Reprinted with permission from AMI HOT NEWS; an Internet publication of AMI International, PO Box 40, Bremerton, Washington, 98337
From the October Issue
INDIA-ls the Submarine Program Finally Becoming a Priority?
In mid-September 2013, AMI received information that the Indian Navy (IN) was close to releasing an US$88 tender for six submarines under the Vertical Launch Missile Submarine (Project 751) Program. This follows information in mid-June that the program was being delayed by the Finance Ministry.
At that time, the Request for Proposals (RfPs) was expected to be released to international and local yards by the end of 2013 although the Finance Ministry delays could have pushed the RfP into 2014.
However, since June, the IN Submarine Force suffered a tragic accident with the explosion and sinking of the Kilo class submarine INS SINDHURAKSHAK (S63) on 14 August. The accident has lent some credibility to the aging and unserviceable submarine fleet that IN officials have been complaining about for the past decade.
It now appears that the Project 751 procurement may now be on the priority list for the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Reporting indicates that the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) met on 13 September and approved the acquisition (third time around). On 16 September 2013, the IN’s Vice Chief of staff Vice Admiral Dhowan announced that the proposal was being sent to the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for final approval. The timetable for CCS approval seems to in the short term, possibly as early as the end of October. At that time in the IN will release the long delayed Project 751 RfP. Responses will probably be due by mid-2014.
The acquisition plan now appears to be for a 2 + 2 + 2 approach, the first two units from a foreign yard, and two each from domestic yards (Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL) Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL)). This is a departure from the insistence that all six units be built in India under the Defence Procurement Procedures (DPP) 2013 “Buy and Make with Technology Transfer” category (similar to Project 75). It is a combination of the “Buy and Make” and “Buy Global” categories in order to get units into service at a much faster rate.
When the Rt’P is released, the following suppliers will respond:
- DCNS of France with its Super Scorpene variant.
- ThyssenKrupp Marine (HDW) of Germany with the new Type 216 Design.
- Rubin of Russia with the Amur 1650.
- Navantia with the S 80 variant (may be dropped due to weight problems with first Spanish unit).
AMI still believes that the Russian Amur 1650 will be selected for this program as it was already designed with a VL system. Even though the INS SINDHURAKSHAK was a Russian-built Kilo class, the sea service still has close ties to Russia and will also utilize Russia to speed up the modernization efforts of the remaining kilos in the IN.
Future Ballistic Missile Submarine Funding Line Shift?
In September 2013 the US Navy (USN) requested Congress to provide up to US$60B in supplemental funding in order to finance the Future Nuclear Powered Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBNX) Program. The funding line would be completely separate from the USN’s annual budget and its shipbuilding and conversion (SCN) budget. The first installment of US$4B would come in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 and run for 15 years (through FY 2033) in order to design and fund 12 SSBNs to replace the current force of Ohio class SSBNs.
At current and project USN SC funding levels (US$14.2B in 2013); the USN will not be able to afford the SSBNs as each hull will consume approximately 28% of the entire SCN budget every year. The remaining 72% of the SCN budget would have to cover one nuclear powered carrier (every five years), two Virginia class nuclear attack submarines per year, one or two Arleigh Burke class destroyers (FLT IIA then transitioning to FLT Ill) per year and multiple Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) as well as amphibious and auxiliary ships.
In early 2013, the USN estimated that in order to meet its 30- year shipbuilding plan it would need to average around US$ 18.8B in procurement funding per year. The current level of SCN funding at US$14.2B may also continue to shrink as the Budget Control Act of 2011 (or Sequestration) kicks in with FY 2014 and FY 2015 becoming crucial years.
At the end of the day, if Congress does pass a FY 2014 defense budget, it will more than likely be well short of levels needed to fully fund all SCN programs. If Sequestration becomes the norm, the USN will fall even further behind in its shipbuilding programs making FY 2019 and the SSBN Program even harder to attain. Finding funds within other USN budget lines will be next to impossible and cannot be considered a realistic solution.
At US$4B annually, it would be wise for Congress to fund these strategic assets from other sources as the SSBN force now accounts for 70% of all strategic assets in the US. The USN can no longer afford to carry the majority of the burden for the nuclear triad while trying to maintain a global naval force, which continues to shrink in size year after year.
A second and possibly more realistic option would be for the services to alter the current equal split of defense procurement spending amongst the three services allowing for increased funding for the SSBN Program.
Replacing the Soviet Fleet
In mid-September 2013, AMI received information that the Azerbaijan Navy (AN) has established a requirement to replace some older existing naval units as well as to establish a Submarine Force. This requirement is likely in response to continued Iranian naval build-up in the Caspian Sea as well as Kazakhstan’s recent plans to procure new naval platforms.
