September 17, 2014

Australia in Iraq Boosting Revenge Terrorism?

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott - making a major error by leading Australia into Iraq?

The government of Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott's contention that Australia’s return to Iraq will not increase the terrorism risk at home is dangerously contrived. The risk from Australia’s return to Iraq can be termed revenge terrorism. A country’s response to that increased risk may include the installation of a higher terrorism alert http://www.nationalsecurity.gov.au/Securityandyourcommunity/Pages/NationalTerrorismPublicAlertSystem.aspx . The Abbott Government obviously does not wish to admit that Australia’s involvement in Iraq puts Australia at greater risk http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/not-our-war-combat-in-iraq--the-key-issues-20140916-10hl7w.html .

But mission creep towards “boots on the ground” is increasing the risk to Australia. Abbott will likely deny “boots on the ground” is occurring but as 200 Australian SAS troops will be in the Iraqi war zone carrying guns (be they Steyrs http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steyr_AUG#Australian or pistols) it means our troops are engaged in military operations in Iraq. Advising the Iraqi Army and Kurdish forces is one function while calling in airstrikes of the 8 Australian Super Hornets is likely. General Dempsey, the American equivalent of our Chief of the Defence Force, has just left the way open for American boots on the ground in Iraq http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-17/us-general-can-not-rule-out-larger-ground-role-in-iraq/5748888 . It is a given that Australia, due to alliance loyalty, will adhere to American military approaches - just as Australia earlier did in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Now that Australia is again involved in a counter-terrorism war in Iraq indicators of revenge terrorism include: ASIO’s own formal published assessments; the assessment of the head of the Australian Federal Police when Australia was last involved in Iraq; and evidence intercepted in the counter-terrorist Operation Pendennis in Sydney and Melbourne.

ASIO's Formal Published Assessments

As Kellie Tranter indicated in an excellent recent article on OLO http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=16651 the Abbott Government’s public denial that Australia’s participation Iraq will increase the risk of terrorism in Australia is unconvincing. ASIO’s most formal public advice that such a link exists should be acknowledged. Page 2 of the ASIO Report to Parliament 2012-2013 (PDF file 2.84Mb) http://www.asio.gov.au/img/files/ASIO-Report-to-Parliament-2012-13.pdf assesses “In Australia, there are individuals and small groups who believe an attack here is justified. Issues such as Australia’s military deployments over the last decade, the Syrian conflict, or a belief that the ideals of Australia are in direct conflict with their extreme interpretation of Islam, fuel the radical views of this cohort.”

This assessment was even more definitely put when Australia was last in Iraq where our provision of two Hercules transports (like now) was again a preliminary to “boots” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_contribution_to_the_2003_invasion_of_Iraq#Post-invasion_operations_-_Operation_Catalyst . Page 17 of ASIO’s Report to Parliament 2004-2005 http://www.asio.gov.au/img/files/ASIOsReportToParliament04-05.pdf: makes the assessment "Most extremists are influenced by foreign events - some in Australia view the Coalition action in Iraq as an attack on all Muslims."

This long standing ASIO advice of a linkage may be inconvenient for Australia’s leaders because it clearly states that our actions overseas can boost risks at home and dangerously alienate some groups.

Then Head of the Australian Federal Police’s Assessment

One of Australia’s most influential Australian Federal Police Commissioners, Mick Keelty, also delivered advice on revenge terrorism that Tony Abbott’s mentor, John Howard, found inconvenient. On March 11, 2004 Islamic terrorists set off bombs in Madrid which killed 191 people and wounded 1,800. The bombings were generally considered revenge for Spain’s participation in the US Coalition of the Willing in Iraq. In 2004 several days after the Madrid bombings Mick Keelty made the observation that Australia might be at greater risk of terrorism due to Australia’s own role in Iraq. Keelty’s comments created a political storm. Like today with Abbott it is not what Prime Minister Howard wanted to hear. It was not a conclusion that the Australian public could be permitted to draw http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2004/03/16/1079199227687.html .

Keelty was quickly forced to recant. Nevertheless Keelty’s view on revenge terrorism was supported by the recently retired peak counter-terrorism advisers of the US (White House) in 2004 http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2004/s1101558.htm and of Britain (MI5) in 2010 http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/six-years-after-public-rap-keelty-judgment-on-terror-upheld/story-e6frg6nf-1225895300565 .

Operation Pendennis

An official report http://www.cdpp.gov.au/case-reports/operation-pendennis/ on Operation Pendennis indicates that in November 2005-March 2006 thirteen men were arrested and charged in Melbourne and Sydney with terrorism offences. Significantly it is stated “One of the objectives discussed [in intercepts] by the members of the organisation was to engage in an act of terrorism in Australia, in an effort to influence the Australian government to withdraw its troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.”

