37 Mod 0 homing torpedoes in the Forward Torpedo Room and two Mk 27 Mod 4 homing torpedoes in the After Torpedo Room. We kept the homing torpedoes as a defensive load just in case.

The next day we loaded four Mk 27 mobile ground mines and eighteen Mk I 0 moored mines. These were drill Mines without live warheads but with actual detonators and working influence features. The Forward Torpedo Room received the Mk 27’s which were immediately loaded in torpedo tubes 1 through 4. This was followed by twelve Mk IO’s with two loaded in torpedo tubes 5 and 6 and the remaining ten double loaded in empty reload skids. The After Torpedo Room received six Mk 1 O’s. Four were immediately loaded in torpedo tubes 7 through I 0. The last two were double loaded on a skid and moved to the reload position behind torpedo tube 8.

The Mk 27 mobile ground mine was developed from the Mk 18-Mk 28 series electric torpedoes. It was 21 inches in diameter and 20 and a half feet long with magnetic and acoustic influence features. It had a small propeller which drove it on a gyro stabilized course to its final location where the propulsion motor shut down and the mine sank to the bottom. Running distance up to 4500 yards was set mechanically with the torpedo tube depth setting spindle used with the mechanically set Mk 14, Mk 18, Mk 23 and MK 28 torpedoes.

The torpedo tube OP contained a conversion scale for converting running depth to running distance. Running distance was set during torpedo tube final preparations for firing. The Mk 27 mine propulsion battery was charged prior to arrival on the boat, and as I recall we did not apply a top-off charge to the battery prior to launching.

The Mk 10 moored mine was about ten feet in length and 21 inches in diameter. It had two sections, the anchor and the mine case which were connected by a wire anchor cable. There was a spring loaded arming bar on the top of the mine along with two arming pins attached to lanyards. The pins were pulled as the mine was loaded in the torpedo tube. The arming bar rode in the torpedo tube guide-stud groove. A retaining screw which held the arming bar in place was also removed as the mine was loaded in the torpedo tube. When the Mk 10 mine was shot out of the tube, the spring loaded arming bar popped off and the mine case separated from the anchor. The anchor went to the bottom while the mine case went to a preset hydrostatic depth where the cable reel stopped paying out.

We left Subic and set course for Buckner Bay Okinawa. The mine laying plan was for CUSK to shoot the four MK 27 mobile mines into Buckner bay as we lay off the entrance. We would then enter the bay submerged and plant a field of eighteen Mk 1 Os. This would be followed by an additional field of forty four Mk IO’s dropped from Navy P2V-7 Neptunes. On the day of the mine plant CUSK approached the entrance to Buckner Bay submerged at periscope depth and went to Battle Stations. The skipper and the navigator were shooting bearings to landmarks ashore to pi lot us into position to shoot the MK 27’s. Ordered range was cranked into the mines and they were ejected one at a time. Sonar tracked them until they shut down. Following the launch of the MK 27’s, Torpedo Tubes I through 4 were reloaded with MK 1O’s. Reloads were then positioned behind the torpedo tubes in the forward and after torpedo rooms with reload parties standing by.

Water depth by this time varied between 85 to 115 feet with CUSK at periscope depth of 51 feet. We would alternate shooting mines from forward and aft which allowed several minutes to drain a torpedo tube and reload with a mine. I believe we planted two rows of nine mines each. Making the tum to set up for the second row allowed an additional couple of minutes for draining torpedo tubes and reloading. After mine number 12 was fired, the Forward Torpedo Room would shoot the remaining 6. They would have to increase their firing rate as the After Torpedo Room was empty, however they would only have to reload two tubes for the final six. Tubes 5 and 6 were only used once due to the difficulty of reloading those tubes from the pit.

The mine plant went off without a hitch. At one third speed depth control was maintained throughout without difficulty. The Forward Torpedo Room only had to dump a half-a-Torpedo Tube of water in the bilges at the very end in order to reload and shoot the last mine on time. Following the last shot CUSK cleared the mine field area while remaining at periscope depth. The skipper and the OOD then observed the P2V-7 mine plant through number I and 2 periscopes. The next day we ran” the minefield on the surface with sonar counting detonator pops as they occurred.