Information received stated that the AN is looking to procure two submarines (likely midget submarines), two to three destroyers (frigates or corvettes), a mine countermeasures vessel (MCMV), and two transport ships, probably tank landing ships (LSTs). Sources indicate that the AN is looking to South Korea as the preferred supplier but other nations will likely seek to bid on the programs.
ASIA REGIONAL UPDATE
SOUTH KOREA – Son Won II Class Submarine (KSS-2): On
03 September 2013, the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) launched its fourth Son Won II class submarine, KIM JWA-JIN (SS 076), from Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME).
Naval Vessel Design Developments
AMI is currently tracking new naval design developments. The following are the highlights for the months of September and October 2013:
CHINA – Fourth Generation Nuclear Submarine: On 22 September 2013, Mr. Tan Zuojun, former general manager of China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) revealed that development of the nation’s fourth generation nuclear submarine had been completed.
The main characteristics between the current third generation and new fourth generation submarines are:
- The ability to launch torpedoes against ships as well as submarines in addition to firing missiles against ships and land based targets.
- A more silent nuclear reactor with lower vibrations resulting in lower noise output.
- A more advanced hull muffler system making the submarine less detectable during maneuvering.
The fourth generation submarines probably will not begin construction for at least five to seven years due to the time it will take to move the new technologies from drawing board to physical piece of equipment.
MODERNIZATION & SHIP TRANSFER NEWSLETTER
UNITED KINGDOM – Trafalgar Class Nuclear Powered Attack Submarines (SSN): In September 2013, the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced that Babcock International had been selected to design and develop the first stage of an obsolescence update to the Communications Coherency for Submarines System (CCSM) at an undisclosed value.
Babcock developed the initial CCSM that was installed on the Trafalgar class in 2005. The CCSM consolidated previously independent autonomous systems into a single, off-the-shelf system architecture, covering frequencies from VLF to ELF. Due to its near term obsolescence for the final four units of the Trafalgar class, Babcock was selected to upgrade the system in two stages.
The first will include updated hardware and software for military signal messages and the second involving the update to communications equipment routing infrastructure. Acceptance trials for the first stage are scheduled for January 2014.
INDIA – Sindhughosh (Kilo -Project 877) and Shishumar (Type 209/1500) Class Submarines:On 26 August 2013, Indian Defense Minister A.K. Anthony directed that the modernization effort of the existing Submarine Force should be given top priority. Concern over the slow modernization process of the remaining Submarine Force is due to the explosion and sinking of the INS SINDHURAKSHAK (S 63) in August.
The sea service will probably attempt to fast track these units at Russian and Indian yards. The four remaining units of the Sindhughosh class (SINDHUDHVAJ – $56; SINDHURAG – $57; SINDHUVIR – S58 and SINDHUSHASTRA – 465) are currently scheduled to have this refit completed by 2016. The four submarines were to have the work completed at HSL in Vishakapatnam under the direction of advisors from Rubin Design Bureau and Zvezdochka Shipyard. However, it is now possible that some or all of the units will be sent to Russia to move forward with the upgrades sooner.
The four Shishumar units have all completed mid-life upgrades since 2000. However, the next refit may also be split between Indian and German yards in order to complete the modernization efforts sooner.
From the November 2013 Issue
VIETNAM: Kilo (636) Class Submarine: In October 2013, AMI received information that the first Kilo class submarine, HA NOI (HQ-182) will be delivered to the Vietnamese People’s Navy (VPN) in January 2014. Acceptance will be completed by the end of November 2014.
Units two through four will be delivered to Vietnam in 2015 and units five and six in 2016.
VARIOUS DID YOU KNOW?
UNITED STATES-USS NORTH DAKOTA
On 02 November 2013, the US Navy’s (USN) eleventh Virginia class nuclear powered attack submarine (SSN), USS NORTH DAKOTA (SSN-784), was commissioned at Electric Boat in Connecticut.
MODERNIZATION & SHIP TRANSFER NEWSLETTER SPAIN: Galema Class Submarines: The S80 (Isaac Perot Class) submarine program’s delay has forced the Spanish Navy (SN) to reconsider the requirement to refit the aging Galema class submarines. AMI estimates that at least two of the Galema class submarines will undergo a service life extension to compensate for the S80 construction delay.
