November 12, 2014

Comments in Favor of TKMS and Other German Developed Submarine Products

In April 2006 a German Navy Type 212 submarine (U-32 pictured) sailed from the Baltic Sea to Rota, Spain in a journey lasting two weeks, covering 1,500nm without surfacing or snorkelling. Seven years later, while on the way to participate in naval exercises in the USA, U-32 established a new record for non-nuclear submarines with 18 days in submerged transit without snorkelling. 

Regular commenter, the illustrious MHalblaub, has written some excellents comments of November 12, 2014, that:

-     -  Successfully refute some of my statements at, and

-     -  On many aspects of submarine diesel-electric propulsion systems are beyond my level of knowledge.

So I have posted MHalblaub’s comments below so they can be read more easily on this blog and commented on at length. MHalblaub commented November 12, 2014:

“you write: "Repair facilities in Japan relatively close compared to Germany or France."

On the other [hand you earlier mentioned] that South Korea already does build Type 214 submarines. Therefore Australia has repair facilities [near] Japan for submarines designed by TKMS.

The engines are likely to be [German developed] MTU 4000 based generators no matter which submarine [is chosen - HDW 216 or Soryu] . In case of rechargeable lithium batteries the MTU 396 offers not enough power to provide maximum current to charge the new type of batteries. The 28 MTU 4000 are already in RAN use on 14 Armidale-class patrol boats. [see righthand sidebar of "Propulsion: 2 × MTU 4000 16V 6,225 horsepower (4,642 kW) diesels driving twin propellers"]

 So Australia should know how reliable these engines are. The French SMX Ocean solution with six engines seems to be an ad hoc solution to provide enough power to charge the lithium batteries.

Btw. Dolphin 2 class might already have lithium batteries and the MTU 4000. Only for Dolphin 1 class reliable information is available. Dolphin 2 class is a black box just like Type 218. I still believe these submarines are just relabeled Type 214 with enhanced propulsion MTU 4000 + lithium batteries. The price of 1 billion Euro for two [HDW 218SG] submarines is just too low for more displacement.

According to the SMX Ocean there is a big question mark about the second AIP technique proposed by DCNS. It is not so easy to reform a high quality fuel (hydrogen) for a fuel cell out of standard diesel oil. It might work with very clean bio diesel but “dirty” standard diesel could ruin the fuel cells or the filters very fast. DCNS will for sure offer replacements … Standard fuel cells work with pure hydrogen and oxygen. Methanol or ethanol reformer work rather well with clean fuel. Direct methanol fuel cells are best feed with bio ethanol with even less contamination than standard ethanol.
According to DCNS’ video clip MESMA is the worst AIP system available for long endurance missions – 14 days at 4 kn are just 1344 nm. The 2nd generation AIP by DCNS with an expected endurance of 21 is not much better than the 1st generation AIP on first batch of small German Type 212: proven [submerged] endurance of 18 days.


Australia by the Indian Ocean sorely needs Japanese and French advocates to support any case for buying Soryus or DCNS submarines :)


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