From the November 2012 Issue
UNITED KINGDOM-Additional Funding for Successor SSBN Design Phase
In late October, British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond announced an additional investment of US$559.8M for further design work for the Successor Class Nuclear Powered Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN) Program. This follows the May 2012 funding of US$537.9M for the start of the design phase and the 18 June 2012 award to Rolls Royce a US$1.38B contract to produce new reactor cores for the sea service’s current and future nuclear submarines. The new reactor cores will be for the seventh and final Astute class SSN that will begin construction around 2014 and for the Successor SSBNs.
Also on 06 September 2012, the US Navy announced that it had formalized key specifications for the Common Missile Compartment (CMC) for the US and Royal Navy (RN) SSBN Programs. The formalization of the CMC is a major design and construction milestone for both programs (as both programs are now in the design phase with construction expected to start around the end of the decade).
Even though the Main Gate decision is not until 2016, it appears with the latest investments and milestones that the RN is getting close to the point of no return for the Successor SSBN Program. Although still politically sensitive, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) and RN continue forward with the acquisition of a new SSBN force to replace the Vanguard class currently in service.
EGYPT-Navy Orders Two Type 209s from HDW
On 01 November 2012, AMI received information from various sources indicating that the Egyptian Navy (EN) has ordered two (contract finalized and signed) Type 209 submarines from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft (HDW).
This follows mid-September 2012 press reporting that indicated that the EN had already ordered two Type 209 submarines. On 31 August, Egypt’s new navy chief, Vice Admiral Osama el Gindi also publicly made the announcement concerning the submarines that the sea service had ordered as part of a general modernization effort.
With the contract now in place, the submarines could begin construction by early 2013 with delivery occurring in 2017. Egypt has been looking at replacement submarines for over a decade for the four aging Chinese-built Improved Romeo (Project 033) class submarines that were built in the 1960s. Since the EN has four existing submarines that need to be replaced, it could order two additional Type 209s from HDW following the delivery of the first two.
The submarines will more than likely be an all German solution with Atlas Elektronik providing all sensor and weapon systems and Tognum providing the engineering plant for the program.
If need be, the EN could probably also procure used Type 209s from Turkey or South Korea as both countries will begin replacing their current Type 209 forces in the near term.
AUSTRALIA-Emphasis of New Whitepaper
In late October 2012, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced that it was currently outlining a long-term strategy to position Australia lo benefit from the opportunities of the Asian Century, while managing future challenges. Part of this strategy is the development of a new white paper, “Australia in the Asian Century”.
The white paper will be released in the first half of 2013 and will outline the government’s national objectives and pathways to building sustainable security in the region. It will consider in detail the implications of the changing strategic circumstances in the regions for Australia’s defense and national security including:
- The ongoing strategic shift to the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean Region.
- The US re-balance to the Asia Pacific and Australia’s practical cooperation with the US pursuant to the 60- year old alliance.
- The ADF’s operational drawdown from Afghanistan, East Timor and Solomon Islands.
- Australia’s own Force Posture Review – the first in 25 years.
- The ongoing adverse effects of the Global Financial Crisis, which have continued to have a significant impact on the global economy.
The Australian Government will also continue to increase its efforts in the future to deepen defense cooperation with friends and partners in the region, a key theme for the 2013 Defence Whitepaper.
From the December 2012 Issue
NORWAY – Submarine Rfl Released; Responses Due End of Year (2012)
As of early December 2012, AMI continues to receive information concerning the Future Norwegian Submarine program. Responses to the Request for Information (Rfl) that were released to specific shipyards are due back to the Norwegian Ministry of Defense (MoD) by the end of December 2012.
The MoD Rfl sought information from industry on investment cost, life cycle costs, production time, performance and other important aspects related to new submarines. The information will be used to help make a determination as to whether the Royal Norwegian Navy (RNoN) will move forward with a new construction program or continue to update the six units of the Ula class. In November 2011, the MoD announced that the RNoN should maintain a submarine capability past 2020 with the only options being a new build replacement for the Ula or the service life extension of existing hulls. The cost differential between the two options is expected to be substantial- on the order of 2-3 times more expensive for new build replacements compared to modernization of existing Ulas. The new build/modernize decision is expected in 2014.
In regards to new construction, the shipyards that received the Rfl are:
- ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (Kockums and HOW)
- Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME)
Running in parallel with the Rfl, the MoD is working on feasibility aspects, cost and uncertainties that may be associated with a service life extension of the Ula class. Domestic and external expertise has also been consulted in regards to the Ula modernization effort.
If a new construction option is selected, AMI believes that a design will be chosen in 2015 with a construction Request for Proposals (RfPs) released in 2016 and a contract in place by 2017. Like the Ula class, Norway would probably construct some of the modules in country with final assembly at the foreign partner’s yard.
