February 27, 2017

Midlife Overhaul for Dutch Submarines - Operational to 2025

A Walrus class submarine moving quickly. At 2,450 short tons (surfaced), 2,800 tons (submerged), with a crew of 49 to 60 - in Europe the Walrus is a uniquely large SSK class.
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A 25 February 2017 comment from Kevin has prompted me to write two updates on:
-  Dutch Walrus class submarine overhauls (below), and
-  later this week Dutch submarine replacement issues and requirements.

The issue of overhaul or replacement of the Netherlands 4 Walrus class submarines, launched between 1985 and 1992, has been long discussed in Dutch naval and political circles. Originally the Walrus class were designed to operate for just 25 years (until around 2015). 

But the Walruses have operated mostly in shallow coastal waters (shallow immersion cycles). Hence the physical demands (contraction and expansion of the steel hulls causing metal fatigue) have been less than originally expected. Possibly the Walruses have been mainly used for signals monitoring as they are too slow for hunter-killer duties, chasing SSNs, SSGNs and SSBNs. The Walrus class  operating life has therefore been increased to 35 years, allowing the subs to remain in use until at least 2025.

The Walrus mid-life overhaul is known as the Capability Upkeep Program (CUP) [in Dutch 1]. The CUP overhaul program began in mid 2014 starting with His Netherland Majesty's Ship (HNLMS) Sealion [1]. Overhauls will continue until 2020. The CUP has also been called the Life Extension Program (LEP).

The overhaul includes:

-  modernising sensors, such as:
   = new sonars allowing the sub to draw closer to the coast (aka “near shore”) to gather intelligence.
      The suite includes a Mine and Obstacle Avoidance Sonar by ELAC Nautik.
   = New optronics masts [1] from L-3 KEO permitting sub to quickly see 360 degrees around itself,
      with less risk of discovery tan a periscope or older optronic. The new optronics suite includes a
      thermal imaging camera [1] providing HD footage both day and night. Optronics allow very sharp
      images to be visible on a screen for most in the sub's command center (not just one viewer's old
      periscope eyeball).

-  upgraded weapons including new software and other equipment for the Mark 48 torpedos, moving
   and them from current mod-4 standard to mod-7 CBASS.

-  command and combat systems and communications,
   = including a super high frequency (SHF) satellite communications system allowing messages to
      the submarine from Dutch naval headquarters or NATO Defense Networks, and
   = improved operating software for most systems (likely much work will be by Lockheed Martin).

-  refurbishing, strengthening and de-rusting the pressure hull

Later this week I’ll comment on the Walrus replacement program (yet to be approved by the Dutch Parliament) and on likely requirements and builders of a Dutch future submarine.

[1] these sites are in Dutch. For a PC mouse - right click mouse - then you will see Translate to English - translation may take 20 seconds. 

Pete

February 24, 2017

Philippine Navy - Acquiring New Ships Armed With Missiles and Torpedos

A South Korean HHI HDF-3000 frigate which carries missiles and torpedos, The Philippines is buying two. (Photo courtesy rhk111's Military and Arms Page)
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The Philippine Navy is gradually catching up to navies of its neighbours and resource competitors, Malaysia and Indonesia. Greater naval friction between these neighbours is likely as the potential prices of contested undersea oil-gas, and even fish prices and scarcity, rise.

The Philippine Navy’s (PN’s) recent interest in acquiring submarines from Russia (Kilos) or maybe China (S20s or S26s) should not be seen as a passing urge from a mere gun only second hand navy. Any future submarine purchase can be seen in the context of the PN’s new trend of paying serious money for new vessels armed with missiles.

In the last few years the PN has bought:

A.  3 x multi-purpose attack craft (MPAC) Mk. 3s, These patrol boats (coming from Israel around June 2017) are being armed with Spike-ER missiles with a 8 km range. The Spikes have roughly the weight and range of Hellfire missiles.

B.   much more substantially a contract (for a total of US$337 million) was concluded October 24, 2016 for 2 new frigates, which are derivatives of the HDF-3000 design. These are being built by Hyundai Heavy Industries, South Korea and are scheduled for delivery starting 2019. These frigates will carry (see and wiki's right sidebar) SAMs, Harpoon like SSM-700K Haeseong anti-ship missiles and lightweight torpedos.

