Contact Us   |    Join   |    Donate


Reprinted with permission from AMI HOT NEWS, an internet publication AMI International, PO Box 30, Bremerton, Washington, 98337.

From the June 2015 Issue


On 15 May 2015, the Republic of Korea Navy’s (ROKN) sixth Son Won II class submarine, ROKS YU GWAN- SUN (SS 077), was launched from Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) in South Korea. The Yu Gwan-Sun will be commissioned in 2016 and fol- lowed by three additional units of the class. The Son Won II class will end at nine units.


AMI is currently tracking naval ship design developments. The following is a highlight for the months of May and June 2015:

Croatian Drakon 220 Midget Submarine: On 26 April 2015, the Croatian shipbuilding industry released information regarding a newly designed mini-submarine dubbed the DRAKON 220. Designed strictly for the export market, it has been rumored that the DRAKON 220 has been offered to Indonesia as well as several other countries around the world.

The new submarine design is a diesel-electric powered boat, 30.27m (99.3ft) in length, displacing 220 tons surfaced and 255 tons submerged. They are to have a range of 3000nm and a maximum diving depth of 150m (492ft) with a top submerged speed of 10.2 knots. Armaments will include two torpedo tubes for heavyweight or lightweight torpedoes, two seabed mines (with 4 additional mines in optional side saddles), plus an option for submarine-launched anti-air missiles. They will be capable of deploying two, single- seat DRUW-2 underwater commando vehicles.

They are designed to be operated by a crew of nine, with berths and equipment stowage for four combat divers. The small size and minimum manning requirement makes them ideal for navies wanting to get into the submarine game yet needing to keep cost and manning to a minimum. The DRAKON 220 is report to cost approximately €50M (US$54.5M).


UNITED STATES: On 16 May 2015, the keel was laid for the United States Navy’s (USN) 16 th Virginia class submarine, USS INDIANA (SSN789) at Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia.


CANADA: Victoria Class Submarines: On 02 May 2015, the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) announced that it was planning for a major Submarine Life Extension Program (SLEP) for the four Victoria class submarines. The SLEP would extend the lies of the class to 2033 (and perhaps beyond).

Various options are now being considered and a report on those options are expected to be finalized by the end of June 2015. Depending on the capabilities selected, the project could cost an estimated US$1.2B to US$2.5B. Some improvements have already been identified and some are already underway or now completing under the Victoria Class Submarine Capability Life Extension (SCLE)/Victoria Class Submarine In-Service Support Contract (VISSC) or various other upgrades that have occurred since 2010.The modernization package now being planned (assuming approval) is to begin in 2020. The overhauls will be conducted in Canada with Babcock Canada, Northrop Grumman Canada Ltd and Ultra Electronics Canada figuring to be major players as all three have been involved in the modernization and maintenance programs of the Victoria class up until this point.

From the July 2015 Issue


Submarine Program Moving Toward Chinese Solution In late June 2014, AMI received information that the 17- member Submarine Procurement Committee appointed by the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) voted in favor of the Chinese solution for the sea service’s submarine program. Although the Chinese solution (probably Type 041 or the S20 export version) got the most votes (breakdown not released), sources indicate that the remaining votes were split between Germany and South Korea.

Although the 17-member panel approved the Chinese solution, the program must still be approved by the Thai Cabinet. As is, the plan calls for the procurement of three submarines at a cost of 36B BHT (US$1.06B) or around US$355M per hull, which will be based on the Type 041 or the S20 export variant. The Thai Cabinet is expected to announce the preferred supplier decision over the next several weeks. Sources indicate that the decision was based on the best value for the money, which included the three submarines, submarine technology transfer agreements in addition to a training package. .

The process started on 24 April 2015 when the TRN formally submitted its proposal for the acquisition of submarines to the Thai Government. The proposal came one week prior to a meeting between Thai and Chinese officials. Thai Deputy Prime Minis- ter/Defense Minister Prawit Wongsuwan met with Chinese Defense Minister General Chang Wanquan during the last week of April in 2015. Although the Chinese solution is admittedly less superior than those offered by the Europeans and the Russians, the price tag at US$355M per hull (with technology transfer and training package) has to be seriously considered as cost has been a primary factor since the RTN began planning for new submarines in 2011. In addition, the supplier base of the RTN is beginning to shift more solidly toward the Chinese and the South Koreans as the price tag for procuring military equipment from those sources tends to be less costly than from Thailand’s traditional suppliers of the past (European and US).

