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

From the June 2012 Issue

UNITED KINGDOM-Successor Contracts Issued SSBN Design Phase

In May 2012, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Successor nuclear powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) began its design phase. Three contracts worth US$537.9M were awarded to BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines, Babcock and Rolls Royce. BAE Systems will receive the lion-share of the contract worth US$504. l M and Babcock and Rolls Royce will split the remaining US$33.8M.

All three companies will deliver the design phase of the Suc- cessor Program as part of the Submarine Enterprise Performance Program (SEPP). BAE will be the overall designer and builder if the program moves into the construction phase.

The team is expected to supply a mature design accompanied by a life cycle support plan in order for the Ministry of Defence (MoO) to make a go or no go decision (Main Gate) by 2016. Assuming that a go decision is made by 2016, the question will become; how many submarines will be built to replace the four existing Vanguard class SSBNs that are currently in service?

The current line of thinking expressed at Initial Gate in May 2011 was that a continuous-at-sea deterrence (CASO) would be preferred with the question being whether CASO could be maintained over the long term with three SSBNs rather than four. At that time, Main Gate was set at 2016, effectively delaying the decision to another administration and possibly another strategic defense review.

Additionally, one must also consider the budget situation which continues to evolve with cutbacks in almost every category of defense spending and more calls to do away with the nuclear arsenal altogether.

If this program does move forward, it is estimated that each unit will cost around US$5.7B per unit or US$22.8B for four units or US $17.1B if only three are procured. A Main Gate decision in 2016, which includes funding, would allow for the first unit to begin construction in 2019 and enter service in 2028.

The Successor Program now appears to be running in parallel to the US Ohio class replacement as the US program has now slipped to 2019. The UK and the US are working together on a common missile compartment (CMC) for their respective programs with General Dynamics currently doing the design work. As budgets tighten on both sides of the Atlantic, it would make sense for the UK and US to begin taking advantage of synergies as they present themselves.

MALAYSIA-Submarine Force Increase Being Planned

In late May 2012, the Royal Malaysian Navy’s (RMN’s) Chief Admiral Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Jaafar announced to the press that the sea service needed additional submarines to supplement the two Scorpene submarines received from DCNS in 2009. The Admiral did state that this would be a long term requirement as budget constraints would not permit procurement in the near term.

The budget constraints refer to other higher priority programs such as the Second Generation Patrol Vessel (SGPV) that will probably start in 2013 and other anticipated projects such as new amphibious transport docks (LPDs), mine countermeasures vessels (MCMVs) and new support ships. These programs will probably run through the mid-2020s indicating that a new submarine program will probably not begin until around 2025.

The original submarine requirement was for five units but eventually the program delivered only two hulls. Then, as is the case now, funding curtailed the program. Assuming funding is available in 2025 (around US$ l .5B), the RMN will probably move ahead with additional submarines. The big question will be who will supply the new submarines to the RMN?

The first two units are the French DCNS Scorpene and if the RMN orders three additional units it would make sense to procure either additional Scorpenes, modified Scorpenes or the Marlin since the RMN already has the infrastructure and training regimen in place for French-built and equipped submarines.

AMI estimates if new hulls are ordered by 2025, all three will be built at a foreign yard with the RMN taking possession by 2030, at which time the first two Scorpenes will be 21 years-old and the sea service will have to begin thinking about their replacements.


AMI is currently tracking developments in the entire un- manned arena; including aerial, maritime and ground vehicles. The following are the highlights for the months of May and June 2012:

USN Eager to Expedite LDUUV Program: In its FY 2013 defense authorization bill, the US House Anned Services Committee stated it “is in agreement with the views of the Chief of Naval Operations that unmanned vehicles particularly UUV s, can complement and augment manned naval systems.” In response to this assessment, US Navy (USN) has made increased efforts to enhance its unmanned systems capabilities, particularly in the development of technologies for the USN’s Large Diameter Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (LDUUV) program. This increased emphasis comes after officials at the US Office of Naval Research (ONR) stated that in six months the ONR would award an LDUUV construction contract, and that in two years the prototype vehicle will be ready for sea trials.

The focal point of the LDUUV program lies in the develop- ment of alternative propulsion technologies that will allow a UUV to remain submerged for 30 to 60-days. Such capabilities require technologies that exceed the abilities of battery-only technology. Thus, the ONR has recently awarded two separate contracts for the development of prototype propulsion systems for use on long endurance UUVs. The first contract was worth US$ l 8M and was awarded to Lynntech Inc. (College Station, Texas, US). Lynntech has been asked to develop a system with a length of 2.Sft and a diameter of approximately J .Sft; also, the system must be capable of supporting missions lasting longer than 30 hours .