With Australia ramping up its involvement in Iraq: what ASIO has assessed in the recent past; what the then head of the AFP said; and, what those found guilty of terrorism said - should be debated rather than denied. Why is the Abbott Government denying that its new policies in Iraq are boosting the risk of revenge terrorism at home? Why is Abbott also denying the increasing signs of the term “boots on the ground” https://au.news.yahoo.com/a/25020076/islamic-state-tony-abbott-warns-troops-may-be-forced-to-fire-in-iraq-insists-there-is-no-intention-for-combat/ ?


In the end do we seriously think that after a decade of the US fighting then advising and arming the failed Iraqi Army our participation in Iraq will make a difference?

Pete

September 13, 2014

The Gael - Scotland's Next National Anthem after 18 Sept 2014?

I've been having an epiphany and decided Scotland can split on account of this glorious song below.

The referendum-vote on whether Scotland should become independent is on Thursday, 18 September 2014 (19 September Aussie time).

Have a listen to this tune - especially 2 minutes 20 seconds in.
This tune "The Gael" is from Dougie MacLean's 1990 album "The Search" http://www.dougiemaclean.com/


The tune is played by the band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Regiment. That regiment was earlier known as the Royal Scots Greys, which fought at Waterloo (1815) and was much later stationed as a tank regiment in West Germany in the 1960s, part of the gloriously named British Army of the Rhine. 





The band of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards is most famous for its rendition of Amazing Grace which became a round the world hit in 1972.

Of course bagpipes don't put food on the table. But countries are often created or returned for romantic and illogical reasons.

From this blog's perspective maintenance of Scotland's main defence asset - the Faslane nuclear submarine base is crucial and so shouldn't be closed after independence. That base will be a major protector of Scotland and earner for Scotland's economy long after North Sea oil dries up. Putin, a threat to small-medium countries, would prefer the base were closed.

Pete

September 8, 2014

Australia's Future Sub likely to be Japan's Soryu, outsider is Germany

Australia's Collins class submarine compared with the prospect of Australia buying the Soryu. Disregard the range figures above for the Collins as they are for highly unlikely surfaced operation. (Diagram Courtesy of Fairfax Media). 

PETE's COMMENT

On September 8, 2014 Australian Prime Minister Abbott reignited jobs-industry concerns by raising doubts that Australia's long anticipated future submarines will be built locally. Instead these submarines might be built more quickly and cheaply in Japan. If built in Japan they would almost certainly be Soryu class submarines. Jay Weatherill, the Labor Premier of South Australia, is adamant that submarines should again be built in his state - following the Collins build there. The prospect of assigning the project to Japan brings up many issues including: fewer job opportunities for Australians; no cash injection for South Australia's economy; and (dealt with below) Australia being Japan's first major defence customer as well as Soryu range limitations. 

I raised many Australian submarine procurement issues in an article Future submarines: Australia's $40 billion risk of July 21, 2014 on On Line Opinion. As I indicated in that earlier OLO piece I support building the future submarines overseas rather than much more slowly and expensively re-inventing a submarine building industry in Australia. 

It is possible that Abbott has intentionally made the submarine issue a contentious diversion from other issues bedevilling the Abbott Government. Abbott appears to be successfully refocusing public attention away from his weaknesses (the Budget and Palmer's power) to issues advantageous to his new image, the national security Prime Minister who has been addressing Iraq-terrorism and Ukraine-MH17. Abbott appears to be now igniting a new public issue - Japanese built submarines saving taxpayer money versus the federal Labor, a Labor Premier and unions in South Australia.

The expectation of journalists that Japan will be chosen is also partially due to a visit of 16 Japanese submarine technicians to the Australian Submarine Corporation's (ASC) submarine and shipbuilding facility at Osborne (Adelaide, South Australia) on August 26, 2014. The reason for the visit was not explained, but may be the beginning of a study regarding ASC's ability to maintain the future submarines and/or ASC's ability to provide some components for the Soryu production line in Japan.

If the Japanese Government finalises the submarine deal this will be the first ever major arms export program for Japan. The export would be a major departure from the intent of Japan's peace constitution and a change in Japan's post-WWII ban on defence exports. As Japan has never built an immensely complex weapons system for a foreign navy the principle Soryu builders (Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries) will need to develop new regulatory, political and cultural processes. Kym Bergmann, wrote in ASPI "How would [the Australian crew training for the Soryu] be managed - not a trivial matter - especially as Japan has never before exported a submarine? Even providing manuals in English for the tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of individual pieces of equipment that make up a submarine would be a hellish job."