The first unit, the SPS MISTRAL (S73) was refloated after a dry dock period in April 2013 as part of a service life extension program. The refit is expected to be completed by September following a series of at sea tests. The three Galerna class boats are based on the French Agosta 70 design and were commissioned into service in 1973, ’85 and ’86. The MISTRAL ‘s refit will ensure the vessel will remain operational until the 2022 time frame.
According to reports, the Spanish Ministry of Defense (MoD) has allocated US$38M to refit another unidentified Galema class submarine (SPS GALERNA or SPS TRAMONTANA). This life extension program will likely include:
- Hull maintenance, repair and preservation
- Overhaul of main engines, alternators and shafting
- Replace main batteries
- Software upgrades weapon control system
- Software upgrades to surface search radar and ESM sensors
- Software updates to sonar suite
With the S80 delayed for 3 to 5 years, AMI estimates that the Galerna class will remain operational until the 2020-202 timeframe to allow sufficient time for the four S80s to be built to the modified design specifications and enter the fleet.
UNITED KINGDOM – Trafalgar Class Nuclear Powered Attack Submarine (SSN): On 18 September 2013, the Royal Navy’s (RN) Trafalgar class SSN, HMS TRENCHANT (S 91) entered dry dock at Devonport Royal Dockyard for a two-year Revalidation and Assisted Maintenance Period (RAMP). The RAMP will ensure TRENCHANT is safe to operate for the remainder of its service life, to the mid-2020s.
The work package includes:
- Hull, mechanical and electrical (H, M&E) work
- Installation of a new rudder
- Overhaul of the port and starboard circulating water systems
- Upgrade to the nuclear stream raising plant (NSRP)
- Survey and repair of the Sonar 2076 flank arrays
- Installation of the new Defense Information Infrastructure (Oil)
- Inspection of the new Defense Information Infrastructure (DU)
- Inspection of the tail shaft
- Galley upgrades
The dry dock phase will take 40 weeks. HMS TRENCHANT will reenter service by late 2015.
USED SHIP TRANSFERS/RECEIPTS/DECOMMISSIONINGS BANGLDESH – Chinese Submarines: On 05 October 2013,
AMI received information that the Bangladesh Navy (BN) was still negotiating with China for up to three submarines. This follows information on 03 January 201 that the sea service was close to completing a deal for two used Song class submarines that served with the People’s Liberation Army – Navy (PLAN). According to the latest information, it appears that the total number of submarines may have grown to three units.
If this deal is approved, AMI believes that all three units will probably be overhauled at either Wuhan Shipyard or Jiangnan Shipyard where all of the Song class submarines were built. The submarines could be delivered as early as 2015. The procurement of submarines is part of the three dimensional naval force consisting of air, surface and subsurface units announced by the Minister of Defense in 2009.
INDONESIA – Kilo Class Submarines: On 05 October 2013, AMI received information the Indonesian Navy (TNl-AL) was offered up to l 0 Kilo class submarines from Russia as a grant. The submarines, built from the 1990s through 2000, are currently being decommissioned from the Russian Navy (VMFR). The submarines are of the 877 and 636 series. Russia is currently building the latest model, the 636.3, for the VMFR.
Although the Indonesians are discussing the possibility, the TNI-AL, has already begun the Type 209 program with the South Koreans. The Type 209 program will deliver three units to the TNI-AL with two being built in South Korea and one in Indonesia.
The TNI-AL has an expressed requirement for up to 10 total submarine hulls by 2024. Budget shortfalls have made this requirement an almost impossible task. The granting of up to 10 used units would surely help the TNI-AL to meet its 2024 goals although absorbing them rapidly would be difficult to achieve.
The offer of the used Kilos by Russia is obviously a marketing strategy in order to break into the Indonesian naval market, which it has failed to do so for the past decade. Any acceptance of this deal would surely be premised by future orders of either Kilo 636.3 hulls or Amur hulls, both of which have yet to be exported.
With the South Korean Type 209 deal already in place, the TNI-AL could accept some of the used Kilos although it does not seem likely as operating two distinctly different Submarine forces (Kilos and Type 209s) with two different training and supply lines would cause major problems.
The Russians are obviously trying to displace the South Korean deal, which is already underway.
CHINA – Han Class Nuclear Powered Attack Submarine (SSN): On 29 October 2013, the first Han class submarine, Long March No. 1 (401) was formally decommissioned from the People’s Republic of China Army Navy (PLAN). Long March Nol was laid up in 2005 and its nuclear reactors were put into storage. With the new Shang class now entering service, the PLAN decided to decommission the hull as it is no longer needed. Hull 402 is also laid up and will probably be decommissioned in the next few years as more units of the Shang class enter service. The Han class will not be offered for resale as China does not offer nuclear vessels on the international market.