The second contract was given to NexTech Materials (Lewis Center, Ohio, US); according to the terms of the contract, NexTech will complete a design of an energy-dense solid oxide fuel cell system for a UUV with a diameter measuring 21 inches. The system will be fuelled by JP- I 0 liquid hydrocarbon fuel and liquid oxygen reactants.

As participants in the ONR LDUUV program, both Lynntech and NexTech join a core group of companies attempting to further long endurance UUV technology. Just last month ONR officials awarded Hydroid Inc. a three year, US$5.9M contract for the development of an autonomy testing system, which would enable the LDUUV to conduct missions such as anti-submarine warfare, mine clearance, JSR and geographical mapping.

In addition to an advanced propulsion system, the ONR is considering technologies for the development of a universal launch and recovery module that does not require a dry-dock shelter. Theoretically, this method could be utilized aboard guided missile and Virginia class submarines.


ISRAEL: On 03 May 2012, the Israeli Navy (IN) took delivery of its first Dolphin II submarine, INS TANNIN, at TKMS’ HOW Kiel Shipyard in Germany.

UNITED STATES: On 25 May 2012, the keel was laid for the eleventh overall and first Block Ill Virginia class submarine, USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784), at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Quonset Point, Rhode Island. On 20 May, the ninth unit of the class, USS MISSISSIPPI (SSN-782), was commissioned at the Port of Pascagoula, Mississippi.

From the July 2012 Issue

Rolls Royce for Astute SSN and Successor SSBN Reactors

On 18 June 2012, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MoD) awarded Rolls Royce a US$1.38B contract to produce new reactor cores for the Royal Navy’s (RN) current and future nuclear submarines as well as upgrading the plant that the reactors are built.

The new reactor cores will be for the seventh and final Astute class SSN that will begin construction around 2014 and for the next generation of SSBNs, currently known as the Successor class. In 20 l 0, the MoD decided to procure a seventh unit of the Astute class as the SSN force was reduced to seven units under the Strategic Defense and Security Review (SDSR) and it made sense to expand the already six unit Astute class to a seventh hull rather than build a one unit class of a new design.

In regards to the Successor SSBN program, Main Gate approval will not come until 2016. However, in May 2012, the design phase began when three contracts worth US$537.9M were awarded to BAE Systems Maritime – Submarines, Babcock and Rolls Royce to mature the Successor design and develop a life cycle support plan.

The contract to build the last reactor for the Astute and the first reactor for the Successor enable Rolls Royce to maintain and operate its existing reactor core manufacturing facility and in effect, maintaining the United Kingdom’s sovereign nuclear capability. Additionally, the nuclear reactor for the Successor program is one of the long lead items for the nuclear vessel program and is a necessary element if Main Gate turns out to be approval for the construction phase of the program.

UNITED STATES-General Dynamics Expanding in the Repair Sector

On 02 July 2012, AMI received information that General Dynamics (GD) has entered into an agreement to acquire Earl Industries’ Ship Repair and Coatings Division. The three units that will be acquired are its ship repair facilities in Portsmouth, VA and Mayport, FL as well as its coatings division in Portsmouth.

On June 15, General Dynamics and Earl filed an application with the Federal Trade Commission, seeking a review of the proposed deal under a federal program that took effect in 1978, requiring parties to certain mergers and acquisitions to notify the comm1ss10n and the Justice Department before finalizing any agreement.

The application is followed by a mandatory review period of 30 days. The review can be shortened by the granting of an early termination notice, which General Dynamics and Earl received Wednesday.

The three units that will include some 575 personnel will become part of the shipbuilding, maintenance and repair operations of San Diego-based General Dynamics NASSCO and is expected to be completed later this summer.

With the current reductions in new-ship construction in the US, GD is yet another shipbuilder to begin looking elsewhere for revenue. The acquisition of these divisions of Earl will help GD get a piece of the modernization and through-life support pie. Modernization are becoming more and more important to the US Navy (USN) and US Coast Guard (USCG) in order to keep older units in service and extend their service lives since replacement units will not be procured at rates previously seen.


In an ongoing effort to update AMI International’s clients, the following information is provided regarding unmanned systems developments that occurred in May to July 2012:

Future US Navy UA V Plans: Despite recent setbacks in budget for procurement and the recent loss of a demonstrator prototype, the US Navy is moving ahead with plans to deploy new types of unmanned aerial vehicles (UA V) to the fleet over the next decade. In June 2012, the first MQ-4C Triton, the seagoing variant of the Global Hawk crashed near naval air station Patuxent River, Maryland. The mishap followed the cancellation of the Navy’s medium-range UAS (MRUAS) program in February. The Navy had budgeted US$ l .2B for the program.

