December 1, 2014

Australian future submarine components and combat systems

Possibly the best available diagram of the Soryu? It has a very rough indications of the locations of such combat system components. See names of some components in red at the base of this article.  


A submarine's combat system must be technically and to an extent politically compatible to a combat system and weapons of an ally. Combat systems consist of a submarine's weapons, data management facilities (including work stations) and sensors (such as sonar). 

MHalblaub on November 29, 2014 said
"This is again the old discussion about what is compatible. The [floating communications bouys deployed by submarines] are just dumb radio transmitters. With an US radio on board there would be no difference which bouy would send the signals.

The problem for an US combat system on any submarine from DCNS, Saab-Kockums, TKMS or Mitsubishi/Kawasaki will be a huge price difference between inherent system and US system. Not to mention the delays for introduction into service due to modifications on both sides.

The SeaFox is in use by Royal Navy, Thai Navy and US Navy just to name a few . The SeaFox is maybe to cheap for RAN and ASC.
I agree with the point about the "dumb" bouys.
However the combat system is a much more comprehensive item that must interface with weapons. Australia is highly unlikely to put the US weapons on the scrap heap and change to German or French. Japanese weapons are sometimes the same to Australian weapons (as in the case of the Harpoon missile) or similar (in the case of torpedos and maybe mines). Australia also wishes to operate the US Tomahawk. 

Australia has spent around 10 years working with the US Navy to develop the combat system used in the Collins with the longer term plan of migrating this system (including the weapons) to Australia's the Future Submarine

See this extended discussion on Australia future combat system issues which supports and refutes some of our arguments.
As well as US submarines an Australian submarine combat system is also designed to interface with US undersea sensor arrays, surface, air and satellite sensor networks. I don't know how intensive this interface is. I also don't know how easily German, French or Japanese combat systems could be used instead. It remains a mystery whether the US would be willing to share the US-Australian version of the AN/BYG-1 combat system used in the Collins with potential German, French or Japanese builders of a Future Australian Submarine. 

However I assume that the Japanese submarines do interface with US sensor network.

As well as electronic efficiency interoperability with the US is an important consideration.

In this earlier blog article note the more detailed discussion of German, French and US combat systems. 

The following components are not grouped under the term "Japanese Soryu combat system" however  these sensors and weapons constitute most of a combat system (see right-hand sidebar of  Soryu submarine wikipedia entry at )

"Sensors and
processing systems:
ZPS-6F surface/low-level air searchradar
Hughes/Oki ZQQ-7 Sonar suite: 1× bow-array, 4× LF flank arrays and 1×Towed array sonar
Electronic warfare
& decoys:
ZLR-3-6 ESM equipment
2× 3-inch underwater countermeasure launcher tubes for launching of Acoustic Device Countermeasures (ADCs)
Armament:6×HU-606 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes with 30 reloads for:
1.) Type 89 torpedoes [similar to Collins Mark 48 torpedo]
2.) UGM-84 Harpoon
Mines [type unknown]"



Anonymous said...

Dear Pete,

According to the use of existing weapons a few hints.

ROK’s Navy fired an UGM-84 Harpoon years earlier from a Chang Bogo-class submarine (Type 209) than Australia did with Collins-class. So Harpoon integration should at least be no problem for TKMS.

Australia could use their old Mark-48 torpedoes with any combat system you mentioned. For 12 submarines RAN will need more torpedoes. Turkey did order MK 48 Mod 6 torpedoes for its Type 214 submarines. I can’t see a problem to operate both types of torpedoes within one submarine. I would recommend additional "SeaHake mod 4" torpedoes due to many capabilities: less maintenance due to battery powered electric propulsion (quieter, more range, greater depth, no toxic Otto fuel II …) and wide array seeker head with fiber optical backlink.

“Two of the six Atılay class (209 Type 1200) submarines are also getting the software upgrade to fire and control the MK 48 torpedo.”

How compatible are the old AN/BYG-1 systems already installed on many US submarines with the new underwater communication systems? Current AN/BYG-1 systems would need a refit to use a new communication protocol. I can see no problem to implement another communication protocol to any other state of the art combat system. Does the US Navy like to talk under water with its allies like other NATO members, Japan or South Korea? US Navy may have secret add-ons within the protocol only shared with special partners.
Therefore Australia should be capable to modify a combat system e.g. the ISUS like Israel did implement its special weapons in use with the oversized 26 inch tubes.

Australia should take into account the relative size of its order for Atlas or DCNS and General Dynamics on the other side. GD is in bed with US Navy and RAN’s 12 submarines are a rather small deal. US Navy will always be number one on GD’s priority list.


Pete said...

Hi MHalblaub

Thanks for clarifying some combat system issues and for presenting examples.

The US is apparently prepared to work with Japan to develop a combat system for Australia so the US should also be prepared to work with Germany's TKMS.

Good that TKMS has already organised Harpoons and Mk 48s for 209s and 214s.

Thanks for although "According to media reports HDW demanded a very high sum for the integration of Mk-48 torpedoes in to Type 214. This is typical HDW." makes me wary.

Yes after a German, French or Japanese combat system is fitted Australia and the US should be able to make modifications.

I commented on On Line Opinion on your first comment - see .



Anonymous said...

Dear Pete,

this paragraph is just nonsense:
"According to media reports HDW demanded a very high sum for the integration of Mk-48 torpedoes in to Type 214. This is typical HDW. When Greece wanted to have Italian Blackshark torpedoes for their Type 214 submarines, the money HDW demanded for the integration was so high that Greece decided to use German torpedoes instead. Therefore, Turkey selected Atlas Elektronik instead of HDW as the main contractor for the integration of Mk-48 torpedoes into the Atlas Elektronik’s ISUS command and control software."

HDW is a submarine builder and Atlas builds the electronics for submarines. HDW would have outsourced the refit to Atlas anyway.

Greeks changed their mind about torpedoes right in the middle of the building process and HDW did told them the real costs.

BTW that is one good example why ASC should never build even a canoe for Australia. ASC would have bowed down before Australian politician's wise decision and would have told them nothing about the cost effects.

Both companies are owned by TKMS today. HDW belongs to TKMS since 2005 and Atlas followed in 2006. The first Type 214 for Greek was laid down in 2001 and the last in 2005. Turkey ordered in 2011.

That is just the usual struggle between Turkey and Greece and one being smarter than the other...


Pete said...

Dear MHalblaub

Yes after looking at the Germany to Greece 214 deal over the years I get the feeling that Greece was expecting the 214s as some sought of European Community-NATO gifts. In that regard Greece was/is in poor financial shape and not in a position to pay for such expensive items as submarines.

Perhaps Greece was expecting a reduced price submarine like the reduction Germany makes for Israel's TKMS Dolpins?

As with many weapon systems the Greece-Turkey relationship may indeed effect sales.

Unfortunately Australia has also been known to change some requirements during a contract. So the ultimate winner of the Future Sub deal with Australia should anticipate surprises.