January 31, 2016

P-8 Poseidon (Indian variant "Neptunes") becoming operational and sales success.

The Indian armed forces Andaman and Nicobar [Island] Command (see bases above) now operates one or more P-8I patrol aircraft and Searcher-II UAVs to track Chinese submarines and surface ships passing through the islands to/from the Straits of Malacca.

US Company Boeing is successfully marketing and deploying the P-8 Poseidon patrol aircraft.

Major customers include:

- the US Navy - many delivered and on order. Some (like Patrol Suadron 45) operating or passing through Hawaii, Guam, Kadena-Okinawa and Singapore with major interest in Chinese (and probably Russian) submarine operations in the East and South China Sea. Also interested in conjunction with other allies (like India) in tracking Chinese submarines passing through the Straits of Malacca.

- Royal Australian Air Force - 8 on order with an option of 4 more. Some may be delivered in 2017. Australia may well buy some large Triton UAVs to work in conjunction with the P-8s.

- Indian Air Force - ordered 8 P-8I (I for India) called "Neptunes" (not to be confused with the old Neptune P-2s). All 8 P-8Is now delivered.

The US may have had some misgivings given India's close relationship with the Russian military. However weighed against this India's aims to use the (possibly lower spec) P-8Is to keep track of Chinese submarines and surface vessels would benefit US national interests against China.

India has one or two P-8Is patrolling the Andaman and Nicobar island area. India may be doing this in conjunction with US, Singaporean and (occasionally) Australian aircraft tracking Chinese submarines entering and leaving the Straits of Malacca area. For the ISR and possibly ASW mission Indian is also operating (Israeli built) Searcher-II UAVs in the Andamans/Nicobars. Also see an article in The Diplomat on Chinese submarines and India's Andaman and Nicobar Command.

- UK Royal Air Force - 9 ordered in November 2015. See Submarine Matters article.

- the Royal New Zealand Air Force may be a possible future customer for a few.

- Italy and Norway may be interested in buying or leasing P-8s.

This August 2015 youtube indicates many differences and advantages of the P-8 compared to the P-3.


It is often forgotten that ASW is only one of a P-3's or P-8's role. Safer anti-surface ship and overland ISR operations may be promoted through higher, faster flying.

The P-8 has major differences in structure and the way of functioning which takes some realising by many who are accustomed to P-3 Orions. The P-8 flies faster and higher than the P-3. Higher flight means less reliance on magnetic anomaly sensors and greater reliance on dropping sonobuoys. Higher faster flight means one P-8 can transit faster and arrive on station faster than a P-3. One P-8 can search more sea area faster than one P-3, so fewer P-8s may need to be acquired.

For overland ISR missions P-8 operation faster and higher contributes to safety against SAMs and small arms fire (eg. 14.5 mm AAA on peaks in mountainous Afghanistan) compared to lower, slower flying P-3s.

Many P-3 advocates automatically see the P-8's difference as failures, perhaps with much "failure" to be like the P-3.

The P-3 may be suited to low and slow flight with a magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) booms over water. It appears that Indian and UK P-8s are/will be fitted with MAD booms. Australian P-8s might also be so fitted and US P-8s fitted and/or retrofitted with MADs. This is also noting P-8 can fly low when needed.

Low-slow may be useful for Laser or Lidar detection of submarines, but Lidar may be less suited to  high-fast P-8s.


January 28, 2016

Russian Submarine Industry - Lada discontinued - no AIP - LIBs?

Lada Class  Saint (or "Sankt") Petersburg, the one and only Lada completed. (Photo Russian Navy)

Russia hopes that it could develop the 4th generation Lada class have been discontinued mainly because Russia has been unable to develop satisfactory air independent propulsion (AIP) technology for the Lada. See January 2016 reports from Russia also see this early February 2016 report.

At the root of the problem is lack of Russian research-building financial and labour resources for AIP. This has made the Lada and related export Amur class, uncompetitive. This is compared to AIP equipped submarines in Singapore, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, South Korea, China, Pakistan, Japan and all the other countries that own TKMS 214s and Dolphins. 

Prospective Amur customers have probably been offered the existing Improved Kilo (636) class instead. This is assuming customers would not accept a Russian offer of a future "fifth generation" Kalina class SSK (more on the Kalina below) with the Kalinas only likely to be operational (with AIP) in the Russian Navy in the mid 2020s.

