September 16, 2015

Shortfin Barracuda Bid Maybe Competitive But Still Sketchy

Comments from HK (representing French views) for Submarine Matters' article Shortfin Will th Shortfin Barracuda Design Be Too Heavy = Costly? of August 31, 2015 indicated that the Shortfin Barracuda bid was still subject to considerable change:

HK commented September 1, 2015 at 3:41 PM: 

"Having given it some more thought, Shortfin Barracuda could well displace only ~4,200 tons (surfaced) [565 tons less than the Barracuda SSN figure] .

DCNS are on record saying that Shortfin is smaller than Barracuda. So... the obvious solution is to remove the nuclear reactor module. See [Diagram A] below, from the excellent Navy Recognition website: this ~8m long module (under the deck shelter) is not needed in the SSK. In SMX Ocean it was converted to a VLS launcher (with space to spare - likely for part of the AIP fuel cell/battery modules).


Diagram A - A blurry and difficult to read and understand publicity sketch of Barracuda SSN (Courtesy French Navy on Navy Recognition website). 
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Delete it, and voila! That's ~500m3 saved... or 500t in displacement, as designers typically aim for neutral buoyancy.

This does have the unfortunate consequence of eliminating AIP, however. Also likely to reduce fuel, and therefore range.

As for the rest of the sub, the forward sections up to the deck shelter are likely common to both the SSK and SSN designs. The steam turbine propulsion module in the rear is big enough to accommodate 6 diesels, with space below for more batteries (in pink) and fuel. The electric module (in red) is sized for ~10MW, and probably does not need to be changed much.

If true, this would cut down Shortfin's design and production costs, as well as risk.

HK commented September 2, 2015 at 5:02 AM: 

Regarding Barracuda's power train, the E-motor is directly coupled to the propeller, for acoustic reasons. The reduction gear is only mechanically engaged to shaft and steam turbine at high speeds (likely ~20+kts).

So switching from SSN to SSK is easy: keep the e-motor, eliminate the reduction gear, steam turbine, turbo generators, and associated steam cycle equipment. Replace with 6 diesel generators. These are much more compact and can all fit on one deck. The batteries and fuel tanks go underneath.

Not sure what the thinking will be on whether to keep the 2 back-up 480kw generators currently located amidships [see Diagram B]. Makes sense to replace them with batteries IMHO."

Archimedes commented September 1, 2015 at 10:24 PM:

[along the lines] the TKMS Type 216 is even more risky than Soryu or Shortfin Barracuda as the 216 is definitely a paper submarine compared to the others. 

The Germans may not be as advanced in methanol reformer fuel cell AIP as the French solution. 

CRITIQUES

Concerns about HK's comments above included:

1.  To be compliant with Australia desire for a 4,000 ton (surfaced) submarine - scaling down the Barracuda SSN from 4,765 tons (surfaced) to a 4,200 ton Shortfin will not be easy. Many difficult recalculations of component size, hull thickness, acoustics and buoyancy-balance will need to be made.

1(a).  Space and balance calculations for more batteries and diesel fuel tanks need to be made.

1(b).  As the Shortfin, with its diesel engines, will not be as long as the Barracuda SSN this will alter the length to diameter ratio making the ratio a design problem.

2.  Will the Shortfin be allowed to incorporate the US combat/weapons system - a political and security issue - and will Shortfin include a VLS that can accommodate US made weapons?

3.  The power transfer to submarine's propeller in case of the Barracuda SSN is about 10 MW (or even 2 x 10 MW). That is 3 times the power of the electric motor on the 2,000 ton Type 212/Dolphin-class. Oversized tools or capabilities will not come for free.

3(a).  The Shortfin would need a complete new propulsion system because the whole system has to be reduced to electricity only (with no reactor-steam turbine input). 

4.  How developed is the methanol reformer fuel cell AIP proposed for Shortfin? 
      See DCNS Youtube A below.

Youtube A - DCNS' three air independent technologies to extend fully submerged time/range. 
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Here are two very detailed January 2015 analyses of the second generation methanol reformer – fuel cell AIP that may be being proposed for Shortfin

5.  Has DCNS produced a diagram of the Shortfin as good as TKMS' September 2015 diagram of the 216?

Diagram B - This is presumably an early design of the Barracuda SSN with lower weights and smaller dimensions, and a cross tail rather than the more likely X-plane tail.  It is old, in French and difficult to read - hence also "sketchy". However it is still useful. The 2 small diesel engines of 480 kW each are assumed to be retained in the final Barracuda SSN design http://www.sous-mama.org/IMG/BarracudaSite02.jpg :

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Diagram C - Another diagram of the Barracuda SSN. Difficult to understand what is what - sketchy. (Courtesy DCNS via defenceindustrydaily )
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It is interesting how the Barracuda SSN's hull appears very much a scaled down design of the proven Triomphant class SSBN (Courtesy Frederic Petitieuois http://frederic.petitdieulois.perso.sfr.fr/racine/ssbn/ssbn0.jpg at http://frederic.petitdieulois.perso.sfr.fr/page_ssbn.php ). However the Barracuda's sail/fin as depicted in the diagram immediately above varies markedly from the other Barracuda sail depictions further above.