To give an idea of how and where Australian submarines may operate it is useful to mention places and ranges the government is unprepared to detail and that most journalists cannot get a handle on. There are major difference in the submerged range on diesel-snorkel between the Collins and the Soryu. For the Collins (figures are not on the diagram) submerged range is 17,000 km at 19 km/h. For the Soryu range it is 11,297 km at 12 km/h. Disregard the range figures in the diagram for the Collins as they are for surfaced operation, which is increasingly hazardous and unlikely given advances in the many types of anti-submarine sensors particularly Chinese satellites and UAVs. The contribution of Soryu's Stirling engine (air independent propulsion (AIP)) to range is unknown. Stirling engine range is classified and also depends on speed and amount of time (two weeks?) that a Soryu uses the Stirling. The Collins has no Stirling engine or other type of AIP.

It is assumed that an Australian Soryu would rely on its Stirling engine in areas of operation eg. loitering in/around littorals-closed waters. which amounts to a major mission capability that the Collins does not have. The Collins was built around the need for long range at comparatively high speed to transit the 3,000 km northward from the main submarine bases of Fremantle and Sydney. The Collins would then have sufficient range to reach the presumably main operating areas up to 3,000-5,000 km to the north of Australia and then return all the way to Fremantle or Sydney. 

For an Australian Soryu - after the 3,000 km transit it could only continue north about 2,000 km without a refuelling stage. 

With its reduced range there is an increase in the likelihood that an Australian Soryu would need to be refuelled with diesel oil at:

- a northern Australian port (eg. Broome or Darwin (a port with many adverse water conditions);

- or from a submarine support ship/tender; or

- a foreign mid-point (Singapore? Guam? Diego Garcia) to perform longer range missions.

The act of such mid-point refuelling would increase an Australian Soryu's operational vulnerability to attack or disclosure of its position and intentions. Refuelling could be observed by an (especially Chinese) satellite or human agents in and around the refuelling port or on a refuelling tender. Refuelling port facilities may be very expensive to construct and maintain and strategically risky if there is reliance on foreign ports. Darwin and Broome also have a track record (in World War Two) of being much more vulnerable to air attack than ports in southern Australia (like Fremantle).  

An Australian Soryu may be a poor choice if it is anticipated that it should travel similar distances to the Collins. The Soryu's range limitation may be less of a problem if Australia is altering its submarine use doctrine. For example long range would be less important if Australia has made (is making) some strategic agreement with Japan to divide mission responsibility between a Japanese northerly submarine patrol sector and Australia in the south (eg. with no Australian submarines needing to travel as far north as Taiwan). 

More comment on Australia's future submarine program:

My estimate for the number of future submarines specified is probably be 6 to 8 (6 first, then an option of 2 more - the number earlier set down for the Collins project) and less likely the 12 (set down in Australia's 2009 Defence White Paper section 8.39, page 64 (PDF 1.8 MB). Australia has had manpower problems in crewing even two Collins so crewing more than 8 Soryus seems unlikely.

Germany (TKMS-HDW) is probably a secondary choice. Australia may be hedging with the German alternative if the Japanese deal cannot be concluded or if a Japanese deal collapses mid project for political reasons. Germany has by far the most export experience in submarines but Germany's, like all European submarines, are much smaller than what Australia wants. Australia wants longer endurance (effectively a larger crew) and higher warload (many torpedos, missiles and mines) than can be fitted into a small design.  Germany has built the largest conventional submarine, at the nuclear missile carrying Israeli Dolphin class at 2,400 tonnes submerged, of any Western Eurpean country but the Dolphin meets far different mission requirements than the 4,200 tonne Soryu. Australia has bitter experience of the problems involved in attempting to scale up the Collins from a much smaller European submarine design. The Soryu also has a highly developed propulsion system (the Collins' main weakness) which is reputedly suited to such a large submarine. A major defence purchase from Germany also brings none of the regional strategic alliance benefits that purchase from Japan brings.

The Australian Government is expected to signal (in some way before the end of 2014) that Japan will build the submarines. Oddly the Government has not to date referred to any formal selection process e.g. a tender. Perhaps the government will announce a concrete decision in the next Defence White Paper due in 2015.

Pete

September 5, 2014

Supersonic air travel - Advanced Research

Supersonic passanger travel (or supersonic transport (SST) remains an economic and technical challenge - with little progress since  the ConcordeThe AĆ©rospatiale-BAC Concorde was one of only two supersonic passenger aircraft to enter commercial service. The other was the Tupolev Tu-144 which was probably designed from data gleaned by Russian espionage, hence the Tu-144 was nicknamed “Concordski”.

Because the Concorde was produced under a UK-French treaty, the project, rapidly seen as uneconomic, couldn’t be stopped as neither country wanted to lose face by pulling out. Concorde was first test flown in 1969, entered service in 1976 and continued commercial flights for 27 years.

In the 1960s several US aerospace companies (particularly Boeing) also spent large amounts of money on SST designs. However less government meddling and no treaty concerns permitted US companies to drop these projects for economic and environmental reasons.

