July 1, 2015

Two A26s Ordered by Sweden

Saab-Kockum's new video on the A26. (Courtesy Saab A26 website)
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Sweden's AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se) reports June 30, 2015 http://www.thelocal.se/20150630/saab-signs-deal-worth-billions-for-swedish-subs:

Saab signs deal worth billions for Swedish subs
[What the two new A26s might look like. (Artwork by Saab AB)]

Saab signs deal worth billions for Swedish subs

UPDATED: A deal between Swedish defence giant Saab and Sweden's military for two submarines worth 8.6 billion kronor (US$1.04 billion) is set to boost jobs in the Nordic country, chief executive Håkan Buskhe said on [June 30, 2015].
“We are of course very pleased,” Saab chief executive Håkan Buskhe told reporters at a press conference in Visby, where he is attending Sweden's politics festival Almedalen Week.
He said the order would create around one hundred jobs at the Swedish defence and security company.
“This means some hundred new employees in both Malmö and Karlskrona,” he said.
The order from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) covers the construction of two new Type A26 submarines, as well as a mid-life upgrade for two Gotland-class submarines.
Deliveries of the two new subs will take place in 2022 and 2024, Saab said in a statement.
The upgraded subs will be delivered in late 2018 and late 2019.
Saab said the A26 was a high-tech submarine with “long-endurance submerged performance and excellent manoeuvrability in all waters”.
It added the new subs would be “highly survivable thanks to modern underwater stealth technology and a unique heritage of shock resistant design”.
The subs will be powered by conventional diesel-electric propulsion machinery and equipped with the Kockums Stirling Air-Independent Propulsion (AIP) system, making them difficult to detect.
In April, the Swedish government announced plans to raise defence spending by 10.2 billion kronor ($1.18 billion) for 2016-2020, mostly to modernize ships to detect and intercept submarines, amid increasing Russian military activity in the Baltic Sea region.
Sweden has a long-standing tradition of military non-alliance, but support for Nato membership has increased in recent years, largely due to fears of a potentially aggressive Russia.
A major poll last month suggested that nearly one in three think Sweden should join the defence alliance
AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)"
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COMMENT

At around 1,900 tonnes (surfaced or submerged?) the A26 will be much heavier than Sweden is used to. This would be a large sub to move in the very shallow and narrow waters of its mainly Baltic operating area. The A26's size will improve Sweden's ability to confront Russian forces outside the Baltic - in the North, Norwegian or Barents Seas.


With a large horizontal diver/diver delivery vehicle tube large displacement UUVs (LDUUVs) could be launched to more safely approach the Russian Baltic Fleet's Base at Kaliningrad Oblast (an enclave). 

Sweden is accustomed to working with 1,500 tonne (surfaced) Gotlands and 1,400 tonne (surfaced) Sodermanlands. One reason Sweden may be building A26s at 1,900 tonnes is to provide a sub with increased export potential to the Asia-Pacific market where ever heavier subs are being bought. It is possible a smaller version A26 might also be exported to Poland and Norway and larger version to Canada and the Netherlands.

While the two A26s are being built and 2 Gotlands overhauled Sweden will rely on three subs - the two Sodermanlands and the third Gotland class.

Pete 

22 comments:

Nicky said...

Something like the A-26 would have been perfect for Thailand. Perfect for Shallow water Littoral Waters but with Ocean going capability as well.

Anonymous said...

MHalblaub commented

German submarines have to operate in far shallower water than even Sweden. It is a requirement for every German Navy submarine that it can operate submerged in a sea area called the Kadetrinne with water depths between 10 and 30 m. https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kadetrinne

The best current submarine for this mission would have been the Type 210(mod) used by Norway. The Type 212A is not only thought to fight against the Warsaw Pact nations in the Baltic Sea. Type 212A is for long enduring intelligence gathering missions around the world.

Even Thailand has to pay its crews. Type 210 needs a crew of 15 men and Chinese Type 039 a crew of 38 men.

the Type 210mod already is proposed with an improved hull fairing:
https://www.thyssenkrupp-marinesystems.com/en/hdw-class-210mod.html

Much more interesting is the waste of space with a large diver tube on the lower floor. For extended operations the big tube could be used for food and other supplies.

The Kadetrinne was for sure free of hydrophones or other such devices. The bottom is sandy and in international waters. Therefore fisher work with nets pulled over the ground.

In case of a conflict this part would have filled up with floating hydrophones dropped by aircrafts of both sides...

The Kadetrinne was located between Denmark and the German Democratic Republic. Part of the submarines of the German Federal Republic would have traveled around Denmark to close this gap from both sides because any enemy ship with more draught has to pass through there.