Pete

25 comments:

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
I think the Shortfin Barracuda is sketchy cause the first steel has not been cut yet.

Also have you've seen this story,
http://www.businessinsider.com/r-exclusive-china-trying-to-undercut-germany-on-submarine-offer-to-egypt-2015-9?r=UK&IR=T

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete and

One of the most important requirements for weapon is simplicity, complex design and structure may bring high performance, but it may cause failure or accident due to its complex structure. In terms of chemical engineering process and accident cases in chemical factory, I have an impression that the reformer-PEMFC system as shown reference [1] is too complicated for submarine application. Trouble handling by submariners will be crucial in this system. RAN should listen to not only vocal submarine builders and politicians, but also silent submariners and their families.

[1] http://www.bakstengineering.com/dfatr-pemfc-the-probable-aip-structure-of-submarine-smx-ocean-concept-part-1-2/“Simplified Layout of Diesel-Processing Equipment”

Regards
S

MHalblaub said...

Dear Pete,

the French methanol reformer is the same as the French small submarine launched missile MICA: untested and just nice CGIs.

TKMS is developing methanol reformer for years:
http://juser.fz-juelich.de/record/135470/files/HP4a_9_Krummrich_rev0605.pdf

Here on page 21 is a bigger picture of the submarine methanol reformer:
https://www.thyssenkrupp.com/documents/fielddays/2011/Marine_Systems_Presentation.pdf

TKMS already showed a working prototype in 2009.

In Germany already home solutions are sold (e.g. page 64):
http://lat.mb.fh-osnabrueck.de/download/Folien%20Vorlesung%20Menger.pdf

TK is more than TKMS:
https://www.thyssenkrupp.com/en/produkte/index.html

A small methanol reformer would also fit nicely into cars.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Reactors require a detail process hazard analysis (PrHA) according to the authorities [1, 2]. In the case reactors for Submarine, submarine specific requirements should be considered. Submarine builder should inform his customer about process and result of PrHA.

http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/06/f1/DOE-HDBK-1100-2004.pdf “DOE HANDBOOK HEMICAL PROCESS HAZARDS ANALYSIS” by U.S. Department of Energy, Page 1, 1.0 Introduction, paragraph 2
“One of the most important elements of the PSM (Process Safety Management) Rule is the process hazard analysis (PrHA). It requires the systematic identification of hazards and related accident scenarios. The PSM Rule allows the use of different analysis methods, but the selected method must be based on the process being analyzed. The PrHA and the other PSM elements must be in place prior to process startup. PrHAs must be reviewed and updated at least every 5 years.”

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9780470935286.app2/pdf
Guidelines for Design Solutions for Process Equipment Failures by Center for Chemical Process Safety, American Institute of Chemical Engineers, Page 179, paragraph 2
“Reactors require a detailed hazard analysis before the proper Process Safety System (PSS) can be determined due to the complexity of the operation (heat and mass transfer and chemical reaction), as well as the different kinds and severity of events that can be caused by the reactants, products, catalysts, and impurities.”

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

Yes, to be fair, steel isn't cut for any of the three contenders for Australia's future submarine. France has cut steel and much more work for the Barracuda SSN. But I think the Shortfin needs to be the smaller 4,000 ton design Australia wants - and many rearrangemets need to be made to convert a nuclear design into conventional.

Yes I've seen http://www.businessinsider.com/r-exclusive-china-trying-to-undercut-germany-on-submarine-offer-to-egypt-2015-9?r=UK&IR=T but unfortunately the Reuters copyright is too explicit against me reporducing it on Submarine Matters.

It came from the Reuters original http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/15/us-china-egypt-submarines-exclusive-idUSKCN0RF2NR20150915 . Reuters seems to be the best mainstream agency on conventional submarine news.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [at September 17, 2015 at 12:13 AM ]

I agree the complexity of DCNS (hopefully) shrinking the Barracuda design and certainly rearranging the whole propulsion system-fuel tanks-batteries is cause for concern.

Also concerning that DCNS has not demonstraed its reformer-PEMFC system and it certainly is not operational on DCNS subs. If Australia's new subs carry the DCNS reformer-PEMFC system for the first Operational time this is a considerable risk and worry.

Interesting how TKMS and Japan are going with their own second generation AIP?

