Reprinted with permission from AMI HOT NEWS; an internet publication AMI international, PO Box 30, Bremerton, Washington, 98337.
From the March 2007 Issue
INDIA -Second Submarine Line Opened for Competition
In early March 2007, AMI sources indicated that the Indian Navy (IN) would open its second submarine line to International Tender. What was believed to have been a sure bet for the Russian Amur 950, now appears that the second line will be an open bid due to the new 2006 Defense Procurement Procedures (OPP). The new OPP states that all future equipment purchases will be through a multi-bid mode unless there are exceptional circumstances preventing such a bid.
The first submarine line in India consists of the six Scorpene submarines ordered from France in October 2006, which was approved before the new rules were implemented. In regards to the second submarine line, the Russians have been pushing the Amur 950 design with ten VLS missile cells for the past several years and it appeared that Russia, partnered with Larsen and Turbo Ltd, would ultimately win the contract for the second line of submarines to be built in India. However, it now appears that the new OPP will force the new submarine program to an open competition with major builders contending for the program. Although there is currently no firm time line on the second submarine line, more than likely it will follow the usual flow for new naval programs including the release of a Request for Information (Rfl), followed by the Request for Proposals (RfP), then short-listing, final selection, price negotiations and lastly the final order. Since India has just begun its Scorpene program, an Rtl will not be released until around 2008 or 2009. An RfP will probably follow several years later with a construction contract for the first unit around 2012.
Russia’s Amur 950 design will surely be joined by other foreign bidders including Navantia with the S 80, HDW with the Type 2 I 4, Armaris with the Scorpene/Marlin and Fincantieri with its Type 212 or one of its own indigenous designs. It is also known that the foreign supplier will have to perform a 30% offset requirement just to get a foot in the door.
Growing Submarine Force?
In early March 2007, AMI received information that the Venezuelan Navy -Armada de Venezuela (ADV) announced its intention to spend US$3B for nine conventional submarines which would propel them to the forefront of fleet submarine size in Latin America. The ADV would use the submarines to protect its interests in its exclusive economic zones (EEZ), of which Venezuela views a large portion of the Caribbean Sea as falling under its zone. Additionally, sources indicate this could be in preparation for what is called an asymmetrical conflict with the US. Venezuelan ambassador to Washington, Bernardo Alvarez stated that Venezuela was “contemplating the need to defend itself against the world’s lone superpower, a nation with vastly greater military resources.” He also added, “We have simply been trying to upgrade our military equipment and maintain our defense while preserving balance in the hemisphere.
The ADV had originally planned to modernize the Submarine Force with the procurement of up to four new submarines. This was clearly spelled out in the Naval Medium Term Plan of 2005 (I 0-year plan). The plan calls for two new submarines completed in the near term (around 20 I 0) to supplement the two Sabalo class currently in service, and two at a later date to replace the existing Sabalos. This is the first time that Venezuela indicated a desire to have a 9-unit Submarine Force.
There is no doubt that the ADV is looking to replace its current force and expand it to around four units. However, it win be extremely difficult for the sea service to expand and operate a 9-unit force without a massive influx of submarine-trained personnel and the facilities to support such a force. AMI believes that the most recent information is attributed to Venezuela’s recent bellicose behavior towards the US rather than any serious intention to operate a 9-unit Submarine Force.
Regardless of the numbers actually built, the ADV will still need to address its submarine requirements in the near term. The new submarines would likely be in the 1750 ton range and the ADV is currently considering bids including Germany with the Type 209/214. The French/Spanish Scorpene and the Russian Kilo/Amur. Venezuela already has US$3.4B worth of contracts with Russia involving assault rifles, fighter aircraft and helicopters with the future hopes of purchasing Russian built air-defense systems such as the Tor-MI. Given their recent business relations, Russia seems the likely lead candidate. Germany and France/Spain may be apprehensive to negotiate a submarine deal with Venezuela for concerns of political pressure from the US.
