Contact Us   |    Join   |    Donate


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

From the September 2015 Issue TAIWAN – Major Procurement Programs Reaffirmed In late August 2015, AMI received information that Taiwan continues to update its plans for the future of the Republic of China Navy (ROCN). The majority of the Information received reaffirms current thinking and planning within the ROCN. The following programs are now or still being considered:

Diesel Electric Submarines: The Kwang Hua 8 Submarine Program continues to move forward at a slow pace. In October 2014, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense (MND) announced that it was reviewing ROCN proposals for a US$4.9B program to build four indigenously designed diesel electric submarines. The MND has also announced that this indigenous program would run in tandem with the continued requests to the US Government for a US solution, which has been in the works since the beginning of the US Bush Administration in 2011 although no progress has been made.

In regards to the indigenous approach, the research and development center (R&D) Ship and Ocean Industries apparently is developing the design and the China Shipbuilding Corporation (CSC) will be awarded the construction contract. In late August 2015, the MoND submitted a US$90M budgetary proposal to continue the design phase. Chungshan Institute of Science and Technology (CSIST) will be tasked with the development of the combat system.

The new submarine is estimated to be around 1,500 tons with the first entering service by 2025. Construction would have to begin no later than 2017 or 2018 if the ROCN intends on commissioning the first unit in 2025. This long design and construction period can be expected when considering this will be Taiwan’s first attempt to design and build its first submarine. AMI

estimates that all four units will not enter service until around 2030. As the initial requirement was for eight units there may be a second batch after 2030. However, that will depend on the success of building, testing and operating the first four units. Although the ROCN will utilize all local companies in every phase of the program, there is no doubt that the US submarine builder General Dynamics could be involved in the design and construction phase and systems houses such as Lockheed Martin and Raytheon will help develop and supply combat systems solutions for the program.


Hanoi Class (Kilo 636) Diesel Electric Submarine (SS): On 30 July 2015, the third and fourth Hanoi class (Kilo 636) submarines, HAIPHONG (HQ-184) and DA NANG (HQ-185) were commissioned into the Vietnamese People’s Navy (VPN) at a ceremony at Cam Ranh Bay Naval Base. The fifth and sixth units, KHANG HOA (HQ-186) and BARIA VUNG TAU (HQ-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.


Shipyard and System House Updates
AMI is currently tracking shipyard and system house consolidation, merger, reorganization and joint venture highlights within the defense industry. The following are the highlights for the months of August and September 2015:

PIPAVAV/ZVEZDOCHKA: In late July 2015 India’s Pipavav Defense and Offshore Engineering signed an agreement with Russia’s Zvezdochka Ship Repair Center (part of United Shipbuilding Corporation) to establish a joint venture (JV) for the refit of the Indian Navy’s (IN) nine Sindhughosh (Kilo 877EKM) class diesel-electric submarines (SSK).

Until now, modernization programs for the IN’s Kilo class have meant the submarines had to be taken to Zvezdochka for the three-year long overhaul. One unit had undergone the modernization at Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HAL), however this took nine years to complete.

The new JV, owned 51/49 percent, the majority being with Pipavav, once established, will be responsible for these modernization programs and should allow, with the Russian assistance, work to be completed in a reasonable timeframe; more in line with the 3 year time line. Additionally, savings will be found in the lower transportation and labor costs associated with in-country repair capabilities.

This, of course, is assuming the JV does go through and a repair contract for the submarines is realized. In that event, the first unit to receive a modernization would still transfer to Russia for the work to be done under observation of the Indian workers as a training program. Subsequent work would then occur in India. Combat, Sensor, and Integration System Developments AMI is currently tracking combat, sensor and integration systems developments. The following are the highlights for the months of august and September 2015: UUV WIRELESS CHARGING: In late August 2015, the US Navy (USN) announced that it is developing ways to recharge unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV) using wireless technology. The ability to wirelessly recharge a UUV’s batteries, while remaining in the water, would significantly decrease the time between missions and increase the overall utility of the system.

The Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division (NSWCCD) is the technical lead for the program and hosted teams from Naval Undersea Warfare Center, Division Newport (NUWC DIVNPT) and Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific (SSC PAC) to simulate full capabilities of the Midsize Autonomous Research Vehicle (MARV).


UNITED STATES: On 15 August 2015, the USN announced that the 26th Virginia class nuclear powered attack submarines (SSN) will be named the USS IDAHO (SSN 799). On 01 August 2015, the USN commissioned the 12th unit of the class, USS JOHN WARNER (SSN 785), in Norfolk, Virginia.

From the October 2015 Issue New Player in the A26 Submarine Program In mid-September 2015, AMI received information that the Polish Navy (Marynarka Wojenna – MW) was considering the Swedish A26 design for its submarine program. Once thought to be a close competition between ThyssenKrupp Marine (TKMS) of Germany and DCNS of France, the MW apparently has begun to look at the A26 as an option. First steel was cut for the Royal Swedish Navy’s (RSwN) first hull on 04 September at Kockums Shipyard in Karlskrona. Considering the A26 will probably begin to slow the MWs program again as the sea service considers how it will match its requirements with a new design. The Request for Proposals (RfP) for the Polish program was expected in 2015 and a construction contract in 2016.

Poland is now the third foreign country to show an active interest in the A26 harking back to the times of the Viking Program before cancellation. In mid-September 2014, AMI received information that the Royal Netherlands Navy (RNIN) intended to join Norway and Sweden in a new construction submarine program. The RNIN’s first submarine is scheduled for delivery by 2023. 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).

Prior to these announcements, all three countries were planning for future submarine programs to replace their respective existing forces with the Polish now being the fourth. The Dutch were in the early planning stages to replace the four Walrus class beginning in 2023. The Norwegians were working on Project 6346 (Ny Ubat) (new Uboat) to replace the six units of the Ula class. A decision was made in late 2014 build a new class rather than further modernize the Ula class. A new construction solution was estimated to begin in 2017 with the first unit entering service after 2021. At the time, the Swedish were in the process of developing the new A26 design to replace its two Sodermanland and two Gotland class. The program was expected to start in 2016 with first deliveries around 2021. As mentioned earlier, first steel was cut in early September 2015.
All told, if the Polish enter the program, the four navies have a requirement for a total of 17 submarines and all with similar procurement timelines. It makes sense that all four would join forces in order to reduce costs (design savings and economies of scale for 17 hulls) and reduce risk for all four partners. This is similar to the now defunct Viking program that was cancelled in 2007 in which Sweden, Norway and Denmark were members. Denmark has since eliminated a submarine capability in their navy.

With the individual submarine programs expected to start over the next several years; Poland, Norway and the Netherlands will need to finalize their requirements in the near term. AMI anticipates that all four programs will utilize a similar hull, the Swedish A26, with national variances for each country. To date, only Sweden’s program is solid as first steel has been cut; for the other three potential partners, only time will tell if they join the program. However, it does appear that it is the most sensible solution.


Still Considering Russian Submarines As of late September 2015, AMI continues to receive information that the Indonesian Navy (TNI-AL) is again considering the procurement of Russian submarines. These submarines would be procured under the 2015-2019 strategic plan even though 2016 defense spending levels will drop around 6% (US$490M) from 2015 levels.

The TNI-AL continues to make its case for a force of 12 submarines to protect its large archipelago and currently operates two aging Type 209 (Cakra class) submarines delivered in 1981 and overhauled in South Korea in 2004 and 2006. The sea service is in the process of procuring up to three Improved Chang Bogo (Type 209) submarines from South Korea under a 2012 US$1.2B agreement. The three units will/are being built at South Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) and Indonesia’s PAL Shipbuilding. This will bring the Type 209 force to five units, leaving the TNI-AL short seven hulls.

