Reprinted with permission from AMI HOT NEWS; an internet publication of AMI International, PO Box 40, Bremerton. Washington. 98337.
From the June 2009 Issue
GREECE-FREMMs and Submarines Progressing
In mid-June 2009, AMI received information from its Greek source that the Hellenic Navy (HN) continues to make headway on three of its major programs. Specifically, the frigate, Type 214 class submarine and the Type 209 submarine modernization/replacement programs. The updates are as follows:
Type 214 (Katsonis) Class Submarine:
In early June 2009, rumors began to surface regarding the fate of the problem plagued first unit of the class (PAPANKOLIS). Rumors in trade periodicals indicated that the German Navy (GN) would take the submarine because it has been turned down by the HN and that a fourth unit would be built in Greece to replace it. The official position from the Chief of the HN is that the first unit will never be accepted because compared to the other three units, it is now considered old and still has performance problems.
Regarding the GN accepting the submarine, sources close to the HN have stated that the GN will not accept the boat as an operational vessel because it would be the only unit of that type in service and would cause issues with the supply system. A more likely scenario is that the GN may take custody of the submarine to maintain it until it can be sold to a third country.
The rumor of a fourth unit being built in Greece is just that, a rumor. No official word has been given nor has ThyssenKrupp Marine given license to Hellenic Shipyards for the production of a fourth unit. Only time will tell if the class will end with three units, but considering the route being taken with the Type 209s (see below) it is likely that the class will end at three.
As far as the three Greek built units, acceptance of those submarines will be dependent on the results of the sea acceptance trials (SAT) that are scheduled to begin in late August 2009.
C. Type 209/1200 (Poseidon) Class Submarine Modernization/Replacement:
In mid-June 2009, AMI received information from sources close to the HN that Hellenic Shipyards had reimplemented the Mid-Life Modernization (MLM) of the first unit (OKEANOS) after a three year delay. The MLM of unit one should be complete by the end of 2011 at which time unit two (PONTOS) will enter the shipyard for its MLM.
Additionally, on 17 June 2009, GDDIA and ThyssenKrupp Marine signed Amendment 7 to the MLM contract that states the final two units of the class (POSEIDON and AMFRITITI) will not receive the modernization. Instead, two new construction Type 209s will be procured to replace those boats.
The two new construction units will be built with the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system as part of the build. The new unit will likely be built at Hellenic shipyards and will not begin construction until around 2013, after all of the Type 214s have been commissioned.
INDIA – Naval Programs Update, Delays Continue
In May and June 2009, AMI continued to receive information from its source on major Indian Navy (IN) projects. Most of the sea service’s projects continue to face delays suggesting that India’s shipyards are still struggling to build sophisticated ships and submarines in a timely manner. The Akula II submarines and Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier delays also suggest that Russia’s yards face some of the same dilemmas in refitting and delivering vessels on time and on budget. The following is a list of some of the programs:
A. Scorpene Class Submarines: The delivery schedule for the class continues to slip. The first six units of the class were originally expected to begin delivering to the IN by 2012 with all units in service by 2017. The first unit will now be delivered to the sea service no earlier than 2014 with the entire program slipping a minimum of two years.
8. Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV): The latest information suggests that the first A TV is scheduled to be launched on 15 August 2009, one year behind schedule. Commissioning will probably also slip at least one year to 2013. The ATV Program, although continuing to slip, is considered a national priority in India as the country is attempting to round out its a nuclear triad with the sea based leg, similar to other major nuclear powers. When the first unit becomes operational, India will enter the exclusive club of having nuclear power ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs).
C. Akula II Class Submarine Lease: The IN is now expecting the first Russian Akula II nuclear attack submarine NERP A to be delivered by the end of 2009. The NERP A, negotiated under a 10- year US$360M lease, is making final repairs following an accident in Russia earlier in the year. A second unit may also be leased with delivery by 2011. These two submarines will be the stop gap measure for nuclear submarine operations and training until the new Indian-built ATVs begin commissioning sometime in 2013.
Various Did You Know?
Singapore: On 16 June 2009, the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) submarine, RSS ARCHER, was launched at Kockums in Sweden. The ARCHER is the first of two former ex-Vastergotland class submarines procured by the RSN from Sweden.
Portugal: On 18 June 2009, the second of two Tridente (Type 209PN) Class submarines for the Portuguese Navy (PN), NRP ARP AO, was launched at ThyssenKrupp Marine in Kiel, Germany.
From the Julv 2009 Issue
INDIA- Naval Projects Update
Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV): In late July 2009, AMI received information that the IN launched its first Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) from the Vishakapatnam Naval Dockyard (VND), the INS ARIHANT. The launch of the ARIHANT will make Indian the sixth nation to operate nuclear powered submarines and the potential to possess a sea based nuclear strike option. AMI assesses that India will eventually have the capability, but it has yet to fully test and implement sea based ballistic missiles launched from underwater platforms.