If the modernization path is chosen, the oldest unit, ULA, commissioned in 1989 could enter its extended overhaul (probably around 18 months) by 2014. The entire class could see service through 2035.
AZERBIJAN-Navy Orders Caspian Sea Mini-Submarines
In late November 2012, AMI received information that the Azerbaijan (Azeri) Navy (AN) had ordered new submarines for operations in the Caspian Sea. Although the types and numbers of submarines were not disclosed, AMI believes that the AN has ordered mini-submarines in order to counter the Iranian conventional and unconventional threat in the Caspian Sea in addition to providing a platform to transport its own special forces teams.
In the past, the AN utilized the Russian built Triton 2 mini- submarines for special forces operations. However, these vessels were built in the I 960s and are no longer operational. Although the builder and number of units has not been disclosed, AMI believes that the Italian COSMOS MG no would be the most likely candidate and a maximum of four hulls were probably ordered.
It could be that despite past familiarity and use of Russian- origin equipment, Azerbaijan was seeking better capability through Italian or other foreign submarine designs although the cost would be significantly higher than a Russian solution. The new submarines are expected to enter service in 2015.
The COSOS MG no is 28 meters (9 1 .8ft) in length with a displacement of no tons. It can carry two torpedoes and two – four mines and can deploy up to eight special forces personnel.
Modernization & Ship Transfer Newsletter
ECUADOR-Shyri (Type 209/1300) Shyri (Type 29/1300) Class Diesel-Powered Submarine (SSK): In late November 2012, Ecuador announced that it had funded US$125M to complete the modernization package for the second Shyri class submarine, HUANKA VILKA (S I02). HUANKA VILKA began its refit at Chile’s ASMAR Talcahuano Shipyard in November following the completion of the first unit, SHYRI (S101) on 19 October.
AUSTRALIA-Collins Class Submarines: On 14 November 2012, Australia’s Defence Material organization (OMO signed a US$23.2M contract with Thales Australia for the upgrade to the Scylla sonar suite on all six units of the class. The custom designed processing boards for the sonar will be replaced with commercial alternatives. This will allow for fewer processing boards while improving overall capacity and overall sonar performance. The software upgrades also allow for easier future maintenance and reduces subsystems that are no longer manufactured.
The work will be performed by Thales Australia, the original manufacturer of the sonar as well as the holder of the in service support contract. A shore based system upgrade will be tested in 2013 and will be followed by the first submarine sonar suite upgrade in 2014. All six submarines could receive the modification by 2017.
INDIA-Project 751 Submarine RfP in the Near Term
As of December 2012, several of AMl’s sources continue to indicate that a Request for Proposals (RfPs) for the Vertical Launch Submarine Project (Project 751) (also known as the second submarine line) will be released in the near tenn. In September 2012, AMI received information that Project 751 had already been approved by the Indian Defense Acquisition Council (DAC) and estimated that the RfP would be released by the end of 2013. The Indian Navy (JN) estimates that the program for six units will cost around US$ l 5B. Also in December 2012, India’ s Secretary of Defence for Production, Shekar Agarwal, confirmed that two of the six hulls will be built in a foreign yard with the final four units at Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) and Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL). MDL will build three units and HSL the remaining indigenous hull.
AMI estimates and public documents indicate that the four leading foreign contenders for this program are:
- DCNS of France with a Super Scorpene variant (AIM-2000).
- ThyssenKrupp Marine (HOW) of Germany with a new Type 216 design.
- Rubin of Russia with the Amur 1650 (with vertical launch humpback).
- Navantia of Spain with a variant of the S80 design.
Three of the four primary candidates have built or are building submarines for the IN. Russia delivered ten KILO class SS to India from 1986 through 2000, and modernization of the Indian KILOs continues at Russian shipyards. Gemany executed a split build program to supply four Type 209s to India from 1986 through 1994. French builder DCNS continues to support a contract for six Scorelines building in India with some modules fabricated in France. Of the four leading contenders, only Spain would represent a new/non-traditional supplier for India. However, India’s goal to diversify its supply lines to void depending on any one country or manufacturer would support serious consideration of a Spanish offer.
Two of the primary capabilities that are expected to be must haves for the chosen design are the ability to launch land attack missiles and Air Independent Propulsion (AIP). Germany’s Type 2 I 6 design features a mission payload module that would support land attack missiles, while the AMUR design would also permit larger missile loads. All the candidate suppliers could supply torpedo-tube launched missile capability. AMl’s sources indicate that selection of the supplier will be solely on the basis of compliance with the requirements in the RFP, and historical association with past Indian sub acquisitions will not weigh on the selection process.
Assuming that the RfP is released by mid-2013, a construction contract could be in place by 2014 and the first unit commissioning in 2019.