From the December 2013 Issue
SAUDI ARABIA – Contacting Submarine Suppliers In mid-November 2013, AMI received information from several sources indicating that the Royal Saudi Naval Force (RSNF) was in contact with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) for the procurement of up to five Type 209 submarines at a cost of US$3.4B. Sources also indicated that the RSNF had a long term requirement for up to 25 submarines at a cost of around US$16.5B.
Although AMI cannot confirm that the RSNF has met with TKMS concerning submarines, AMI believes that TKMS is one of several Saudi requests for pricing and terms to build new submarines for the Kingdom. In 2012, sources indicated that the RSNF was considering its submarine design options that included the DCNS Scorpene, DCNS SMX-23 Andrasta, the ThyssenKrupp Marine Type 214 (and now the Type 209) and the Pakistani Agosta 908.
POLAND- Modifications to Naval Modernization Plan 2030
In early November 2013, AMI received information concerning the Polish Navy’s (Marynarka Wojenna – MW) most recent update to its Naval Modernization Plan 2030 (US$3. 1B budget plan). The plan now calls for the following ship types and potential timelines:
- Three diesel electric submarines beginning in 2014 and running through 2022.
- One Gawron II class corvette (in progress – restarted in September 2013) to be finished as an Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) by 2016.
- Three Miecznik class corvettes (1900 tons) from 2014 through 2026.
- Three Czapla class OPVs (1700 tons) beginning in 2015 and running through 2026. Will be same hull as Miecznik class corvettes.
- Three Kormoran II class MCMV that began on 23 September 2013. Deliveries scheduled for 2016, 2019 and 2022.
- Seven auxiliaries including one Fleet Replenishment Ship (AOR), two intelligence collection ships (AGis), one hydrographic survey ship (AGS), one Command Ship (LCC) and two Rescue and Salvages ships (ARS). All seven are to be completed by around 2026.
The latest variant of Naval Modernization Plan 2030 essentially replaces the entire sea service by 2030. AMI believes that this acquisition timeline is extremely aggressive considering all of the vessels are to be built in Poland.
The first program is expected to be, and is apparently the furthest along, is the diesel electric submarine. The two candidates being considered by the MW are the German Type 214 and the French Scorpene designs. The MW is planning to have this program under contract by 2014 with all three units in service by 2022. AMI believes that the three units will not be completed until at least 2030 assuming a 2013 start date.
Two Type 218SG Submarines Under Contract from TKMS
In late November 2013, AMI sources indicated that ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) completed a contract with the Singaporean Ministry of Defense (MoD) for the procurement of two TKMS HOW Type 218SG submarines for the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN). Press sources indicate that the deal was worth US$ 1.36B, which includes training and logistics support.
The two new submarines will be built at the TKMS yard in Kiel, Germany and the combat system will be co-developed by Germany’s Atlas Elektronik and Singapore’s ST Electronics. Both submarines will be delivered to the RSN by 2020 and will replace the three used Challenger class (formerly Sjoormen class) procured from Sweden.
AMI estimates that two additional submarines will be procured after 2020 to replace the two Archer class (formerly
Vastergotland) built in the late 1980s, essentially updating the entire RSN submarine with four units of the Type 218SG design.
Although no details have been published on Type 21 SSG, AMI estimates that it may displace well over 2,000 tons as the RSN is probably looking for increased payload and capabilities above and beyond the current force of the Challenger and Archer classes. AMI estimates that it will be able to deploy anti-ship missiles (ASMs), mines, unmanned underwater vehicles (UUVs) and possibly special forces. The design may have characteristics from various successful TKMS designs including the Type 214, the Israeli Dolphin (Type 800) and Type 212.
The Type 218SG will be Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) capable with the majority of sensor and weapons systems being decidedly German although Singapore’s ST Electronics will provide many of the sub-components.
UNITED STA TES-Navy Selects Virginia Payload Module (VPM) to Replace SSGNs
In early November 2013, the US Navy (USN) selected the design concept of the Virginia Payload Module (VPM) to replace the four Ohio Class Nuclear Powered Guided Missile Submarines (SSGNs). The SSGNs were converted from Ohio Ballistic Missile Submarines (SSBNs) from 2002 through 2006 and are due to be decommissioned from 2026 through 2028.