This shortfall of hulls is why the consideration for Russian submarines continues among many circles in Indonesia. In fact, when Indonesia decided to procure the Chang Bogo from South Korea, the other offer on the table was Russia’s Kilo and Amur classes.
Again in January 2014, the sea service made a visit to Russia to discuss an offer made by Russia for a combination of new construction Kilos (probably the Kilo 636.3 variant) and used units of the 877 and 636 variants. However, on 12 March 2014, the Russian option was again ruled out due to the poor condition of the used submarines. There was also the belief that more new construction submarines from Russia would interfere with Indonesia’s long term plans to become more self sufficient in naval construction including the building of the Chang Bogo in country.

The reconsideration again for Russian submarines probably represents a new offer from Russia for either the latest Kilo model (636.3) now being built for the Russian Navy or the Amur class which has never been exported. With the defense budget dropping (although slowly), it could be that Russia is offering extremely good credit conditions for this sale, which could lead to more hulls after 2019. Considering the three Chang Bogos (when complete), the two existing Cakra class (Type 209s) and two new Kilo/Amurs, the TNI-AL will still be short five hulls. AMI believes that this seven hull shortfall in a time of declining budgets may be putting pressure on the TNI-AL to move forward with a Russian purchase if under the right circumstances such as a fast delivery schedule and the right financing program
(countertrade agreements, interest rates and terms etc.). Indonesia is also familiar with Russian defense purchases as it continues to procure air and land systems through countertrade agreements. If Indonesia does decide to move forward with the Russian submarines, AMI expects that the deal could be done as early as 2016 for what will probably be either the Amur or the Kilo 636.3. To sweeten the deal, the Russian Navy could transfer one of their new construction units up front similar to what France did with Egypt when it transferred a French Navy FREMM frigate to Egypt.


Brazil: On 02 September 2015, the final section of the pressure hull for the Brazilian Navy’s (Marinha do Brasil – MdB) first Riachuelo (Scorpene) class submarines BNS RIACHUELO (S 40) was delivered to Itaguai Construcao Naval (ICN). The next phase of equipment and systems installation is underway. From the November 2015 Issue


Kalvari (Scorpene) Class Submarine (Project 75): On 06 October 2015, sources indicated that the Indian Navy (IN) was considering the procurement of up to four additional Project 75 Kalvari (Scorpene) class submarines to follow the six units in various stages of construction (first conducting sea trials) at Mazagon Dock ltd (MDL). The sea service is increasingly concerned about the declining numbers of the Submarine Force which is now down to 15 hulls.

Continuation of the Scorpene production line at MDL appears to be the quickest solution to stopping the degradation of the Submarine Force and increasing fleet numbers in the medium term. In 2005 when the Scorpene program began, the IN had originally planned for a total of 24 units although that number soon became unrealistic and was eventually reduced to six while looking to other options (Project 75I/76) and now a Nuclear Powered Attack Submarine (SSN).

If in fact the IN decide to build four additional units of the Scorpene design, it will be independent of the Project 75I program in which a Request for Proposals (RfP) is due to be released in 2016.

The decision of whether to continue with the Scorpene design will need to come quickly in order to avert any stoppage in construction between unit six and unit seven. In order to achieve this, the IN will need to release an RfP to MDL in 2016 for the four units of Project 75. MDL will also vie for Project 75I although AMI believes that 75I may go to a different yard. It will make much more sense to utilize two yards in order to increase the production rate and thus increase the Submarine Force faster. AMI estimates that the first six Scorpenes should enter service by around 2019 I there are no further delays. Assuming that unit seven starts by 2017 and the construction phase is faster than the first six units (four years versus ten), he first unit should enter service in 2021.

As mentioned earlier, MDL was shortlisted for Project 75I in addition to Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL0, Cochin shipyard Ltd (CSL), Pipavav Shipyard Ltd (PSL) and Larsen & Toubro (L&T). AMI believes that one of the other four yards will build Project 75I submarines if MDL continues on with the Project 75 Scorpene hulls.


