Reprinted with permission from AMI HOT NEWS; an internet publication of AMI International, PO Box 30, Bremerton, Washington, 98337.
From the June 2007 Issue
AUSTRALIA (The Future)- Defense Capability Plan 2008-18 Projects Future Construction Programs
In mid-June 2007, AMI received information that the next Defense Capability Plan (DCP) 2008-2018 is currently being drafted at the Department of Defense. Sources indicate that DCP 2008-2018 does include plans for a follow-on to the Collins class submarine as well as a follow-on to the Armidale class patrol boats. Details suggest that the first of the new class of submarines could enter service in 2025 and the first of the new patrol boat class in 2020. Although not specifically mentioned in DCP 2008 -2018, a frigate to replace the eight ANZAC class frigates will probably appear in the next iteration of the DCP expected to be released in 2010.
Indications are that the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) will continue to maintain its current force structure and replace its units at the end of their effective service lives (30 years for submarines and surface combatants and 15 years for patrol boats). This replacement schedule also demonstrates the Australian Government ‘s support to the Australian Shipbuilding industry in its efforts to maintain at least two major shipbuilding yards in order to domestically produce its own submarines and major surface units.
As an example, with the completion of the six Collins class submarines and through life support, ASC was able to remain open and will now build the three A WDs through 2014 as well as providing through-life support, ASC believes that through life support for the Collins submarines and the A WDs will carry the yard through until the new submarine program begins construction around 2018.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said with Tenix in Williamstown. Following the delivery of the last ANZAC in 2006 and now with just the partial construction and through life support for the LHDs, it will be difficult for the yard to remain viable until a new surface combatant begins (likely 2020). The decision on indigenous builds for the A WO and LHD programs indicate that Australia is determined in keeping its naval shipbuilding industry employed at or near current levels. This level of activity seemed unimaginable a few years ago. Whoever was the architect of this plan should be applauded!
UNITED KINGDOM – Project Team Established for Future SSBN
In early June 2007, AMI received information that the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense (MoD) had established a project team to develop the concept design for a new class of Nuclear-Powered Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN) as well as co-ordinate associated work for the successor nuclear deterrence (missiles).
The establishment of the project team follows the 14 March House of Commons vote that endorsed the government’s plans to retain and renew the country’s strategic nuclear deterrent. Simply put, to replace the Royal Navy’s (RN) four Vanguard class SSBNs that were commissioned from 1993 through 1999. In addition, the project also includes the successor missile, which is currently envisioned as the US Navy’s Trident 0-5 with its life extension program.
Established on 30 April 2007, the Future Submarine Integrated Project Team was formed within the MoD Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organization’s Nuclear Submarine Cluster. The team that is expected to deliver the future nuclear deterrent is currently lead by Director General Submarines, Rear Admiral Andrew Matthews. The mission of the team is to coordinate and deliver a politically acceptable, affordable and assured system for continued deterrence. Initial gate approval is currently scheduled for late 2007. The first replacement SSBN is due to enter service with the RN in 2024. A decision is pending on whether the existing four-unit Vanguard class will be replaced on a one-for-one basis or if a three-unit force could maintain a continuous at sea deterrence.
Perhaps some synergies could be gained by a joint US-UK Future SSBN design effort in that the USN is also beginning to consider the replacements of its own Trident SSBNs.
CHINA – SSBN Program Moving Forward
According to the Pentagon’s China military report of May 2007, the People’s Liberation Anny-Navy (PLAN) has surprised the West once again by the pace of development of the Type-094 (Jin class) SSBN.
AMI International reported the development of the Jin class since its inception as follow-on to the Xia class (Type-092) SSBN. The first unit of the Jin class launched in 2004 and commissioned in 2006. It is continuing sea trials and is expected to be fully operational by 2008. The Jin class SSBN is to be equipped with the longer-range JL-2 submerged launched ballistic missile as opposed to the much shorter range JL-1 s of the Xia class. The JL-2 gives the Type 094 an effective strike range of 8,000 km (4,320 miles) with a total of 80 warheads on sixteen missiles per unit (5 warheads per missile).
AMI anticipates a total of six units of the Type-094 will be built vice the five stated in the Pentagon report. By the time the last unit is completed around 2016, the single Xia SSBN will be beyond its service life and will be decommissioned.
Additionally, it is likely that some of the new SSBNs will be stationed at a base on Hainan island that is currently under construction. This will allow the submarines easier passage to the open ocean without traveling through choke points, and therefore making them harder to detect and track.