The only operators of Concorde turned out to be British Airways and Air France, who received them free of charge from their respective governments - such were the projected economic losses. The major routes were London-New York and Paris-New York due to world-wide noise concerns. As only 20 Concordes were built the development costs were never refunded from sales. Concorde was retired in 2003 due to a general downturn in the aviation industry, safety and noise worries.

Some engineers are optimistic that the major environmental concern - sonic booms - can be minimised but booms remain a huge technical and regulatory obstacle. This hasn't stopped hopeful research as detailed below.

 Thanks The Daily Mail (Australia ninemsn) for the article below, of June 24, 2014. As my blog is totally non-profit, non-revenue freeview, the article has been reproduced Creative Commons. Article is at  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2667027/Supersonic-air-travel-gets-set-comeback-Nasa-tests-pave-way-generation-high-speed-planes.html:

"Supersonic air travel gets set for a comeback: Nasa tests pave the way for the next generation of high-speed planes


  • Firms such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin have unveiled aircraft concepts
  • Nasa engineers are working to define a new standard for low sonic booms
  • They're presenting their research at the Aviation 2014 conference in Atlanta
  • The hope is that quieter planes will mean the ban on supersonic flight by civilian aircraft over land is lifted
  • Features including a needle-like nose, sleek fuselage and a delta wing have been found to result in lower sonic booms
  • Engineers claim the research has progressed to the point where the design of a practical low-boom supersonic jet is within reach


In the 1960s, it seemed like the future of air travel was supersonic, but in 2003 Concorde made its final flight. Now, hopes for super speedy journeys by air have been rekindled as a number of companies have unveiled concepts for supersonic jets of the future. 

The concepts coincide with Nasa tests that are hoping to find a way to create an aircraft that is quieter than Concorde. It is hoped new supersonic aeroplanes designed to carry civilian passengers could be ready within the next 15 years.

Is the future supersonic? Hopes for super speedy journeys by air have been rekindled as a number of companies, including Boeing (pictured) have unveiled concepts for supersonic jets of the future, and Nasa has begun tests to work out a way of creating an aircraft that is not as noisy as Concorde was
Is the future supersonic? Hopes for super speedy journeys by air have been rekindled as a number of companies, including Boeing (pictured) have unveiled concepts for supersonic jets of the future, and Nasa has begun tests to work out a way of creating an aircraft that is not as noisy as Concorde was.

QUIETENING THE SONIC BOOM

In a conventional supersonic aircraft, shockwaves from the nose, cockpit, inlets, wings and other features come together as they move through the atmosphere into strong shocks emanating from the nose and tail.
These are known as bow and tail shocks, respectively.
As these shockwaves pass over someone on the ground, air pressure rises sharply, declines, then rises rapidly again - it’s this that produces the classic ‘double-bang’ sonic boom.
Reshaping the aircraft to produce a longer, more slender shape that slips through the air is the best way to generate shockwaves of lower, more equal strength that attenuate as they pass through the atmosphere and do not form into such strong bow and tail shocks. 
Stretching the nose to break the bow shock into a series of weaker shockwaves is particularly effective. 
This lowers and spreads that initial pressure peak and softens the first bang of the sonic boom.

Aeronautics engineers at Nasa are working to define a new standard for low sonic booms and are presenting their work at Aviation 2014, the annual event of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, in Atlanta.
They have been busy gathering data in order to create new, quieter planes that could help overturn the current ban on supersonic flight over land.
‘Lessening sonic booms - shock waves caused by an aircraft flying faster than the speed of sound - is the most significant hurdle to reintroducing commercial supersonic flight,’ said Peter Coen, head of the High Speed Project in Nasa’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate, Washington. 
‘Other barriers include high altitude emissions, fuel efficiency and community noise around airports.’

Aeronautics engineers at Nasa are working to define a new standard for low sonic booms. They have flown F/A-18 mission support aircraft (pictured) to create low-intensity sonic booms in a bid to gauge the public's tolerance to noise at the agency's Armstrong Flight Research Centre in Edwards, California
Aeronautics engineers at Nasa are working to define a new standard for low sonic booms. They have flown F/A-18 mission support aircraft (pictured) to create low-intensity sonic booms in a bid to gauge the public's tolerance to noise at the agency's Armstrong Flight Research Centre in Edwards, California.

In a supersonic aircraft, shockwaves from the nose, cockpit, inlets, wings and other features coalesce as they move through the atmosphere. As these shockwaves pass over someone on the ground, air pressure rises sharply, declines, then rises rapidly again. This produces the 'double-bang' sonic boom

In a supersonic aircraft, shockwaves from the nose, cockpit, inlets, wings and other features coalesce as they move through the atmosphere. As these shockwaves pass over someone on the ground, air pressure rises sharply, declines, then rises rapidly again. This produces the 'double-bang' sonic boom.

