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

From the February 2015 Issue

NETHERLANDS—Future Submarines Linked to Sweden by Saab/Damen Agreement

In January 2015, Damen Shipyards Group of the Netherlands and Saab of Sweden signed an exclusive teaming agreement for the Walrus class submarine replacement program for the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNIN).

Information received in September 2014 indicated that the RNIN desired to join Norway (Ny Ubat) and Sweden (A26) in their submarine programs. With Damen now signing the teaming agreement with Saab, the RN1N is one step closer to joining with Sweden and it future submarine program. Saab acquired Kockums shipbuilding from ThyssenKrupp in July 2014 and as such, became Sweden’s submarine builder. While Damen builds well over 100 vessels annually, they do not have experience in submarine construction and as such, teaming with a partner like Saab Kockums is essential for the program to move forward smoothly.

The teaming effort would likely see Damen producing modules for the four replacement submarines that would be shipped to Kockums in Sweden for final assembly and outfitting. Damen could also produce some of Sweden’s modules and possibly Norway’s (if and when they officially join) as well. It is also possible that Damen could assemble its own submarines if it intends to remain in the submarine construction business beyond the four Walrus replacements.

With the Walrus replacement program now moving ahead, a construction contract will probably move up by several years to be more in line with the Swedish program. AMI anticipates that a

final design (probably based on the A26 as it is well advanced in the design stage) could be completed by 2018 and a construction contract in place by 2020. This would allow for a commissioning date of 2025 for the first unit. The first Swedish unit could begin construction as early as 2017 or 2018 and the first Norwegian unit (if they participate) also in 2017 or 2018.

Although all three countries may share a common hull, each will probably utilize their own specific combat systems. For the Netherlands, the Dutch Underwater Knowledge Centre (DUKC) will play a guiding role in preparing for submarine construction in the Netherlands, we expect IMTECH Marine to be a major player in electrical and mechanical systems engineering and integration, and of course Thales Naval Nederland (TNN) would most likely be involved in the combat systems integration. AMI anticipates that the four Walrus class boats will be replaced on a one for one basis, decommissioning as the new boats enter service.


Slowing of Submarine Program

In late January 2015, AMI received information that the Polish Navy (Marynarka Wojenna –MW) is planning to sign a contract for the construction and delivery of three submarines under Project ORKA, within two years. Originally expected to be signed in late 2015, the program is, as expected, slipping to the right due to decision and funding issues. One major hurdle that appears to have been dealt with at a recent meeting led by Ministry of Defense (MoD) Secretary of State, Czeslaw Mroczek, was the assumptions of offset agreements on this program were unanimously adopted-maintaining technical readiness, conducting repairs, modernizing, and manufacturing military equipment and armaments.

One major decision that is still under consideration is whether or not the submarine will be equipped with cruise missiles. In November 2014, the desire for a long-range submarine strike capability was expressed, indicating that either tomahawk or Naval Scalp, depending on the design chosen, would be part of the procurement.

The MW’s desire for a strike missile on the new submarine has led to the necessity of updating the requirements documents for Project ORKA, pushing the expected contract date to as late as early 2017.

As of his writing, only France has publicly stated that it would grant Poland full autonomy regarding the use of a submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM), with one stipulation, that it selects the DCNS Scorpene submarine design. Should Poland desire to acquire the US-made Tomahawk missile and have full autonomy in their use, approval would have to be granted from the US Congress.

Current planning has the MW receiving the three submarines from 2020 through 2025. Considering that training and testing of the vessels, in particular the SLCM system will take upwards of a year, the first unit will need to begin construction no later than 2017 in order to see the boat delivered and operational by 2021.

To make the timing situation worse, the MW intends to de-commission its four Kobben (Type 207) class submarines by the end of 2016, leaving the sea service with the ORP ORZEL (Kilo class) as their only operational subsurface vessel. Considering that the MW also intends to decommission ORP ORZEL in 2022, it will be vital to get the new boats in service as soon as possible or risk losing trained crews to man them in addition to having amajor capabilities gap in undersea warfare.