The Type-094 provides the PLAN with a very credible nuclear deterrent as welt as a potential first strike capability. Details regarding the JL-2 follow:
Various Did You Know?
GERMANY-On 02 May 2007, the German Navy took delivery of the fourth Type 212A class submarine (U 34) in Eckernforde, Germany.
UNITED KINGDOM -On 08 June 2007, the first Astute class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) was launched at BAE Systems Shipyard in Barrow.
SOUTH KOREA -On 13 June 2007, the second Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) Type 214 class submarine (JEONGJI) was launched at Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHn Shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea.
UNITED STATES-On 23 June 2007, the USS MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL (SSN-708) was decommissioned at Norfolk, Virginia.
From the July 2007 Issue
Expanding Export Opportunities in the Submarine Market
Press releases in June 2007 by Russia’s arms export agency, Rosoboronexport, indicate that Russian-designed submarines may once again be gaining popularity on the international market. Reporting by Rosoboronexport indicates that up to 40 submarines could be exported through 2015, making Russia the largest exporter of submarines in the world over the next decade.
With the end of the Soviet Union in 1990; so went the Russian submarine export market only maintaining historical strongholds in China, India and the Russian Navy itself. However, since 2002, it appears that the latest Russian submarine designs may have again gained popularity on the international market. The mainstays appear to be the Kilo 636 and Amur designs with at least 33 units either delivered, ordered or being negotiated since 2005. The orders and prospective candidates that are known by AMI include the following:
• Eight Kilo 636s ordered by China in 2002, six delivered with the final two in 2007.
• Two Kilo 636s ordered by Algeria in 2006.
• Two Kilo 636s being negotiated with Libya as of mid-2007.
• Five Kilo 636s and four Amurs being negotiated with Venezuela as of mid-2007
• Four Kilo 636s and two Amurs being negotiated with Indonesia as of mid-2007.
• Six Amurs (with VLS) being considered by India.
Russia may also be considering prospects in Iran and Bangladesh.
The recent upswing in exports may be the sorely needed injection that is required to revive the Russian shipbuilding industry. Relatively idle for the past 15 years, only three major naval units have been delivered to the Russian Navy over the past decade, one Borey class SSBN, one Akula class SSN and one Saint Petersburg class SS (Amur is the export version). Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, the shipbuilding industry in Russia has suffered catastrophic losses with a workload that is now non-existant due to critical funding shortfalls in the Russian Navy. Although the Russian sea service has plans for carriers, frigates, corvettes and amphibious ships; it appears that all are progressing extremely slowly due to funding shortfalls with the only program showing appreciable forward momentum being the high priority Borey class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine.
A spike in international submarine work is probably just what the doctor ordered for the Russian shipbuilding industry, more specifically in order to maintain its submarine design and constrution capabilities. Surface ship construction is another story with only Sovremenny class cruisers being built for China with several small surface combatants under construction for the Russian Navy as well as the Gephard class corvette for Vietnam.
PAKISTAN – Submarine Selection in 2008
In late June 2007, AMI received information that DCNS would offer the Scorpene class submarine to Pakistan as its candidate for the Pakistani Navy’s (PN) Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) Submarine project. DCNS (formerly DCN) originally offered a new Marlin design (based on the Scorpene) to Pakistan in 2006. However, the French Commission on Exports (interminsterielle pour l’Etude des Exportations de Materiels de Guerre) objected to the sale.
Early indications are that the French Exports Commission will not object to the export of the Scorpene design, which was also sold to Pakistan’s neighbor, India. Industry sources indicate that Pakistan has requested DCNS to officially submit its design in order to move the program forward in what appears to be a two-candidate race, the Scorpene and ThyssenKrupp’s Type 214 design.
Pakistan hopes to move the program along and has expressed an interest in announcing a winner by the end of 2007 although 2008 looks more realistic. Regardless of which design is chosen, Pakistan wants to get the estimated €I. I B (US$ l .5B) program underway as soon as possible as the last Agosta 908 has already departed the building ways at Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW) and additional work is needed in order to keep the shipbuilding base intact. Additionally, the sea service desperately wants to replace the two Hashmat class submarines that have been in service since the late 1970s as well as increase the overall size of its Submarine Force as a counter to India, which is also expanding its Submarine Force.
The AIP Submarine project calls for the delivery of three submarines with the first unit entering service in 2013. All three of the submarines will be built at KSEW with highly technical components being provided by the designer.