Engineers are investigating how to design a low-boom aircraft, as well as measuring the loudness and the annoyance of the boom, by asking people to listen to the sounds in a specially designed noise test chamber.
The space agency recently flew small planes at supersonic speeds at Nasa’s Armstrong Flight Research Centre in Edwards, California, to gauge the public’s response to the noise.
Scientists are also working on how to design aircraft that reduce the noise of the sonic boom.
Mike Park, a fluid mechanics engineer at Langley, said: ‘We are working to understand the worldwide state of the art in predicting sonic booms from an aircraft point of view.
‘We found for simple configurations we can analyse and predict sonic booms extremely well. For complex configurations we still have some work to do.’
Designs including a needle-like nose, sleek fuselage, and a delta wing have been tested in wind tunnels and seem to result in lower booms, according to the experts.

It's more than a decade since Concorde (pictured) was retired from service. No company will build a supersonic passenger plane unless it is allowed to fly supersonically over land - something that was off-limits for Concorde
It's more than a decade since Concorde (pictured) was retired from service. No company will build a supersonic passenger plane unless it is allowed to fly supersonically over land - something that was off-limits for Concorde.

'Lessening sonic booms - shock waves caused by an aircraft flying faster than the speed of sound - is the most significant hurdle to reintroducing commercial supersonic flight,' said Nasa's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. Pictured is Lockheed Martin's design for a supersonic aircraft
'Lessening sonic booms - shock waves caused by an aircraft flying faster than the speed of sound - is the most significant hurdle to reintroducing commercial supersonic flight,' said Nasa's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate. Pictured is Lockheed Martin's design for a supersonic aircraft.

Sonic boom noise is measured in perceived decibel level (PLdB).
Concorde’s boom was a window-rattling 105 PLdB. Researchers believe 75 PLdB would be an acceptable level for unrestricted supersonic flight over land, but Nasa is aiming more ambitiously for 70 PLdB or lower.
This looks achievable for a small supersonic business jet, because boom is proportional to aircraft weight, but is a much greater challenge for a heavier airliner.
In wind-tunnel tests, designs from both Boeing and Lockheed Martin - funded by Nasa - which would carry between 30 and 80 passengers, achieved boom levels as low as 79 PLdB.
At this level, the sonic boom would be more of a thump than a loud bang. Nasa is setting the bar even higher - it thinks 70 PLdB is achievable with more refinement. Studies are still taking place to try to reduce the volume level even further.
Nasa and industry engineers claim supersonic research has progressed to the point where the design of a practical low-boom supersonic jet is within reach.

Nasa and industry engineers say they believe supersonic research has progressed to the point where the design of a practical low-boom supersonic jet is within reach. Here Lockheed Martin's design, with a long needle-like nose and delta wing intended to cut the noise of a sonic boom, is tested in a wind tunnel
Nasa and industry engineers say they believe supersonic research has progressed to the point where the design of a practical low-boom supersonic jet is within reach. Here Lockheed Martin's design, with a long needle-like nose and delta wing intended to cut the noise of a sonic boom, is tested in a wind tunnel.

The space agency is not the only firm working on building the supersonic jet of the future. 
Companies such as Aerion and Spike Aerospace are looking to take business jets supersonic. 
Boston-based Spike Aerospace has designed a supersonic jet called the Spike S-512 that it claims could carry 12 to 18 passengers at 1,100mph (1,700 km/h), or Mach 1.6.
It claims the craft could cut flight times in half so passengers could fly from New York to London in just three hours, of from LA to Tokyo in six hours.
Lockheed Martin unveiled its vision for a supersonic future at the aviation event, with a concept featuring two engines under a sleek aircraft’s wings and one on top of the fuselage.
Once Virgin Galactic is fully operational, Richard Branson has also set his sights on supersonic travel and has plans to create supersonic planes aircraft enough to travel from New York to Tokyo in less than an hour, CNBC reported.
‘After we've done the space program, we will be producing supersonic planes, which will go far, far, faster than Concorde…You could be traveling at 19,000 miles per hour orbitally,’ he said.

COULD THE FUTURE OF AIR TRAVEL BE HYPERSONIC?

