February 20, 2014

Indonesia to build a Chang Bogo Submarine and Uncertainty

Numbers of Attack Submarines in 2009 (orange blocks) and Projected for 2025 (red blocks). Note key Indonesian politicians and admirals project 12 Indonesian submarines by 2025.

Model of a DSME Chang Bogo (Type 209) Submarine. Indonesia is buying three from South Korea's DSME. One of  the three will be built at PT PAL’s shipyard at Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia.


The Jakarta Post  has reported that Indonesia's third (Improved) Chang Bogo (Type 209) Class submarine (lets call it "Submarine 3") will not be built in South Korea but at PT PAL’s shipyard at Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia. In the Jakarta Post article comments by Indonesia Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro then carry the possibility that Indonesia's other nine (Submarines 4 to 12) might also be Indonesian built. Please connect with Submarine Matters Indonesia Revisits Buying Kilos and Indonesia Decides to By Korean Made. and most recently:

South Korean Submarines, 3,000+ ton KSS-III, Nuclear Potential of April 16, 2014 which comments on Chang Bogo's South Korea has built for its own Navy and for Indonesia.


The Jakarta Post article, February 18, 2014  http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/02/18/pt-pal-gets-more-funds-build-submarine.html reads:

"PT PAL gets more funds to build submarine 
The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National | Tue, February 18 2014, 9:54 AM

The House of Representatives’ Commission I has approved the disbursement of US$250 million this year to state-owned shipyard PT PAL to build the country’s first submarine with technical assistance from South Korea.
Commission I deputy chairman TB Hasanuddin said that the construction would start in April.
Indonesia signed a contract in 2011 with Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) to build three submarines worth some $1.07 billion. Two will be built in Korea while the third will be built in PT PAL’s facilities in Surabaya, East Java.
The contract requires that the work starts in Surabaya by November at the latest otherwise the contract will be void and the third one has to be built in Korea.
“We approved the plan and appointed the Finance Ministry to channel the funding to PT PAL through the State-Owned Enterprise Ministry as bridging finance,” Hasanuddin said in a coordination meeting with several ministries, the Navy and the Army on Monday afternoon.
PT PAL needs the additional capital not only to improve its financial position but also to acquire specialized equipment to build submarines. The company has the capability to build surface ships but not submarines. 
Deputy Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said the funds would be injected as state capital (PMN) over three years.
He said the government would disburse $180 million this year consisting of $30 million for consultation costs and $150 million for infrastructure. The remaining $70 million is for personnel.
Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said that that the PMN would have value-added benefits for the local defense industry, including the ability to meet the need for 12 submarines by the Navy to ensure adequate defense.
Purnomo added that the South Korean technical assistance had begun in 2013, with the sending of Indonesian engineers to that country to learn the techniques of submarine manufacturing.
“The third one will be constructed by 200 Indonesian engineers and under the supervision of DSME,” he said.
“There will be a transfer of technology in this project.”
Previously, Navy chief of staff Adm. Marsetio said that Indonesia currently had two German-made submarines, KRI Cakra and KRI Nenggala, which were built in the 1980s. They will be decommissioned in 2020. (gda/nvn)"

A further Jakarta Post article, February 20, 2014 http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2014/02/20/local-weapons-ramped.html provides additional information:

"...The work on [Submarine 3] will start in 2015, it is slated for completion in 2018 [probably by 2020, not "2018"]....Despite the order of three submarines from Korea, [Defense Industry Policy Committee (KKIP)] implementation team head, Adm. (ret) Sumardjono said that Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro had also set a policy to procure Kilo-class submarines from Russia in motion.

“This is a stop-gap measure as we need 12 submarines to safeguard our waters,” he said.


In terms of economies-of-scale its logical that if/when PT PAL and DSME build a Chang Bogo (Submarine 3) in Surabaya that this would be the beginning of a production run of additional Indonesia built Chang Bogos. But Indonesia appears to be encouraging uncertainty through also negotiating with Russia for new or used Kilos. 

In a confusing way Indonesia appears to be seeking better price, credit and commission deals from South Korea (the logical choice for Submarines 4 to 12) and from Russia (perhaps the less likely choice for Submarines 4 to 12). 

February 15, 2014

Fourth North Korean Nuclear Test from late April 2014?