C.  The PN will also mount Spike-NLOS missiles on its soon to be received AW-159 Wildcat naval helicopters. Also LWTs can be mounted. These helicopters could operate from:
-  the 3 old cutter-frigates
-  the new 11,583 ton, Tarlac class landing platform docks (LPDs) - see the photo below, or
-  air bases in critical places like Palawan Island which borders the highly contested Spratly Islands in
   the South China Sea.


The Philippine Navy's new 11,583 ton Tarlac class LPDs can carry helicopters armed with missiles and LWTs. (Photo courtesy Miguel de Guzman via philstar GLOBAL).  
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Pete

February 22, 2017

China - foreign Submarines & UUVs transiting South China Sea Must Surface

China has, unilaterally claimed "water areas" or "territorial waters" of the South China Sea within its "Nine dash line". (Map courtesy GeoGarage).
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In an excellent post that will create headaches for the US, Japanese and Australian navies, Chinese state media, Ecns.cn reports February 15, 2017 China may soon redraft its 1984 Maritime Traffic Safety Law to require:

“Foreign submersibles [ie. submarines and UUVs must] travel on the surface, display national flags and report to Chinese maritime management administrations when they pass China’s water areas”. Such waters are understood to include the South China Sea.

China’s Global Times adds:


“Foreign military ships that are approved to enter China's waters should apply for pilotage. Foreign ships that enter Chinese waters without approval will be fined 300,000-500,000 yuan ([US]$43,706-72,844) and those violating Chinese laws would be expelled, it said.”

COMMENT

China's $73,000 fines may be very reasonable compared to an SSK's or SSN's hourly running costs. Attention Commanders! Take wads of cash or don't leave home without your American Express cards.

Pete

February 21, 2017

Performance Table, Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs) vs Lead-acid Batteries (LABs)

From Anonymous’s comments on February 12, 2017.

Thanks to Anonymous for estimating performance for a submarine that will have new Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs) no AIP – see Table 1. The first such submarine can be called a “Soryu Mark 2” (see Table 2) and it is designated 27SS which is likely to be launched between October and December 2017.

Anonymous, in Table 1, then makes a traditional Lead-acid Batteries (LABs) only (no AIP) comparison. Japan’s Oyashio class (launched 1996 to 2006) were Japan’s last submarines that were LABs only. The Oyashios preceded the LAB-AIP Soryu Mark 1s (see Table 2).

LIBs/LABs Comparative Table 1.

Submarine/Measure
LIBs only Soryu Mark 2, eg. 27SS
LABs only Oyashio class
Nominal voltage per unit battery-module [1]
36V
2V
Max submerged period at 4 knots [2, 3]
7 to 9 days
3 to 3.5 days
Standard submerged period at 4 knots [4]
6 to 8 days
1 to 1.5 days
Standard period at 18 knots (within a longer mission submerged)
3 to 4 hours
1 hour
Battery Recharge times over 60 day mission
8 to 10 times
40 to 60 times
Battery Recharge periods (surfaced or snorting)
1 to 2 hours
5 to 10 hours

[1] Values are based on various pieces of data for LIBs and LABs. LIB-modules and LAB-modules are connected in parallel and in series, respectively. Example: total voltage of 100 LAB-module (2V) connected in series is 200V = 2V x 100.

[2] Data for LABs is based on various simulations of submarine propulsion.

[3] Data for LIBs is based on comparison with data for LABs.

[4] As complete discharge shortens the life of batteries, I assume 90% of LIBs are discharged and 30% of LABs.

SORYU-Oyashio TABLE 2 (as at February 21, 2017)