We had to put a lookout on the bow to watch for floating MK 10 mine cases so we wouldn’t run them down and damage the BQR-28 bow mounted sonar array. We then departed Okinawa, returned to Cubi Point RP and reloaded our Mk 14 Mod 3 torpedoes.

1974-USS BARBEL SS-580

My next mine plant took place in the fall of 1974 onboard USS BARBEL SS-580. At that time I was Chief-of-the-Boat and the torpedo gang was very experienced and well lead by TM 1 (SS) Warren (Pops) Pospisil. Both Pops and I had previous mine plant experience. Our Gun Boss was Lt. John Morgan Jr. Upon receiving word from Squadron One that we would be making the first submarine mine plant in Hawaiian waters in a number of years (and also the first mine plant from a 580 class boat) Lt. Morgan retrieved the Submarine Mine plant NWP and discovered it was completely out of date. There was little or no data on newer classes of submarines. Almost all the information pertained to mine laying from Fleet type submarines using older submarine launched mines many of which were no-longer in service. This was new territory for all of us. BARBEL had one Torpedo Room and only six torpedo tubes. The 580 Class were also fast, able to make 3 knots at a dead-slow bell of 37 shaft RPM further complicating mine laying. With only six torpedo tubes and one Torpedo Room to handle all the mines it was going to be a real challenge. On the plus side BARBEL’s Torpedo Room was very roomy with weapon stowage well laid out and easy to access coupled with power loading for all torpedo tubes and a hydraulic hoist to move weapons between levels.

The week before the mine plant we went over to West Loch and loaded eighteen MK 57 moored mines. Loading went very fast. We had all eighteen loaded within an hour, got underway and arrived back at Sub base by lunch time. The following Monday morning we departed Sub base enroute to Lahiana Roads where the mine plant would take place. We would be followed by a YTB with a barge and crane. Configuration of the MK 57 Moored mines upon ejection was for the mine to go to the bottom. After a short delay (I believe it was 10 minutes) the mine case would separate from the anchor by explosive charge and go straight to the surface. This allowed for a quick visual of the entire mine field as well as rapid recovery of the mines and anchors by the crane and barge. On Tuesday we conducted a rehearsal run for timing of shots, sequencing of torpedo tubes by firing 36 water slugs, piloting and plotting the mine field. On Wednesday morning following a battery charge we submerged and went to battle stations. I was battle stations diving officer. We got a good trim at dead slow and lined up for the initial run. The skipper, LCDR John Regan and the OD were on number 1 and 2 periscopes.

The following description of the Torpedo Room action is provided by TMC(SS) Warren (Pops) Pospisil USN(Ret).

“The following Conditions prior to commencement were all torpedo tubes loaded with a mine.

All tubes flooded and equalized; all tube muzzle doors shut; port and starboard impulse tanks flooded; port and starboard ejection pump doors open; WRT tank empty; mines in reload positions 1 through 4 with power loaders engaged; air banks charged to 3000PSJ with an air charge in progress. The firing sequence was plant a mine; simulate planting a mine by shooting a water slug; plant a mine, shoot a water slug; plant a mine; shoot a water slug; and so 011. Firing interval was approximately eve1y two minutes. Torpedo tube firing sequence was predetermined and the TM ‘s were pretty much operating on their own. With I 8 mines and 18 water slugs the noise of the ejection pumps cycling 36 times rendered the normal practice of obtaining permission and reporting status of tubes impractical. With the noise and pace of the action in the torpedo room only essential communications were passed beehive the attack center and the torpedo room. This consisted mai111y of which tube was next to shoot and when it was ready. FTG3(SS) Cummings was the torpedo room phone talker. I was on the upper tube deck beehive tubes J and 5 and operated the muzzle door and tube equalizing manifolds, tube blow and vent manifold, and tube drain valves. TM2(SS) Sluzarski, TM2(SS) Cox, and TM3(SS) Pharr were all over opening and closing breech doors, operating power loaders, moving mines from stow to reload, removing straps and directing the reload party. MNJ Rupp from the MOMAG at West Loch was in the torpedo room pulling pins from the mine safety bars during tube loading. The reload party moved mines from stow into reload positions, removed straps and cradles. Everyone knew what they had to do and even though it appeared chaotic, it was well organized and a great team effort. Two mines were fired from each tube along with two water slugs for a total of 24 shots. The final 6 mines and 6 water slugs were fired from tubes 5 and 6 (center line torpedo tubes serviced by the hydraulic hoist and power loaders). We had to dump a partial torpedo tube of water into the bilge before it was completely drained about every third or fourth shot in order to reload and have the tube ready in time. The drain pump was pumping the forward room bilges during the entire shoot. Since we started with WRT empty we only had to use WRTIFTT overflow a few times.”