Supersonic could be superseded by something even faster.
Mach 2.5 is about the speed limit for gas-turbine engines. Any faster and the temperature and pressure of air entering the engine is too high for the turbo machinery inside. To fly at hypersonic speed - Mach 5 and above - requires a different type of engine. 
A supersonic-combustion ramjet, or scramjet, has no moving parts. Instead of the rotating compressor and turbine in a jet engine, air is compressed and expanded by complex systems of shockwaves under the front of the aircraft, inside the inlet and under the fuselage at the rear.
Scramjets have been under development for decades, but a breakthrough came in May 2013, when the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory’s Boeing X-51A WaveRider flew for 240 seconds over the Pacific on scramjet power, reaching Mach 5.1 and running until its fuel was exhausted.
Lockheed Martin's Skunk Works - builder of the Mach 3.5 SR-71 Blackbird spyplane - has unveiled plans to develop a successor, dubbed the SR-72, pictured
The next step is to build a high-speed cruise missile, able to strike distant targets in minutes, not hours. Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works - builder of the Mach 3.5 SR-71 Blackbird spyplane - has unveiled plans to develop a successor, dubbed the SR-72 (pictured above).
Designed for reconnaissance and strike missions, the SR-72 would combine turbojet and ramjet/scramjet engines to enable the aircraft to take off from a runway, accelerate to a Mach 6 cruise, and then return to a conventional runway landing.
If it can secure funding from the U.S. Defense Department, Lockheed Martin believes a prototype could be flying as soon as 2023 and the SR-72 could enter service by 2030, potentially paving the way for commercial applications of scramjet technology."
Pete

September 4, 2014

Submarine export trends - Japan's Soryu

Like a Western political rally this Soryu launch is colorful. Highly likely they will remove the bunting before sailing :)
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An almost complete (it misses Israel's Dolphin sub) set of HDW designed and mostly built submarines - from the 206 to the future South Korean DSX-3000 (Courtesy Turkish Navy Shipbucket).
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n excellent and  succinct article on Japan's new arms export approach, epitomised by the Soryu submarine. He also makes some valid observations on trends and realities in the international submarine market. See http://thediplomat.com/2014/09/japan-enters-global-submarine-market-with-soryu-offering/

"Japan Enters Global Submarine Market With Soryu Offering

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As Clint Richards noted earlier, it now appears likely that Japan will sell advanced Soryu-class submarines to Australia. In addition to strengthening the relationship between Australia and Japan, and making Australia’s submarine force considerably more lethal, this represents a major move by Japan into the global submarine market.
Germany, France, and Russia have long dominated the existing market for diesel-electric submarines. The German Type 209 submarine serves in over a dozen navies, with more than 60 boats currently in service.  While the design stems from the 1960s, the newest boats entered service in the last decade. Germany’s successor, the Type 214, is scheduled for export to Greece and South Korea, but has suffered some setbacks.  France has exported the Scorpene-class to Malaysia, Brazil, and India, and Russia continues to export its Kilo-class subs and Improved Kilos to a handful of countries, at least until Russian industry can work through the problems with the Lada-class.
The Japanese Soryus are extremely competitive with these boats. At 4,200 tons submerged, the Soryu-class is considerably larger than either the Type 214, Scorpene, or Improved Kilo, and can carry a much heavier weapons load. This size also makes them quieter and longer-ranged than the other boats on the market. At current price expectations of around $500 million, the Soryus are not wildly more expensive than the other boats.
The United States, of course, hasn’t had a piece of this market in decades, as no U.S. yards build diesel-electric subs. China has yet to begin exporting subs, although the increasing sophistication of Chinese designs may make this possible in the near future.
Shifting Japan’s defense industry to export will undoubtedly produce some teething troubles. One caveat is longevity. The JMSDF has historically only expected its subs to operate for about 20 years.  Many export customers will expect a longer life from their boats, and Japanese industry will have to adjust accordingly with respect to equipment, repair, and spare part requirements.  Unlike the Germans, French, and Russians, the Japanese have little experience with managing the long-term maintenance requirements of sophisticated weapon systems in foreign service. But given the strong reputation of Japanese industry, this shouldn’t be a big problem.
There’s no doubt that Germany, Russia, and France should worry about the position they currently hold in the global submarine market. Many of the Latin American navies have Type 209 boats that will require replacement sooner rather than later. The Soryu could also give Vietnam an alternative to the Improved Kilos Hanoi is buying from Russia. It doesn’t hurt that some of these large, long-ranged boats may go to countries that have problems with China. This solidifies Japan’s security relationship with these countries, while also improving the economic prospects of Japan’s defense industry.
If Japan can reliably produce the Soryu at a cost that is competitive with the latest German and French boats, it can capture a big part of that market, while also making the Western Pacific more dangerous for the PLAN. For Tokyo, this is a win-win."
For the many other articles on Australia by the Indian Ocean concerning the Soryu just write Soryu in the left, top corner, search box.
Pete

September 2, 2014

James Holmes - A Strategy for Submarines

A Virginia class SSN looking dark and dangerous.