SS
No.
Build No
Name
Pennant
No.
MoF approved amount ¥ Billions & FY
LABs, LIBs, AIP
Laid Down
Laun
-ched
Commi-ssioned
Built
By
5SS Oyashio
8105 Oyashio
SS-590/ TS3608
¥52.2B FY1993
LABs only
 Jan 1994
Oct 1996
Mar 1998
 KHI
6SS-15SS
Oyashios
10 subs
8106
-8115
various
SS-591-600
¥52.2B per sub
FY1994-FY2003
LABs only
 15SS Feb
2004
15SS
Nov
2006
15SS
Mar 2008
 MHI
&
KHI
16SS
Soryu Mk 1
8116
Sōryū
SS-501
¥60B FY2004
LABs + AIP
Mar 2005
Dec 2007
Mar
2009
MHI
17SS
8117
Unryū
SS-502
¥58.7B FY2005
LABs + AIP
Mar 2006
Oct 2008
Mar
2010
KHI
18SS
8118
Hakuryū
SS-503
¥56.2 FY2006
LABs + AIP
Feb 2007
Oct 2009
Mar
2011
MHI
19SS
8119
Kenryū
SS-504
¥53B FY2007
LABs + AIP
Mar 2008
Nov 2010
Mar
2012
KHI
20SS
8120
Zuiryū
SS-505
¥51B FY2008
LABs + AIP
Mar 2009
Oct 2011
Mar
2013
MHI
No
21SS
No 21SS built
22SS
8121
Kokuryū
SS-506
¥52.8B FY2010
LABs + AIP
Jan 2011
Oct 2013
Mar
2015
KHI
23SS
8122
Jinryu
SS-507
¥54.6B FY2011
LABs + AIP
Feb 2012
Oct 2014
7 Mar 2016
MHI
24SS
8123
Sekiryū
SS-508
¥54.7B FY2012
LABs + AIP
Mar 2013
2 Nov 2015
Mar? 2017
KHI
25SS
8124
Seiryū
SS-509
¥53.1B FY2013
LABs + AIP
22 Oct 2013
12 Oct 2016
Mar? 2018
MHI
26SS
8125
SS-510
LABs + AIP
2014
Oct-Nov
Mar 2019?
KHI
27SS First
Soryu Mk 2
8126
SS-511
LIBs only
2015
Oct-Dec 2017
Mar
2020
MHI
28SS  Second
Soryu Mark 2
8127
SS-512
¥63.6B FY2016
LIBs only
2016?
2018?
Mar 2021?
KHI
29SS First of
New Class
?
?
¥76B FY2018
LIBs only
?
?
2023?
MHI?
Table courtesy of exclusive information provided to Submarine MattersLABs = lead-acid batteries, AIP=air independent propulsion, LIBs=lithium-ion batteries. ¥***B = Billion Yen.

Anonymous and Pete

February 20, 2017

Update on Australia’s SEA1180 Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) selection process

Damen's OPV 1800 (Artwork courtesy Damen) is a possibility for Australia's Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) competition. Damen also offers the OPV 1800 Sea Axe and the 90m Sigma class. Damen has been shortlisted by Australia  - as have Fassmer and also Lurssen.
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Australia’s SEA1180 future Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) selection process continues to steam ahead.  It was first announced April 18, 2016A 30 November 2016 Media Release announced a Request for Tender (RFT). Government requirements have been stressing:

-  the three shortlisted designers should devise Australian Industry Capability Plans to team up with
   Australian shipbuilders. Hence the designers are teaming:
   =  the Netherlands' Damen with Civmec
   =  Germany's Fassmer, with Austal, and
   =  Germany's Lurssen (a report February 18, 2017 that Lurssen) may team up with BAE Systems)
-  use of Australian made steel for the hull is important
-  probable displacement may be up to 2,000 tonnes

-  the order is for 12 vessels, which will begin with two built in Adelaide from 2018 and ten in
   Western Australia from 2020 (this looks messy!).

The OPVs will be used for border protection and other missions of greater range/endurance than the existing, smaller 300 tonne Armidale class patrol boats. The Armidales have suffered from aluminium hull cracking around the engine spaces, partly due to much greater use on illegal immigrant search than anticipated. Hence the new OPVs will have steel hulls.

Glorious photo (courtesy Cotecmar) of a Fassmer 80 OPV . Also a 90m OPV is a possibility.
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A Lurssen (or Luerssen) OPV-80. Some are already in our region in the Royal Brunei Navy (Darussalam class). There are also Lurssen OPV 85s and OPV 90s (Photo courtesy pinterest).
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The ambitiously tight selection and production deadlines may slip. Production in Adelaide (just two) and Western Australia (ten) also looks uneconomic and problematic.

New OPVs of up to 2,000 tonnes, replacing the old ones of 300 tonnes, will represent a major increase in RAN border protection capabilities. The emphasis will likely be on carrying illegal immigrants, over long ranges and a helicopter for reconnaissance/search and rescue, rather than carrying missiles for combat. 

Pete