June 3, 2015

Problems with submarine purchase from Japan emerging

The reluctance of Japan to share full technical details of the Soryu with Australia is a major problem for Australia. The Soryu's operating life of only 20 years is another major problem, but this is under-rated by Australian selectors.
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This article from ABC Online, June 3, 2015 appears to be accurate in what the 3 representatives of Japan say and when Defence Minister Andrews said:

"the submarine was about the size Australia is looking for, but required some alterations, and the purchase of the subs has the personal backing of Prime Minister Tony Abbott."

The thread for the article is  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-03/australia-not-capable-of-top-secret-soryu-submarine-build/6517730 :

"Submarines program: Adelaide shipyard not capable of building Soryu subs, former Japanese commander says"


The assessment comes as Defence Minister Kevin Andrews visits Japan to inspect Soryus, tipped as the preferred option to replace Australia's Collin Class fleet.
Mr Andrews said the submarine was about the size Australia is looking for, but required some alterations, and the purchase of the subs has the personal backing of Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
But former commander of the Japanese submarine fleet Masao Kobayashi said he was not sure the high-tech build could be successfully carried out in the Adelaide shipyards.
"They don't enough skilled workers to fashion the high-tension steel; it's even hard to do in Japan," he said.
[Submarine Matters records indicate the strength of steel used in the Soryu is HY-156. This is much stronger and harder to weld than most submarines (including those from TKMS) which have a HY-80 strength rating. The safe depth most submarines can dive may be around 400 meters - but Soryus with their stronger steel may be able to dive to 600 meters.]

Captain Hisayuki Tamura from the Japanese Ministry of Defence also said Japan was best placed to build the high-tech submarines.
"It's the best conventional non-nuclear submarine and we have the best technology to build them," he said.
Another former Japanese submarine captain, Toshihide Yamauchi, said it was still to be negotiated just how much of the top secret Soryu technology can be handed over.
Releasing the core technology is not an option for Japan. We're worried about leaks to China once our technology is in Australia.
Former Japanese submarine captain Toshihide Yamauchi
"Releasing the core technology is not an option for Japan," he said.
"We're worried about leaks to China once our technology is in Australia.
"We need to sort out expectations from both sides."
Mr Andrews said deciding how much of the secret technology was shared with Australia would be part of the competitive evaluation process.
"What we need to know is what they are at the outset, have an understanding of what's involved in making those design modification changes and ultimately we need to know what the cost is as well," he said.
Mr Andrews said a deal with any of the countries could involve the long-term training of staff in Adelaide."
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Submarine Matters biodata file photo and description of former commander of the Japanese submarine fleet Vice Admiral ("retired") Masao Kobayashi indicates that he is not fully retired. Kobayashi remains an adviser to Japan's National Security Council.


 Vice Admiral Masao KOBAYASHI, JMSDF (Retd) photo (above) courtesy Sub Summit

Masao Kobayashi is now an adviser to Japan's National Security Council"Masao graduated from the Japanese Defense Academy in 1973 and commenced a career in the JMSDF submarine service. 

He had held many posts in the submarine force. Shore billets included Submarine Branch Head in the Ship Systems Section in the Maritime Staff Office and Operations Officer in the Fleet Submarine Force. He has commanded TAKASHIO SS-571, (Uzushio class), and has been the Commander of Submarine Division Two. In 2001/2 he was the Commander of Submarine Flotilla One, and was Coordinator of Exercise at sea for Pacific Reach 2002. 

Masao’s last post was as Commander of the Fleet Submarine Force. He retired from the MSDF in 2009. Vice Admiral KOBAYASHI served with distinction in the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) and is well regarded as an authourity in the submariner community." See Kobayashi's comments on submarines to the Japanese press - reported January 18, 2015.

Pete

18 comments:

imacca said...

Interesting. If this is an indication that the Japanese option will involve minimal Australian Industry involvement in the build then I'd think that given the noises TKM have been making it marks their bid down a lot.