Chinese Submarine Deal Finalized
On 24 July 2015, AMI received information that Pakistan and China agreed to terms on a US$4B-US$5B deal for the procurement 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 International Company Ltd’s (CSOC), Zu Ziqin. According to multiple sources and Pakistani Minister for Defense Production Rana Tanveer Hussain in early October 2015, the final agreement has been concluded following financial agreements, which was the final phase of the negotiating process.

The financial terms include Pakistan making payments in four installments to China. The technology transfer agreements were concluded in 2014.
On 01 April 2015, Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif approved the government-to-government deal for the eight submarines from China. The eight units will be built in China in addition to Pakistan’s Karachi Shipbuilding and Engineering Works (KSEW) with Chinese assistance. The Chinese-built units will be built at either the Wuhu or Jiangnan Shipyards.

Four hulls are planned to be built at each location although 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 schedule. This will be the most aggressive naval building program for KSEW to date. With the contract signature now in place, the first four units that will be built in China could start the construction phase in early 2016 with delivery of all four 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. Pakistan’s Prime Minister did announce in April that the PN was considering the Yuan (Type 041) and the export S20 design although it is still unconfirmed as of this writing (not released publicly).

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. The Pakistani’s have also decided to utilize the Chinese Beidou-II (BDS-2) satellite navigation network.
MILDEM Indigenous Submarine: Expected to follow the Reis (Type 214) class submarine program beginning around 2026. The conceptual design phase start date has yet to be determined. However, AMI expects it to start around 2021 with the RfP being released in 2024 in order to begin construction in 2026 following Type 214 construction.

SEA 1000 Program Manager Announced, Design Selection
Late 2015/Early 2016
On 28 October 2015, the Australian Department of Defence
Secretary Dennis Richardson and Australian Defence Force (ADF)
Chief Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin announced that retired US
Navy (USN) Rear Admiral Stephen Johnson has been appointed as General Manager of Submarines.

In his role, the Admiral will be in charge of the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) SEA 1000, the acquisition of 8-12 (requirement is for 12) new submarines under the Future Submarine Program. He will oversee the competitive evaluation process (and construction phase) that will choose the submarine design for the program as well as the sustainment for the six Collins class submarines currently in service.

The design decision is expected to be made in late 2015 or early 2016 with the three contenders being the Japanese Soryu design, the Thyssenkrupp Industrial Systems (TKIS) Type 216 and the DCNS Shortfin Barracuda design. All three contenders have expressed a willingness to build all or some the submarines in South Australia, a promise that continues to be made by many Australian politicians to shipbuilding industry. Although a decision on the design has yet to be finalized, a key requirement for the program is for a US derived combat system. This requirement may in fact lead to the Soryu design as the Japanese also use US systems or derivatives of US systems. The US has never put a submarine combat system in French or German-built submarines and it would probably not occur in this case as well.

The timing and building location for SEA 1000 is critical to Australia’s naval shipbuilding base with ASC already beginning to reduce its staff and work force as the Hobart class Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) (SEA 4000) reaches maturation. In addition to SEA 1000, the RAN is also awaiting decisions on the Future Frigate and Offshore Combat Vessel Programs that will surely affect the workforce at ASC, BAE and Austal.


As of mid-November 2015, the following are highlights of the Asia Region:

VIETNAM: Hanoi Class (Kilo 636) Diesel Electric Submarine (SS): In late October 2015, Russia’s Admiralty Shipyard launched the sixth and final Hanoi Class (Kilo 636) submarine for the Vietnamese People’s Navy (VPN). The BARIA VUNG TAU (HQ-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.


TURKEY – On 10 October 2015, the first steel was cut on the TNF’s first Reis (Type 214) class submarine, TCG PIRIREIS, at Golcuk Naval Shipyard.

UNITED STATES – On 10 October 2015, the United States Navy’s (USN) thirteenth Virginia class Nuclear Powered Attack Submarine (SSN), USS ILLINOIS (SSN 786) was christened at General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut.

Naval Submarine League

© 2022 Naval Submarine League