USN Issues RfP for T-AO(X) and LHA-8

On 25 June 2015, the US Navy (USN) issued a Request for Proposals (RfP) directly to General Dynamics NASSCO and Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) for the third America class LHA (LHA-8) and the first six Future Fleet Replenishment Ships (T-AO(X)). The RfPs were sent directly to the builders without public notification on the US Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) solicitation website.

The USN expects responses to the RfP in the third quarter of 2015. The responses will not be publicly releasable. One of the two yards will receive the contract for the first six T-AO(X) and the other yard LHA-8. The issuance of a single solicitation (for both projects) to the two builders was in order to preserve the industrial base, leverage competition, and bring affordability to the programs. HII and NASSCO are the only two remaining yards in the US that can build large amphibious ships (Ingalls) and large auxiliary ships (NASSCO).

The RfP release follows the early March 2015 announcement that HII Ingalls Shipbuilding and General Dynamics NASSCO would compete for the single contract that will bundle work on the Notional Amphibious Ship (LXR) Program, the first six Future Fleet Replenishment Ships (T-AO(X)) and the third unit of the America class Amphibious Assault Ship (LHA-8).

Both yards will also compete for the LXR program which will begin FY 2020.

The first T-AO(X) will begin in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 and LHA-8 (third America class) is scheduled to start in FY 2018. In total, the USN will procure nine America class LHAs through 2048, 17 T-AO(X)s through 2036 and 11 LXRs through 2038.


Two A26 Submarines Under Contract With Saab On 30 June 2015, the Swedish Defence Materiel Administra- tion (FMV) signed a contract with Saab worth US$1.04B for the construction of two new construction A26 submarines and a mid- life upgrade of two Gotland class submarines HALLAND and GOTLAND. This follows information received on 17 March that Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist announced the intention to procure two A26 Submarines from Saab Kockums at a cost of US$948.5M. The proposal had already been formally proposed to the Cabinet for review and approval. With the contract now complete, construction will probably begin in 2016 with the first unit entering service in 2022 and the second in 2024. Although only two units are under contract, AMI estimates that a total of five units will be procured by the Royal Swedish Navy (RSwN) to replace the two Sodermanland (A17) class and the three Gotland (A19) class. The first two will replace the Sodermanland class with three additional units being ordered by the mid-2020s to replace the three units of the Gotland class. The two Gotland class submarines, HALLAND and GOTLAND, will undergo a major overhaul as part of this contract. Those submarines will return to the fleet in 2018 and 2019. AMI anticipates that some of the latest sensor and weapons upgrades found on the modernized Gotlands will also be utilized on the first A26 submarines.


UNITED STATES: On 25 June 2015, the United States Navy (USN) took delivery of the 12 th Virginia class submarine, USS JOHN WARNER (SSN 785) at Huntington Ingalls Industries Newport News Shipbuilding in Virginia. It will be commissioned on 01 August 2015. On 24 May, the USN announced that the 23 rd hull will be named USS NEW JERSEY (SSN 796).

RUSSIA: On 03 July 2015, the Russian Navy (VMFR) commissioned its third Improved Kilo (Project 636.6) class submarine, RFS STARY OSKOL at Admiralty Shipyard in St. Petersburg.

MODERNIZATION & SHIP TRANSFER SWEDEN – Gotland (A19) Class Submarines HSwMS HALLAND and HSwMS GOTLAND: On 30 June 2015, the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) signed a contract with Saab worth US$1.04B for the construction of two new construction A26 submarines and a mid-life upgrade of the two Gotland class submarines HALLAND and GOTLAND. This follows information received on 29 September 2014 that Saab received an order from the FMV to overhaul the Gotland class submarines, HSwMS HALLAND. The work on HALLAND will be accomplished through the end of 2015 at a cost of US$18M. The order is part of the Letter of Intent (LoI) regarding the Swedish Armed Forced Forces underwater capability announced on 09 June 2014.