Hanoi Class (Kilo 636) Diesel Electric Submarine (SS): On 30 January 2015, the third Hanoi class (Kilo 636) submarine, HAIPHONG (HQ-184) arrived in Vietnam on a special transport. On 30 December 2014, the fourth unit, DA NANG (HQ-185), was launched from Admiralty Shipyards in Russia. It will be delivered to the Vietnamese People’s Navy (VPN) on schedule at the end of 2015.

The fifth and sixth units, KHAN HOA (HQ-186) and BARIA VUNG TAU (H-187) 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.


ALGERIA-Kilo Class Submarines: On 13 January 2015, AMI received information that the Algerian National Navy’s (ANN) two new construction Kilo class (636) submarines would begin by the end of 2015 at Russia’s Admiralty Shipyard in St. Petersburg. A construction contract was probably in place by the end of 2014.

Both submarines will be delivered to Algeria by the end of 2018 bringing the force level to four Kilo 636s. The last two Kilo 636s will probably replace the ANN’s two Kilo 877Es commissioned in the 1980s.


BRAZIL-On 18 January 2015, first steel was cut on the fourth Brazilian Navy (Marinha do Brasil –MdB) Riachuelo (Scorpene) class submarine, TONELERO (S 42), at Brazil’s Itaguai Construcoes Navais.

From the April2015 Issue

POLAND –Submarine Tender to be Released in 4th QTR 2015

In late January 2015, AMI reported that the Polish Navy (Marynark Wojenna –MW) was planning to sign a contract, for the construction and delivery of three submarines under Project Orka, within two years. Then, on 14 March 2015, further information regarding the time line was received and corroborates the estimated 2017 start date.

The Polish Deputy Prime Minister tweeted on 12 March 2015 that the MW had indeed asked France and the United States (US) about procuring cruise missiles for their submarine program and had launched negotiations with the US for Raytheon Tomahawk cruise missiles.

Originally expected to be signed in late 2015, the program is, as expected, slipping to the right due to the missile decision and funding issues. The MW’s desire for a strike missile on the new submarine has led to the necessity of updating the requirements documents for Project Orka. March 2015 information has stated that a Request for Tender (RfT) will now be issued in the fourth quarter of 2015, pushingthe expected contract signing to 2017.

As of this writing, only France has publicly stated that it would grant Poland full autonomy regarding the use of a submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM), with one stipulation, that it selects the DCNS Scorpene submarine design. Should Poland desire to acquire the US-made Tomahawk missile and have full autonomy in their use, approval would have to be granted from the US Congress.

With the change in the RfT and contract signing dates, the first two submarines are tobe delivered by 2022, followed by the third boat in 2023. This is more or less in line with Poland’s Military Modernization Plan for 2013-2022. Under the planed deal, a service and maintenance facility is to be established in Poland.

Of note, the MW intends to decommission its four Kobben (Type 207) class submarines by the end of 2016, leaving the sea service with the OPR ORZEL (Kilo class) as their only operational sub surface vessel. Considering that the MW also intends to decommission ORP ORZEL in 2022,it is vital to get the new boats in the service as soon as possible or risk losing trained crews to man them as leaving the sea service with a vital capabilities gap in undersea warfare.

SWEDEN –Government Commitment to A26 Submarines

On 17 March 2015, SwedishDefense Minister Peter Hultqvist announced the intention to procure two A26 Submarines from Saab Kockums at a cost of US$948.5M. The proposal has already been formally proposed to the Cabinet for review and approval. Although not a contract, the Swedish government has further solidified its intentions to procure the submarines.

AMI believes that the timing of the announcement may also be to help promote the A26 design to the Australian Government. The recent Australian announcement concerning its procurement strategy, which listed candidates for its Future Submarine Program (SEA 1000), did not include the A26 design. The reason given was that Sweden has not built new submarines in recent years.

