Contact Us   |    Join   |    Donate


Reprinted with permission from AMI HOT NEWS; a11 internet publication of AMI International, PO Box 40, Bremerton, Washington, 98337.

From the February Issue
UNITED STATES-Future Ballistic Missile Submarine Achieves Milestone A

On 04 February 2011, a Defense Acquisition Board (DAB) decision memorandum approved Milestone A readiness for the Future Nuclear Powered Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN-X), also know as the Ohio Class SSBN Replacement Program. Milestone A is the point that a recommendation is made and approval sought regarding the continuation of an acquisition program. With this approval, the program will now enter the Technology Development Phase (TDP).

The TOP will establish requirements and continue design and technology development efforts that will ultimately lead to a ship construction contract. The DAB endorsed replacing the 14 Ohio class SSBNs with 12 new submarines, each with sixteen 87-inch missile tubes for the Trident II D5 missiles. The Trident ll’s will be replaced by a new missile around 2042.

TDP efforts (design, prototyping and technology development efforts) will continue through 2019, at which time the first of 12 new SSBNS will begin construction.

As mentioned in AMl’s January 2011 Hot News, it appears a new design will be developed rather than a Modified Virginia class or a design similar to the Ohio class, which were all considered during the Analysis of Alternatives (AoA). The first new SSBN will replace the first Ohio class in 2027. The last of twelve SSBNs will begin construction in 2033 with commission-ing around 2037.

The new design is expected to cost US$7B for the first unit and US$5.75B (2010 dollars) for units two through 12, for a total ost of US$70.28 for the program according to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) although the USN is looking for ways to further reduce the cost of units two through 12 to US$58, for a total program cost of US$628.

INDIA-Second and Third SSBNs under Construction

In late January 2011, AMI received information that two additional nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) were under construction at Vishakapatnam Naval Dockyard (VND). Like the first unit ARIHANT, modules for the two submarines are also being built at Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL) and Larsen and Toubro (L&T). AMIs source indicates that the ARIHANT, launched in 2010 although AMI believes the submarine will require several more years to install and test the nuclear power plant as well as complete missile trials. Realistically, the ARIHANT will probably not become operational until 2015 at the earliest.

AMI also believes that the ARIHANT may be a single unit class technology demonstrator and that two submarine lines could evolve from the single unit; the first being an SSBN and the second being a nuclear powered attack submarine (SSN). Press statements suggest that hulls two and three now under construction are more powerful than the ARIHANT suggesting these two may be larger with the capability to carry larger missiles than those aboard the ARIHANT. ARIHANT is estimated to displace up to 6,000 tons and estimated to carry up to 12 K-15 Sagarika short range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) launched from four triple tube vertical launchers.

If hulls two and three are more powerful than the ARIHANT, they may be the first two units of the new class of SSBNs. AMI estimates that the new SSBN class could displace around 8,000 tons with a missile bay of eight vertical cells for the larger K-X long range ballistic missile (LRBM) that is currently in development.

If source reporting on hulls two and three are accurate, it appears that India is moving forward with the new class of SSBNs immediately rather than waiting to incorporate lessons learned from sea trials of ARIHANT, which will not begin for at least another year or two. This must be considered quite risky as ARIHANT has yet to spend a day at sea. With construction of units two and three already underway, the IN may find it much more difficult and/or expensive when making the necessary changes that could result from ARIHANT’s sea trials.

From the March 2011 Issue
FY 2011 Defense Budget Implications and FY 2012 Submission

On 07 January 2011, US President Barak Obama signed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 Defense Authorization Act. However, the corresponding appropriations bill was never authorized forcing the US Government to continue operations under continuing resolutions. A two-week extension on 04 March 2011 now allows the government to operate through 18 March. By 18 March, AM I expects that further extensions will be authorized and doubts that a final FY 2011 US Government appropriations bill will be completed. AMI believes that the next approved defense budget will probably be for FY 2012 and has already been submitted.

Assuming that a final FY 2011 budget will not be approved and the Department of Defense will remain under continuing resolutions for the remainder of the fiscal year, total funding for FY 2011 will be around US$526B; US$23B less than the US$549B anticipated under the FY 2011 defense budget had it been approved. The bottom line is regardless of what happens with the FY 2011 budget, the damage has already been done as the continuing resolution has already been in effect for six months.