The Virginia class SSN, at up to 8,000 tons, is slightly longer than the Los Angeles and Seawolf SSNs but much smaller than the four SSBNs in the diagram.
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James Holmes, the world's premier academic expert on submarines and Professor of Strategy at the US Naval War College has written an excellent 6 page article full of interesting insights on submarines in the September-October edition of National Interest 

Hail to the Deep: A Strategy for Submarines

[just one insight of many] "Surface vessels navigate across what amounts to a featureless plain, whereas submarines roam within a vast, three-dimensional column of water. This flexibility opens up tactical and operational vistas for submarine skippers that are unavailable to their surface brethren, whose ships lumber around in (mostly) plain sight. On the other hand, sub crews have to contend with terrain when operating in shallow water. Undersea warfare resembles land warfare in that sense. Soldiers work around mountains, valleys and defiles. Submariners must take account of the sea floor’s uneven if not shifting topography—in the near-shore environment in particular."

August 26, 2014

Agni 6 (Agni VI) Why would India want to develop a 10,000 km Range ICBM?

The white lines represent the 10,000 km range (with one tonne warhead?) of an Agni 6 (Agni VI) ICBM. The minimum and main Indian objective is the ability for at least one Agni 6 to deploy 3 tonnes of  warheads from one missile onto Beijing and also other Chinese east coast centers. The inner red circle is the 4,000 km range (with one tonne warhead?) of Agni 4 (Agni IV) maybe operational in 2017. India's now operational Agni 3 (Agni III) can just reach Beijing with one 500 kg (no MIRV yet) warhead.
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The flight of the 3 booster-stage Agni 6 with several MIRVs. Note that chaff might also be released to confuse anti-missle dence sensors.
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Disregard the "6,000 km". Agni 6 (Agni VI)'s likely specifications are total weight 55,000 kgs, height 17-20 meters, 1.1 - 2.0 metre diameter, 3 stage rocket boosted. Launched from semi-hidden transporter erector launcher (TEL) truck, or disguised rail car. 
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The short answer to "Why would India want to develop a 10,000 km Range ICBM?" is India plans to develop an ICBM able to launch 10 nuclear warheads (MIRVs) (all up weighing 3 tonnes) on one ballistic missile that could definitly reach Beijing and up to nine other major cities on China's east coast. Beijing is around 4,000km from central India). The additional  6,000 km range would bring the capitals of three of the other major nuclear powers (Russia, France and the UK) into range. Such a long range increases flexibility and uncertainty (important for deterence).

A basic law of physics is that due to gravity and momentum there is an inverse relationship between the weight of a warhead and the range of a missile. For India future ICBMs may have warheads weighing up to 3 tonnes while the lightest warhead is currently 500 kg.

India wishes the 10,000 km range missile, known as the Agni 6 (Agni VI), to have characteristics equal to (parity with) the latest ICBMs of India's main nuclear opponent, China. China's latest ICBM under development is the DF-41 (Dongfeng-41) which will have the range to hit any capital of its nuclear opponents, including London and Washington DC.

10,000 km range would also allow India to target SSBNs or warships (especially China's) attempting to hide as far out as the southern Indian Ocean and central Pacific Ocean. This is assuming India develops ICBM guidance systems (like China's DF-21D) against warships and submarines. India would wish that its Agni 6 would have at least the range of China's JL-2 SLBM (currently estimated as 8,000 kms).

For political reasons India probably does not wish to publish a 10,000+ km range that is sufficient to reach the continental US. A 10,000+ km ICBM was to be called the Surya but is rarely mentioned now that India is on closer terms with the US.

The Agni 6 will be an evolutionary development of the Agni series of long range Indian ballistic missiles developed following the test of India's first nuclear device (1974). These warheads are known as Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs)). Carrying multiple warheads (10 is the usual upper limit) on one missile is the most economical way to deploy warheads and such a deployment is more difficult to defeat with anti-missile defences.

Agni 6  may be first tested in 2017 . Testing may last 4 years to 2021. Then in-service, operational around 2023 or later.

If India has developed fusion boosted fission weapons (like Joe-4) the yield of a single warhead missile may be up to 400 kT). If India has developed two-stage thermonuclear weapons - then each MIRV warhead may well have a yield between 100 to 250kt.

Cross reference this article with many concerning the Agni series including:

The Second Agni 5 Test, Any MIRV? September 16, 2013

China's, India's and Pakistan's Future Nuclear Rivalry August 12, 2013

Indian Strategic Weapons Programs - Gradual Progress, July 3, 2013

Agni 5's First Test in April 2012, April 27, 2012

Pete

August 24, 2014

India's Plans for 21 More Subs including SSNs

India financed the completion of INS Chakra (a Russian Akula 2) above - is long leasing it - and commissioned it into the Indian Navy in 2012. It is likely any Indian built SSN would draw heavily on Akula 2 technology with Russian assistance. See Pete's comment below.
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Hindustan Shipyard (Visakhapatnam) - referred to in article below.
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Mazagon Dock (Mumbai). - referred to in article below. 
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Pete's Comment

Rajat Pandit in the Times of India article below is overly gullible in accepting that India can deploy substantially more submarines in the short-medium term. There are plans to launch two more Arihant class SSBN in the next few years, but very little detail about SSN plans and very tentative SSK completion plans. Plans include:

- 6 Scorpenes for Project-75 Scorpene (with indigenous DRDO AIP) contracts signed in 2005-2006. Little observable progress since.