I'm hoping that the fear of disagreeing with Abbott and his centralised power approach has left with Abbott. Hopefully a didicated Defence Minister (Andrews seems OK) and a more vocal RAN (and families) is allowed to have more input.

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
How come the Australians never considered the Barracuda SSN. Why not the Scorpene class SSK

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub [at September 17, 2015 at 7:33 AM]

TKMS's long development of methanol reformer gives cause for some confidence. It would be preferable if LIBs and reformer AIP were first used operationally on 212s or 218SGs.

Thanks for - TKMS developing methanol reformer for years - http://juser.fz-juelich.de/record/135470/files/HP4a_9_Krummrich_rev0605.pdf published in 2010 .
Mention on page 216 of a "high-pressure oxygen burner" sounds a bit dangerous and high heat.

Whole of https://www.thyssenkrupp.com/documents/fielddays/2011/Marine_Systems_Presentation.pdf may have been useful in selling the 218s to Singapore (see map page 19)
Page 13 - Good map
Page 21 - Indeed interesting picture of submarine methanol reformer
Page 22 - interesting submarine, frigate + covette sales (given RAN wants all 3).
Page 24 - a 2,500 ton 216 design! - sell to Netherlands?

TKMS showing working prototype in 2009 is good.

In home solutions (e.g. page 64) is partly useful
http://lat.mb.fh-osnabrueck.de/download/Folien%20Vorlesung%20Menger.pdf

Interesting that TK has many non-submarine industries https://www.thyssenkrupp.com/en/produkte/index.html that could be part of OFFSETS deals in any submarine sale-deal!

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Pete

Yes I agree. "Reactors require a detail process hazard analysis (PrHA) according to the authorities [1, 2]. In the case reactors for Submarine, submarine specific requirements should be considered. Submarine builder should inform his customer about process and result of PrHA." re http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/06/f1/DOE-HDBK-1100-2004.pdf

Major areas for safety systems and awareness includes new poentially flamable technologies on submarines - for example Li-ion Batteries and methanol reformer AIP.

Re http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/9780470935286.app2/pdf I assume this is, or can be, a component of an AIP system?

The issue exists whether current fuel cell or future methanol reformer fuel cell technology it too unsafe and untested operationally to be used for future Australian submarines?

Or should Australian submarines again rely on batteries alone? But this time the batteries are more effective, but less tested, Li-ion?

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky [September 17, 2015 at 1:01 PM]

Re Scorpene SSK -I've written an article asking similar questions with reference to Scorpenes, 214, Dolphin 2s and we can now include 218s http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2014/12/australian-future-submarine-choices.html

The Barracuda SSN has only a limited capacity reactor (14 knot cruising over 3 months) compared to a better reactor on Astutes and Virginia (25+ knots cruising for potentially years).

Although the Barracuda SSN's K15 reactor is meant to have a life of 10 years until refuel (in France only) it would likely last fewer years given longer Australian transit requirements.

The high cost and political nature of buying nuclear would put the Astute (UK) and Virginia (US) ahead of France. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Barracuda-class_submarine

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Pete(September 17, 2015 at 12:28 PM)

R&D of new AIP system for submarine and related research item are not listed in“FY2016 Defense Program and Budget of Japan”. It means that Ministry of Defense will not carry out the R&D of AIP at least for a while.

Lower power of Sirling AIP system is listed as a reason for its abolishment. But, I think the weight change caused by consumption of the oxidizer (liquid oxygen) and the AIP fuel (kerosene) is another reason. Soryu carries ca.100t of liquid oxygen, ca.30t and unknown amount of diesel fuel for diesel-electric generator. The weight change by consumption of the diesel fuel can be compensated by introduction of sea water, the weight change by consumption of the liquid oxygen and kerosene cannot, because we cannot introduce sea water into thier tanks. At the maximum consumption of the liquid oxygen and kerosene, the weight loss reaches 130t, making it difficult to control the submarine.

Regards
S

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete (September 17, 2015 at 2:20 PM)

According to competitive evaluation process, RAN can request DCNS, TKMS and JMSDF to submit PrHA results for DFATR-SOFC/LIBS, reformer-PEMFC/LIBS and LIBS, respectively.

Regards
S

Anonymous said...

Hello,
"The Barracuda SSN has only a limited capacity reactor (14 knot cruising over 3 months) compared to a better reactor on Astutes and Virginia (25+ knots cruising for potentially years)."
I'm nearly certain that this is incorrect, 14kn over 3 month is for the SMX ocean a conventional sub based on the barracuda (before the shortfin).
Nuclear reactors can not be throttled (much) thus, everything relating to them is scaled to work at full power for a long time, this is true for all nuclear sub as far as I know.

Regards.
lurker

Peter Coates said...