Thumbs Up on Nuclear Deterrent Vote
On 14 March 2007, the members of the UK Parliament voted to endorse the UK Ministry of Defense (MoD) white paper entitled The Future of the United Kingdom’s Nuclear Deterrent. This white paper, issued in December 2006, made clear that the MoD intends to maintain Britain’s nuclear deterrent beyond 2020. The endorsement to renew the UK’s nuclear deterrent is a positive step forward, not only the defense of the United Kingdom, but also for the shipbuilding industry within the UK. The endorsement also shows the UK’s global commitment to maintain a nuclear deterrent capability.
The nuclear deterrent capability equates to a new SSBN that will replace the Vanguard class ballistic missile submarines currently in service. However, the white paper states that the MoD will investigate to see if the requirement can be satisfied with a fleet of only three total submarines, vice four. A decision on the final number of submarines to be procured will be made when more information is available on the detailed design.
Current estimates place the cost of the procurement of four new submarines, along with the associated equipment and infrastructure, at around US$29.48. The majority of the funding for the new submarines is expected to fall between 2012 through 202 7. 0 f note, it is expected that in service support costs between 2020 and 2050 will remain relatively equal to those of the submarines currently in service today.
The first of the Vanguard submarines will begin decommissioning around 2022 followed by a second unit in 2024. It is estimated that it will take approximately 17 years from the initiation of
detailed concepts work until the first operational unit is in service. With those estimates in mind, the MoD will begin initiating detailed concept work on the replacement submarines beginning in 2007. The MoD will likely place a contract for detail design work between 2012 and 2014. The first unit to replace the Vanguard SSBNs should be in service by 2024.
As previously mentioned in the Defence Industrial Strategy (DIS), published in December 2005, the MoD has been urging industry within the UK to consolidate. Only through industrial consolidation does the MoD believe that a new replacement submarine can be delivered on time and at an acceptable cost.
Submarine Rescue Ship Program Underway
On 14 March 2007, Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd (ST Engineering) announced its marine arm; Singapore Technologies Marine Ltd (ST Marine) was awarded a US $400M contract to provide a ship and submarine rescue system as well as maintenance services to the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). The contract will be shared between ST Marine and James Fisher Defence Limited (JFD) of the UK. ST Marine and JFD will set up a joint venture company for the sole purpose of fulfilling this contract.
The contract encompasses two elements. The first is to build and design a fully integrated ship and submarine rescue system and the second is to operate and maintain the system over the next 20 years.
The ship and submarine rescue system includes a Submarine Support and Rescue Vessel (SSRV) and a Submarine Rescue Vehicle (SRV). The SSRV is capable of transporting the SRV and its handling equipment anywhere in the region where its services are required. The design of the complete SSR V system is already underway and construction is expected to start in late 2007. The 20-year services contract will begin when the SSR V and SR V have been integrated into a complete submarine rescue system. AMI believes the SSR V will be constructed in Singapore by ST Marine and the SRV will be built in the UK by JFD.
It should be noted that with the acquisition of this SSR V system, the RSN will have the only submarine rescue capability in the region and could be called upon by neighboring nations who may have need for the SSRv services.
Russian Akula Class Submarines Leased to India
In early February 2007, India and Russia agreed on a five-year deal for the lease of two Russian Akula II class nuclear-powered attack submarines (SSNs) to the Indian Navy (IN). In the making since 2004, the US$350M deal calls for payments of US$70M annually covering the five-year period of the lease.
The first unit, probably the NERPA (K 152), will be delivered to the Visakhapatnam Naval Base in 2007. The second unit (undetermined hull) will probably be delivered in 2008. Sources also indicate that an undisclosed number of Klub sea-skimming cruise missiles were part of the package.
India has been planning for the lease of nuclear-powered submarines from Russia since 2004 as an interim measure until the indigenous-built nuclear-powered attack/guided missile attack (SSN/SSGN) submarines (Advanced Technology Vessel-ATV) start entering service. Continuing delays in the A TV Program (with the first unit likely commissioning around the 2012-2013 timeframe) forced the IN into leasing Russian nuclear-powered submarines in order to maintain a professional group of nuclear trained personnel for the A TV.
The delays in the A TV program and the corresponding loss of nuclear-submarine expertise acquired with the lease of the Charlie I SSGN from Russia (1988-1991) forced the sea service to utilize the Akula as an interim measure for training and operations. Initially, the IN had a core of 150 trained personnel that were with the Charlie 1 Program and transferred to the A TV Program. However, this was more than fifteen years ago and many of these personnel are beginning to retire from the sea service.
