Reprinted with permission from AMI HOT NEWS; an internet publication AMI International, PO Box 30, Bremerton, Washington, 98337.
From the October 2007 Issue
CANADA-Victoria Submarine Replacements being Considered
In early October 2007, AMI received information that the Canadian Department of National Defense was on a fact finding mission to see how long it would take to introduce a new construction submarine to replace the trouble-plagued Victoria class. The fact finding comes at a time when the Canadian Navy (CN) finds it increasingly difficult and expensive to maintain the three remaining operational units of the Victoria class (former Royal Navy Upholder class commissioned in the early 1990s) and at a time when the Prime Minister is attempting to bolster the nation’s sovereignty over the Arctic.
Sources indicate that the government has been briefed that it would take six to eight years to build four new submarines following contract signing. Design studies and selection would take at least two years prior to contract signing, indicating that if a decision was made today, a construction contract would occur in 2009 and deliveries would occur between 2015 and 2017.
It has become obvious that the CN is very dissatisfied with the performance of the Victoria class, which were procured for US$897M and have faced many mechanical glitches since commissioning into the CN. In addition, the fourth unit, HMCS CHOCOUTIMI, suffered a fire on its maiden voyage and has been laid up ever since. Now, the CN is facing the expense of an additional US$865M to perform a mid-life modernization effort to keep the three remaining submarines in service until 2025. The US$865M for the mid-life upkeep does not include the ever-growing portion of the maintenance budget that is being eaten up by the Victorias and is having an effect on the remainder of the fleet.
The biggest question now appears to be, does the Canadian Government want to cut its losses now and invest in a new construction vessel that can operate in the Northern waters or stay with the three ailing Victoria class that are less capable and a financial burden for the CN.
The decision on a go or no go for a new construction submarine for the CN probably could not have come at a worse time. The sea service is attempting to get the Joint Support Ship (JSS) Program underway in 2008 as well as planning for a new class of Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessels (AOPS) and the mid-life modernization for the Halifax class frigates. The JSS, AOPS and Halifax modernization have an estimated price tag of around US$5.62B over the next decade. The good news is that the CN has a very proactive proponent with Prime Minister Harper sitting in the Prime Minister’s chair, possibly at very opportune time in history. Prime Minister Harper’s pro-sovereignty stance over the Arctic could end up being very beneficial to the CN when it comes to modernizing and acquiring new vessels for the fleet.
GERMANY-Marketing New Submarine
In September 2007, ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) announced that they would begin offering a new class of submarine for the export market. Announced at the defense show SubCon 2007 in Kiel Germany, the new submarine design will be geared toward navies with small budgets yet have a desire for a subsurface capability.
TKMS’s intention with the Type 210 mod is to be a less expensive direct competitor to the Russian Amur and French SMX-23 submarines and will target navies in South America and Southeast Asia that are looking for low-cost solutions either as an entry level submarine or an alternative to costly overhauls of larger boats.
The Type 210 mod design is an updated version of the Norwegian Ula class. The submarines are considerably smaller and with a less technologically advanced propulsion system than the current Type 212 and Type 214 currently being offered by TKMS on the international market.
The submarine displaces I 000 tons submerged and has a length of 56 meters (183.7 feet), slightly smaller than the Uta class. It will be powered by two Tognum (MTU) 12V 396 diesel engines charging the battery banks that power the quiet Permasyn electric motors.
It will have a 30-day endurance with a 15 to 21-man crew and will be armed with eight 533mm torpedo tubes for 14 heavyweight torpedoes. Mine or missile capability may be installed if requested by the customer at additional cost.
Additional features include:
- Single hull of HY-80 steel
- Small sail for signature reduction
- “X” rudder configuration
- 7 bladed skewback propeller
- Optical periscope, telescoping communications mast and 2-man diving chamber installed in the sail
- Bow, flank and obstacle avoidance sonars
The Type210 mod could become an attractive candidate for most of South America’s navies, which currently operate several different variants of the TKMS Type 209 or countries such as Thailand wishing to reenter the submarine market or possibly first time aspirants such as Bangladesh and the Phillippines.