The Navy plans to follow the Air Force model of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) reach-back, which means sending data collected by aerial unit sensors back to network nodes for analysis and prosecution. It will also employ the US Anny model of tactical ISR by sportsmanship information forward to fighting units. AMI believes the primary components of the Navy’s unmanned ISR strategy center on the MQ-4C, the unmanned carrier-launched airborne surveillance and strike (UCLASS) UA V and to a lesser degree the MQ-8B FireScout vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) UAV.

Although in the demonstration phase, the MQ-4C has per· formed well (despite the June crash) and Northrop-Grumman (NG) is planning for a fall 2012 first test flight, with the Navy performing flight testing and build-up to initial operational capability in 2015. Triton is designed with a 2,000nm mission radius with 80% of its flight time conducting ISR missions. In all, the Navy plans to acquire 68 MQ-4Cs and they are expected to be based at major naval air stations around the globe.

The future of UCLASS depends on the success of the un- manned combat air system demonstrator (UCAS-D). The goal is a high-altitude UAS, capable of carrier launch and recovery and mid-flight refueling, as well as conducting precision strike missions. In 2011, NG provided the airframe for UCAS-D and the top-four contractors – Boeing, General Atomics, Lockheed Martin (LM) and NG – were each awarded US$500K contracts for design and performance studies. AMI estimates a new business association agreement (BAA) for UCLASS could be issued by late·2012. Under the Navy’s US$2.3B development funding plan, each carrier would include four to six UCLASS, with the goal of limited operational capability by 2020.

As unmanned programs go, the MQ-8B FireScout has been an expensive program. In April 2012, the Navy restricted FireScout operations until the cause of two separate crashes has been determined. This has resulted in weaponization delays for the UAS. When fully operational, the Navy plans to order 168 of the VTOL unmanned systems for deployment aboard 55· ships.

The Navy is closely watching two other programs: the Marine Corps’ K-Max cargo UAV program and the small tactical UAS (STUAS). Still under testing, the LM K-Max has moved more than 400-tons in combat operations. The Navy/Marine STUAS program has selected the institute Integrator UAS. Although it has the capability of being anned, the Navy hasn’t mentioned plans for doing so.

Although the Navy has always possessed the strong ability of interoperability required for successfully operating unmanned programs, AMI believes the sea service’s current and future budget situation will be the determining factor on whether these programs become an operational reality. As the Navy’s operating and procurement budget constricts, these experimental programs could face the same fiscal axe as the MRUAS.

From the August 2012 Issue

Norway-Submarine Request for Information (Rfl) Released

In late July 2012, AMI received information that the Royal Norwegian Navy (RNoN) had released a Request for informational (Rfl) for the new construction submarine program to replace the existing force of six Ula class diesel-electric submarines (SSK). The Ula class submarines were commissioned in the early 1990s and are scheduled to be replaced by 2025.

The Rfl release follows the November 2011 announcement by the Ministry of Defense (MoD) that the RNoN plans to maintain a submarine capability past 2020. The announcement indicates that the RNoN would replace the Ula class with new construction submarines under Project 6346 Ny Ubat (New U-boat) Program (also known as the Arctic Class Stealth Submarine).

Initial information attained by AMI in late 2011 indicated that the RNoN was leaning toward the Swedish A26 Submarine Program (Nasta Generation Ubat – NGU) for the replacement sub design as that program has a timeline that would also fit Norway’s requirement. Norway and Sweden were partners under the now defunct Viking Submarine Program before it was terminated in the early 2000s.

Norway also needs a construction partner for any new build sub program as it only has the ability to build modules in country and needs a foreign location to assemble and integrate the submarines.

Although Sweden has been mentioned as a possible partner, other European suppliers such as DCNS with the Scorpene design, Navantia with the S80 and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) with the Type 214 also must be considered legitimate contenders. In the end Sweden and Norway could also select one of the above mentioned designs rather than the A26 under development at Kockums.

With the Project 6346 Submarine Rfl already on the street, the program is on track toward its next milestone-design selection in 2015. AMI believes that if the program comes to fruition, a Request for Proposal (RfP) for final design and construction could occur in 2016 and contract in 2017. This would allow the first boat to enter service in 2020.