We had no problems maintaining ordered depth and maintaining a decent trim throughout the entire mine plant. The only excitement was shortly after we made our second tum and started planting the third row of mines. A sport fishing boat spotted our periscopes and headed our way to get a close-up view. There was no way to warn him that he stood a good chance of getting his bottom knocked out by a mine case as it ascended to the surface. There was a Notice to Mariners sent out a week earlier warning all to stay clear of a Naval Exercise taking place in Lahina Roads. Apparently this guy didn’t get it. He was very lucky and sheared off in time to clear the minefield before being mined.

The first submarine mine plant in Hawaiian waters in a number of years went perfectly and set the pe1formance bar for future submarine mine plants 1• It was another first for the Torpedo Gang on BARBEL and more importantly, another generation of submarine junior officers and torpedoman trained-up for mine laying. Following the mine plant and return to Sub base, Lt. Morgan provided a very thorough report and a detailed Markup of the Submarine Mine plant NWP which was well received by ComSubRonOne and ComSubPac.

In I 975 I transferred to ComSubPac Tactical Weapons shop (N6l). Shortly after Reporting aboard I was tasked to provide a training assist for the next submarine mine layer which was USS SARGO SSN-583. Following the training assist I was on SARGO as an observer during her mine plant which turned out to be a very interesting experience. That however, is a subject for another story ….

Many thanks to VADM John G. Morgan Jr. USN, and TMC(SS) George Cox USN(Ret), for their input and review of my manuscript. A special thank you to TMC(SS) Warren (Pops) Pospisil USN(Ret) for his amazing recall of those events in the Torpedo Room over 33 years ago.


CDR Scott A. Chester, USN(Ret)
Mr. Charles A. Hansen


Mr. James McNaughton
Mr. Clinton L. Phillips
CAPT Robin J. White USN(Ret)


CAPT James R. Maris, USN(Ret)


Capt Robert C. Barnes, USN
LT Carl R. Berg, USN(Ret)
CAPT William G. Clautice, USN(Ret)
CAPT William Hughes, USN(Ret)
Mr. H. Eugene Johnston
LCDR Robert P. Kenner, USN(Ret)
Mr. Paul L. Kidd
Mr. James McNaughton
LCDR Michael G. Smith, USN(Ret)
Mr. Michael J. White
CAPT Robin J. White, USN(Ret)


Reprinted with permission from AMI HOT NEWS; an internet publication AMI International, PO Box 30, Bremerton. Washington, 98337.

From the January 2007 Issue


Submarine Force – Construction In, Modernization Out
A. New Type Submarine Project:

On 28 December 2006, the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) issued a Request for Proposal (RfP) for the acquisition of six Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) submarines for the New Type Submarine Project (AMI Project Report Future AIP Submarine dtd January 2006). The closing date for the purchase of the RfP was 31 January 2007. A decision on the preferred supplier will probably occur no later than 2008 as the Turkish Navy has scheduled the first submarine to enter service in 2013.

The RfP release follows a 29 March 2006 Request for Informa-tion (Rfl) that was posted in order to gather administrative, financial and technical information from companies willing to participate in the program. The closing date for the Rfl was 15 May 2006 in which there were 26 respondents including:

• Armaris of France
• Tubitak-Mam of Turkey
• Aydin Tazilim ve Elektronik Sanayii AS of Turkey
• Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace of Norway
• Kollmorgen Corporation of the US
• Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors of the US
• Calzoni Submarine Systems Department of Italy
• Rafael Armament Development of Authority oflsrael
• BMT Defense Services of the UK
• Aspire Consulting of the UK
• Gate Elektronik San Tic of Turkey
• Israel Aerospace Industries of Israel
• Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft of Germany
• Milsoft Yazilim Teknolojileri of Germany
• Fincantieri Cantieri Navali of Italy
• Rohde & Schwartz of Germany
• Selex Kominikasyon of Turkey
• Navantia of Spain
• Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei of Italy
• Thales Systems of France
• Aselsan of Turkey
• Roketsan of Turkey
• Lockheed Martin Sippican of the US
• EADS Astrium Limited of the UK
• Elbit Systems of Israel

Of the 26 respondents to the Rfl, all will most likely submit responses (either independently or as part of a team to the RtP including the four major shipbuilding entities of Armaris, HDW, Navantia and Fincantieri. As in the past with Turkish submarine programs, Istanbul and Golcuk shipyards can be expected to do the majority of the work with the foreign supplier providing design, construction and integration assistance for the program as well as the majority of the subsystems (engineering, electronics, weapons etc) on the submarines.

Although the Turkish Navy has historically utilized German solutions for its submarine programs, it is apparently investigating all of its potential options before making a decision on the preferred supplier for the New Type Submarine.

B. Atilay Class Submarine Modernization Program:

In mid-January 2006, AMI received information that the modernization program for the Atilay class submarine has been cancelled. The modernization of the four units (BA TIRA Y, YILDIRA Y, DOGANA Y and DO LUNA Y) was expected to start in 2007 at a cost of around US$200M. It appears that the Turkish Navy made the decision to forego the modernization program at this time in order to fund the New Type Submarine Project that will likely begin in 2008.

AMI’s sources indicate that the modernization program for the Atitay class was terminated in mid-December 2006 just prior to the release of the RfP forthe six new construction submarines. With the Turkish Submarine Force already at fourteen units, it can be anticipated that the new submarines will begin replacing the oldest units of the Atilay class when they begin entering service in 2013.


Naval Update 2007
In early January 2007, AMI International received updated information regarding several on-going projects of the Portuguese Navy(PN):

A. Type 209PN Submarine: According to the PN, the first U209PN that was ordered from ThyssenKrupp Marine on 21 April 2004 will be delivered to the sea service in February 2010 followed by unit two in September of the same year. This is about six months later than originally anticipated.

The AIP submarines will be equipped with the WASS Black Shark torpedoes and according to PN sources, may also be equipped with the lnterative Defense and Attack System for Submarines (IDAS) (developed by Diehl/HDW/Kongsberg) as well as the submarine-launched Harpoon missile.

IDAS, based on the IRIS-T air-to-air missile, is a fiber-optic guided missile that can be launched while the vessel is submerged in order to engage anti-submarine warfare (ASW) aircraft. The missile has a reported range of 20km (12.4 miles) and is carried four per torpedo tube in a revolving launcher.

In addition to evaluating the possibility of these two weapon systems, the PN is also analyzing the possibility of procuring a third unit of the class. As always, funding will be the driving factor as to whether a third unit will actually be built. With a total defense budget of around €28 (US$2.58B), it will be extremely difficult to fund the additional unit if the PN is to continue forward with its other planned programs. However, if the third unit is approved, it can be expected that unit three would be commissioned around 2013 equating to a 2007 or early 2008 order date.

B. NP0-2000 Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV): In June 2006, AMI reported that the first two units of the NP0-2000 class were launched in October 2005 and were scheduled for commissioning in 2006. However, AMI’s sources continue to report problems with the program. It is now anticipated that the original two units of the class will commission by the close of2007 and the six (down from eight) follow-on units that were to start construction beginning in 2007 will be delayed by an additional 18 months. The original plan for a total of ten units has been trimmed to eight in order to help finance the two Karel Doorman class frigates that will be delivered to the PN in 2008 and 2009.

The delays in the program have been caused by problems in the Estaleilos Navais Viana do Castelo (ENVC) Shipyard, which is the main contractor for the program. In total, it appears that only eight OPV swill be delivered under this program and the delivery schedule will slip to the right with the final units not entering service until around 2013. The delays in the OPV program are now beginning to raise flags within Portugal. What was once considered the premier naval yard in Portugal is now being questioned especially in light of other programs planned for the yard such as the naval transport dock (LPD). Prior to the problems of the NPO 2000 OPVs, there had been talk of ENVC being part of a consortium for international defense projects, similar to the FREMM program between Italy and France.