The overhaul of the HALLAND includes all necessary measures to ensure the submarine’s operational availability, the standard maintenance period that takes place every six years. A major part of the contract was the definition of future needs for maintenance work that will need to be accomplished on both the HALLAND and GOTLAND under the 30 June 2015 US$1.04B contract with Saab. The latest overhauls will be accomplished at Saab’s Kockums yard in Karlskrona. The two upgraded subma- rines will return to service in 2018 and 2019. Modernization plans for both submarines that will be accom- plished under separate contracts and include the following:

  • OSI Maritime will deliver the Tactical Dived Naviga- tion System (TDNS) as per a late 2013 contract.
  • On 28 January 2015, Kongsberg was selected to provide the SA9510 mine avoidance and navigation sonar as well as the EM2040 Dual RX multi-beam echo sounder.
  • On 16 January 015, Exelis was awarded a US$17M contract to provide the ES-3701 electronic warfare sys- tem (EW).
  • The addition of a diving lock built into the sail
  • Installation of non-hull penetrating optronic masts.
  • Diesel engine and generator overhaul.
  • Upgrade of the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) sys- tem
  • Replacement of sonar suite.
  • Upgrade of the combat management system (CMS).
  • Upgrade of the Type 62 heavyweight torpedoes.
  • The addition of an AUV/ROV capability (SUBROV).

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.

INDIA – Sindhughosh (Kilo – Project 877) Class Submarine INS SINDHUKIRTI (S61): On 21 May 2015, the Sindhughosh class submarine INS SINDHUKIRTI (S61) departed Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL) for sea trials following a nine year overhaul period. The mid-life upgrade (MLU) began in 2006. The submarine will be returned to active service by the end of 2015. The work package for the MLU included: Hull, mechanical and electrical maintenance and repair. Installation of the Novator club-S (3M-54E1, SS-N- 27/Sizzler) missile system. Replacement of weapon control system. Upgrades to electronic warfare suite. Installation of the indigenous Ushus sonar system. Installation of the indigenous CCS-MK radio communica- tion system. Installation of L3 KEO non-hull penetrating mast. Installation of the Sagem SIGMA 40 ring laser gyro system.

The four remaining units of the class (Sindhudhvaj – S56, SINDHURAJ – S57, SINDHUVIR – S58, and SINDHUSHASTRA – S65) were originally schedule to have this refit completed by 2016 at HSL under the direction of advisors from Rubin Design Bureau and Zvezdochka Shipyard. However, it now appears that the IN will probably overhaul the two of the remaining four at Zvezdochka starting in 2016 and the final two at HSL.

TURKEY – Atilay (Ay) Class Submarine: a modernization for TCG DOGANAY (S351) and TCG DOLUNAY 9S352) was started in late 2011. STM was the prime contractor for the program and Havelsan was designated as the systems integration lead which includes upgrades to the communications, navigation and sensors, weapons control system, electronic support measures (ESM), and inertial navigation system (INS). Additionally: Four of the bow tubes were to undergo modification, enabling them to handle the Mk 48 adcap MOD 6 at heavy- weight torpedo. The Airbus DS Optronics SERO 250-A and the 250-S at- tack and search periscope with an infrared camera, a TV camera and an ESM-EW/GPS antenna was to be installed. The TCG DOGANAY 9S351) was completed and returned to service on 09 April 2014 and the TCG DOLUNAY (S352) was completed on 22 April 2015. The remaining four units of the class (Atilay, Saldiray, Batiray and Yildiray) will not receive the modernization efforts as they will be the first units to be replaced by the new construction type 214s (Reis Class).

NETHERLANDS – Submarine Support Ship/Torpedo Tender MERCUUR (A 900): In May 2015, Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) was awarded a contract for the refit of the Submarine Support Ship Torpedo Tender MERCUUR. The vessel will enter DSNS on 07 September 2015 and will be completed by 2016. The work package includes: Hull, Mechanical and Electrical (H,M&E) work including the reinforcement of the bow section and the repainting of the hull. Bridge layout will be reconfigured with new communications equipment. Crew spaces and dining facilities will be refurbished. The vessel will remain operational until 2025.