Looks like DCNS, with its connections to the Liberal Party, has got the jump on TKMS in Australia!

Peter Coates said...

Hi lurker

Figures for SMX Ocean concept were 14kn (submerged) for 1 week. http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php/news/defence-news/year-2014-news/september-2014-navy-naval-forces-maritime-industry-technology-security-global-news/2029-exclusive-dcns-will-unveil-the-smx-ocean-at-euronaval-2014-a-conventional-ssk-barracuda.html

The confusion about 14kn in relation to the SSN comes from DCNS giving a figure of 14kn (surfaced). Of course SSNs don't travel surfaced operationally unless an emergency has brought them to the surface. see right sidebar https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Barracuda-class_submarine

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [at September 17, 2015 at 10:17 PM]

Thanks for the information. With no current of 2016 Japanese research on AIP this places great reliance on LIBs

Interesting how consumption of chemicals for Stirling AIP caused serious weight changes-imbalances . 100 tons of LOX, 30 tons other chemicals, is alot and it needs heavy equipment for cooling LOX.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [September 17, 2015 at 10:18 PM]

Too many acronyms - I'm afraid.

What is "PrHA" and "DFATR-SOFC"?

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Too much hand waiving on a very complex system design. Arm chair engineering is a proven recipe for program failure.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [at September 18, 2015 3:41 PM]

You're right in the sense that DCNS is bold to propose that an SSN design - not yet launched - is an adequate prototype for an SSK. The differences inside the hull are too great.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

I think they adopt vacuum double insulation structure and/or thermal insulation material for storage of liquid oxygen tank, but I do not think they use coolant.

Soryu carries amounts of hazardous materials fuel (kerosene, diesel oil), oxidizer (liquid oxygen), carbon dioxide absorbent (a small of amount of mono-ethanol amine and lithium hydroxide) and bomb. Reduction of amounts of hazardous materials and adoption of less hazardous alternative materials are required in submarine design in terms of occupational health and safety. In this meaning, abolishment of Stirling System which needs amounts of liquid oxygen and kerosene is in right direction.

Regards
S

Anonymous said...


Hi Pete(September 18, 2015 at 11:11 AM)

PrHA = Process Hazard Analysis
DFATR-SOFC =Diesel Fuel Auto Thermal Reforming-Solid Oxide Fuel Cell [1]
[1] http://www.bakstengineering.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/SMX-Ocean_AIP-Structure-26Dec2014_part1_.pdf

Regards
S

Anonymous said...

Barracuda first of type construction is complete. The next 6-8 months will be spent getting systems on line, with sea trials likely to start before mid-2016. So it's safe to say that the level of risk is being rapidly reduced.

The extent of changes from SSN to SSK is greatly exagerated on this blog. The front half of the sub will barely change at all. They may simply convert some of the trim tanks to dual use for more transit fuel. There is already storage for some fuel aboard as evidenced by the presence of two emergency diesels. Only one hull section (rearmost propulsion section) will require complete redesign, in order to accommodate diesels, fuel and batteries. This involves a scaling of the Scorpene propulsion module, using similar components. Hardly revolutionary stuff however. There will certainly be no arbitrary down-scaling of hull thickness, or complete redesign of 80% of the hull components.

All the talk about methanol reforming is off base. The AIP solution - if required by the client - will be 2nd generation fuel cell. This has been demonstrated at scale, on land, so is somewhat more advanced than just a paper design, though still early days. If the customer is smart, they will order the first sub without AIP, and give the technology time to mature. Better to retrofit a fully mature AIP module at a later date, than to make such a critical selection now when the technology is advancing so fast (certainly faster than the submarine build process!).

Without AIP, Shortfin will be closer to 4,200t (surfaced), having one less hull module than Barracuda SSN. The reduced length to diameter would actually improve drag.

The US may indeed kill Shortfin Barracuda by denying integration of their combat system and weapons. DCNS have expressed their willingness to work with whatever combat system the RAN wants.

Peter Coates said...

Hi S

I assume you intended your September 20, 2015 at 8:52 AM comment for http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2015/09/near-catastrophic-russian-nuclear.html - so I'll repost your comment and respond to it there.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [at Sept 20, 2015 8:54 AM]

Thanks for expabding PrHA to Process Hazard Analysis and

DFATR-SOFC is Diesel Fuel Auto Thermal Reforming-Solid Oxide Fuel Cell .

Its good that "According to competitive evaluation process, RAN can request DCNS, TKMS and JMSDF to submit PrHA results for DFATR-SOFC/LIBS, reformer-PEMFC/LIBS and LIBS, respectively." as these technologies come with considerable or new risks.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous

Thanks for your comment on the Shortfin of September 20, 2015 at 10:11 AM.

It is substantial enough for me to turn it into a seperate article later this week.

Regards

Pete