CHINA – PLAN Considering the Russian Amur Design
On 22 December 2012, AMI received information that the People’s Liberation Army – Navy (PLAN) is considering the procurement of four Russian Amur-1650 conventionally-powered attack submarines (SSK).
This information comes only several months after reports that the majority of the Chinese-built Yuan (Type 041) class SS Ks have returned to the shipyard for repairs due to a lack of performance. It also appears that construction of new units has slowed considerably or even stopped all together.
Designed by the Rubin Central Design Bureau, the Amur- 1650 displaces about 1750 tons and has an overall length of 66.8 meters (219.2 feet). It is armed with six 533mm (21 inch) torpedo tubes for 18 torpedoes or mines. The 533mm tubes are also capable of firing the SS-N-27 Sizzler anti-ship missile. The contract, worth a reported US$2B with Rosoboron export, is said to be held for signing until 2015 at the earliest in order to prove out a new propulsion system for the Amur class submarines, the export variant of the Russian Lada class. The Lada class program has been terminated in Russia due to a lack of performance of its propulsion system. AMI anticipates that if the contract is indeed signed in 2015, unit one could commission by 2018, followed by one unit per year through 2021. It is likely that, if the Amur-1650 proves to be effective for the PLAN, a second batch of four units could be ordered at a later date; similar to the procurement of the Kilo class by the PLAN early in the mid 1980s.
It appears that the PLAN’s two latest diesel boat programs, first the Song class (Type 039) and now the Yuan class, have not been very successful, which is why the PLAN will have to continue with its two track policy of ship procurement; a mixture of indigenous construction and select foreign procurement in order to meet its requirements.
ASIA REGIONAL UPDATE INDIA:
In late December 2012, AMI received information that the Indian Navy’s (IN) first Nuclear-Powered Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN), ARIHANT, will begin sea trials in the first half of 2013 . Sources indicate that the nuclear reactor will go critical in the next several months following several years of setbacks. The IN is calling for a commissioning date of 2014 for ARIHANT, however, this assumes all trials go successfully.
In late December 2012, the first Kilo Class (636) Submarine for the Vietnam People’s Navy (VPN), Ha Noi (HQ- 182) has commenced factory trails in the Baltic Sea. The Vietnamese crew will begin training by February 2013. The second unit, HO CHI MINH CITY (HQ-183), was launched the first week of January in 2013. Six Kilos will be built for the VPN and are scheduled to be in service by 2018. Hulls three through six named as follows: HAI PHONG (HQ-184), DA NANG (HQ-185), KHANH HOA (HQ-186) and BA RIA-YUNG TAU (HQ-187).
WORLD MISSILE DEVELOPMENTS RUSSIA:
In December 2012, AMI received information that the Russian Navy (VMFR) intends to modernize its fleet of ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) that are currently armed with the Sineva submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) with the Liner SLBM. The liquid-fueled Liner missile is a modernized version of the Sineva, is more capable and carries a larger payload by nearly double than that of the solid-fueled Bulava that equips the new Borey class SSBN. The first submerged tests of the Liner occurred from the Northern Fleet SSBN YEKA TERJNBURG on 20 May 2012; just a years after the program initially began. Officials of the Makeyev State Rocket Center stated that the new Liner missile will allow current Project 667BDRM (Delta IV) class SSBNs to remain in service through 2030.
VARIOUS DID YOU KNOW?
RUSSIA: On 20 December 2012, the third Borey Class (Project 941) Nuclear-Powered Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN), VLADIMIR MONOMAKH, was floated out at Sevmash Shipyard. The first unit of the class, YURI DOLGORUKIY, was commissioned into the Russian Navy on 21 December. The second unit, ALEXANDER NEVSKY, is currently conducting sea trials.
UNITED KINGDOM: On 22 December 2012, the second Royal Navy (RN) Astute Class Submarine, HMS AMBUSH (S 95), was launched at BAE Systems, Barrow in the United Kingdom.
AUSTRALIA: In late December 2012, Darnen Scheide Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) of the Netherlands was contracted to build the Submarine Rescue Ship (RGS9316) for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). The new vessel will be built at Damen’s facility in Vietnam and will be delivered to Australia in 2016.
From the January 2013 Issue
Modernization & Ship Transfer-BANGLADESH Song Class Diesel Electric Submarines: On 03 January 2013, AMI received information that the Bangladesh Navy (BN) had concluded a deal with China concerning the procurement of two used Song class submarines from China. Source indicates that both submarines will be modernized prior to transfer. The submarines will probably be overhauled at either Wuhan Shipyard or angina Shipyard where all of the submarines were built. The Song class began construction in the early 1990s and is being replaced by the more modern Yuan class, making them available for transfer. Both units could be overhauled and delivered to the BN by mid-2014. The BN will require extensive training as the sea service has never operated submarines in the past. 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.