If Sweden begins its A26 program on schedule, it wouldgo a long way in showing that Saab has a viable design (and active construction program) and should be considered by the Australians as a potential option.

This announcement follows the June 2014 announcement of a signed Letter of Intent (LoI) by Saab andthe Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV) regarding the Swedish Armed Forces underwater capability for the period 2015 through 2024. The LoI comprises the support, development, design, and production of submarines and other underwater systems; provided that the necessary decisions are made by the Swedish Government. Forwarding the proposal to the Cabinet is the latest decision.

With the proposal now presented to the Cabinet (assuming approval), negotiations could begin by the end of 2016 with a contract in place by 2017 allowing the first unit to enter service in 2021 and the second in 2022. 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 the second two being ordered by the mid-2020s to replace the three units of the Gotland class.

In addition to the five hulls that will probably be procured by the RSwN, the Royal Netherlands Navy (RN1N) also currently plans to join Norway and Sweden in the new construction submarine program. The RN1N’s first submarine is scheduled for delivery by 2023.


Successor SSBN Design Work Continues

On 11 March 2015, the British Government released US$422.5M to continue the design work for the Successor Nuclear Powered Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBN) Program. The latest funding is within the US$4.8B Assessment Phase funding line. BAE Systems will continue its design work worth an estimated US$381M. US$32.6M will go to Babcock and the remaining US8.9M to Rolls Royce. BAE Systems received two previous contracts in 2012 worth an estimated US$486M and US$467M in order to work the initial design.

The latest funding will allow for the maturation of the design over the next 12 months continuing into the construction phase in 2016. Main Gate approval will be needed prior to the start of actual construction. Although official Main Gate Approval will not occur until 2016, AMI estimates that the Successor Program is now a go with first steel being cut on the first unit before the close of 2016. Simply put, the program has matured to the point that it would be too difficult to find an alternative solution or to make a decision to completely scrap the program.

Additionally, the submarine shipbuilding sector of the coun-try’s industrial base is far too critical to further delay or cancel the program. The only question remaining is how many hulls will be built, three or four depending on whether the United Kingdom desires a Continuous at Sea Deterrence (CASD) or a near-CASD. That decision will probably be made around 2020 after the third unit is already under construction.


Ford Class Carrier Construction Contract

On 17 March 2015, Rear Admiral Thomas J. More, program executive office (PEO) for carriers stated that the US Navy plans to award the construction contract for USS JOHN F. KENNEDY (CVN 79) to Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII), Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) in the second quarter of 2015.

Due to cost cutting measures as well as critical infrastructure investments made by HII at NNS, it is estimated that KENNEDY will be built for around US$1B less than the lead ship of the class, or US$11.5B.

One major equipment change to the KENNEDYthat will also result in cost savings will be the replacement of the dual-band radar with the new Enterprise Air Surveillance Radar (EASR). This system will also be used on all new construction carriers, future amphibious assault ships (LHA/LHD), as well as being installed on current Nimitz class CVNs during their respective overhauls.

JOHN F. KENNEDY will be the second of three planned units of the Gerald R. Ford class nuclear powered aircraft carriers (CVN) that is expected to commission in 2022. The third unit of the class, Enterprise (CVN 80), is currently planned to begin construction in 2019 with commissioning in 2027.


THAILAND: Submarine Program: In March 2015, South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) offered a custom design of its HDS-500RTN coastal submarine to Thailand to meet its submarine requirement. The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) continues to publicly address its desire to create a new Submarine Force.

The RTN does have a long standing requirement for subma-rines. However, due to funding shortfalls and political instability (leadership changes, etc.), has never been able to progress past the stage of design considerations.


United States: In early March 2015, the USN revised the delivery dates of the three Zumwalt class destroyers. USS ZUMWALT (DDG 1000) will be delivered in November 2015, USS MICHAEL MONSOOR (DDG 1001) in November 2016 and the USS LYNDON B. JOHNSON (DDG 1002) in December 2018.