North Korea’s Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site: Significant Acceleration in Excavation Activity; No Test Indicators but significant increase in soil excavated by comparing size of "Dec 2013 Spoil Addition" (frame on left) with "Jan 2014 Spoil Addition" (frame on right).

It can be concluded that North Korea will conduct its fourth nuclear test in 2014 and probably from late April 2014 - based on data provided by Johns Hopkins University's US-Korea Institute. The US has a wide range of intelligence platforms to predict the (virtually exact) timing of the fourth test - including satellites (of course) and RQ-170 Sentinel stealth drones deployed in the region.

Agency France Press (AFP) via Australia's 7 News, reported, February 14, 2014 http://au.news.yahoo.com/world/a/21464288/excavation-work-at-n-korea-nuclear-test-site-us-think-tank-claims/ :

"Excavation work at N.Korea nuclear test site, US think-tank claims

Seoul (AFP) - Recent satellite imagery suggests North Korea has stepped up excavation work at its main nuclear test site, but there are no signs of an imminent test, a US think-tank said on Friday.

The images indicate a "significant acceleration in excavation activity" at the remote Punggye-ri test site in the northeast, said the closely-followed 38 North website of the Johns Hopkins University's US-Korea Institute. [see original 38 North article at http://38north.org/2014/02/punggye021314/figure1-punggye-021314/ ]
The debris excavated from a new tunnel at the site appears to have doubled in little over a month since last viewed in December [2013], the institute said.
The purpose of the excavation was unclear, it said, adding that Pyongyang was unlikely to use this tunnel for its next test since two other tunnels at the site already appear complete.
Visible indications of an imminent test -- camouflage netting, special vehicles -- can usually be detected four to six weeks in advance.
Based on the most recent imagery, "there are no signs that a test is in preparation," the analysis concluded.
North Korea staged its third -- and most powerful -- nuclear test [on February 12, 2013] last year after two previous tests in [October 9, 2006] and [May 25, 2009].
Two months later, it boasted that it would restart its five megawatt reactor at its Yongbyon nuclear compound -- the source of weapons-grade plutonium for its previous tests.
Pyongyang's current stockpile of fissile material is variously estimated as being enough for six to 10 bombs.
38 North said in December that satellite images suggested North Korea was following through on "wide-ranging, extensive" efforts to fully reactivate its Yongbyon facilities."
Connect with my article on North Korea's third nuclear test of February 2013 http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2013/02/north-koreas-3rd-nuclear-test-yield.html

February 7, 2014

Extreme athletic skills at Sochi Olympics

The following text and graphics are courtesy of Lucy Fahey and Lincoln Archer from Australia's ABC online  at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-07/sochi-winter-olympics-superhuman/5245428
"Here are [five] comparisons of how Winter Olympians perform extreme feats of bravery, endurance and precision..."

1. The ski jump is roughly a 40-storey drop from top to bottom

Ski Jump Animation
The Large Hill ski jump at Sochi has a vertical drop of 140m from their starting position to the landing area. That is roughly equivalent to a 40-storey fall in about nine seconds.
Competitors reach speeds of around 90km/h, with one study recording a skier at a top speed of 120km/h. By the time they land, they are travelling at just under 70km/h.

2. Skeleton riders cop 5Gs of force and can't try to stop

Skeleton Animation
Competitors in the skeleton can be subjected to as much as 5Gs of force on steep or sharp turns as they hurtle down the track - headfirst - at up to 135km/h. That is the same amount of force as riding a roller coaster, but with nothing holding you in place.
Athletes use their shoulders, knees and toes to steer the sled. And if human instinct kicks in and they try to slow down, they are disqualified.

3. Biathletes can slow their heart rate by 60bpm

Biathlon Animation
Biathletes are trained to have incredible control over their bodies. After skiing flat out for 4km (for men) or 3km (for women), they can slow their heart rates from a frenetic 200 beats per minute to a more manageable 140 per minute.

4. Then they shoot at a target half the width of a coffee cup

That gives them the precision they need to squeeze out four shots at a 4.5cm target - about half the width of a small takeaway coffee - from 50m away.
The sport also requires shooting at an 11.5cm target - about the width of two smartphones. They ski a penalty lap if they miss.
Winter Olympics illustration - biathlon

5. A moguls run is like 80 squats in 30 seconds

Mogul skiers carve their way through a 250m course with a 120m vertical drop, navigating through small mounds of snow. It requires constant short, sharp changes of direction in a compact, hunched stance. The only break comes via two jumps, requiring explosive leg force to gain maximum lift.
Moguls Run Animation
Defending women's moguls gold medallist Hannah Kearney has said absorbing one moguls run is equivalent to doing up to 80 squats. In less than 30 seconds...."