SINGAPORE-Archer Class Submarine: On 31 December 2012, the Republic of Singapore Navy’s (RSN) second Archer- class submarine, RSS SWORDSMAN, arrived at the main naval base at Changi. RSS SWORDSMAN, an ex-Royal Swedish Navy Vastergot land class submarine, was launched in Karlskrona Sweden on 20 October 2010. RSS SWORDSMAN is the second of two units acquired from Sweden in 2005. Both units have been refurbished and tropicalized for operations in the equatorial region. Both crews have been undergoing training in Sweden since 2008. From the F ebrno1y 2013 Issue SOUTH KOREA- DSME Awarded Contract for First Two KSS-3 Submarines In early February 2013, AMI received confirmation that South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) signed a US$ l .568 contract on 26 December 2012 for the detailed design and construction of the first two KSS-3 3500-ton submarines. Both units will be in service by 2022. The basic design was completed in July 2012 allowing for the program to enter the next phase in December 2012.
AM l’s source indicates that the Critical Design Review (CDR) for the submarines’ sonar and combat system will be conducted from April through October 2013 in order for the fully evolved combat system to be ready for installation prior to the first unit entering the water around 2018.
It appears the majority of the combat system will originate from South Korea with Combat Management System (CMS) originating from Samsun Thales. The sonar system will probably be based on an Atlas Elektronik system with the towed array possibly being an indigenous system being developed by Hanwha. As a note, South Korea has been developing its own indigenous sonar at LIG Nex I but apparently has met with mixed results and may not be ready in time for the CDR. In this case, the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) would have no choice but to continue its reliance on Atlas sonar systems.
This KSS-3 Program apparently will rely solely on South Korean produced systems including LIG Nex I White Shark heavyweight torpedoes and Sea Star SSM-700K anti-ship missiles (ASMs). The torpedo tubes will be capable of launching torpedoes, ASMs and mines.
The KSS-3 will be unique in the ROKN in that it will have a vertical launch system (VLS) known as the Vertical Multi-Purpose Locks (VMPL). The VMPL will be able to launch up to 12 Sky Dragon Land Attack Cruise Missiles (LACMs), the first time South Korea will be able to launch LACMS submerged.
Up to nine total KSS-3 hulls will be built through 2029. Like the KSS-2 program, this program will probably also be completed between DSME and Hyundai Heavy Industries (Hll) with the seven remaining units split between the two yards.
In late January 2013, AMI received information that the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) was still interested in the procurement of two submarines. AMI source indicated that the RTN is currently considering lease options as an interim step prior to the acquisition of new construction hulls. It appears that the Type 209 or Type 214 hulls may be the most favored options at this time.
The procurement of submarines for the RTN has been under consideration since 1997 with the most recent initiative for the procurement of used German Type 206A submarines being cancelled in 2011 by the Thai Parliament due to its high cost. A submarine program has appeared in the last two procurement plans, Mega Project 2005, which called for two submarines by 2017 and the latest plan, the 2011-2020 procurement plan (Plan to Develop and Strengthen Thai Milliliter)’ Capabilities). Under the 2011-2020 plan, the procurement of submarines was listed as the third highest acquisition priority following the acquisition of frigates and three additional units of the Krabi class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs). This is in addition to a major upgrade to the two Naresun class frigates that involve a new Saab CMS System as well as the addition of the Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile (ESSM).
New construction for the foreseeable future is surely out of the question with a possible lease scenario as an interim measure. AMI believes that the new construction scenario is still several years down the road as the RTN has committed funds for the Naresuan modernization effort and in late 2012 US$972M for the procurement of the first two four frigates (two in the next decade (2020-2030). In regards to the lease and later purchase of Type 209s or Type 214s, there may be several options available including South Korea and Turkey. Both will have type 209s coming free over the next several years and both have built Type 209s under license and are building Type 214s under license. Both of these countries are expanding their export market and would probably be able to offer an attractive lease/buy option. Greece could also lease type 209s and Type 214s (when completed and operating satisfactorily) and could also build more Type 2 l 4s in the event that the RN would choose this option.
A final lease/buy option may exist with China as part of a larger package as China has offered the Type 054A (Type 054T) as a solution to the RTN Frigate Program and could expand the deal to include the leasing of Song class submarines and new construction Yuan class submarines at a later date. Although the price would be extremely attractive, the RTN would prefer Western sourced submarines more, although the RTNs budget limitations could make a Chinese solution the more practical choice.
DID YOU KNOW?
RUSSIA:On 13 January 2013, the Russian Navy (VMFR) announced that the keel for the third Yasen (Project 885) class nuclear powered attack submarine (SSN) would be laid in July at Sevmash Pedpriyatie Shipyard (Northern Center).