I'm well willing to be corrected if i'm wrong, but my understanding is that a sub build is a very integrated process. Hull building overseas and fitout here (like for the Canberra Class ) is a very unlikely and high risk option??

Peter Coates said...

Hi imacca

Japan's offer that Australia make the special steel for Australia's actual Soryus (maybe in Woolongong http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2015/01/japan-offer-to-australia-soryu.html ) might constitute the major Australia industry involvement. Japan and the US might also allow Australian sub-contractor involvement in making some components for the US Combat System.

Japan and the US probably realise that South Australia-ASC-Defence-Management-Unions would make the traditional Meal out of any more major engineering (hull or sections) of Soryus (or indeed 216s or conventional-Barracudas).

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

"Problems with submarine purchase from Japan emerging"
Hi Pete

I think that key technologies for Soryu submarine are hull design/building, sound/vibration insulation/absorption system and possible lithium ion battery system. Submarine structure is made of series of cylindrical hulls reinforced by beams. Joints between hulls, connection of seam in hull, and connection between hull and beams are welded. In the case of Collins submarine, GMA (Gas Metal Arc) welding was used for these hull buildings. But it is not the case for Soryu submarine, GMA welding was used for hull-beam connection, and GTA (Gas Tungsten Arc) welding was used for hull-hull joint and seam connection in my opinion. Although quality of GTA welding is superior to that of GMA welding, this technology is quite difficult to learn and it’s welding speed is very slow. There is no GTA welding technology in Australian submarine building sector. So hull building in Australia is rather risky and I can not recommend it in terms of Aussie submariners’ safety.

Regards
S

Anonymous said...

Dear Pete,

here is my worst case scenario for "Dud Sub II":

- Soryu submarine with less range (only displacement matters!)
- US combat system never fitted to a Japanese submarine before
- Hedemora Garden Island engines to pimp the Australian share
+ a leaking VLS system
+ failing LIBs
+ ...

HDW can educate some Australian workers how to weld with a gas tungsten arc.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Peter Coates said...

Hi S

Thankyou for those details. I shall turn the details and your earlier intellectual property data into a future article.

Meanwhile, is Japan's hull making and welding practices designed for 20 years of submarine operational use, with problems developing if there are 10 more years of use?

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub

You are ever the optimist :)

Yes there may be problems - but think of all that extra Australian taxpayer money that will go to Australian, Japanese and US interests! It will be a project too big to fail.

Did Germany (MAN? MTU?) design the current Soryu's diesels?

How about the first 216 being made in Germany then last five being assembled in Williamstown, Victoria?

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

I find it odds that because the Collins have reliability problems, the solution is to build a new class of submarines instead. Have any one troubleshoot the root causes for the reliability issues mentioned. The solution will be in understanding and fixing those first. If the reliability issues encountered are inherent in the processes in Australia, the same reliability issues could be found again in the next submarine to be built.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

I think that submarine may have material degradation issues for very long time use.
1. Fatigue which is structural damage from repeated loading: Submarine is exposed to very high pressure repeatedly. Sometimes tiny crack generates, propagates and finally leads fracture.
2. Corrosion which is damage caused by electrochemical reaction: Especially non-uniform corrosion like pitting is very dangerous. In the case of Soryu type subs, we’d better to pay special attention to the situation of interfaces of anti-vibration rubber/hull.
3. We also must pay attention to stress corrosion cracking (SCC), the growth of crack formation under corrosive (sea water) and stress condition.

Prediction of these damages is difficult. But in the case of Soryu subs, JMSDF may accumulate important material data including degradation thanks to long operational experiences and consecutive building of same type of submarine..