Procurement Budget Increases 20% in 2007
In early February 2007, sources indicated that the Russian defense budget would increase to US $348 in 2007, a rise of 23% over 2006 levels. The defense budget will now account for 16% of Russia’s total federal expenditures for the year and 2.63% of the nations Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The procurement portion of the budget will grow to around 20% of the total budget or US$6.8B.
The recent increases in the Russian defense budget can be attributed to the performance of the economy, which continues to grow at around 6. 7% annually and is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. The defense budget increases are sorely needed as the Russian Armed Forces have had a difficult time at best in modernizing its force.
In regards to the Russian Navy, it continues to modernize at a very slow pace commissioning only one Akula class and one Saint Petersburg class submarine as well as several patrol boats over the past decade, a far cry from the former Soviet days. Other programs such as the Borey class SSBN, Yasen class SSN, Steregushchly class frigates and Skorpion class fast attack craft (F AC) continue to languish due to a lack of procurement funding.
Although on the outside the budget increase seems significant, the relative state of the Russian Armed Forces and in particular the Russian Navy, the increases will do very little in regards to modernizing the force. Unfortunately for the Russian sea service, it will have to continue operating its current fleet with replacement units being far and few.
DID YOU KNOW?
South Africa -On 14 March 2007, the second Type 209 (S 102) submarine SAS CHARLOTTE MAXEKE was commissioned into the South African Navy.
Greece -On 26 February 2007, the second Greek Type 214 submarine was launched at Hellenic Shipyards in Greece.
Malaysia -On 14 March 2007, the fore and aft sections of the first Royal Malaysian Navy Scorpene submarine were joined at a ceremony in Cherbourg, France.
FROM THE APRIL 2007 ISSUE
New Indigenous Submarine Enters Service
In mid-April 2007, the Iranian Navy (IN) announced that the first of a new class of submarine had successfully surpassed over 700 hours of operational testing and was commissioned into the Iranian fleet.
The new submarine is approximately 21.9 meters (72ft) in length, displaces around l 00 tons and is manned by a crew of four. Although relatively small, the submarine is multi-purpose and is able to perform attack missions as well as a support vessel for special forces. Two bow tubes and its small size suggest that the submarine will probably have a weapons load-out of only two total weapons; either torpedoes, SHKV AL rockets or anti-ship missiles (ASMs).
Supporting special forces missions, the submarine is probably able to lock out swimmers through the sail with the special forces support package being contained outside of the hull in a cylinder forward of the sail. Following launch in 2006, the submarine participated in the Great Prophet exercise in 2006 although it is not known what role it played as no torpedoes were fired from any Iranian submarine during the exercise.
The small size makes it an ideal weapon for use in the shallow and restricted waters of the Straits of Hormuz as well as in the Arabian Gulf. It is likely that the IN will build up to 5 additional units fo the class now that sea trials have proven successful.
The new submarine is the second indigenous design unveiled by Iran in the past year. Assuming that Iran proceeds forward with both classes, the Iranian Navy could have a force of up to 12 mini-submarines in service over the next few years.
DID YOU KNOW?
On 15 April 2007, the first Borey class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN), RS YURI DOLGORUKY, was launched from the Sevmash shipyard in Russia.
FROM THE MAY 2007 ISSUE
INDIA -4th Kilo Submarine Completes Upgrade
On 10 May 2007, the fourth Indian kilo class submarine to be upgraded by Russia, INS SINDHUVIJA Y, was handed over to the Indian Navy (IN). The upgrade on the 2,300 ton submarine was conducted at the Zvyozdochka Nuclear Submarine Repair Yard in Severodvinsk.
Specifics on the modernization include the installation of the Indian made USHUS sonar suite and CCS-MK integrated communications system (ICS). In addition, hull maintenance was performed as well as replacement of the submarines batteries. The most substantial improvement in terms of capabilities was the upgrade of the combat systems including the ability to fire the Klub-S cruise missile.