FRANCE – Barracuda Submarine Program Underway

On 22 December 2006, the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA) formally announced they had awarded an initial €1B (US$ l .3B) contract to Direction des Construction Navales (DCN) group and partner Areva-TA for the construction and delivery of six Barracuda class new generation nuclear powered attack submarines (SSN). The total contract for the class of six SSNs is estimated to be approximately €88 (US$ I 0.4B) including through-life support during the first five years of operational service.

The first unit will begin construction at DCNs Cherbourg yard (current builder of the Le Triomphant class SSBNs) in 2008 with commissioning in 2013. Units two and three will probably commission in 2014 and 2015. A second batch of three units (4-6) will probably be funded in 2010 under MPL 2009-2014. Unit four will probably begin construction at DCN in 2011 with commission-ing in 2016 followed by unit five in 2017 and unit six in 2018.

The new SSN will be far more than a mere follow-on to the existing Rubis Amethyste class. Rather, the Barracuda class will be a completely new design, larger than its predecessor (displacing 4,000 tons vice the 2,670 tons of the Rubis Amethyste class); and possessing improved stealth characteristics, a deeper diving capability, and improved combat systems.

The class will be armed with dual-purpose heavyweight torpe-does (probably a follow-on to the current ECAN L5 Mod 3) and submarine-launched SM 39 Exocet ASMs. Additionally, MBDA is developing a submarine launched version of the Naval SCALP land attack cruise missile for launch from torpedo tubes. The missiles are scheduled to reach the production state in 2007 and will be incorpo-rated in the Barracuda class.


Contracts for Ninth and Tenth Virginia Complete

On 28 December 2006, the US Navy awarded General Dynamics Electric Boat a US$1.3 B contract modification that provides funding for the ninth Virginia class submarine and advance procurement for the tenth ship of the class. The award modifies the August 2003 contract for the construction of six Virginia class submarine at a rate of one per year from Fiscal Year (FY) 2003 through FY 2008 bringing the total value of the contract to US$8.4B. The latest modification provides US$1.1 B for construction of SSN-782 and US$ I 75.2M in advance procurement for SSN-783.

To date, three units have been commissioned and three additional units are currently under construction at Electric Boat and Northrop Grumman’s Newport News with one additional unit (seven) to start in 2007 and one (unit eight) in 2008. Although the program has been running smoothly since the first commissioning in 2004, the true test for the Virginia program will come in 2012 when the Navy intends to begin funding two units per year.


Rough Waters for Littoral Combat Ship (LCS)

On 12 January 2007, the US Navy ordered Lockheed Martin to stop work on the second of it’s two-ship Littoral Combat Ships. The stop work order was placed for 90 days in order for the US Navy Program Management Assistance Group (PMAG) to conduct a review of the cost increases that the program is experiencing.

The PMAG (made up of NA VSEA, SUPSHIP, and OPNA V) will investigate how the cost of USS FREEDOM (LCS-1) (the first LCS constructed by the Lockheed Martin team) increased so significantly beyond the CAfV (Cost As an Independent Variable) target of the contract. Initial assessments are expected to be provided during the first week of February 2007.

AMI has tracked the LCS program since it’s inception. In June of 2003 AMI International was quoted in a National Defense Magazine article ( _Littoral.htm) stating that a realistic price range for the Littoral combat Ship was somewhere between US$300M and US$350M. A realistic CAfV would have been US$280M to US$320M. These figures were based on a brief comparative assessment of the costs associated with ongoing corvette programs worldwide and those of the Littoral Combat Ship RfP.

The US Navy Acquisition Leader -NAVSEA -was driven to lower naval shipbuilding costs and therefore invoked a CAfV target. The problem was that their CAfV was unrealistically low, especially given their push for such complex requirements (high-speed). During AM I’s assessment of past and current corvette programs costs, AMI uncovered that no ship had ever been built that met the stringent requirements of the Littoral Combat ship RfP. So comparative costs estimates had to be modified based on the additional costs of the speed requirements.