UNITED KINGDOM/FRANCE/NORWAY – NATO Submarine Rescue system (NSRS): In early June 2015, AMI received information that JFD (merger of James Fisher Defence and Divex) had won a contract worth US$19M to provide through life support for the NATO Submarine Rescue System (NSRS). The five year contract through 2020 includes options through 2023 The service will be managed by JFD’s Submarine Escape and Rescue Team with engineering and technical support will be provided by JFD’s Engineering Support Cell. USED SHIP TRANSFERS/RECEIPTS/ DECOMMISSIONINGS UNITED STATES – Los Angeles Class Nuclear Powered Attack Submarine (SSN) USS MIAMI (SSN 755): On 28 March 2014, USS MIAMI (SSN 755) was decommissioned at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine. In early August 2013, the USN announced that it would decommission the Los Angeles class submarine USS MIAMI (SSN 755) due to a fire on 23 May of that year. MIAMI was expected to be refurbished, however, by early August 2013, the USN decided to forego the US$450M repair and scrap the submarine. On 12 June 2015, the submarine departed Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine en-route Bremerton, Washington where it will be cut up for scrap. All of the equipment and propulsion systems have been removed. From the August 2015 Issue INDIA – Naval Programs Update In early August 2015, AMI received information from multi- ple sources concerning updates to Indian Navy (IN) programs including the following. Vertical Launch Missile Submarine (SS/SSG) (Project 75I): On 12 July 2015, the IN announced that it had shortlisted five domestic yards that wish to participate in the construction of six submarines that will be built under Project 75I. The yards shortlisted are Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL), Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL), Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL), Pipavav Shipyard Ltd (PSL) and Larsen & Toubro (L&T). These five yards will be invited to submit bids to build the six submarines with a foreign yard of their choice. The Request for Proposals (RfPs) should be released in 2016 at the latest now that the five domestic yards have been identified. Some of the known domestic yard/foreign yard affiliations are as follows: DCNS of France with PSL and MDL (Project 75 Scorpene Program). Super Scorpene design for Project 75I. HSL signed a collaborative agreement with South Koreas Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) to jointly build subma- rines. Probably a variant of the Type 209.

CSL and L&T are not yet affiliated with a foreign yard (at least not to AMI’s knowledge) and could still join with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) which is offering the Type 214 design, Saab Kockums with it’s a 26 design, Rubin Design Bureau with its Amur 1650 and Navantia with its S80 design. All six units will be built in India with the foreign partner providing the design, construction and integration assistance. The weapon and sensor systems will probably be a combination of foreign and Indian developed systems. Assuming that the RfP is released in 2016, a construction contract could be in place by 2017 with the first unit entering service in 2022.


Submarine Negotiations with China Complete On 24 July 2015, AMI received information that Pakistan and China agreed to terms on a US$4-$US$5B deal for the procure- ment of up to eight Chinese designed submarines for the Pakistani Navy (PN). Financial agreements were concluded during a meeting between Pakistan’s Finance Minister, Ishaq Dar and Chinese state owned China Shipbuilding and Offshore Interna- tional Company Ltd’s (CSOC), Xu Ziquin. The agreement is still subject to final review from higher authorities in Beijing and then followed by the formal agreement. The financial agreements were the final phase of negotiations which started in 2011. The financial terms include Pakistan making payments in four installments to China. The technology transfer agreements were concluded in 2014. This financial agreement follows information received by AMI on 01 April 2015 that Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved the government-to-government deal for the eight submarines from China. The deal is still expected to be signed by both parties when China’s president Xi Jinping visits Pakistan before the end of 2015.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister did announce in April that the PN was considering the Yuan (Type 041) and the export S20 design. AMI estimates that the first four units will be made in China at either the Wuhu or Jiangnan Shipyards and the four Pakistani units at Karachi Shipbuilding and Engineering Works (KSEW) with Chinese assistance. It is possible that China could build additional units (of the remaining four) if Pakistan falls behind on its building schedule. This will be the most aggressive naval building program for KSEW to date.

Assuming the contract signature by the end of 2015, the first four units that will be built in china could start the construction phase in early 2016 with delivery by 2022. The first Pakistani unit could start by the end of 2016 and commission in 2021. The remaining three units of the class (assuming all Pakistani construction) could commission from 2022 through 2025.

AMI estimates that the majority of all combat and sensor systems will be of Chinese origin with some of the components being built in Pakistan. It appears that Pakistan has finally decided to move forward with the Chinese alternative rather than further pursue its western options (Type 214 and Scorpene), which have been on the table since the early 2000s.

The new submarines will displace around 2,300 tons and armed with YJ-82 anti-ship missiles and a combination of Yu-3 and Yu-4 torpedoes. The biggest question will be if the PN wants to have an Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) capability, which was stipulated in the early days of the program. Since 2007, rumors have persisted that some of the Chinese Yuan (Type 041) class are using an IP system developed by the No. 711 Research Institute. If this technology is available, then the PN will most likely integrate it into the program, and hence the final design selected. Pakistan could also utilize Tognum MTU diesel engines in lieu of Chinese diesels. China used MTU diesels in its Song class and builds MTU engines under license.