Customers, including the Russian Navy and some foreign customer navies have waited 15 years for Russia to develop an AIP. But Russia has devoted much effort into making up submarine development and construction time lost in the early 1990s - early 2000s. In early 1990s - early 2000s the disruption of the Soviet Union falling apart meant low defence budget flowing through to unfinished submarine builds and loss of expert labour for submarine building and research. The catchup process since 2010 has mainly focussed on creating two new nuclear submarine classes:

-  the Borei class (aka Borey, Project 955) SSBN, and

- the Yasen class (Project 885) SSGN or "multi-purpose" SSN

These nuclear submarine development and construction projects have come at the expense of creating AIP for a whole new Lada/Amur class SSK. Russia's main conventional and nuclear submarine designer, the Rubin Design Institute (see left sidebar in Rubin's website) has been over-extended with all its submarine projects. This is in the context of defence budget shortfalls brought on by:

- Western economic sanctions in response to Russia's ventures in Crimea and in eastern Ukraine.

-  Russia’s increasingly threatening posture in the Baltic. This reduces the likelihood that Baltic countries that invented the most modern AIP would supply AIP technology and designs to Russia. This includes Germany (fuel cell AIP) and Sweden (building new advanced versions of Stirling AIP).

-  more importantly low world oil prices have led to low oil revenue for the Russian Treasury and hence less revenue to fund increasingly ambitious defence programs, and

-  expensive defence programs particularly include Russia interventions in eastern Ukraine and in Syria.

Lack of foreign orders for Russian SSKs (other than 6 Kilos for Vietnam (almost finished) and 1 Amur for Morocco (in limbo)) has also led to a lack of money to fund Russian AIP and a new Lada/Amur class. 

As Russia has been unable to develop AIP for submarines, mainly Russian Navy media releases, has artificially created "progress" by naming two further generations of submarines (fourth and fifth) to replace its last actual submarine generation - the Kilo "third generation".

Fourth generation Lada/Amurs are now out so a sort of Five Year Plan to build the "fifth-generation" Kalina has been declared. Customary face saving and denial has been part of the declaration process. 

The Kalina Future - LIBs?

The Kalina Project may take until the early 2020s to launch an AIP Kalina and until the mid-2020s to fully test and commission it.

It is significant that until then the Russian Navy has ordered six additional Improved Kilo class (636.3) submarines for its Pacific Fleet. It is possible the six may be retrofitted with Russian AIP once AIP is developed.

Given China’s earlier interest in buying four Ladas China may be the first customer for Kalina Class submarines

Russia would realise China would reverse engineer some features of the AIP and other advanced Russian submarine features. But Russia needs the foreign exchange from the export submarine business and Russia may want to further deepen its alliance position with China. 

Alternatively Russia may be able to develop (through research and intelligence collection) Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs) for Kalina submarines. This may make an AIP step unnecessary. Russia may develop LIB technology jointly with China or receive LIB technology from China. China may already have a deep enough espionage network in place in Japan and South Korea (maybe also France and Germany?) to collect substantial LIB secrets.


In information on Russia’s Rubin Design Bureau website – at http://www.ckb-rubin.ru/en/projects/naval_engineering/conventional_submarines/ Russia’s post World War evolution of conventional diesel-electric submarines includes five generations:

Soviet Foxtrot class SSK.

First Generation - Whiskey Class (Project 613, 236! built), Zulu Class (Project 611, 26 built) and Foxtrot Class (Project 641, 74 built) - all heavily influenced by the most advanced World War Two German submarines.


Second Generation – the ocean going Tango Class (Project 641B, 18 built). Arguably an evolution of late model Foxtrots and/or Zulus.


Third Generation – Kilo Class (Project 877 and Improved 636, a total 57 built so far for both classes). The first Kilo (of the Project 877 series) was commissioned into the Soviet Navy in 1980. Production of the early Kilo (Project 877s) began in 1980 and continued until 1999. Upgrades, particularly adding Club missile capability continue. Production of the first Improved Kilo (of the Project 636 series) began in 1996. Production of six new 636.3s (for the Russian Navy) will begin in 2016 for likely completion of the six in the early 2020s. Russia like other customers would have preferred to have AIP as an option.