The US Navy needs to come to grips with what it really costs to build complex surface combatants! AMI Intemational’s past studies on worldwide naval shipbuilding (results presented in London in November 2005) has shown that for complex surface combatants, the majority of costs are in the ships systems. Therefore reducing requirements as well as the complexity of systems, is where cost savings will truly be gained.

The US Navy would do itself a favor by performing an in-depth comparative assessment of its naval ship design and construction capabilities with other nations in order that they would have a clearer respect for the strengths and capabilities that exist here in the U.S. AMI’s initial assessment demonstrates that the US is within a 10% cost window (total ship cost) of other worldwide leaders in surface combatant construction, including Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy and even South Korea.


United Kingdom -On 07 February 2007, steel will be cut for the fourth Royal Navy (RN) Astute class submarine at BAE System’s Barrow Shipyard in the United Kingdom.

Japan -On 06 November 2006, the eleventh Oyashio class subma-rine, MOCHISHIO, was launched from Kawasaki Shipyard in Kobe Japan.

United States -In December2006, the Los Angeles class submarine USS HYMAN G RICKOVER (SSN-709) was decommissioned.

From the Feb111arv 2007 Issue


2008 Budget and 30-Year Shipbuilding Plan
On 05 February 2007, President Bush released his proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 budget request. Of the proposed US$481.4B defense budget, which is an increase of 11.3% (US$49B) over FY 2007, the US Navy (USN) is slated to receive a total of US$119.3B. The US$119.3B proposed for the Navy is a 9% increase over last year and of this amount, US$14.4B will be for the procurement of new ships for the sea service. A total of seven ships will be procured in FY 2008, which will include one CVN-21 (Gerald R. Ford class) aircraft carrier, one Virginia class submarine, one San Antonio class Landing Platform Dock (LPD), one Lewis & Clark class TAKE, and three Littoral Combat Ships (LCS).

According to the Navy’s six year Future Year Defense Plan (FYDP) (FY 2008-FY 2013) the USN plans on procuring a total of 67 new construction ships. Under this FYDP, the Navy would acquire seven ships beginning in FY 2008 (as listed above) and increase to 11 in FY 2009, 12 in FY 2010 and 13 vessels in FY 2011 before dropping to 12 in both FY 2012 and FY 2013. From the proposed budget ofUS$14.4B in FY 2008, the Navy’s Shipbuilding and Conversion (SCN) budget would need to increase to approxi-mately US$17.58 by FY 2013 to meet these goals.

Along with the submittal of the proposed defense budget, Navy Secretary Donald Winter approved the latest update to the Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan. The shipbuilding plan sets the stage for the Navy’s goal of attaining a 313-ship fleet by FY 2020. Although the USN has a ship force requirement of a 3 13-vessel fleet, this number should be considered notional as over the course of the outlying years this number will shift above and below the 313-ship fleet that is envisioned.

The Navy’s 30-year shipbuilding plan follows the guidelines of the latest Quadrennial Defense Review Report 2006 that was released in February 2006 (by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld). ln regards to the USN, the latest QDR stated that the sea service would:

• Build a larger fleet that includes l I Carrier Strike Groups, balance the need to transform and re-capitalize the fleet, improve affordability and provide stability for the shipbuild-ing industry.
• Accelerate the procurement of Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) to provide power projection capabilities in littoral waters.
• Procure the first eight ships of the maritime Pre-Position Force (Future) to improve the Department’s ability to operate in restricted access environments.
• Provide a Navy riverine capability for river patrol, interdic-tion and tactical troop movement on inland waterways.
• Return to a steady-state production rate of two attack submarines per year no later than 2012 while achieving an average per-hull procurement cost objective of US$2B.

The Navy’s current ship force level is around 286 vessels and will remain below the target of 313 until FY 2016 according to the 30-year shipbuilding plan. From FY 2016 through FY 2025, the Navy will see a force level above 313 until the decline begins in FY 2026. From that point forward, the Navy’s force level will decline to approximately 294 units in FY 2032 before rising back up to 303 units in FY 2037. According to the shipbuilding plan, this will be attributed to a “complex interaction between retirements, re-capitalization, capability, affordability, design and construction time, and industrial base capacity.”