The launch of the 6,500 ton submarine closes the long chapter of construction of the INS ARIHANT, of which first steel was cut at Larsen and Toubro’s (L&T) Hazira facility in 1998. AMI’s source indicates that the ARIHANT will be commissioned by 2011, although this timeline could be unrealistic as the submarine has yet to complete any type of trials, including one for the K-15 short range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) (submarine launched variant of BrahMos). The ARIHANT will be powered by an indigenous version of the Russian 80MW VM-4 pressurized water reactor (PWR). The strategic weapons load-out is currently envisioned at 12 vertically launched K-15 SRBMs (700km range), each with a single nuclear warhead. The SRBMs will be launched from four triple-tube launchers located in silos behind the sail.
The 12 SRBMs will be replaced at a later date by four K-X submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) with a 3500km range and employing multiple independent reentry vehicles (MIRVs). The K-X is still in the early stages of development. The four K-X missiles will be launched from the four silos currently containing the triple-tub launchers for the K-15s.
TURKEY – Contract Signed for Six Type 214 Submarines
On 02 July 2009, the Turkish Undersecretariat for Defense Industry (SSM) signed an estimated €2.5B (US$3.52B) contract with ThyssenKrupp Marine (Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft – HDW) and Marine Force International LLP (MFI) for six Type 214 AIP submarines. The contract calls for the delivery of six material packages to Turkey with construction taking place at the Golcuk Naval Shipyard. HDW will preassemble structural and mechanical parts as well as the AIP system in Germany and then ship them to Turkey. The contract also includes an 80% offset agreement, which will primarily be found in technology transfer and local construction agreements.
The contract signing follows the 22 July 2008 announcement that HDW was the preferred supplier. The Type 214 design bested the offers made by DCNS of France and Navantia of Spain. The first unit will enter service in 2015 and begin replacing the Atilay class that was commissioned from 1976 through 1990.
Unlike earlier Type 209/1200s and Type 209/1400s supplied to Turkey, which had very limited Turkish domestic industry involvement, the Type 214 program will include many Turkish companies in a variety of roles:
- Golcuk as the primary builder and integrator
- STM assisting in design and integration
- Havelsan providing the command and control system (foreign candidates being Atlas, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin)
- Koc Savuma Sistemleri providing the torpedo defense system
- Milsoft with the link 11/22 data transfer software
- Tubitak supplying the underwater telephone system and self-noise and other signature measuring systems
The Type 214s will have the traditional German AIP system that employs the polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell technology that was developed jointly by HDW and Siemens AG.
AUSTRALIA- Defence Capability Plan Highlights Near-Term Requirements
In mid-2009, the Department of Defence released the latest Defence Capability Plan (DCP): Public Version 2009. The DCP provides an account of major capital equipment expenditure proposals currently planned for Government consideration (either first or second pass approval) in the period 2009 2013 (the Forward Estimates period). A number of substantial programs identified in the 2009 Defence White Paper, Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030 are not included in this DCP as they will be presented for Government consideration beyond the Forward Estimates period (2014-2019). They are expected to be included in subsequent DCPs.
Highlights for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in the 2009-2013 timeframe include:
- SEA 1000 Phase 1 A and Phase 1 B Collins Class Submarine Replacement: This project seeks to acquire an increased and enhanced submarine capability beyond the Collins class. Future Submarine Concept Design – Year of Decision (YOD) FY 2009-10 to FY2010-11. Phase 18 Preliminary Design YOD FY2011-12 to FY 2012-13.
- SEA 1439 Phase 3.1 Collins Obsolescence Management, Phase 58.2 Collins Continuous Improvement Program and Phase 6 Collins Sonar Replacement. Phase 3.1 intends to replace the existing ship control monitoring and management system for the Collins class, Phase 5B.2 will replace the EW and external communications systems and Phase 6 will upgrade the existing sonar system including signal processors. Phase 3.1 First pass approval FY2010-11 to FY 2011-12 and YOD FY2011-12 to FY2012-13. Phase 5B.2 First pass approval is complete and YOD is FY2011-12 to FY2012-l3. Phase 6 first pass approval FY2009-10 to FY2010-11 and YOD FY2011-12 to FY 2012-13.
UNITED KINGDOM – Delay in Royal Navy SSBN Replacement Program
In early July 2009, AMI received information that the Royal Navy (RN) was delaying its Initial Gate milestone decision on the Vanguard SSBN replacement submarine by one year. Initially, the decision was scheduled for the end of 2009. The decision will now slip to 2010. Initial Gate approval would have provided a green light to move forward with contract awards for a detailed design for the new submarine; it would have also committed the government into spending the initial US$4.98 for the program in 2009.
The delay in the program can be attributed to several reasons. The first is that the Ministry of Defence is facing severe budgetary shortfalls and the SSBN is no exception. Other reasons are political. The first is that there is a growing call in the United Kingdom to disestablish the nation’s nuclear deterrent capability. Secondly, the British government wishes to await the outcome of the five-year review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) that will take place in the United States next year. The conference on the NPT may indicate a reduction in the nuclear threat and hence less justification to replace the Vanguard class, or even the eventual withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the nuclear club.
Two other major question marks at this time are the recently negotiated nuclear arms reduction talks between the US and Russia and the now pending Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that is taking place in the US. Both of these issues will probably affect the US Ohio class submarine replacement program and its missile component, the Trident JI. As mentioned in the previous article, the US and the UK are joined in these two programs as engineering, technical services, concept studies and design of a Common Missile Compartment (CMC) are being conducted for the US and UK.