Fourth Generation – Lada Class discontinued (Project 677) – was to be export marketed as the Amur 1650 and smaller Amur 950. The first of the Lada Class, was the St. Petersburg (lets call it L1) entered sea trials in 2004 but was unsuccessful due to no mature AIP and broader diesel-electric  propulsion problems. L1's displacement, at 1,800 tons (surfaced) is 25% smaller than submarines of the preceding Kilo Class. Significantly two other submarines in the Lada Class (lets call them L2 and L3) have not yet been completed. 


Fifth Generation – future Kalina Class (the future first of class can be called Kalina 1). Likely to look like the Lada. Kalina 1 may be ready for trials after 2020 fitted with Russian AIP (when developed) or Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs).

Russian shipyards, exports vessel building, naval bases and repair. It is significant that the St Petersburg shipyard cluster includes the Admiralty Shipyard where most of Russia's nuclear and conventional submarines are built. (Diagram courtesy "Russian Navy has a Funding Problem" in Stratfor 2016). 

Please Connect With:

-  Russian SSK Development - Kalina Class Awaiting Any AIP, April 4, 2014  http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/russian-conventional-submarine.html

-  Russian Submarine Development, Rubin Designer’s Views, January 23, 2014 http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2014/01/russian-submarine-development-rubin.html

-  China’s Yuan Class Submarine Related to Russia’s Kilo and Possibly Lada Classes, April 7, 2012,  http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2010/09/chinas-yuan-class-submarine-related-to.html and

-  National Interest's  5 Most Lethal Russian Submarines, July 11, 2015.


January 27, 2016

Chart of Japan's Soryu Submarine Combat System, and AN/BYG-1 Integration

This Soryu submarine Combat System flow chart (and a vast amount of information) is in  wispywood2344's website, passed on by S.  More below.

Submarines are very complex especially the way their display terminals, mainframe capacity databases, sensors, weapons and people interact. All these elements make up the combat system. 

This Australian Defence Force slide display (2015) of the Competitive Evaluation Process (CEP) has this longer definition of combat system (above).

The Australian Federal Government has invited both Raytheon and Lockheed Martin (facility in  Adelaide) to participate in the process for selection as the integrator for the combat system for  Australia’s future submarine. 

All eyes have been on the three way (Japan, Germany and France) submarine (CEP) contest but what may make or break the future submarine project also includes how efficiently the combat system is integrated. 

This invitation to integrate the combat system is restricted just to those two US companies because of the top secret nature of the US AN/BYG-1 combat system. The US AN/BYG-1 combat system (already in the Collins) is the only combat system considered and approved by the Australian Government for the future submarine. 

This approval was made public in a Ministerial Media Release on 20 February 2015 "the Government has endorsed a set of key strategic requirements for our future submarines:

a) Range and endurance similar to the Collins Class submarine;
b) Sensor performance and stealth characteristics that are superior to the Collins Class submarine; and
c) The combat system and heavyweight torpedo jointly developed between the United States and Australia as the preferred combat system and main armament."

Integrating the US AN/BYG-1 combat system may entail up to a third of the cost and effort to build the future submarine. Adding to the complexity and cost of this integration is that a third US company, General Dynamics is deeply involved in modernising/developing the AN/BYG-1.

If Japan is chosen in the CEP the US companies and Australian companies will need to work with Japanese companies to replace the Japanese combat system (below) or adapt parts of the Japanese combat which are already the same or similar to parts of the AN/BYG-1 combat system.

The Japanese Soryu submarine Combat System flow chart (above) is from wispywood2344's website passed on by S. This chart is much larger here which also contains a Comprehensive Reference List. This Soryu flow chart can be conceptually compared with the more detailed component chart (below) for the current US AN/BYG-1 combat system: 

Just some (eg. without the sonar sensor arrays) of the components of the US AN/BYG-1 combat system. See this image much larger and readable here.


January 26, 2016

Happy India Republic Day - and Australia Day

January 26 is also India Republic Day.  Above is a vertical interpretation of India's horizontal tricolour national flag. Deep saffron represents courage, spirit and sacrifice; white for truth, peace and purity; and, green for prosperity, faith and fertility. The Ashok Chakra in the flag represents the Laws of Dharma (righteousness).