Of the US$23B, it appears that the US Navy will lose around US$4.6B in its operations and maintenance (OMN) budget affecting the following programs:

  • Terminate or cancel availabilities for seven ships.
  • Cancel deployments of up to five ships.
  • Defer four shore projects that were to begin in February 2011.
  • Defer 15 shore projects that were to begin in March 2011.
  • Reduce battle group assets on near term deployments.

In regards to naval procurements, the second Virginia class submarine for FY 2011 is in jeopardy as the US Navy’s Shipbuilding & Conversion (SCN) budget is also at FY 20 I 0 levels (US$14.9B). As of this writing, the US Navy has only paid for one FY 2011 hull plus an advance procurement of US$120M for the second hull rather than the full US$3.44B for two submarines plus advance procurement funding for two units in FY 2012 and two in FY 2013. FY 2011 was expected to be a milestone in the Virginia class program as it was the first year for multi-hull procurements that were to run through 2017.

Although FY 2011 is marred by continuing resolutions and much uncertainty still remains, one can only hope that the FY 2012 budget will be approved on time and the DoD and US Navy can again begin operating with a known quantity. Listed below are the details for the FY 2012 budget submission that was released on 14 February 2011.

The US Government and DoD documents provide for US$533B for the base defense budget for FY 2012 and US$118B for Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO); or a total of US$671B. The base defense budget calls for an increase of US$22B above the FY 20 I 0 defense budget. Of the combined US$533B base budget and US$1 I 8B OCO budget; US$203.8B is for procurement and Research Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) for the US Armed Forces. US$128.1B will be for procurement and the remaining US$75.7B will be for RDT&E.

In regards to shipbuilding, the FY 2012 budget submission calls for US$24.6B for the procurement of I 0 ships for the USN and one for the US Anny. Of the US$24.6B; US$19.9B is SCN funding and the remaining US$4.7B is from RDT&E. Procurement includes:

  • One Arleigh Burke class destroyer
  • Two Virginia class submarines.
  • Four Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) .
  • Two Joint High Speed Vessels (JHSVs) (one US Navy and one US Anny).
  • One Mobile Landing Platform (MLP).
  • One San Antonio class landing platform dock (LPD-17).
  • Advanced funding for the second Ford class carrier (CVN-79).
  • Advance funding for the two FY 2013 Virginia class submarines and two FY 2014 submarines.
  • Advance funding for the FY 2013 Arleigh Burke class destroyer.

For the US Coast Guard, the FY 2012 budget submission under the Department of Homeland Security includes US$8.677B for the year, up from US$8.59B from FY 20 l 0. The FY 2012 budget submission includes US$358M for the procurement of six, Fast Response Cutters (FRC) and US$ l 30M for two Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA).

UNITED KINGDOM -Four-Hull SSBN force Level Gaining Political Support

In late February 2011, AMI sources corroborated press report-ing that indicates the United Kingdom’s (UK) Secretary of State for Defense, Dr. Liam Fox, is pushing to maintain a four-unit ballistic missile Submarine (SSBN) Force in order to maintain a Continuous At-Sea Deterrent (CASO). Dr. Fox indicated that a reduction to three units would not be possible as there appears to be some concern of rogue regimes and others still developing nuclear weapons. A CASO will require one unit to be on continuous patrol with the other three in varying stages of overhaul and training. Any number of hulls under four would suggest a near continuous capability rather than continuous.

In 2009, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown entertained the idea of reducing the number of the future SSBN force to three units from the current level of four. In mid-2010, Dr. Fox publicly announced that a reduction was also possible as long as the move would not compromise the UK’s defenses. However, the Strategic Defense Security Review (SDSR) in late 2010 suggested maintaining a CASO and Dr. Fox’s latest comments seem to back the position that the UK will attempt to maintain a four-ship SSBN force past the retirement of the four Vanguard class SSBNs. Even if the hull count remains at four, each unit will surely have fewer missile tubes, probably 12, four less than the current Vanguard class. The UK is also scheduled to reduce its total warheads from 200 to 160 while still allowing for four hulls with less than 16 missiles per unit.

Although there appears to be some political support to main-taining a CASO, the real question will become whether the UK will be able to afford them. Faced with severe cutbacks in conventional forces over the next couple of years, it is hard to envision the Future SSBN Program being more than three units. And it appears that the decision on the replacement date also continues to slip indicating that the decision will be on someone else’s watch. The manufacture date was set for 2014 but appears to be slipping past 2016, one year after the national 2015 elections.