Various Did You Know?
Malaysia-On 23 October 2007, the first Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) Scorpene class submarine was named KO TUNKU ABDUL RAHMAN.
From the November 2007 Issue
THAILAND – Submarine Procurement Plans Surface Again
In late November 2007, AMI received information indicating that the Thai Ministry of Defense is planning for a new weapons procurement package that could cost up to 3008 BHT (US$9.7B) over the next ten years (2009-2019). The request by the Ministry of Defense will be presented to the new government that will take power in late December 2007. Elections will be held on 23 December for a new government to replace the military government (Council for National Security) that has been in power since the overthrow of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on 19 September 2006 in a bloodless coup.
In addition to the procurement package, the Ministry will also submit its annual military budgets for 2009 through 2011. With the military running the government throughout 2007, the Defense Ministry did receive a significant increase in the 2008 budget totaling US$4.5B up from US$2.6B in 2007. From 2009 through 2011, the proposed budgets will stabilize at around ISO.SB BHT (US$4.8B) for 2009, 150.9B BHT (US$4.8B) for 2010 and 148.1 BHT (US$4.7B) for 2011.
In regards to the new procurement package, the priority for the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) appears to be for the acquisition of a submarine capability. Recent comments from the Navy’s Commander-in-Chief, Admiral Sathiraphan Keyanon, continue to confirm the nation’s concern about the growing submarine capabilities in the region. China’s historic and growing submarine threat in addition to the recent acquisitions by Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore have only heightened the concern of the Navy leadership.
Although there has been a general concern over the past decade regarding the submarine threat, there has been little movement in the way of procuring a Submarine Force for the RTN, although there have been various attempts since 1995. A US$800M submarine program that began in 1995 with the issuance of international tenders ended with the project being cancelled by 1996. Follow-up defense budget submissions from 1996 through 1999 all but eliminated any funding for an undersea service. By 2000, the RTN was again considering a submarine program and began investigating the used market when in reality funding was never available for such an endeavor.
When Mega Project was announced in 2005, AMI questioned the time line and the aggressiveness of the RTN plan to re capitalize its fleet even considering the support of the Prime Minister. One must now question the Defense Ministry’s plans to submit various budget proposals to a new civilian government that has yet to be elected or formed.
In reality, a 10-year US$9.7B procurement plan in conjunction with three successive defense budgets for 2009, 2010 and 2011 that are approximately 100% higher than the pre-coup defense budgets must be questioned. These plans are extremely aggressive and could be a pressure tactic by the military prior to the new civilian government entering office. Planning on the idea that a new government would pass such high budget requests at its outset must be considered risky. AMI believes that, like in the past, the RTN will have a difficult time procuring submarines under these new political conditions.
AMI believes that if the RTN is to begin a submarine program in the near term, it will have to be a top priority not only within the RTN, but at the highest levels of the Defense Ministry and the newly formed government if it intends to get full funding to get the program off the ground. If the RTN is successful in attaining full funding under these new political realities, it will, like in its past endeavors, issue an international tender to international submarine builders including ThyssenKrupp, Fincantieri, Rubin Design Bureau, Navantia, DCNS and the China State Shipbuilding Corporation.
UNITED ST ATES
2008 Shipbuilding Funds Increase
On 13 November 2007, President Bush approved the US$471B defense-spending bill (2008 Defense Appropriations Act) that had been passed by both the US House and Senate. Of this amount, the US Congress appropriated US$13.7B for the construction of five ships in 2008. This is an increase of approximately US$2B over the Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 Shipbuilding & Conversion Navy (SCN) budget.