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [of June 4, 7:11 PM]

Yes the Collins have had reliability problems, especially in the diesels, for more than 20 years. The Collins like most submarine hulls wear out through, expansion-contraction, rust, corrosion and obsolete shape after 30 years (or perhaps 20 years of expansion-contraction for the Soryu...). The insides of submarine also wear out and become obsolete.
This is analogious to cars. Most of us are not driving 30+ year old cars for sound reasons.

Yes the next submarine may have severe problems, apparent so far because of the pre-determined selection "process" in which the US, and therefore our government, have already chosen the winner.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [of June 4, 2015 at 11:52 PM]

Thanks for the material degradation information]

I'm turning that and other info you've provided into an article tonight.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Dear Pete,

as I have read somewhere diesel on Soryu-class are of French origin. (Sorry - I can't remember where or how reliable the source was. ) Japan itself does not produce fast running diesel of the required size. A good choice for Son of Collins (SoC) could be the MTU 4000.

To build the first submarine in Germany and the rest of the batch somewhere else in the world is not unusual for German submarine exports. That was done with Greek Type 214 or South Korean Type 209/Chang Bogo class or Brazilian Type 209. For India two Type 209 were build in Germany and 2 in India. The first three Type 209 for Turkey were build in Germany and the other 11 in Turkey.

South Korea and Turkey now only received ship sets to build the Type 214 on their own.

For many countries which ordered only a small batch of submarines all submarines (Type 209) where build in Germany:
- South Africa: 3
- Chile: 2
- Ecuador: 2
- Venezuela: 2
- Colombia: 2
- Peru: 6
- Egypt: (4) - delivery expected from 2016 on.
- Portuga: 2 (Type 214)
- Singapore: (2) Type 218 - delivery expected in 2020

Many countries did sent their workers and engineers to Germany to learn how to build submarines like Turkey and South Korea. Many other countries did overhaul their submarines (Type 209) with support by Germany e.g. Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Greek (Type 209 + AIP) and Peru.

There is a big difference between TKMS and other competitors. TKMS is a privately held company. Such companies do not look so much at quarterly results like stock companies. They are allowed to think in longer terms. It would be an asset for Australia.

I do not get the arguments about buying US or Japanese goods to strengthen some relations. Save the money for military exercises or student exchange programs otherwise the money will just be wasted to feed some cronies.

First Sweden and now Japan?

Regards,
MHalblaub

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Diesel engines (Kawasaki 12V 25/25 SB) are developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industry LTD. French licensed products are not used for Japanese Submarine according to Ministry of Defence.
http://global.kawasaki.com/en/corp/newsroom/news/detail/submarine_kenryu_launched.html

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub

Thanks for the info.

It appears from the reference http://global.kawasaki.com/en/corp/newsroom/news/detail/submarine_kenryu_launched.html supplied by S that since as far back as 2010 Kawasaki has held the rights to Soryu diesels "Kawasaki 12V 25/25 SB-type diesel engines" .

Perhaps Kawasaki bought the rights from MAN Diesel and Turbo http://marine.man.eu/ OR Kawasaki upgraded the diesels (2 Kawasaki 12V25S) used on the preceding http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oyashio-class_submarine ?

I think if Australia chose TKMS then building the first HDW 216 in Kiel then assembly of the remaining 5 at BAE at Williamstown, Victoria would be the best Australian build compromise.

Adding to the built in Germany list can be the three Dolphins and two Dolphin 2s (so far) for Israel. I reckon the Dolphin 2 would be the best technology path beginning for a 216 for Australia.

I think the US wants Australia to respond to the US's China containment alliance plan. The response is by way of closer Australian alliance with Japan and financial in terms of buying Japanese hull + propulsion and US combat system. Japan already having built the Soryu also helps the choice of Soryu.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi S

Thanks for http://global.kawasaki.com/en/corp/newsroom/news/detail/submarine_kenryu_launched.html .

As I commented to MHalblaub - perhaps Kawasaki bought the Soryu diesel property rights from MAN Diesel and Turbo http://marine.man.eu/

OR

perhaps Kawasaki upgraded the Oyashio* class diesels (2 Kawasaki 12V25S) to become the Soryu diesels (Kawasaki 12V 25/25 SB-type) ?