February 5, 2014

Taiwan's Aging Submarine Force Limited by Mainland China

One of Taiwan's two aging ex US Guppy Class submarines at left. Two, more modern, Chien Lung ("Sea Dragon") class submarines on the right.

Dramatic shot of a Seahawk helicopter lowering a line onto a Taiwanese Chien Lung ("Sea Dragon") class submarine.

Due to mainland China's political, economic and strategic power it has successfully limited Taiwan's submarine force to just two operational submarines. This has prompted Taiwan to retain two aging Guppy submarines officially on the books to notionally boost its submarine force to four.

Taiwan's two ex US Guppy Class submarines are Hai Shih and "Hai Pao". They are only used for training (see Taiwanese Navy website). The two Guppy's  were launched in the US in the mid 1940s then transferred to Taiwan in 1973. Their age makes them unsafe. 

Taiwan's two more modern Chien Lung ("Sea Dragon") class submarines were built in the Netherlands. They include the Hai Lung, commissioned in the Taiwanese Navy in 1987 and Hai Hu commissioned in 1988. They are modified versions of the Dutch Navy's Zwaardvis class submarine. At 26 years old they have almost passed the usual 30 year "use by date" where rust, corrosion and structural weaknesses become increasingly serious.

In anticipation of Taiwan's submarines becoming too old, in 2001 the US Bush Administration promised to sell Taiwan eight diesel-electric submarines. The fact that the US has not built diesel-electric submarines in decades and did not intend to build any more rapidly prevented the US from keeping its promise. 

Mainland China has pressured all diesel-electric sub building nations against supplying submarines to Taiwan. Diesel-electric submarine building nations have also been unable or unwilling to sell eight submarines to the US for transferring the submarines onto Taiwan.

Perhaps as a partial measure to increase the effectiveness of Taiwan's Chien Lung class submarines in late 2013 or early 2014 the US supplied Taiwan with some Harpoon anti-ship missiles which can be launched from the torpedo tubes of those two submarines. see http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2014/01/08/344401/taiwan-receives-us-submarine-missiles/ .

Earlier, in March 2013, the US supplied Taiwan with two upgraded early warning aircraft from the United States. The aircraft are all-weather early warning and control system platforms which in limited respects perform some early warning roles of submarines. 

Comment: Given Australia has been able to build six large conventional submarines Taiwan (with a population and economy very similar in size to Australia) should be able to build eight medium sized submarines.


On Taiwan's future plans to build its own fleet of eight modern submarines Taiwan's Want China Times, January 11, 2014, reported that: 

"Taiwan unveils 15-year navy upgrade plan"

"Taiwan's Navy Command Headquarters unveiled a 15-year upgrade plan for Taiwan's naval forces Thursday, under which the weapons systems of the country's major warships will all be upgraded.
The naval headquarters briefed the media on the plan while introducing its maritime warfare history exhibition room.
The headquarters said it has begun evaluating the feasibility of building submarines on its own, as the United States has yet to respond to Taiwan's requests to purchase eight diesel-electric submarines.
The US government approved the sale of eight diesel-powered submarines to Taiwan in 2001, but no progress has been made on the project since then.
Frustrated by the country's inability to procure the submarines, Taiwan's military has gradually started to consider building its own with US technological support, the Taipei-based United Daily News said in a special report last December.
The paper also said a local shipbuilders' association is scheduled to come up with a comprehensive feasibility assessment report by June 2014.
The naval headquarters confirmed Thursday that a seminar was held last year to discuss the issue with military experts, shipbuilding engineers and academics.
Another symposium on submarine-related technologies and management topics will be held later this year, the headquarters said.
Meanwhile, it said the military will collaborate with local shipbuilders to resume the training functions of the navy's two Guppy-class submarines.
The submarine renovation plan is also expected to help foster local shipbuilders' capability to build new submarines in the future, the naval authority said.
It added that the navy also plans to build a number of new warships, including amphibious dock landing ships that can transport small crafts, vehicles and helicopters.
In the future, the navy will standardize the combat systems of all of its warships and logistics systems as part of efforts to build a strong elite naval force, it said."