Historically, the Navy has had a difficult time meeting its proposed plans due to restrained budgets and cost overruns with ongoing programs. Already the Navy has been forced to place a stop-work order on one of the LCS units that was under construction due to rising costs. This, coupled with the design and manufacture costs associated with a newly designed destroyer (Zumwalt class) and the goal of acquiring two Virginia class submarines a year (current estimated cost is US$2.2B) beginning in 2012 should bring into question whether the Navy’s goals are obtainable or as in the past, just a bow wave of future orders constantly heading to the right.

In order to meet QDR requirements as well as a 313-ship fleet, the USN will have to drastically cut costs. Only time will tell if, along with reducing costs, the Navy will indeed receive an increase in SCN funding in a time of fiscal restraint if it is to have a chance in attaining a 313-ship fleet.


Five Companies Request New Type Submarine RfP

In early February 2007, the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) announced that five major defense contractors responded to the 28 December 2006 Request for Proposal (RfP) for the acquisition of six Air Independent Propulsion (A.IP) submarines for the New Type Submarine Project (AMI Project Report Future AIP Submarine dtd January 2006). The closing date for the purchase of the RfP was 31 January 2007. The five companies that purchased the RfP include:

• Armaris of France -will probably offer the SCORPENE or a new variant
• Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (ThyssenKrupp Marine) of Germany -will probably off er the Type 212/214
• Fincantieri Cantieri Navali of Italy -will probably offer the new Italian/Russian design
• Lockheed Martin Maritime Systems & Sensors of the US -is seeking to be a Prime Contractor or partner
• Navantia of Spain -will probably offer the SCORPENE or S 80

Although only five companies responded to the December 2006 RfP, 21 additional companies responded to the 29 March 2006 Request for Information (Rfl) that was posted in order to gather administrative, financial and technical information. Many of the Rfl respondents will likely play a supporting role in the submarine program. The March 2006 Rfl respondents include:

• Tubitak-Mam of Turkey
• Aydin Tazilim ve Elektronik Sanayii AS of Turkey
• Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace of Norway
• Kollmorgen Corporation of the US
• Calzoni Submarine Systems Department of Italy
• Rafael Armament Development of Authority of Israel
• BMT Defense Services of the UK
• Aspire Consulting of the UK
• Gate Elektronik San Tic of Turkey
• Israel Aerospace Industries of Israel
• Milsoft Yazilim Teknolojileri of Germany
• Deutsche Exide ofGennany
• Rohde & Schwartz ofGennany
• Selex Kominikasyon of Turkey
• Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei of Italy
• Thales Systems of France
• Aselsan of Turkey
• Roketsan of Turkey
• Lockheed Martin Sippican of the US
• EADS Astrium Limited of the UK
• Elbit Systems oflsrael

A tender conference is currently scheduled for March 2007 with responses to the RfP due to the SSM no later than 04 May 2007. A decision on the preferred supplier will probably occur no later than 2008 as the Turkish Navy has scheduled the first submarine to enter service in 2013. At least six submarines will be built under this program. Originally the program entailed the construction of four units. However, in January 2007, the Turkish Navy officially cancelled the Atilay class submarine modernization effort in favor of building two additional new construction units under this program, bringing its total to six.

According to the RfP, the New Type Submarines will be constructed at the Golcuck Naval Shipyard with maximum use of existing in-country industrial means and capabilities. All bidders are expected to team with local vendors with experience in command and control software to work with the combat systems integrator on the development and installation of the Integrated Underwater Command Control System (JUCCS). Bidders are also expected to assist the local sub-contractor in building up the necessary capability for maintenance, repairs, development and modification of the JUCCS through the life cycle of the vessel.

Although the Turkish Navy has historically utilized German solutions for its submarine programs, it is apparently investigating all of its potential options before making a decision on the preferred supplier for the New Type Submarine.


South Africa -On 14 March 2007, the second Type 209 (S 102) submarine is scheduled to be turned over from ThyssenKrupp Marine to the South African Navy.

South Korea -The first Republic of Korea Navy (ROK.N) type 214 class submarine began sea trials on 29 January 2007.

Naval Submarine League

© 2022 Naval Submarine League