GERMANY: On 25 March 2015, the German Navy commis-sioned the fifth of six Type 212 A class submarines, U35.

FRANCE: In late March 2015, the French Navy (FN) named the fifth and sixth Barracuda class nuclear powered attack submarine (SSN) RUBIS and CASABLANCA.

From the May 2015 Issue

Pakistan: Chinese Submarine Deal Approved

On 01 April 2015, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved a government-to-government deal to procure up to eight submarines from China. The deal is expected to be signed by both parties when China’s President Xi Jinping visits Pakistan. The visit is to occur before the end of the year.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister did announce that the Pakistani Navy (PN) was considering the Yuan (Type 041) and the export S20 design. The deal is expected to be worth between US$4B and US$5B. Following signature on the government-to-government agreement, the PN will begin detailed negotiations with China concerning the final design, costs and building locations for all eight units.

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.

This deal follows information received in June 2011 that indicated a deal with China was very close to being finalized and in February 2014 financial negotiations were already underway with the China State Shipbuilding Industrial Corporation (CSIC). Technology transfer negotiations apparently were completed in early 2014.

Assuming the final design will be chosen and the final finan-cial package has been worked out 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.

Pakistan made it clear in 2010 that China did not have any of the end user restrictions on systemsthat are considered major issues with western suppliers.

The new submarines will displace around 2,300 tons and armed with YJ-82 anti-ship missiles and a combination of Yu3 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 AIP 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.


Submarine Program Request Submitted to Government

On 24 April 2015, the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) formally submitted a 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.

The acquisition of submarines was one of the topics discussed during the visit. AMI believes that the RTN is simply looking at Chinese proposals to compare with others that have been received by the sea service for the better part of five years. The RTN will also revisit some of the previously reviewed designs/finance packages as well as any new designs that have recently appeared the international market.

With the formal acquisition now submitted to the government, it appears that the RTN may have entered a new stage by reviewing (or second look) available designs/financing packages. The question is whether funding will be made available. Thailand has a requirement for at least two submarines according to its 2011-2020 naval procurement plan although it has struggled for the past decade to find adequate funding to move tothe next step. Admittedly, the RTN has been able to obtain funding for two new construction South Korean frigates and a Singaporean landing platform dock (LPD) over the past several years. It is possible the funding will finally come for this program thathas been talked about since the 2005 Mega Project.

The latest push for submarines started in November 2014 during the Commander-in-Chief (CINC) of the Navy turnover, a topic which occurs during every CINC turnover. The new Navy Commander, Admiral KraisornChansuwanich, forwarded his proposal to the Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister, which apparently received a positive response prior to the proposal to the Thai Government in April. The RTN insists that a design decision will be made over the next three months (Jun-Aug).

AMI estimates that the RTN will continue reviewing its news construction alternative. Used submarines are probably not favorable in the eyes of the RTN as they turned down a used Type 206A offer from the Germans. The RTN also typically procures new naval platforms.

The following designs are either or will be considered for the two hull program:

  • The Chinese Song, Type 041 and the S20 design
  • South Kora’s Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) offered a custom design of its HDS-500RTN coastal submarines to the RTN in March 2015.
  • DCNS Scorpene
  • TKMS Type 214
  • Navantia S80
  • Saab Kockums A26 design (offered in April 2015)

Although the program has been proposed to the Thai Govern-ment, funding will still be an issue and the foreign supplier will need very favorable price and financing options in order to win the RTN. Press reporting suggests that the RTN is willing to spend up to US$1.1B for the two hulls. Some within the RTN favor the Chinese solution due to their burgeoning relationship with China while others favor the traditional European solutions. As stated earlier, price and financing details will be the key issue.

If the RTN does get the formal go ahead from the Thai Gov-ernment in the short term (for full Thai funding, a domes-tic/foreign financing package or barter agreement), a design down select could occur by the end of 2015. A contract for two foreign built submarines could be in place by 2017.


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