Politically, it is most likely that India will protest to DCNS if the Scorpene design is chosen by Pakistan. However, the fact remains that France has supplied submarine designs and construction assistance to Pakistan and India; the Agosta 90B to Pakistan of which the last unit will commission by the end of 2007 and in 2006 the Scorpene design to India of which the first Indian-built unit is already under construction at Mazagon Dock in India.
From the August 2007 Issue
Upgrades for the Submarine Force
In early August 2007, the United States (US) Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified Congress of a potential Foreign Military Sale (FMS) of six Integrated Combat Systems (ICS) for Brazilian submarines along with other related equipment. The total value of the potential sale is estimated to be around US$58M.
The Brazilian Government has requested the sale of five ICSs for the five submarines currently in service with the Brazilian Navy (BN) as well as one ICS for a shorebased training facility. The BN currently operates one Tikuna class submarine (commissioned in 2006) and four Tupi class submarines (commissioned between 1989 and 1999). The ICS is Lockheed Martin’s fire control and weapons control suite for the Mk-48 Advanced Technology (AT) torpedo, of which the BN procured 30 units under a separate US$60M contract in 2006.
Other equipment requested by the Brazilian Government include software and systems integration for interface with the Mk-48 AT torpedoes, weapon system software, support equipment, spare and repair parts, publications and technical data, training, contractor engineering and technical support services, and other logistics support.
A final agreement is anticipated by the end of 2007 with delivery of the ICS units taking place by mid-to-late 2008. The sale of the Mk 48 torpedoes and ICS will upgrade existing inventories and improve overall Brazilian anti-submarine (ASW) and anti-surface warfare (ASuW) capabilities to confront future coalition challenges as well as maintaining a regional military balance.
Various Did You Know? MALAYSIA -On 24 July 2007, the fore and aft sections of the second Royal Malaysian navy (RMN) Scorpene class submarine were joined at Navantia ‘s Cartagena shipyard in Spain.
From the September 2007 Issue
INDIA -Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (SDVs) for Submarine Fleet
In late August 2007, AMI received information that the Indian Navy (IN) was moving forward with plans to acquire four Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (SDVs) under a US$320M program. In July, the IN sent Requests for Proposal (RfP) to the privately owned yard Larsen & Toubro, which designed and tested the new midget submarine in 2006.
The SDVs are around 9 meters (29.Sft) long with a diameter of 1.5 meters (4.9ft) and able to carry up to 250 kilograms (500lbs) of explosive charges. The vehicles will be primarily used for the transport of personnel and equipment from a mother ship to attack targets such as ships at anchor and coastal installations as well as the ability to conduct covert surveillance and attack operations in shallow water. The IN has also levied the requirement that the SDVs be able to operate from its entire fleet of submarines which will consist of the French/Spanish designed Scorpene, the German designed Type 209s and the Russian designed Kilos.
AMIs sources indicate that the internal components and electronic systems for the SDVs will probably be provided by Atlas Elektronik and Zeiss of Germany as well as several Italian compa~ nies (possibly Selex and COSMOS).
With the release of the RfP in July 2007, a construction contract could be in place by 2009 with the first unit beginning construction in 20 I 0. All four units are scheduled to be completed five years after the date of contract around 2014.
INDONESIA-Deal Signed for Two Russian Submarines
In early September 2007, AMI received information that Indonesia had finalized a US$ l .2B deal with Russia for the procurement of Russian military systems. The package includes the purchase of 22 helicopters, 20 tanks and two submarines that will be financed through an export credit offer. Circles within Indonesia have previously stated that the financing method offered by Russia ( 15 year loan at 5.6% interest) was the best available and helped lead to the decision to buy Russian. The September 2007 agreement follows Indonesia’s October 2006 announcement to pursue the Russian solution.
In regard to the submarines, the agreement is for the procurement of two Kilo 636 class submarines immediately with options for up to eight additional units over the next fifteen years. The optional units will consist of six additional Kilo 636 and two units of the Amur class for a total procurement of ten units over the long-term. Although the first two Kilos were procured through a credit offer, it is uncertain how the eight follow-on units will be financed. AMI believes that the additional units may also be procured through the same type of arrangements. The Russian Government will probably favor the financing initiatives in order to help the Russian submarine export market. Submarine exports are Russia’s strongest suite and extremely important to Russian shipyards.
With a construction contract now in place, both units could be delivered to Indonesia by 20 l 0. The time line for follow-on units will depend on how flexible Russia is in regards to pricing and financing negotiations. As mentioned earlier, AMI believes that Russia’s submarine export market is crucial to the shipbuilding industry and Russia may try to finalize the options portion of the contract as soon as possible to keep the submarine line open.