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oyashio-class_submarine

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Dear Pete,

according to Kawasaki (*) 4-stroke diesel engines are license builds from MAN:
(*) http://global.kawasaki.com/en/mobility/marine/machinery/4cycle.html

It is not quite easy to fit a diesel engine inside a submarine. As you can see here on page two (red parts a submarine specific): http://www.mtu-online.com/fileadmin/fm-dam/mtu-global/technical-info/white-papers/3100721_MTU_General_WhitePaper_SubmarineChargingUnit_2011.pdf

The point is MTU engines are nearly on every German submarine type and even on UK submarines as a back up systems. I read somewhere that Chile ordered their Scorpenes with MTU engines. Spanish S-80 uses also MTU engines. Let Japan stick to their MAN/Kawasaki diesel and order your Australian Soryus with MTU diesels.

Japan will need a different type of diesel engines on its next submarines due to the use of LIBs or much more engines of the same type!

Remember that the main problem for Collins-class was related to the diesel engines.

Japan builds about one submarine per year. MTU delivers engines for about 2 or 3 submarines a year.

We will see what engines Sweden will use for the A26.

Regards,
MHalblaub

P.S.: How much can you trust someone who did not like to share with you welding technologies?

Anonymous said...


Hi Pete

MAN-Kawasaki diesel engines were used for Japanese submarine in the past. But, JMSDF adopted Kawasaki original 12V 25/25S diesel engines for Harushio-class submarines (built 1987-1997) which were precedents of Oyashio-class submarine. This diesel engine was up graded as 12V 25/25SB. Picture in “http://global.kawasaki.com/en/mobility/marine/machinery/4cycle.html” is different engine from 12V 25/25 SB which is v type engine with 12 cylinders.

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi S

Looking at http://www.mtu-online.com/japan/applications/mtu-japan-applications/military-governmental-vessels/?L=yevlrfltl it is possible MTU Japan Co could work with or sell partial designs of submarine engines to Kawasaki.

Once either Japan or TKMS win Australia's future submarine process - perhaps MTU and Japan might work together more closely.

I looked even further back on Japanese submerine engine development and found:

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uzushio-class_submarine Built: 1968-1978 "2 X kawasaki-MAN V8V24/30AMTL diesel" So it looks like MAN worked alongside Kawasaki in the 1960s to develop a V8 engine for submarine. "MAN" may mean http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MAN_Turbo in 1969 which worked closely with MTU.

So there is an iterative-evolutionary engine picture with several companies and countries working together.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub

I've located even more direct info on MAN working with Kawasaki

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uzushio-class_submarine Built: 1968-1978 "2 X kawasaki-MAN V8V24/30AMTL diesel"

So it looks like MAN worked alongside Kawasaki in the 1960s to develop a V8 engine for submarine. MAN also working closely with with MTU through corporate changes and mergers.

The paper you provided http://www.mtu-online.com/fileadmin/fm-dam/mtu-global/technical-info/white-papers/3100721_MTU_General_WhitePaper_SubmarineChargingUnit_2011.pdf contains great info on German diesel preperation for Li-ion batteries including page 2:
"This trend for more power will be even further accelerated by new Li-Ion battery technologies.
Li-Ion batteries are going to increase underwater endurance and performance of submarines significantly. However, the diesel engine driven charging unit technology needs to adapt to the new requirements:
- firstly, more electrical power and
- secondly, provide rated power almost the entire operational
time to fully utilize the Li-Ion advantages."

Then on page 4:
"One of the most significant improvements [will be]...complete overhaul of the engine can be increased to more than 20 years. [instead of current]...12 years."

This opens up interesting questions on ideal submarine life (20 to 30 years?) and the level of maintenace resources needed.

Regards

Pete