Perhaps another reason for this delay is to align their program more closely with the US SSBNX and benefit from significant design commonality.
With so many policy unknowns developing over the next several months and the UK budget scenario getting worse, it makes sense for the MoD and the RN to put the brakes on the Vanguard replacement program for one year in order to clarify the future requirements and establish framework for developing the future US and UK SSBN fleets.
INTERNATIONAL-World Missile Developments
Russia: In July 2009, Russia conducted three tests of submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBM), two from Delta IV submarines that are part of the Northern Fleet and one from the DMITRY DONSKOI (Typhoon class) in the White Sea.
Various Did You Know?
France: On 26 June 2009, the first plate for the second Barracuda class submarine was cut at DCNS’ Cherbourg Shipyard.
Russia: On 24 July 2009, the second Yasen (Project 885) class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN), KAZAN, began construction at Sevmash in Russia.
From the August 2009 Issue
AUSTRALIA – Submarine Study Tenders Due on 04 September 2009
On to August 2009, the Defense Material Organization (DMO) announced that it would begin taking tenders for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Domestic Submarine Design Capability Review for SEA 1000. The Request for Tenders (RfT) will close at 12:00 PM Friday 04 September 2009. AMI first announced this opportunity on 12 August 2009 when it released HOT NEWS FLASH 02 for the Domestic Submarine Design Capability Review. The closing date remains 04 September for all interested parties.
SEA 1000 covers the proposed acquisition of the RAN’s future submarine, to replace the Collins class submarines as they are withdrawn from service beginning in 2025. Preliminary work is aimed at supporting future project submissions to the Australian Government. Components of these submissions will address design options for SEA 1000. One option that requires investigation is a possible domestic Australian design.
The contractors shall undertake a comprehensive study of local industry, including the area of conventional submarine design. The outcomes of the study will include:
- A description of the submarine design process.
- Research existing submarine design capability in Australia.
- A gap analysis of the current Australian domestic submarine design capability against a mature submarine design capability.
- Development options to facilitate Australian industry goal to reach a fully mature submarine design capability.
The Future Submarine Program (SEA 1000) currently calls for the acquisition of up to twelve submarines costing an estimated US$22.9B. The first unit will enter service in 2025 suggesting a construction contract for the first unit will need to be in place by 2022. The detailed design phase will start in 2013.
UNITED STATES – US House approves 10 Ships, Waiting for Senate
On 30 July 2009, the US House of Representatives passed its version of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill (HR3326). The legislation provides US$13B for 10 ships, which is US$949M and two ships above the Administration’s budget request. In the accompanying report to the bill, the House appropriators expressed their concern over the Department of Defense’s failure to submit a shipbuilding plan that would achieve the current force structure requirement for a 313 ship fleet.
House appropriators also stated their strong desire to increase stability in the nation’s shipbuilding industrial base by increasing the quantity of ships being constructed each year. The House bill fully funds the following:
- One Virginia class submarine and the advance procurement to fund the building of two submarines beginning in 2011.
- One Arleigh Burke class destroyer.
- Two Lewis & Clark class dry cargo ships (T-AKE).
- Four Littoral Combat Ships (LCS), one more than the Administration’s request.
- Two Joint High Speed vessels (JHSVs), one more than the Administration’s request.
The research and development (R&D) account will provide US$495M for the development of the Ohio class ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) replacement.
The US Senate is expected to complete its version of the FY 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill when Congress returns from the August recess.
INDONESIA Submarine Program Slips to 2011
In late August 2009, AMI received information that the Indonesian Navy (IN) has again delayed its procurement of submarines until at least 2011 due to budget shortfalls. Even considering a 20% increase in the defense budget for 2010, the Minister of Defense stated that the new submarine and jet fighter programs would be put on hold.
Additionally, in what appears to be a step back from the preference for the Russian Kilo design in late 2007, the Minister also stated that the final decision on a supplier is still being considered. South Korea, Germany, Russia and France have offers on the table and Indonesia will probably make a decision on the preferred supplier in 2010, assuming the budget issues have been worked out.
AMI believes that the front runners in the program are probably still Russia and South Korea. Russia and South Korea have historically been involved in counter-trade agreements with Indonesia. Russia has also been a major supplier of air and ground equipment to Indonesia. South Korea has major ties to the IN as the supplier of fast attack craft (FAC), patrol vessels and landing ship programs. Most recently, South Korea was involved in the sale of the Tanjung Dalpele class landing platform, dock (LPD) design, in which the first two units were built at Dae Sun in Korea and the last three to be built at Indonesia’s PAL. South Korea has also modernized one of Indonesia’s Cakra (Type 209/1300) class submarines, with the second scheduled for the near term if and when funding becomes available.
Various Did You Know?
RUSSIA – On 14 August 2009, the Russian Navy Delta III class nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) RS BORISOGLEBSK (496), was officially decommissioned. The RS BORISOGLEBSK was removed from service in December 2008.
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