The cutbacks in conventional naval forces in 2011 and 2012 are in indication of how difficult it will be to fund the US$16-US$20B SSBN replacement program for the Royal Navy (RN). Ties to the US SSBN-X program must now be considered critical as the US is also struggling to find ways to reduce the per unit cost for its Ohio class SSBN replacement program that will begin in the same timeframe.

AMI believes that the Future SSBN program will take many turns between now and 2016 although the one issue that cannot be ignored is the future of the UK’s shipbuilding industry, namely BAE Systems Submarine Solutions. With the Astute nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) program ending in 2020 (assuming all units are built), AMI believes that the UK will have no choice but to build a new class of nuclear submarines (probably SSBN) in order to maintain the industrial capability and the core skill sets involved in nuclear submarine construction. The question is how many and at what cost?

From the April Issue
-Program of Development of Submarines (PROSUB): AMI sources and brochures provided an update on the Brazilian Navy (BN) PROSUB program, which entails the acquisition of four conventional submarines, a nuclear-powered submarine and the construction of the new shipyard and naval base that will build and maintain the new sub-surface fleet. PROSUB is being managed by France’s DCNS and Brazil’s Odebrecht.

The shipbuilding and naval facility is currently being built in ltaquai (around 30 miles south of Rio de Janiero) by ltaquai Construcoes Navais (ICN) and will be completed in 2015. The facility will be able to operate up to six nuclear-powered and four conventional submarines. The yard will be divided into the construction sector, where two submarines can be built simultaneously and maintenance sector, which includes two dry docks. The conventional submarines are based on the French Scorpene design with modules being built at DCNS and in Brazil with final assembly at the new facility in ltaquai. The four Scorpenes and the first nuclear-powered submarine will be delivered by ltaquai by 2025.

In regards to the nuclear-submarine program, France is providing hull design and engineering assistance for non-nuclear elements only, with Brazil providing all nuclear related systems through its Navy Technological Center in San Paulo.

MAURITIUS -1350-Ton Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV): In March 2011, Garden Reach Shipbuilding and Engineering (GRSE) of India signed a construction contract (undefined contract price, AMI estimates around US$40M) for the delivery of one 1350-ton OPV. The OPV will be delivered to Mauritius in 32 months in November 2013. The OPV may be based on the GRSE 1350-ton Kora class corvette design that was delivered to the Indian Navy in late 1990s through 2004. The Mauritius hull, however, will probably be absent the missile systems found on the Indian Navy Kora variants. It will probably have the medium caliber and small caliber guns.

-1800 Ton OPV Design: A Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) brochure depicted a new 1800-Ton OPV design that is being offered on the international market. The DW 1800P design is a multi-purpose OPV that is capable of basic naval operations including maritime surveillance, patrol and protection of offshore resource infrastructure.

The 1800-ton vessel is 91.2 meters (299.2ft) in length and has a maximum continuous speed of 20 knots. It is armed with one 76mm gun and two 20mm guns. Sensors include one air/surface search radar, one surface search radar, one-track radar and one optronic sight. The design features a flight deck and hangar for the operation and storage of one 5-ton helicopter up to sea state (SS) 5. It will also be able to store and launch two rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs).

This new design meets the size and operational capability requirements of OPV designs that are currently being sold by other international OPV builders. The demand for OPVs of this size continues to grow throughout the European, Asian, South American and African regions due to a continuing increase in illegal activities in coastal waters such as piracy, illegal immigration and theft of resources.

-RSR 205C X-Band Air/Sea Coastal Surveillance Radar System: a Reutech brochure depicted the new RSR-205C X-band air/sea coastal surveillance radar system (CSRS) that is being offered for export. The RSR 205C is based n the RSR 21 ON naval air/sea surveillance radar that is already in service.

The RSR 205C provides pulse Doppler operation with comprehensive naval electronic counter-counter measures to combat unconventional threats. Radar coverage for air targets is greater than 45 kilometers (27.9nm) and small surface targets of greater than 15 kilometers (9.3nm). Track capacity per scan is greater than 200 air and sea tracks (each) and can classify surface, rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft.

-Matador Remotely Controlled Weapon Station (MaRCoWS): A Dynamit Nobel Defence brochure depicted the naval application of the RGW 90 Matador shoulder-launched weapons rocket launcher. The naval application was designed to defeat sea-based pirate and terror attacks from fast and highly maneuverable patrol vessels.