From Indonesia’s perspective, the nation has made it clear over the past several years that it intends on developing several supply chains in order to reduce any future risk due to military embargoes. Under this new policy, South Korea is providing the IN amphibious vessels, the Dutch are providing new corvettes and Russia the future Submarine Force.
RUSSIA-New Submarine Being Developed
In late September 2007, AMI received information that Russia was possibly developing a new type of submarine that can patrol longer than the existing diesel submarines currently in service with the Russian Navy (Rosiyskiy Voennomorsky Flot-RVF). The internet posting where the infonnation was received has since been tenninated, indicating that the infonnation may have been released inadvertently. The posting made mention of Project 20120 along with vague design characteristics, which indicates that the submarine may be similar to the Kilo design. Related information indicates that the city of Sarov official website posted information that the commander of the submarine SAROV had visited the city and quoted the submarine commander as saying “the Chief Commander of the Navy has set the task of finishing work by the end of the year” indicating that the project may be well underway with completion scheduled for December. According to the online posting, SAROV was still at the shipyard in Severodvinsk.
According to the information received, it appears that Project 20120 (SAROV) is similar in design to the Kilo class of submarines (Project 877) with the exception that SAROV displaces approxi-mately 3950 tons versus 3000 tons of the Kilo class. There has also been speculation that Project 20120 is a diesel submarine with a small nuclear reactor as a backup energy sources. However, AMI is skeptical of this and believes that the submarine could possibly be Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) capable vice diesel-nuclear even though the former USSR has in the past experimented with diesel submarines with nuclear backups.
It must be noted that Russia is involved in the development of AIP technologies with Fincantieri of Italy in the joint development of the SIOOO submarine design. Russia’s Rubin Design Bureau has also developed a liquid oxygen and hydrogen fuel cell A.IP system as an option for its latest Kilo models and is available for export.
Ifin fact the submarine in question has a nuclear reactor, it could be for one of two reasons. The first is that institutional politics could be at play with research being conducted even though there is not much utility for this type of power plant arrangement in the naval arena. Even though the USSR dissolved in 1990, there still appear to be many programs that continue to be funded due to purely political reasons rather than making any fiscal sense. Secondly, it is possible that the diesel-nuclear arrangement could be for commercial use, which Russia has utilized in the past.
It is AMI’s assessment that if this submarine is for naval use, it is more likely an AIP submarine vice a diesel submarine with a nuclear back up. Reporting has indicated that Project 20120 will be capable of remaining underwater for approximately 20 days vice the 4-5 days of conventional diesel submarines, which is indicative of most AIP submarines that are already on the market. Furthermore, constructing an AIP submarine would allow Russia to capitalize on its presence in the diesel submarine export market and allow for Russia to replace the aging Kilo class submarine design as its primary export.
INDIA-Subsurface Version ofBrahMos Ready for Submarine Testing
In mid-September 2007, AMI sources provided additional information regarding the press reports discussing India’s development of a submarine launched BrahMos missile.
Earlier in the year, India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO), along with Larsen and Toubro, succeeded in launching a submerged missile canister utilizing Nife Life underwa-ter batteries. Indian sources have indicated that the canister launched could have two possible uses; the first being for the Dhanush, solid-fueled missile and the second for the BrahMos missile.
Early indications are that the canister will first be fitted with the Dhanush missile and fired from the Akula class submarine that will be leased from Russia early in 2008 and the missile being launched from the torpedo tubes. Later, when India receives its first A TV or another suitable vertical launch (VL) capable platform, the canister will be used for the BrahMos missile that has been confirmed by industry sources to be VL only in its sub-surface configuration.
Prior to outfitting either the A TV or another VL capable platform, multiple tests will need to be performed on the sub-launched BrahMos. These tests will likely be conducted from either a sub-surface platform (as was the canister test) or from a suitable Russian submarine as there are no VLS capable units currently in Indian naval service. Russian candidates for performing the tests include the OSCAR II and YANKEE Notch SSGNs.
It is likely that the second conventional submarine line, that India is currently receiving bids for, will be the Russian Amur with the hump-back design and ten VL missile tubes as it is probably the only candidate for this program that has VLS tubes. This unit will be suitable for firing the VL BrahMos and will probably be in service much sooner than the A TV, which is continuing to face production and design difficulties.
In any event, multiple tests will need to be conducted on the submarine-launched VL BrahMos and Dhanush prior to a full rate production and in service contract. It can be anticipated that neither missile will reach full rate production until at least 2012 .