The five new vessels authorized in FY 2008 include one Virginia class submarine, one DOG-1000 Zumwalt class destroyer, one CVN21 class aircraft carrier, one San Antonio class amphibious transport ship (LPD), and one LHA-6 class amphibious assault ship (LHA). The bill adds additional funding so the USN can begin long-lead procurement on five additional vessels. Long-lead funds are for one Virginia class submarine, one San Antonio class LPD, and three Lewis & Clark class cargo ships (T-AKE). The increase in 2008 seems to be the beginning of Representative John Murtha’s pledge to increase USN shipbui I ding to I 0 ships per year over the five-year period 2009-2014.
Considering the increase in the 2008 budget, it now appears that Congress and the USN may finally be on the same wavelength when considering the inadequate funding levels of the past; although there is still some disagreement as evidenced in the case of the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). The 2008 budget sets aside additional funding for advanced procurements although notably missing from the budget is funding for additional LCS units in FY 2008. Only US$339M has been allocated in the latest budget for the LCS program. This funding will be used to complete construction of the first two LCS units. Lawmakers stated that in order to receive future funding for the program, the USN must down-select to one design by the end of 2009. Once a selection is made, the Navy must open bidding for LCS construction to multiple shipyards for fixed-price contracts, at which time AMI expects Congress will again begin funding multiple platforms each year until the USN reaches its goal of 55 units.
Although it appears that there is some agreement on increasing the SCN budget in the near-term for future procurement; one must wonder how long this drive can be sustained. The question must be asked as to whether any future SCN funding will eventually be utilized for the current forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, and other areas in support of the war on terrorism. The operational tempo of these units has been significantly increased over the past 5 years and will begin to translate into a need for high funding levels to replace, repair, and or modernize both naval and naval aviation units in the USN. The need for this funding may, at some point, begin to cut into the SCN budget.
Three Bidders in New Type Submarine Program
On 12 November 2007, the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defense Industry (SSM) announced that it had down-selected to the three final candidates in the case of the New Type Submarine Program. France’s DCNS, Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine (HowaldtswerkeDeutsche Werft – HDW) and Spain’s Navantia were listed as the finalists, with Fincantieri and Lockheed Martin excluded from the short-list. The announcement follows the Request for Proposal (RfP) that was issued on 28 December 2006 with a closing date of May 2007.
With the down selection now complete, the SSM will further evaluate the three proposals with a preferred bidder being announced sometime in 2008. A construction contract could be in place by 2009 as the Turkish Navy has a requirement for all six submarines to be in service by 2016.
Turkey, which has historically utilized German solutions for its Submarine Force, will build all six submarines at the Golcuck Naval Shipyard with maximum use of existing in-country industrial means and capabilities. The winner is expected to team with local vendors with experience in command and control software to work with the combat system integrator on the development and installation of the Integrated Underwater Command Control System (JUCCS). The winner is also expected to assist the local sub-contractor in building up the necessary capability for maintenance, repairs, development, modification of the IUCCS through the life cycle of the vessel.
Due to Germany’s historical ties as suppliers to Turkey’s Submarine Force, ThyssenKrupp Marine must be considered the front-runner in this competition. However, if DCNS or Navantia offer a better pricing and/or teaming arrangement with local Turkish companies, it may be possible to unseat Germany as Turkey’s premier submarine supplier.
2008 Budget Growth to Support Naval Programs
In late October 2007, AMI received information that the Italian Ministry of Defense (MoD) is planning to begin the procurement of several major Italian Navy (IN) programs. The planned 2008 budget totals €15.22B (US$22.3B) and is now awaiting parliamentary approval, which is expected in January 2008. This amount equates to an increase of 5.4 per cent over the 2007 budget with nearly an 11 per cent increase in procurement.
Specifically, defense officials have stated their intention to fund the procurement of two additional Type 212 submarines, which will cost €915M (US$ 1.34B). Additionally,€ 10M (US$14.2M) will be allocated to begin a nearly €400M (US$586.6M) program for the replacement of the IN’s aging Atlantic maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) by 2016. Currently, no replacement has been selected but since the TN withdrew from the US Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft (MMA) program, the leading contender seems to be the Aerospatiale ATR-72.