If Thailand would have wanted to learn something about how to use its submarines Thailand should have chosen a more experienced teacher. A experienced crew on an old submarine is worth more than wannabe submarines on a new submarine. Ask Argentina about the man who mixed up the cables on the torpedo gyroscopes. The islands are therefore still called Falklands...
Finally: never use a submarine in the way the Argentinean Navy did it with ARA Santa Fe.

There is another thing about the Type 210mod. The Type 210mod has no AIP but it looks like the battery space is rather huge compared to other submarines.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Anonymous said...

Dear Pete,

there is another problem with the A26 compared to any Type 212/214 derivate:
The A26 does not exists today.

That was a major drawback for Boeing for the South Korean aerial tanker. The Airbus tanker is now flying for Australia for years and has even performed boom operations:
http://australianaviation.com.au/2015/05/raaf-executes-first-boom-contact-with-kc-30a/
The real Boeing tanker is still not in the air. Only a 767-C2 is flying around with a boom but that is not quite the aircraft promised to US Air Force.

The South Korea Air force wanted its tankers from 2018 on. Airbus did win even though South Korea and the US are strong allies. Therefore SAAB will have many difficulties selling an A26 to any costumer before the submarine is commissioned with Swedish Navy.

So South Korea did quite the opposite what Australia is going to do with buying Japanese submarines. First priority for South Korea was quality and maturity.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Recent simulation based on the diesel generator’s operation mode shows that Soryu can silently cruise underwater for 15days at 4.0kt/h (2600km=1404nm) by Kockums Stirling AIP. If we assume that A26 can cruise for 18days at 4.0knot/h, the submerged range of A26 becomes 3120km (1685nm=18days/15days*4.0knot/h). The submerged range is shorter than that of Type 212A (30days at 5knot/h), but it is not bad. As Kockums Stirling AIP does require neither hydrogen system nor fuel cell exchange, it may be convenient for small countries. In fact, this AIP system does not require ground-based equipments including hydrogen production, storage and handing.

Regards
S

Anonymous said...

Dear S,

I would expect todays conflicts to be rather of short time. So refueling a submarine would not be necessary before the conflict is over.

Hydrogen is a problem. It was a problem for German Zeppelins because the US did not export Helium at that time. Storage is another problem. The solution is called Methanol and even the technical solution is also already there (2010):
http://juser.fz-juelich.de/record/135470/files/HP4a_9_Krummrich_rev0605.pdf

Even a more direct method is already available: DMFC
http://www.efoy.com/en

According to a German article U 32 travelled 2,770 nm submerged during an 18 day of travel to an exercise with US ships and submarines. That is an average speed of 6.5 kn.
http://seefahrer.blog.de/2013/03/28/manoevertagebuch-westlant-deployment-18-15684889/

Regards,
MHalblaub

Anonymous said...

Near term it may not be possible to replace that diesel engine with an all fuel cell power plant without some performance trade offs even for just littoral operations. Taking the case of the type 212, within the volume space of one MTU V16-396, one can only fit 9 Siemens fuel cells of the 120KW or 130KW type. That is a total of 1100KW of power versus 2000KW of fossil power. And then there is the weight issue. 9 fuel cells weight 3 tons more than one said MTU engine. This leads to either a compromise in range (besides speed) unless one up-sizes the submarine (with a further compromise in speed since overall drag will be higher).

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

according to MTU the 396 is rather heavy even without the generator:
http://www.mtu-online.com/mtu/products/engine-program/diesel-engines-and-gas-turbines-for-marine-main-propulsion-dieselelectric-drives-and-onboard-power-generation/diesel-engines-for-yachts/detail/product/453/cHash/617d20af390f308178240e4ab4d039a8/

Mass of 16V 396: 6.1 t without generator or exhaust pipes or shock mounts or water cooling system ...
The submarine diesel on Type 212A has a generator output of 1,050 kW.

I my opinion the diesel generator with all installations (shock mounts and the complete hull-in-hull design) is even today heavier than an equivalent fuel cell system with the same output power.

I guess the price is the answer. Fuel cells are far more expensive to produce and maintain on the long run than a diesel engine today.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete and MHalblaub

Thanks for very interesting informations.

Methanol converting fuel cell is very interesting idea, and I understand why MHalblaub insists this fuel cell.

Compared with DMFC, methanol converting fuel cell shows longer cell stack lifetime and better efficiency.

I could not access the web. But I think these figures (18days at 6.5 knot/h) are rational.

Regards,
S

Anonymous said...