The Constitution of independent India came into effect on Republic Day, January 26, 1950. This date was chosen as it was the anniversary of an earlier celebration Purna Swaraj "complete self-rule" Day, which was on January 26, 1930.

Every January 26, large military parades are held in New Delhi and the state capitals with representatives of the Indian Army, Navy and Air Force and traditional dance troupes taking part.

India Border Security Force Jawans in the early morning. (Photo courtesy AP/Bikas Das via Indian Express)

The grand parade in New Delhi starts with India's Prime Minister laying a wreath at the Amar Jawan Jyoti "the flame of the immortal soldier" at India GateJawan (like the Australian Army "Digger") is a term of considerable pride. 

January 26 is also Australia Day.

Strategic cooperation developing between India and Australia goes even deeper than cricket. (Photo AP via Indian Express)

Happy India Republic and Australia Day.


January 25, 2016

US Quietly Pro Japan in Submarine Pick

As indicated in Submarine Matters on October 30, 2015 at least two Americans (below) hold key roles in the future submarine selection and building process. 

American, Donald C. Winter is the chairman of the Expert Advisory Panel for the Australian Submarine selection. Winter is also former Secretary of the US Navy and a former Corporate Vice President of Northrop Grumman. (Photograph Courtesy Northrop Grumman)

Rear Admiral (retd.) Stephen Johnson (above) was appointed by the Australian Government as General Manager, Submarines, in October 2015. 

Submarine Matters', September 22, 2015 article The US Continues to Influence Australia's Future Submarine Selection in Many Ways in part indicated:

"...2.  Given the highly confidential nature of combat system technology...it may be effectively up to the US which country [Japan, France or Germany] such technology can be transferred to.

- US technology transfer powers may limit Australian decision-making and also influence how our future submarines are built.

- It is widely believed in the submarine industry that the US would not wish combat system technology transferred to French submarine builders...."

On January 25, 2016 The Australian picked up this same US combat system influence dynamic with Greg Sheridan's "Cautious US gives Japan edge in subs":

"...Serious doubt that Washington will be willing to provide the US Navy’s most advanced combat systems to Australian submarines if they are built by Germany or France is emerging as a trump card for Japan in the three-way battle to construct the new boats.

...The German manufacturers have countered this view by pointing out that Germany is a member of NATO in good standing and that numerous German-built subs have elements of American weapons systems.

...A senior American outlined to The Australian the reasons for Washington’s preference for the Japanese Soryu submarine to be the replacement for the Collins.

First, the US military’s assessment of the three design options is that the Soryu would offer the best capability to Australia. The Americans are looking to their allies­ to bolster an overall alliance capability, and in Asia that means primarily Australia and Japan.

...Second, the Americans believe­ the Soryu would offer the best inter­operability between Aus­tralian and American submarines and between Australian and Jap­anese boats.

Third, they believe a Japan­ese option would greatly enhance “trilateral strategic co-operation” between the US, Japan and Australia. Enhancing such co-operation is a policy objective in all three capitals.

Finally, because Beijing is very much opposed to the Japanese option, Washington believes a defeat­ for Japan would be seen as a humiliation of Tokyo and a ­diplomatic and strategic victory for Beijing..."

There is much more in the WHOLE ARTICLE in THE AUSTRALIAN.


What the US wants is not automatically the last word. Prime Minister Turnbull has been an independent, creative thinker on many occasions in his long, non-government career. 

China still remains Australia's largest current market. China will continue to hold that position for the foreseeable future. However the Chinese economy is weakening compared to the resurgent  American economy.

Australia would not wish to be drawn into alliance obligations by the US or Japan against Chinese warships in such far flung sea-battlefields as the East China Sea.

The US may not be serious in offering Australia an SSN option from now to the medium term (2030s). If Australia bought the French Shortfin Barracuda France would probably offer the Barracuda SSN option to Australia for building in the 2030s.

Germany is likely to be offering the most efficient, compact and cost effective solution, in the TKMS 216.


January 24, 2016

French versus Japanese Competition on Australian Submarine Pricing

Toulon, the French Navy's main base. Homeport of many DCNS products including: current nuclear carrier Charles de Gaulle, DCNS built FREMM (multi-mission) frigates, Rubis SSNs and the future Barracuda SSN, (Map-diagram courtesy scoop)

French naval bases and Headquarters in metropolitan France (2015). On the northwest coast is Cherbourg where French Navy submarines are built. France's SSNs are homeported at Toulon Naval Base in the south, on the Mediterranean coast. France’s four Triomphant class SSBNs are based in northwest France.