The five remaining units of the Kilo class still requiring the mid-life modernization program will also receive the Klub-S giving the IN a substantial increase in its anti-surface warfare capability. Of note, when the final unit of the Kilo class was delivered in 2000 (INS SINOHUSHASTRA), it was already equipped with the Klub-S. Assuming the modernization for each unit occurs at mid-life, the remaining units should all receive their upgrades by the end of 2020, or earlier should funds become available sooner.
One question must be asked considering missile developments in India; why go with the Klub-S vice the indigenously produced BrahMos?
Historical and performance information on the Klub-S is as follows:
The 3MS4, Alfa (Klub) anti-ship missile is derived from the S-I 0 Granat or SS-21, which is similar in concept to the US Tomahawk (in its strategic land-attack version). The system in its entirety (including the missile and fire control system) is nick-named the Klub (also rendered Club). The 3M 14E is the export version of the non-nuclear SS-21, using satellite (GLONASS) navigation and a barometric altimeter as guidance for the missile.
Klub was first shown at Abu Dhabi in 1993. It has a range of 200 kilometers ( 112.4 miles) at subsonic speed (220-240m/sec). When within 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) of the expected target position, it fires its warhead towards the target at supersonic speed (about 700m/sec, about 1380kts) to penetrate defenses at an altitude of 5-7 meters ( 16-22 feet). The warhead weight is 200 kilograms (440 pounds). The terminal stage may make evasive maneuvers as it approaches the target. An anti-ship weapon based on the non-nuclear version of the basic Granat has been offered for export as the 3M 54E 1.
Klub, as the complete system, embraces at least four different missiles: Klub-N for surface ships and Klub-S for submarines, within each of which are both the 3M54E cruise missile and the 91RE1 anti-submarine missile. The use of a single system name for both missiles suggests that they use common interfaces to a single fire control system, and even that both may be launched from the same tube or tubes-presumably both standard torpedo tubes and vertical launchers for surface ships. The fire control systems are, respectively, 3R14N-l I 356 (for the Project 11356 improved Krivak class frigate) and 3R-14PE; the surface ship launcher is 3Sl4NE (due to confusion between Cyrillic and Roman letters, the R in the fire control system may be a P).
India became the first export customers for Klub, for both Kilo class submarines and for the new Talwar class frigates (modificed Krivak, Project 1135.6, with vertical launchers). The submarine system was installed on board the Kilo class submarine INS SINDHUVIR during her St. Petersburg refit completed in April 1999, and is on board the new Kilo class submarine INS SINDHUSHASTRA, completed in 2000. Reportedly the modified Krivaks are to be armed with the supersonic 3M54E. Each will be armed with sixteen missiles. According to the Indians, Alfa was chosen in preference to Yakhont and Moskit. Deliveries of 3M54E to India began in September 2000. The final test launch (two successes) occurred in the Baltic, with Indian naval officers present, in June 2000. The vertically-launched surface ship version was tested on board the new Russian-built Indian frigates in 200 l, before they left the Baltic for India.
Talks with Russia-Debt Relief for Acquisitions
In mid-May 2007, AM I International learned that a Libyan military delegation was in Moscow to discuss the purchase of up to US$2.2B worth of Russian weaponry, platforms, systems and training. These discussions were based on the objective to forgive the Soviet Union debt to Libya that is reportedly between US 1.728 and US$4.4B.
In particular, should an agreement be reached, Libya will replace its two aging Foxtrot class submarines with two units of the Russian Kilo (Project 636) class. The new submarines are included in a larger Russian/Libyan defense package that includes S-300 and TOR-MI surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems, SU-30MK2 and MIG-29SMT fighter aircraft, as well as modernization programs for the smaller fast attack craft (FAC) force. The entire arms package is valued at an estimated US$2.2B. Negotiations between Russia and Libya accelerated in 2006 following the completion of a US$7.5B Russian arms deal with Libya’s neighbor, Algeria.
It is expected that the overall arms accord will be approved when President Putin visits Tripoli in late 2007 as Libya attempts to keep pace with the modernization efforts of neighboring Algeria. Assuming that the arms accord is in place by the close of the year, details for the final design and construction of the submarines could be complete by late 2008 or early 2009 with delivery in 2012 for both units.