The German paper MHALblaub referred to (thanks) is about a methanol reformer approach. an alternate solution to the low efficiency of direct methanol FC which would not require a separate reformer. A reformer takes up extra space and also will require power (so overall system level efficiency may not be that much different from DMFC)

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Elimination of carbon dioxide (CO2) generated from Methanol Reforming Fuel Cell (MRFC) is not problem in the open system like automobile, but in the closed system like submarine, elimination of CO2 is quite important. I calculated energy to eliminate CO2 in virtual MRFC-AIP Soryu submarine with same crew number (65 crews), liquid oxygen capacity (39-46t) and CO2 absorbant (MEA=monoethanol amine) as real Stirng AIP Soryu.

In the case of longest MRFC-AIP operation (15days) under water, CO2 elimination energy for MRFC excluding human breathing is estimated ca.19-23MWh. This value is very big.

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky [at July 1, 2015 at 3:10 PM]

The first 2 A26s (1,900 ton model for Sweden) will be too large and too expensive for Thailand. If Saab offered a 1,100 ton A26 derivative to Thailand its size and price would have been more competitive.

Regards
Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub [at July 1, 2015 at 7:21 PM]

The Saab A26, like the HDW 216, certainly doesn’t exist.

Yes after a long development period Australia chose well with the Airbus tanker. This is a rare example of Australia choosing a non-US aircraft. The decision to buy 72 F-35s still haunts me and will haunt the RAAF officers who pressed for the F-35s (if they don't have their LockMart jobs yet].

True that Saab will have to prove it can deliver A26s to the Swedish Navy before it can sell more boats to Singapore (2 x 218SGs an anomaly?).

[at July 2, 2015 at 9:44 PM and July 1, 2015 at 10:54 PM]
All very complex in choosing weights of diesel arrangements and fuel cell AIP. Depends what missions German Navy foresees or undertakes. The likelihood Russia will build (or has) improved SeaWeb sensors may mean part of the diesel engine capacity, even if cheaper than AIP, may be too noisy – too indiscrete to operate near Russian coasts.

Hard to guess durations of conflicts. Crimea was quick. Low intensity Ukraine is long. Naval battles short – blockades are long.

Safety of using fuel cells is still an issue given at some stages of the process hydrogen is dangerously pure.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [at July 1, 2015 at 8:13 PM]

Thanks for the figures. The initial LIB or LAB battery charge/capacity also must be factored in – and complicates comparisons between AIP.

Swedish subs in Baltic or Singaporean sub in Malacca Strait could operate on Stirlug AIP alone. For Australia transitting long distances at 10kt (remember 1 kt is the measure of one nautical mile PER HOUR) AIP is not a transit solution. But AIP is a good low noise slow moving solution near coasts.

Yes China has certainly benefitted in buying Stirling AIP from Sweden and it is possible China will provide Stirling to Thailand. Higher safety of Stirling is an important advantage.

[at July 4, 2015 at 11:14 AM
The issue of elimination of CO2 generated from Methanol Reforming Fuel Cell (MRFC) on submarines is important. Is there also a carbon monoxide output? The energy inefficiency of need to absorb CO2 using (MEA=monoethanol amine) looks significant.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [July 2, 2015 at 7:26 PM]

True that diesel engines still necessary in near term. Even Swedish subs need some fast moving transit capabilities in North and Norwegian Seas. Sweden is certainly upsizing the A26 (1,900 tons (surfaced?) compared to the Gotlands (1,500 tonnes surfaced).

[at July 3, 2015 at 7:05 PM]
I’m no AIP expert but it looks an important consideration “A reformer takes up extra space and also will require power (so overall system level efficiency may not be that much different from DMFC)”

Also I wonder if there are differing combustion-explosion risk profiles for MRFCs compared to DMFCs?

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

More than ten years ago, JMSDF proved that energy density of LIBs was 3 times higher than that of Lead Acid batteries (LABs). But, two years ago, Japanese government owned bank, Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) reported energy density of LIBs increased to be 5 times higher than that of LABs [1]. So I think 28SS Soryu with LIBs and without Stirling AIP can better performance than before. Advantage of batteries is that we can recharge electric energy by diesel-electric generators which generate much higher energy than AIP system.

Methanol has a high toxicity in humans. If as little as 10 mL of pure methanol is ingested, which can cause permanent blindness by destruction of the optic nerve, and 30 mL is potentially fatal [2]. Methanol vapor is also highly toxic. Leakage of methanol in emergency with severe vibrations or shocks should be taken into account.