The MacRCoWS can be integrated into the ships fire control system and operates as a stabilized remotely controlled weapons station. The RGW 90 weapon is effective in defeating attacks less than 500 meters ( 1640ft) from the host platform. This weapon is expected to be highly effective as it requires a very short reaction time, typical of pirate and terrorist attack timeline profiles.

TURKEY -STOP/ST AMP Remote Controlled Stabilized Gun Systems: Aselsan brochures depicted two naval guns systems, the STOP Remote Controlled Stabilized Naval Gun System and the ST AMP Remote Controlled Stabilized Machine Gun Platform. STOP features a 25mm or 30mm gun and STAMP a 12.7mm or 7.62mm machine gun or 40mm grenade launcher. Both systems can be utilized in asymmetric warfare, air defense and coastal defense missions in large surface combatants, patrol vessels and landing vessels.

Stop (25mm guns and 30mm guns) is capable of acquiring targets and engaging them autonomously either via the ship’s combat management system (CMS) or by its own sensors. The optical sensor suite of STOP provides enhanced situational awareness and the ability to identify and engage threats day or night and in all weather conditions.

STAMP (12.7mm machine guns, 7.62mm machine guns and 40mm grenade launcher) provides increased hit probability and maximum gunner survivability against manual guns.

-HAROP Loitering Weapon System (L WS): An Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) brochure depicted the HAROP Loitering Weapons System (LWS), an unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCA V). Combining the capabilities of a UA V and a missile, the HAROP is able to search, find, identify, attack and perform battle damage assessment (BDA). It is also able to independently acquire-real-time intelligence against time critical, high value targets as well as targets that are maneuverable (tanks, trucks etc).

With a man in the loop (controller), the L WS is capable of loitering at extended ranges and can attack from any angle, horizontal or vertical. It provides a continuous and persistent threat to enemy targets as it has an electro-optical (EO), forward looking infrared (FUR) and color CCD (high resolution color sensor for digital imaging).

CANADA-Victoria Class Submarine: On 23 March 2011, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) notified the US Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale (FMS) to the Government of Canada for 36 Raytheon Mk-48 Mod 7 Advanced Technology (AT) torpedo conversion kits. The estimated cost of the deal is US$125M for the kits, associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support.

The torpedoes are part of the Victoria Class Submarine Life Extension (SELEX) Project, which includes the upgrade to the torpedo system. The new kits will upgrade the Victoria class torpedoes from the Mod 4 variant to the 7 AT variant. The prime contractor for this sale will be selected during an opening competition, later in the year.

: On 28 March 2011, AMI received information that the Prime Minister of Thailand, Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva, approved that acquisition of six Ex-German Navy Type 206A submarines for US$256.8M. The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has been considering the procurement of submarines for the past two years following a decade of on again/off again planning to create a Submarine Force. The 2006-2014 Defense Forces Modernization plan called for the acquisition of two submarines beginning in 2012.

However, with austere defense budgets being reality, the RTN probably decided to move forward with the six used Gennan submarines. Already decommissioned in 2010, three of the 30-year old units will be utilized for operations, one for training and two for cannibalization. Training will start for the Thai crews by the end of 2011. The three operational and one training boat will be overhauled in 2012 and 2013 with the RTN beginning operations in 2014.


THE SUBMARINE REVIEW is 11 quarterly public:union of the Naval Submarine League. It is o forum for discussion of submarine mailers. Not only arc the ideas of its members to be reflected in the REVIEW, but those of others as well, who are interested in submarines and submarining.

Articles for this publication will be accepted on any subject closely related to submarine matters. Their length should be a maximum of about 2500 words. The League prepares REVIEW copy for publication using Word. If possible to do so, occompanying 11 submission with 11 CD is of significant assistance in that process. Editing of articles for clarity mny be necessary, since important ideas should be readily understood by the readers of the REVIEW.

A stipend of up to $200.00 will be paid for each major article published. Articles accepted for publication In the REVIEW become the property of the Naval Submarine League. The views expressed by the authors are their own and are not to be construed to be those of the Naval Submarine League.

Comments on articles and brief discussion items arc welcomed to make THE SUBMARINE REVIEW 11 dynamic rejection of the League’s interest in submarines.

Articles should be submiucd to the Editor, SUBMARINE REVIEW, P.O. Box 1146, Anmmdolc, VA 22003.

Naval Submarine League

© 2022 Naval Submarine League