- 6 Project-75I (for India) (with AIP and land attack missiles) selection process continued through 2007 to present day for Indian construction SSKs designed in Spain, Russia, France or Germany. Little observable progress.

Arihant class SSBNs (including INS Arihant launched in 2009. Within this class:
   = S-1 is the half submarine reactor test rig at Kalpakkam (India's southeast coast, just south of Chennai)
   = S-2 is INS Arihant itself (undergoing trials - may never be operational).
   = S-3 is INS Aridhaman (under construction at Shipbuilding Centre Vadodara (India's west coast, north of Mumbai) or Shipbuilding Centre Visakhapatnam (east coast) prior to launch perhaps in 2015)
   = S-4 no name yet (under construction Shipbuilding Centre Vadodara prior to launch perhaps in 2016)

- 6 (yes 6) SSNs - to be constructed at Visakhapatnam. Few details, no date milestones. This very old FAS report indicates India has been interested in building or buying 6 SSNs since the 1950s, with Russian assistance, for fleet protection, mainly against Chinese subs. India financed the completion of INS Chakra (ex Nerpa) (a Russian Akula 2) - is long leasing it - and commissioned it into the Indian Navy in 2012. Since commissing Chakra has been almost invisable. It may not be operational but rather a full test model for examination and trials by the India Navy, DRDO and India's nuclear reactor sector. It is likely any Indian built SSN would draw heavily on Akula 2 technology and be built with Russian assistance.

The gullible Times of India, July 14, 2014, article follows http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Move-to-fast-track-two-submarine-projects-gathers-steam/articleshow/38342676.cms :

"Move to fast-track two submarine projects gathers steam"


NEW DELHI: There is finally some urgency [words require deeds] being shown to rescue India's ageing and depleting underwater combat arm. The approval for two long-pending projects, one for construction of six advanced diesel-electric submarines and the other for six nuclear-powered ones, is well on the cards now.

Sources said the finance ministry has asked the defence ministry to "club" the separate projects to "draft a single note" for the requisite nod from Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS). "The two projects have been languishing for long in the files being exchanged between the two ministries. The government seems serious about fast-track approvals this time," said a source.

The approvals, when they come, will not be a day too soon since India is down to just 13 old diesel-electric submarines, barely half of which are operational at any given time, and a single nuclear-propelled submarine INS Chakra on lease from Russia without any long-range missiles.

It takes at least seven to eight years for the first submarine to roll out once its construction project actually gets underway. The two projects will together entail a cost of well over Rs 1 lakh crore spread over 10-15 years.

'Project-75India' for the six conventional submarines, armed with both land-attack missiles and air-independent propulsion (AIP) for greater underwater endurance, was granted "acceptance of necessity'' in November 2007, as was reported earlier by TOI.

But the global tender to select the foreign collaborator for it is yet to be even issued. As per the existing plan, the first two submarines will be imported to save time, while three will be constructed at Mazagon Docks (Mumbai), and the sixth at Hindustan Shipyard (Visakhapatnam).

The project to build the six SSNs (nuclear-powered attack submarines, usually without nuclear-tipped missiles), in turn, is to be undertaken at the secretive ship-building centre (SBC) at [Visakhapatnam]. India's first three SSBNs (nuclear-powered submarines with nuclear ballistic missiles) are already being built at the SBC to complete the country's nuclear weapons triad - the capability to fire nukes from land, air and underwater. The expertise gained in the construction of the SSBNs will help the SSN project, said sources.

The first SSBN, the 6,000-tonne INS Arihant, is slated to go for extensive sea trials soon after its miniature 83 mw pressurized light-water reactor, which went "critical" in August last year, attains "full power" in another month or so. The second, INS Aridhaman, is also to be "launched into water" soon with its hull and basic structure ready.

China, incidentally, has five nuclear and 51 conventional submarines. It is poised to induct up to five JIN-class SSBNs, with their new 7,400-km range JL-2 missiles, over the next few years.

India, however, has miserably failed in this arena. It was in 1999 that the CCS had approved a 30-year submarine-building plan, which envisaged induction of 12 new submarines by 2012, followed by another dozen by 2030.

But 15 years later, not a single new submarine has been inducted because of politico-bureaucratic apathy. The first programme, Project-75, was finalized only in 2005 to build six French Scorpene submarines at MDL. It's already running over four years behind schedule, with the first Scorpene now slated for delivery by November 2016 and the other five rolling out thereafter every 8-10 months. Moreover, the Rs 1,800 crore contract to buy 98 heavy-weight torpedoes to arm the submarines is also yet to be inked."

Pete