With this program still in the early stages, Norway will not need to commit significant funding until around 2016. By then, the MoD will have to make decisions regarding total hull numbers (now at six) and construction timeline. Both of those decisions are likely to be affected by continuing budget pressures now affecting a wide number of naval construction programs in Europe and the United States. And like the previous Viking Program, it is possible that Project 6346 could be terminated. Norway’s fall back option would be service life extension and perhaps modernization to allow the Ula class to serve beyond their projected decommissioning dates.

Assuming the program is funded at six units beginning in 2017; all six hulls could be in commission by 2025.

PERU-Submarine Capabilities Requirements Being Developed

In July 2012, AMI received information that the Peruvian Navy (MGP) was in the early stages of a new submarine program to replace the sea service’s six Angamox/lslay (Type 209/ 1200) class submarines that were commissioned in the 1970s and 1980s. AMI’s source indicates that the MGP is currently developing the submarine’s capabilities requirements indicating a construction contract date is probably around three to four years away; around 2016. AMI believes that four submarines will be built to replace the six Type 209/1200s currently in service.

This follows information in April 2012 that the Peruvian Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) for submarines and amphibious ships (HHIC will build the latter) in the event that a South Korean solution is selected for these naval projects. Even though the MoU was signed with the South Koreans, the fact that the capabilities requirements has yet to be finalized leaves the window of opportunity open for other suppliers such as ThyssenKrupp Marine (Howaldtswerke- Deutsche Werft-HDW), Istanbul Naval Shipyard, DCNS, Navantia and Fincantieri to compete for the program.

With the Type 209/1200 now in service with the Peruvian Navy; TKMS, Istanbul Naval Shipyard and DSME with the Type 209 may have an edge as the MGP already has experience with these submarines. DCNS will probably offer the Scorpene, Navantia the S-80 and Finantieri the Type 2 l 2A. TKMS could also offer as an alternative, the Type 212A as it has already built these hulls for the German Navy or the Type 214.

For Peru, which has been considering a new submarine since 1998, offsets and financing will be the key in determining the winner for this program. South Korea is already aggressively pursuing this program as evidenced by the MoU very early on and did include new amphibious ships that the MGP is also in desperate need of. A combined package of submarines and amphibious vessels in combination with price, financing and offsets could set South Korea’s offer apart from the others.

However, at the end of the day, any one of the above mentioned suppliers could offer a better deal which could prompt Peru to look at shifting to a new submarine supplier, as has been the case recently in Chile and Brazil. In both cases those navies opted for Scorpenes from DCNs to replace Type 209s.

SAUDI ARABIA-Submarine Program Resurfaces

In late July 2012, AMI received information that Saudi Crown Prince Salman Bin Abdulaziz (also Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister) has reactivated the Saudi program to acquire a medium-sized submarine capability. This follows information in February 2012 that Royal Saudi Naval Force (RSNF) still had an interest in acquiring medium-sized submarines to operate in the shallow waters of the Arabian Gulf and the deeper waters of the Red Sea.

Although the submarine program continues to be discussed in various government and naval circles, sources indicate that submarines are a low priority with the naval force compared to higher priority needs for air and surface defense capability on surface ships. When considering the naval force has historically been the lowest priority for funding among the branches of the Saudi Armed Forces, a new submarine capability program would likely lag in timing and funding. The lack of any progress on a sub acquisition for Saudi Arabia over the past three years since active discussions began on the topic is another indication that it has not progressed beyond a concept with no associated program funding.

Within the RSNF, frigates and corvettes remain a much higher priority and even those programs appear to be moving slowly. However, the Saudi Defense Ministry is continuing to review its alternatives in regard to the procurement of at least two new submarine hulls (AMI believes the program will eventually number up to four). Sources in July have revealed that the RSNF intends to hold discussions in regards to the French DCNS SMX- 23 Andrasta and the ThyssenKrupp Marine (TKMS HOW) Type 2 l 2A. These are two of the latest designs on the submarine report market that the Saudi sea service intends to review, continuing a review of alternatives process that has dated back to at least 2008.

AMI believes that the RSNF is considering the procurement of two-four submarines as a result of the perceived increase naval threat from Iran as well as a requirement to add a submarine-based special forces capability to the fleet. However, as mentioned earlier, the reality is that the RSNF is the lowest priority service in the Saudi Armed Forces and the submarine program is the lowest priority within the Saudi sea service.

Add further delays on major defense programs associated with the death of Crown Prince Nayif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and future Royal Family succession issues, and AMI believes that all of the RSNF’s programs will continue to slip, especially the submarine program. In the near tenn, frigates, corvettes and enhanced patrol and fast craft capabilities are more likely to see awards.