In Submarine Matters S is providing good comments on the Japanese approach to the sale of a future submarine to Australian. There has been some German information, particularly from MHalblaub.
However there has been little information about France DCNS’ place in the competition. To that end Comments on January 24, 2016 from KQN are very informative, as follows. [Pete has added some links and some bolding]:

“On the US combat management system, pricing will depend on how the deal is structured. It is possible for Australia to get the same price that the USN is paying. That will be the floor price since the US will not discount beyond that. 

Japan is jump starting an export defence business, so I bet it will be aggressive on pricing. It cannot afford to lose its 1st deal which happens to be a mega deal. After all to grow a business, you need to take on some debt. Japan will still benefit since after all, with or without Australia, it is investing into LIB Soryu 2. If it can get Australia to tag on, things will look better on the balance sheet.

Price wise, I would watch out on DCNS if I am Japan. DCNS is a state owned enterprise so you can never be sure what cost of money the French state will use on this business case (besides the EU is flooding financial markets with cheap money). State owned means government employees and that means without this deal, they are still on payrolls. And then the whole economy is bad, with near 11% unemploymemt.

If [the submarine] deal closes at the end of 2016, it gets dicy for the French government. April 2017 is election in France. [President of France] Mr Hollande may deem this a must win so he can get re-elected. Still France is a bit stuck on pricing as they cannot afford to fuss up Malaysia [which bought 2 Scorpene subs] with a low pricing here. France needs Malaysia to buy their [Dassault Rafale jet fighters]. To the extent that [France can leverage the Shortfin] from the Barracuda investment. France can also leverage this to lower its price just as Japan [leverages the Australian Super Soryu from the LIB Soryu Mark 2 investment].

TKMS in my view is the one that gets cornered on pricing. They cannot low ball so much to make the Koreans [with 209 and 214 derivatives] and Singaporeans [218s] mad, just in Asia alone. The German economy is out performing, there is full employment so this deal may not be so critical?

KQN and Pete

South Korea’s Hidden Strategic Value for US in Afghanistan

Submarine cables and thick landline cables are of great (and unsung) value to America's dispersed military functioning - see:


January 22, 2016

Russians sobbing over long delayed PAK FA, T-50, stealth fighter.

Photo or artwork? of the PAK FA, T-50 (Courtesy Sukhoi)

If the US is notoriously having problems developing the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Russia is in even more dire strikes with its first ever stealth aircraft. This is the "PAK FA" (Prospective Airborne Complex of Frontline Aviation) also known as the T-50. Clearly Russian espionage to steal stealth secrets has not been good enough.

Stealth not only involves snazzy wing and tail angles and recessed jets in the body, but radar absorbent skin and low emission electronics on the aircraft.

Russia is still at the stage the US was with the F-22 in the 1990s. After more than 10 years of development the Russians have only built six PAK FA prototypes and have minimised testing because the six are too dangerous to fly. In June 2014 the fifth prototype caught fire on the ground. Russia has not yet developed an adequate engine capable of “super-cruise” ie. with the ability of the F-22 to  cruise above the speed of sound.

India, Russia’s PAK FA joint venture partner, is unhappy about the high costs and slow progress (in that regard see an earlier January 2014 report in Submarine Matters).

Russia is having problems affording the PAK FA project. Russia's invasion of Crimea and covert action program in eastern Ukraine, has led to Western economic sanctions. The flow of Western dual-use technology helpful to the PAK FA project has also slowed. Also low oil prices have damaged the oil-export-dependent Russian economy -  leading to a decline in the Russian GDP of 3%.

Due to low revenue and high PAK FA prices Russia only plans to buy 12 PAK FAs in 2020 instead of the planned 60. By 2020 the US may have 500 stealth fighters (the F-22s and new F-35s) leaving Russia way behind. Much more detail here.

The PAK FA struts its stuff. Awesome jet blast! Every home should have one! :)

See a subsequent article from The DiplomatBack From the Dead: India and Russia Revive Talks Over Fifth Generation Fighter Jet February 11, 2016 on the tortuous Indian-Russian negotiations concerning the staccato PAK FA project. India and Russia have assigned more acronyms to the Project - also called Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) and Perspective Multi-role Fighter (PMF) - as if in place of actual progress.


