April 8, 2014

Intellectual Property, Stirling AIP on Chinese Type 041 Yuan Submarine

The Stirling AIP of the type fitted to Kockum's submarines including the Gotland Class (Photos courtesy of  http://kockums.se/en/products-services/submarines/stirling-aip-system/the-stirling-engine/stirling-aip/ )

China's Type 041 Yuan Class submarine - with Stirling AIP?

For the latest on this issue see June 11, 2014’s Australia's Future Submarine - Swedish vs German Claims http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2014/06/australias-future-submarine-swedish-vs.html . It is unclear whether Germany or Sweden hold the strongest intellectual property rights to the Stirling AIP.

Does the reference below to Chinese use of Stirling engines for air independent propulsion (AIP) mean:

1.  Kockums sold its Stirling engine technology (see http://www.kockums.se/en/products-services/submarines/stirling-aip-system/) to China? or

2.  Did China acquire Stirling technology covertly from current users - Sweden, Japan (Soryu Class) or Singapore (Archer Class)? or

3.  Did China develop Stirling indigenously with the help of open source information - like the Kockums Stirling photo above? 

Perhaps China used all three methods.

According to http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/china/yuan.htm in March 2007 Jane's Navy International reported that the Yuan class was fitted with an AIP system developed by the No.711 Ship Research Institute. Yuan is using an AIP engine of 100 kw in power, and is probably equipped with 2 such AIP engine. Sweden's Gotland Class submarines use 2 V4-275R stirling AIP units (each rated 75 kw). The larger Yuan obviously needs more powerful AIP units.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_041_submarine#Propulsion advises "Recent rumors stated that the [Type 041 Yuans] utilize a Stirling cycle engine, but this cannot be confirmed. It is also unclear if the incorporation of air-independent propulsion system has become the standard or just for evaluation purposes. Since the air-independent propulsion systems on board western submarines usually rate at 150 kW to 300 kW, so it is safe to assume that similar systems on board Chinese submarines would also be consisted of at least two units just like its western counterpart."



Joakim Wohlfeil said...

Hi Pete

This is not only a Sterling question, but a totally wild sign of how infected the submarine and technology dispute between TKMS and Swedish-FMV/SAAB has become. I gave you the link if you want to follow it up yourself.

Breaking news ;-) // A lot of people in Sweden are right now probably trying to figure out if the Swedish Channel-2 TV news daily “Rapport” has accidently switched the 1´st and 11´th of April.

FMV are reported to have raided the TKMS (ex kokucms) facilities including the Stirling laberatories with help from Swedish military.

Monday April 2 an announcement from the Swedish minister of defence said Sweden/FMV had formally cancelled any orders to TKMS regarding the navy’s new A26 submarines. This message was followed by a formal confirmation from the government that the Swedish Navy will get additional funding for Submarines, this relating to a reassesement of the strategic situation in northern Europe following the crisis in Ukraine.

Tonight reporters at the Swedish leading news program "Rapport" reveals that a few day´s ago (Tuesday April 8) FMV employees, entered the TKMS/(ex Kockums) facilities in Malmoe under the protection of Swedish military. They also brought several heavy trucks into the area.
The mission was said to secure naval technology belonging to the Swedish government (as Sweden has not transferred or shared any naval technology patents to the new German owners of Kockums. FMV refuses to comment and claims that any actions are military confidential information.
The situation is still very unclear, new reports say´s that TKMS called in the civil police to protect the facilities. (http://www.svt.se/nyheter/regionalt/blekingenytt/kockums-larmade-polisen).
At the same time TKMS don´t confirm any abnormal activities on their facilities, but have suspended their Swedish security manager at the facilities by unclear reasons.

It’s no exaggeration to claim the incident is unprecedented from a European business perspective.

Copied from the link ( http://www.svt.se/nyheter/regionalt/blekingenytt/kockumsutrustning-hamtades-av-militarpolis ) via Google translate ""Uncertainty about future Kockums in Malmö and Karlskrona got a week Defence Materiel Administration to take action to secure the advanced technology around the Stirling engines constructed at the laboratory in Malmö.

Faced with several witnesses, and with the protection of military, arrived FMV's security transport to Malmö, broke into the laboratory to retrieve sensitive technology equipment - technology that belongs to the FMV and the defense wants to retain control over .

A moment later, the convoy left the area with " worthy of protection " information in the load.

- There was a shipment of armaments, a completely ordinary worth protecting transportation, says Louise Wileen Bjarke , Press Manager at FMV , who can not answer what the purpose of the operation was .

- It is surrounded by defense secrets , she says.

Kockums security manager Lars E Karlsson should have been in place in Malmö, but failed to prevent the mission could be completed.

According to several sources of SVT , he shortly afterwards have withdrawn from service with immediate effect.

- I do not comment on it today. The thing we are talking about another time , he says.

Kockums CIO John Ahlmarks have no comments to make at SVT's revealing.

- I can not comment on these details , read his reply.

Is Kockums security chief suspended ?

- I do not comment on individual employees , said John Ahlmarks .""

Pete said...

Hi Joakim

That is remarkable news. I assume because Kockums submarine is a multi billion dollar business that justifies the Swedish government acting in ways that would cause tension with Germany?

At the bottom of http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2013/11/germans-sinking-kockums-swedish-sub.html I raised the issue in November 2013:

"In addition to preventing Kockums being competitive TKMS acquisition of Kockums provide an opportunity to officially or unofficially shift intellectual property (including A26 design information) from Kockums to HDW?"

Looks like the Swedish Government is now worried.

I'm assuming that FMV seized not only Stirling technology but all sensitive technology intended for the A26?

I also assume that joint Kockums and Swedish Government ownership of Sweden's submarines secrets (intellectual property) worked smoothly when Kockums was Swedish owned. But when Kockums was bought by German TKMS-HDW this arrangement became a problem?



Joakim Wohlfeil said...

You are probably right on the spot. The division between the production and ownership of intellectual property was probably never an issue as long as the Swedish Navy, FMV and Kockums considered themselfes as one team with open doors in between.
It was probably this attitude that HDW/TK thougt they bought themselfes into and that both this cooperation and the production could be moved to Kiel once Sweden got used to the thought of buiklding their submarines in Germany. (probably after som initial protests before Swedish authorites realized fait accompli).

Pete said...

Hi Jaokim

Yes, added to the prospect that subs for Sweden would be made in Germany the recent threat raised by Russia moves in Crimea and over E Ukraine must be worrying Swedens's government.

The possible leakage of Stirling secrets to China (as in my post-article above) and risk of Stirling leaks to Russia, would also worry Sweden's government and now Saab.



Anonymous said...

Here is some strange interview comment from Göran Larsbrink, retired Swedish Rear Admiral:
"As wrong as it was to sell Kockums to HDW in 1999, as right it is today to take it back and resume control."

Hans Christoph Atzpodien answered:
"You have to recognise [sic!] first of all we are the legitimate owner of the company and we are living all together inside the EU, and I rate it quite surprising if you state here that you just take it back."



Pete said...

Thanks Matthias Halblaub

The interview comments from Göran Larsbrink (retired Swedish Rear Admiral) and Hans Christoph Atzpodien (TKMS) are indeed strongly worded.

As its such a big international issue and the designation "A26" now no longer exists, I'll reproduce

for the next post.