Libya, now emerging from fifteen years of international economic and arms embargoes, is again moving forward with the modernization of its entire armed forces. It is estimated that Libya will continue to procure defense systems from its traditional suppliers such as Russia, France and Italy when at all possible. Russia, being the historical submarine supplier for the Libyan Navy, appears set to close the submarine deal.
If an agreement on the debt relief is reached, this program will move forward sometime after the Russian President Putin’s visit later in 2007.
Considering the North Atlantic Treaty Organization
In mid-May 2007, AMI received information concerning the possibility of Finland and Sweden joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance. Although just beginning to experiment with the idea of full NATO membership, both nations did announce their intention to join the NATO Response Force (NRF) on 15 April.
Sweden and Finland will join the NRF within the next 12 months. Although joining the NRF does not equate to NATO membership, it does represent a move away from the traditional stance on complete neutrality and one step closer toward military alignment. Both states already have troops under NATO command in Kosovo and Afghanistan and have undertaken military developments over the past decade with NATO compatibility in mind.
For both nations, the idea of joining NATO is seen as the next logical step as both nations are already members of the European Union (EU), and the only remaining Nordic states that are not members of NATO.
Historically, Finland and Sweden have Jong resisted any formal defense ties. Finland since its independence from the Russian Empire in 1917, has historically attempted to remain neutral due to fears of a Russian (then Soviet) response to such an endeavor. Sweden, on the other hand, has remained free of all foreign alliances due to its own self-reliance in the defense arena. How-ever, since the demise of the Soviet Union, the Nordic states regional and geopolitical landscape has altered drastically with little or no major threat now emanating from the East.
It appears that both nations seem to be more willing to join NA TO in order to be part of a regional alliance rather than as a measure against a specific perceived threat. The idea of Finland or Sweden joining the alliance must be considered a huge foreign policy shift and it will most assuredly be debated within both countries for the next several years. Only time will tell if NA TO becomes a reality for these Nordic states.
DML Sold to Babcock
On 10 May 2007, Kellog, Brown and Root (KBR) announced that KBR along with fellow shareholders agreed to sell Devonport Management Limited (DML) to Babcock International Group for US$693.7M. The deal is expected to close in 60 days following approval by Babcock’s shareholders. DML, through its Devonport Royal Dockyard, is the primary yard performing refueling and related maintenance for the Royal Navy’s (RN) nuclear submarine fleet.
KBR divested itself from DML since the company is not core to KBR ‘s strategy of engineering, construction and service offerings to industrial, government and military customers. With the purchase of DML, Babcock is now the primary repair and support group for the RN’s Submarine Force as it also runs the Rosyth and Faslane submarines bases.
Even with the submarine repair and support business in decline, Babcock realized that DML was an attractive investment as DML had already begun to diversify its business lines by purchasing non-submarine activities such as warship support, private yacht design and construction and other heavy equipment maintenance.
The transaction has also been very well received by the British Government and the Ministry of Defense (MoD) as the naval shipbuilding industry continues to consolidate and rationalize itself as envisioned under the latest Defense Industrial Strategy (DIS) of 2005.
VARIOUS DID YOU KNOW?
SINGAPORE-On 07 May 2007, the first Formidable class frigate, RSS FORMIDABLE (hull #68), was commissioned into the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) at the Changi Naval Base in Singapore.
SOUTH AFRICA-On 26 April 2007, the second South African Type 209/1400 submarine arrived in the port of Simons Town, South Africa. The SAS CHARLOTTE MAXEKE was built at ThyssenKrupp’s Norseewerke yard in Emden, Germany and will be commissioned later in the year. The third unit of the class, SAS QUEEN MODJADJI began sea trials in the Baltic Sea.
UNITED KINGDOM-On 08 June 2007, the first Astute class submarine, HMS ASTUTE, will be launched from the BAE Systems shipyard Barrow-in-Furness. ASTUTE will be delivered to the Royal Navy (RN) in August 2008 with commissioning scheduled for January 2009.
INDIA-On 23 May 2007, the first Indian Navy Scorpene class submarine (Project 75) began construction at the Mazagon Dockyard in Mumbai, India.