THAILAND Submarine Program Delayed Again On 15 July 2015, Thailand’s Defense Minister, Prawit Wongsuwan, announced that the recent submarine procurement program would be put on hold. According to the Defense Minister, the purchase plan for the Chinese submarines would not be submitted to the Cabinet for the time being pending a thorough study. Cabinet approval is the final crucial step to moving forward with the program. This announcement comes on the heels of the late June 2015 announcement that the 17-member Submarine Procurement Committee appointed by the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) voted in favor of the Chinese solution for the sea service’s submarine program. Although the Chinese solution (probably type 041 or the S20 export version) got the most votes (breakdown not released), sources indicate that the remaining votes were split between Germany and South Korea.

The program before being put on hold called for the procure- ment of three submarines at a cost of 36B BHT (US$1.06B) or around US$355M per hull, which will be based on the Type 041 or the S20 export variant. The Thai Cabinet was expected to announce the preferred supplier decision be the third quarter of 2015. Sources indicated that Submarine Procurement Committee decision was based on the best value for the money, which included the three submarines, submarine technology transfer agreements in addition to a training package.

Although there was no timeline given by the Defense Minister as when thorough study would be started or completed; it appears that this decision was political in nature. It is no secret there is opposition with the TRN and the Defense Ministry in addition to politicians and activists. Many in the civil population believe that the funds would be better spent on the local economy and others believe that Thailand is becoming too close to China.

Although it seems the RTN was on the cusp of getting new submarines, the procurement once again has stalled due to political reasons. This scenario has become very familiar as the RTN continues its quest for submarines, a quest that started in the 1990s. The theme for the Thai submarines seems to be, better luck next year.

NETHERLANDS Interest in Swimmer Delivery Vehicles On 17 July 2015, AMI received information that the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNIN) has expressed interest in acquiring swimmer delivery vehicles (SDV0 for their naval special operations forces. This announcement follows the June 2015 statement at the Undersea Defense Technology (UDT) 2015 exposition in Rotterdam that the Dutch Ministry of Defense (MoD) was partly financing the development of SDVs by the Dutch company Ortega Submersibles. With the MoD providing part of the financing, it would seem that the SDVs may have commercial as well as military applications.

While there has been no indication that others may join in this program, it must be noted that the Royal Norwegian Navy (RNoN) is in the market for a class of SDVs as well, with a construction contract expected by the end of 2015. The RNoN could very well join the program with the RNIN in order to reduce overall costs. Whether or not Norway joins the Netherlands in this program, AMI anticipates that the development of the SDV by Ortega Submersibles is well on its way and could see a construction contract with the RNIN by mid-2016. AMI estimates that up to six SDVs could be procured under this program. ASIA Hanoi Class (Kilo 636) Diesel Electric Submarine (SS): On 30 June 2015, the fourth Hanoi class (kilo 636) submarine, DA NANG (HQ-185) arrives in Vietnam.

The fifth and sixth units, KHAN HOA (HQ-186) will be delivered by the end of 2016 ending the program. There are no indications at this time that the VPN will order additional units following the delivery of the final units in 2016. DID YOU KNOW? UNITED KINGDOM: On 17 July 2015, the Royal Navy (RN) announced that its third Astute class nuclear powered attack submarine (SSN), HMS ARTFUL (S 121), was set to start sea trials. UNITED STATES: On 01 August 2015, the United States Navy (USN) commissioned the Virginia class nuclear-powered attack submarine (SSN) USS JOHN WARNER (SSN 785) into service.

USED SHIP TRANSFERS/RECEIPTS/ DECOMMISSIONINGS INDIA – Nuclear-Powered Attack Submarines (SSN) Lease: On 12 December 2014, Russia’s Trade Minister announced that it was ready to lease an additional used nuclear submarine to the Indian Navy (IN). The statement was believed to have referred to the Akula class, of which one is already under a US$970M ten- year lease to the Indian sea service through 2021. In late March 2015, AMI received information that the Indian Government had made the formal request for a second Akula.

Sources now report that the IN may also be considering one of the Yasen class SSNs as an alternative. The Yasen class is much newer than the 1980s/90s vintage Akula class SSNs. The only two units of the Yasen class built to date are the RFS SEVERODVINSK (K 329) and the RFS KAZAN, both commissioned since 2013. The IN began considering the lease of a second unit in early 2013. In the event that the IN remains with the Akula, it may be either the Akula II hull IRIBIS, which is 60% complete and remains at Russia’s Amur Shipyard or the completed Akula I KASHALOT (K-322).

The procurement of the second SSN has become a much higher priority in recent months as the first Indian-built Nuclear Powered Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN) INS ARIHANT began sea trials in mid-December 2014. Negotiations will probably be completed by 2016.

Naval Submarine League

© 2022 Naval Submarine League