[1] http://www.dbj.jp/pdf/investigate/area/kansai/pdf_all/kansai1303_01.pdf (Japanese) “Consideration on Status and Development of Chargeable Batteries”, page3, Table 1-1, line 2 for LABs and line 5 for LIBs.
[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methanol#Toxicity

Regards
S

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

“JMSDF proved that energy density of LIBs was 3 times” in my comment (July 6, 2015 at 3:26 PM) is wrong, correct one is “JMSDF proved that energy density of LIBs was twice”. Sorry.

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [at July 6, 2015 at 10:03 PM and July 7, 2015 at 1:49 PM]

Thanks so much for your info, including:
"More than ten years ago, JMSDF proved that energy density of LIBs was [Twice the energy density] of Lead Acid batteries (LABs). But, two years ago, Japanese government owned bank, Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) reported energy density of LIBs increased to be 5 times higher than that of LABs [1] http://www.dbj.jp/pdf/investigate/area/kansai/pdf_all/kansai1303_01.pdf (Japanese) “Consideration on Status and Development of Chargeable Batteries”, page3, Table 1-1, line 2 for LABs and line 5 for LIBs]. So I think 28SS Soryu with LIBs and without Stirling AIP can better performance than before. Advantage of batteries is that we can recharge electric energy by diesel-electric generators which generate much higher energy than AIP system."

Pete Comment - Yes LIBs seem to have the advantages to replace LABs + AIP. LIBs may be safer than AIP. However in case LIBs fail (possible with such a new technology) there should be backup/redundancy systems to, at least, bring a submarine up to the surface. I will be doing a future post with new info on LIB advantages over LABs.

Re "Methanol has a high toxicity in humans. If as little as 10 mL of pure methanol is ingested, which can cause permanent blindness by destruction of the optic nerve, and 30 mL is potentially fatal [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methanol#Toxicity . Methanol vapor is also highly toxic. Leakage of methanol in emergency with severe vibrations or shocks should be taken into account."

Pete's Comment - Yes the flamable-explosive-poisonous nature of AIP technologies present sound arguments why AIP should be just an interim solution in submarine development. This is more true in view of LIBs having better energy efficiency.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Dear Pete,

there are several points I can not agree with you. LIBs might be far more dangerous than LABs but the complete LIB load does not have to be located in one space. There are also in most submarines two separated LAB banks.

Methanol is toxic. So stop drinking it! Methanol vapor might be toxic but is easily detected.

Still one of the best LIBs provide just 1 MJ/kg while Methanol has a heating value of 22.7 MJ/kg. Even with transfer loss of about 50 % the Methanol sounds far better. Take also into account the amount of diesel necessary to produce the energy. A diesel generator has a electrical efficiency of about 30 % to charge the LIBs. Then you also have losses due to loading a battery.

You should compare the primary resources for energy supply on a submarine: diesel or Methanol.
Methanol with fuel cells works more efficient than diesel generator with whatever battery.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub

OK to disagree. LIBs, LABs and various types of AIP (methanol using or not) all have energy efficiency tradeoffs. Some are better for a country's expected mission profiles than others.

But safety of crew and a sub's delicate electonics etc is an additional and important consideration.

Yes all batteries can give off vapors - especially if on fire or charged wrong - so AIP methanol is not the only potential hazard.

LIBs look good but they are also a new transition in sub propulsion so safety measures - extra system redundancy - is necessary in the transition phase. This phase may be up to 30 years for first generation LIB subs.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

AIPs including Stirling and fuel cell systems require loading of huge amount of oxidizer such oxygen. We can not compare AIPs with diesel-electric generation system without considering oxidizer. For example, Starling-AIPSoryu with two huge liquid oxygen adiabatic tanks (9.0m in length, 3.2m in diameter) can cruise under water for 15days at 4knot/h (15days*24h*4knot/h=1440 nm=2444 km), and 8.5 liquid oxygen tanks will be needed to achieve 6100nm(=11285km) of submerged range at 4 knot/h, without taking into account of high speed mode which needs extra oxygen.

I highly appreciate methanol reforming fuel cell, but many serious accidents with explosion and methanol leakage are reported for methanol plants. Assurance of perfect safety and high reliability of fuel cell must be provided for submarine operation. But there are no safety and reliability data based on practical operation of methanol reforming fuel cell.



Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [July 8, 2015 at 10:39 PM]

Thanks for this comment. I'll carry it over to http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/aip-for-australias-future-submarines.html very much on AIP.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub [at July 8, 2015 at 1:08 AM]

Thanks again. I'll also carry your comment over to http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2015/07/aip-for-australias-future-submarines.html very much on AIP.

Regards

Pete