PAKISTAN-Nuclear Submarine Planning

In July 2012, AMI received information that the Pakistani Navy (PN) is continuing to consider the third leg of a nuclear triad. Various press reporting, public statements, missile tests and the activation of the Naval Strategic Force Command (NSFC) since April 2012 indicate that the sea service is beginning to plan for a submarine (possibly nuclear powered) that will be able to fire nuclear capable missiles. Pakistan has loosely talked of a nuclear triad and nuclear submarines since 2008. However, these recent activities include some concrete steps rather than just passing remarks as in the past.

AMI believes that the PN will find it difficult to resist such a program while its neighbors, India and China, are fully developing their nuclear triad. Pakistan certainly recognizes that it needs a similar capability to act as a counterbalance for national survival. Although Pakistan may wish to develop such a capability, AMI believes that the PN may be decades away from a nuclear powered submarine hull as it will surely have to go it alone in this endeavor. Similar to Brazil and India, it could take 15-20 years in order for Pakistan to develop the technology for the construction of the hull, the miniaturization of a nuclear power plant as well the testing and fitting of missiles into a sea based vertical launch system (VLS}.

Pakistan has yet to fully build an indigenous submarine from the keel up. Its Agosta 90Bs were built from kits delivered from DCNS. Unfortunately for this program, Pakistan will not receive such help from a foreign supplier.

Recent events indicating a push for the third leg of a triad began in early May 2012 when Pakistan launched a Hatf VII (Babur) indigenous cruise missile from a multi-tube Missile Launch Vehicle (MLFV), which will enhance the targeting and employment options of the Babur Weapon System. However, the country is still a long way from an underwater capability necessary for equipping an SSBN.

On 19 May, the PN inaugurated the headquarters of the Naval Strategic Force Command (NSFC) and stated that the NSFC will perform a pivotal role in the development and employment of the Naval Strategic Force, which will give Pakistan a second strike capability.

On several occasions in April and May 2012, retired Pakistani naval flag officers have mentioned India and how its submarines INS ARIHANT and INS CHAKRA are helping the Indian Navy (IN) develop its second strike capability. The officers go on to mention that Pakistan needs an SSBN similar to the ARIHANT in order to fully realize its triad. Although the flag officers are retired, it appears that they are voicing the prevailing thought process of the active force.

When considering all of these indicators, it appears that Pakistan is intent on developing the third leg of a nuclear triad and a second strike capability. These capabilities usually reside in nuclear powered ballistic missile submarines (SSBNS) or nuclear powered cruise missile/attack submarines {SSGN/SSNs). As mentioned earlier, the PN is already in the early stages with missile testing and the formalization of the Strategic Command. The next step will be to formalize the capability requirements for the submarine hull, whether it is an SSBN, SSGN or SSN. This step will probably take upwards to three years through 2015.

In 2015, the Pakistani government will have to make a go or no go decision. Assuming a go decision, the government will surely have to make the nuclear missile capable submarine a national priority in order to get the funding and resources in place to begin what will be a long road to achieve the nuclear triad and second strike capability.

INTERNATIONAL-World Missile Developments

INDIA: On 31 July 2012, India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) received the Technology leadership Award from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the successful development of the nation’s first submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM).

Known as the K-15 or Sagarika, the 750km (466mi) range missile is being developed to be launched from the four triple-tube launchers in the hump-back of the INS ARIHANT SSBN that is scheduled to begin at-sea trials later this year.

While still in the testing phase, the K-15 will likely enter service after a considerable test and evaluation phase. The 10-ton missile is capable of carrying a 1-ton nuclear warhead payload and will probably enter operation service no earlier than 2015.

AUSTRALIA-Collins Class Submarine:

On 01 July 2012, ASC Pty Ltd signed a contract with the Defence Material Organization (OMO) for the maintenance of the six Collins class submarines. The new In Service Support Contract (ISSC) became effective on 01 July and replaces the former Through Life Support Agreement (TLSA). ASC was the builder of the Collins class and has since been responsible for all modification, repair and maintenance activities.

The agreement supports greater collaboration, cooperation and accountability to ensure that all maintenance and modernization requirements are met while delivering value for the money. Major refits are conducted at ASC North in Osborne, South Australia and shorter term maintenance activities at ASC West in Henderson, Western Australia.

UNITED KINGDOM: On 16 July 2012, the Royal Navy’s (RN) Trafalgar class nuclear powered attack submarine (SSN), HMS TUBULENT (S 87), was decommissioned. TURBULENT is currently being stripped of equipment and will be dismantled in Portsmouth, England.

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