In October, the US Naval Sea Systems Command (USNA VSEA) approved the design concept of the VPM as part of a US$743M design change for the Virginia Class Nuclear Powered Attack Submarine (SSN). The VPM is scheduled to be added to the ten units of the Virginia Class SSN Program beginning with Block V around 2019. Each VPM will have four vertical launch (VL) tubes containing seven Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) (28 missiles) in addition to two, six round Virginia Payload Tubes (VPTs) (already installed) ( 12 missiles) in the bow for a total of 40 TLAMS per hull.
The ten Virginia hulls of Block V will give the USN a 400 TLAM capability, a comparable replacement for the four unit Ohio SSGN force. The Budget Control Act (BCA) of 2011 (Sequestration) may well determine if this program moves forward as the cost estimates for each VPM is in the range of US$400M – US$500M (estimates continue to change) per copy, although it is still the least costly alternative to replace the Ohio class SSGNs.
Submarine Market Overview: AMI forecasts that MENA navies are set to acquire 27 new submarines in the next 20 years at a total estimated acquisition cost (2013 exchange rates) of almost US$9.SB. While not as large as the region’s MENA (Middle East and North Africa) surface combatant or patrol and fast attack craft segments reviewed in earlier articles, the MENA submarine and underwater systems market is still of significant interest for several reasons. First, it is capital intensive with a relatively higher amount of new spend planned per platform compared to other ship types in other segments. In the MENA markets, the average new spend per submarine is projected to average more than US$350M over the next two decades.
Further, most of the new submarines acquired in the MENA market will be via export purchases. The developing shipbuilding industry in the Gulf and North Africa has not yet reached the extremely complex and specific levels of manufacturing and systems integration expertise that define the world’s submarine market leadership today. Therefore, top tier submarine exporters such as Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems, France’s DCNS, Russian shipyards such as Admiralty and other offers are expected to be very active in competing for new submarine sales in the region.
The MENA submarine market is also expanding beyond the small group of navies that currently operate submarines in their fleets. The submarine club in the MENA now includes Algeria, Egypt, Israel, and Iran. AMI forecasts that a number of countries will at least double the number of MENA navies with submarines over the next decade. While some of these submarines may be hulls originally built for or in service with other navies, others will be new construction orders for small and medium sized designs below 1,500 tons full load displacement, presenting good market opportunities to builders and systems providers alike.
And the market for platforms and services for these new submarine operators is a long-term opportunity. This means not only new construction awards, but training, maintenance, submarine specific facilities and infrastructure and support services requirements stretching over the next decade plus.
As interest in new submarines grows in the MENA region, many navies are also accelerating investments in unmanned maritime systems-increasingly including underwater vehicles (UUVs)-to meet growing undersea mission requirements. In highest demand in the MENA region are unmanned systems for underwater survey, scouting and reconnaissance, as well as mine and anti-submarine warfare.
While construction and systems integration in the MENA region has advanced to see several locally-built unmanned surface vessels offered, the market for UUVs is also expected to be mainly exports. Here leading industry names such as Atlas Elektronik, Saab, Bluefin and others are expected to be heard, while new market entrants in the UUV market from countries such as Turkey are also expected to compete for new UUV opportunities in the region.
Sweden – Gotland Class Submarines: In November 2013, Sweden’s Defense Materiel Administration (forsvarets Materielverk – FMV) was awarded a contract (undetermined amount) to Kockums for the mid-life modernization effort of two Gotland class submarines, HMS HALLAND and HMS UPPLAND. The award follows a 24-month delay due to funding shortfalls. The planned upgrades, beginning in 2014, will be completed by the end of 2017. The first unit, HMS GOTLAND, will not be modernized. The upgrade of the two units will include the following:
- Hull, mechanical and electrical (H,M & E) work (superstructure).
- Upgrade of the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) system.
- The addition of an AUV/ROV capability.
- The addition of a diving lock built into the sail.
- Upgrade of the combat management system (CMS).
In 2011, Kockums, upgraded the inertial navigation system (fNS) on the two Gotland class submarines (and two Sodermandland class boats) with the Northrop Grumman Mk 39 Mod 3C ring laser gyro system. A fifth INS system is used for crew training.
According to sources, the new unmanned capability for the Gotland class is the Saab SUBROV submarine deployed remotely operated vehicle. SUBROV is designed to be launched via torpedo tube and is guided by fiber-optic cable. It has a maximum range of 20km (12.4 miles). Missions include remote communications, electronic support measures (ESM) collection, hull inspection, mine detection and freeing submarine from obstacles.
In 2012, the FMV awarded Saab a US$29M contract to upgrade existing Type 62 heavyweight torpedoes and provide systems support on the Gotland and Sodermanland class submarines. All work is to be completed by the end of 2015. The Gotland class is expected to remain in service until the 2030.