In addition to the programs specifically listed in the spending document, the MoD refers to other acquisitions outside the defense budget that include four additional New Generation Frigates (FREMM – destroyers). No specific numbers were stated, but the cost per unit of the first two vessels is estimated at around US$670M each.
The current budget proposal is certainly a step in the right direction while still staying within the European Union (EU) guidelines of defense spending (1 per cent of GDP) equating to about .95 per cent of GDP. However, as mentioned earlier, other programs such as the FREMM destroyers will need to be funded (within or outside of the defense budget) if the sea service intends on getting all ten units that it is currently planning for.
2008 Defense Budget Increases, Will SSN Move Forward?
In late October 2007, the Brazilian government announced that it would be increasing military spending by around US$ 1.5B in 2008. The current defense spending plans calls for a budget of approximately US$5B in 2008, a US$1.5B increase over 2007 spending levels. According Brazilian sources, the budget could increase to as much as US$5.64B. Of the latest budget request, US$1.2B will be allocated to the Brazilian Navy (BN).
Of the allocated US1.2B for the Navy, approximately US$840M is currently slated for completing the development of a nuclear submarine (SNAC-2 Program) by 2013. The discovery of new oil reserves earlier in the year has reinforced the BN’s justification for the nuclear submarine program. Although plans call for 66 per cent of the naval budget to fund the SNAC-2, AMI believes that this number has to be skewed as the rest of the sea service will only receive around US$360M for the year.
In addition, the Brazilian nuclear submarine program has been plagued by delays since its inception and it is hard to imagine investing such a high portion of the naval budget in this fashion when the program continues to face setbacks. First and foremost, the testing of the reactor at the land-based facility is expected to last through at least 2010 and this date must be considered optimistic considering the historical delays in this program. Recent information also suggests that the Brazilians may be considering outside help in the nation’s civil and military nuclear programs.
Earlier in the year, Roberto Unger (head of the Brazilian president’s long-term planning unit) visited India and France for talks on transfers of technology for the enrichment of uranium. The talks ontransfer of technology indicate that Brazil may still be having trouble enriching uranium that would be required for the nuclear submarine propulsion plant.
Although the SNAC-2 Program has been considered “the pride of the nation”, reality suggests that the first SNAC-2 will not be delivered until well after the 2013 date currently anticipated by Brazil. AMI believes that the reactor testing will more than likely stretch beyond 20 I 0 due to technological issues. Once the reactor testing is complete (probably around 2016), the sea service will only then be able to begin thinking about funding the first hull of the SNAC-2. In the near-term, the BN faces more important issues such as the acquisition of replacements for its surface fleet as well as modernizing its five-unit diesel submarine fleet.
From the December 2007 Issue
INDIA-Timeline for Second Submarine Line
In early December 2007, AMI received information concerning the Indian Navy’s (IN) time frame for its second submarine line. Sources indicate that the lN is continuing its preparations to open its second submarine line by ordering a new design of conventionally-powered submarines to supplement the Scorpene class that began construction in 2006.
It appears that India will release an international tender by late 2008 or early 2009 for the new submarine design. Although this tender will be offered to all interested builders, this program is tied to a new submarine that has a vertical launch capability for ballistic or cruise missiles. AMI identifies the second submarine line as the Amur Class Conventionally-Powered Attack/Guided Missile Attack Submarine (SS/SSG) (Project 78).
The project is so referenced due to the IN’s interest in acquiring a platform to further develop the Navy’s land attack capability. The history of the vertical launch missile capability dates back to 2003, when Russia made a formal offer to India for an elongated version of the Amur 950 class submarine. The elongated version has a I 0- cell missile deck that can deploy the joint (Indian/Russian) produced BrahMos missile, which currently is produced in the anti-ship (ASM) variant and being modified to perform land attack missions. The elongated Amur 950 was offered as the only foreign design available for the IN that has the capability to launch the BrahMos missile.
AMI’s sources in early 2005 indicated that the Amur would more than likely be selected for Project 78 with sections being built at Larsen and Toubro at Hazira and Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL) in Mumbai with final assembly at Vishakapatnam Naval Dockyard (VND).
Following the Scorpene deal in October 2005, the IN was ready to move forward on Project 78. However, by March 2007, AMI sources indicated that the IN would be required to open its second submarine line to an international tender. Even though the Amur 950 deal was expected to be sealed under a Russian/Indian government to-government deal, the new Defense Procurement Procedures (OPP) enacted in 2006 stated that all future equipment purchases would be through a multi-bid mode (open competition) unless there are exceptional circumstances preventing such a bid. Project 78 now falls under these new rules requiring an open bid even though the Amur 950 appears to be the only submarine that meets the requirements of the IN (VL BrahMos shooter).
In the open competition format, we expect other foreign bidders will submit alternatives to the Amur 950 design, including Navantia with the S 80, ThyssenKrupp Marine (HOW) with the Type 214, Armaris with the Scorpene and Italy with its Type 212 or one of its own indigenous designs. It is also known that India requires the foreign supplier to perform a 30% offset requirement just to receive consideration. AMI believes that as long as Indian retains its requirement for vertically-launched BrahMos in this new class, the Amur 950 will be the only qualified design. None of the others will have the capability to fire vertically launched missiles without major design modifications that would surely be more costly as well as time consuming.
Assuming that the international tender is released by late 2008 or early 2009, the IN could make a final design decision by 2010 with construction beginning by 2011 . As mentioned earlier, AMI believes that if the vertical launch capability is still required for this program, then the elongated Amur is more than likely the candidate of choice.
NORWAY – Still Committed to Future Submarine Fleet
In early December 2007, AMI received information that the Royal Norwegian Navy (RNoN) had begun concept studies in regards to its Future Submarine Program. The Future Submarine Program is expected to replace the six Ula class submarines that are currently in service. The Ula class was commissioned from 1989 through 1992 and will remain in service until 2020.
Known as Project 6346, the concept studies being conducted by the Defense Ministry, Defense Logistics Organization and the Defense Research Establishment will outline the requirements for the capability to replace the Ula class with completion expected by the close of 2008. A follow-up detailed definition study will probably start in 2009. If the program moves forward, a construction contract could be in place by 2013 with Requests for Proposals (RfPs) being released by 2012. The first unit will probably enter service by 2017 followed by five additional units through 2022.
Norway, which has no submarine building capability, will have to rely on a foreign builder to satisfy this requirement. Although this program is in the very early stages, Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine would have to be considered the early leader due to Norway’s long-term relationship with Germany in the submarine field. All of Norway’s submarines have been built by Germany. In addition, it appears that Norway’s Kongsberg Defense Aerospace (KDA) has solidified its position in the German submarine market (indigenous and export) by providing the MSI-90U combat management system (CMS) for both the German Type212A and Italian Type212A submarines. A modified variant of the MSI-90U would probably also be selected for Norway’s new submarines.
FRANCE-Barracuda Submarine Program Underway
In late December 2007, AMI received information that the French Barracuda Class Nuclear Submarine Program had officially begun. The first cut ceremony was held at DCNS’s Cherbourg yard on 19 December. The first unit of the class, SUFFREN, will be commissioned in 2016. The entire class will consist of six units that will enter service through 2027.
On 23 December 2006, the Delegation Generale pour I’Armement (DGA) announced that it had awarded a construction contract for six units of the Barracuda class to DCNS. The second unit of the class, DUGUAY-TROUIN, will probably begin construction in 2009. The Barracuda class will replace the six Rubis Amethyste class that were commissioned from 1983 through 1993.
DCNS Cherbourg is responsible for production engineering and contracting arrangements, pressure hull construction, equipment and system integration and outfitting. Other DCNS facilities involved in the program include the propulsion business unit at Nantes-lndret, naval equipment unit at Ruelle and the security and information systems division at Toulon-Le Mourillon.
DID YOU KNOW?
JAPAN – On 14 December 2007, the first Improved Oyashio class submarine for the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), SS 502, was launched at Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ Kobe shipyard in Japan.