Controversial Reuters Article on "Germans lose ground"

Table comparing the Collins with the 3 CEP Contenders. As it is dated May 2015 there are some errors in "Submerged Displacement",  "Range" knots (surfaced, snorting, fully submerged?) of the 3 contenders. Cruise missiles or not? (Table courtesy NewsCorp via Australian Made Defence

I’m still writing my article on Russia’s decision to discontinue building Ladas/Amurs. Much to think through.

Meanwhile – this Reuters article Australian submarine tender narrows to Japanese and French bids, Germans lose ground-sources, of January 21, 2015, has many controversial assumptions. Can you pick them? See http://www.reuters.com/article/us-australia-submarines-competition-idUSKCN0UZ316:

"[Tokyo/Sydney] The competition for a A$50 billion ($34.55 billion) contract to build Australia's next submarine fleet is narrowing to a race between Japan and France as a bid from Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKAG.DE) (TKMS) loses ground over technical concerns, multiple sources said.

Australia is expected to decide the winner of one of the world's most lucrative defense contracts within the next six months, ahead of a national election in which the deal and the jobs it will create is expected to be a key issue for the conservative government…."


January 21, 2016

Battery and Fuel Cell Technologies Compared

Power Density
Specific Power
Energy Density
Specific Weight
Lead-acid (LAB)
Sodium Sulphide (NaS)
Lithium-ion (LIB)
Siemens PEMFC BZM120 fuel cell
MHalblaub comment 22/1/16
Silver Zinc see
Lithium Sulfur Battery or Li-S

The 2008 conference paper Submarine Power and Propulsion - Trends and Opportunities by Engineers at BMT Defence Services Ltd, Bath, United Kingdom at http://www.bmtdsl.co.uk/media/1057650/BMTDSL-Submarine-Power-and-Propulsion-Conpaper-Pacific08-Jan08.pdf is very interesting. Page 8 of the paper contains Table.1 (above) - Battery & Fuel Cell Technologies.

Page 7 describes the Zebra battery [Ref 18]. ],  a sodium nickel chloride battery, developed by Rolls-Royce for marine use. See German wikipedia entry on Zebra Battery.

Page 8 comments:

“Lithium ion designs have successfully been developed for automotive applications [Ref. 19]. Their energy density is over twice that of lead acids batteries and it is less than half the weight for the same energy at the 5 hour discharge rate. A unit which is 50cm by 40cm by 40cm has energy of 21kWh and can develop 100kW continuously (i.e. five hour discharge) or 200kW for short periods of time. 

The Table looks like a good vehicle to add more recent data – post 2008.


Return of AIP, LIBs and LABs Debate - Especially between Germany and Japan.

Just some (eg. without the sonar sensor arrays) of the components of an electricity hungry AN/BYG-1 combat system. See this image much larger and readable here.

The air independent propulsion (AIP) versus Lithium-ion Battery (LIB) debate or versus (LIB + AIP) all powering fully submerged Propulsion + Hotel Load (including combat system) continues. This debate extends back to US Combat System May Have Pushed Out AIP in the CEP, November 25, 2016 and beyond. 

A short definition of combat system is: " The AN/BYG-1 is the latest combat system for the US Navy submarine fleet [and Collins]. It comprises tactical control, weapons control, [sensors] and tactical network subsystems each of them incorporates a variety of advanced process build software algorithms developed by a host of industry, government, and academia sources." 

AIP may be most strongly advocated by Germany because German companies (including Siemens and TKMS) have the most demonstrably highly developed (fuel cell) AIP system. This translates into advantageous product definition in Australia's CEP.

Japan is pushing its LIB (future in submarines) and already built broader diesel-electric propulsion system for the large Soryu. Japan can point to the Soryu being closer to the 4,000 ton weight of the submarine proposed for Australia than SSKs built by the German and French competition. I also suspect that the Japanese diesel electric system is already powering an AN/BYG-1 similar Japanese Combat System 

France can point to comprehensive whole submarine integration experience for large nuclear submarines that even exceed 4,000 tons.

As an historical aside Japan could point to the 6,000 ton I-400 class submarines commissioned in 1944-45 and France could point to the 4,000 ton Surcouf commissioned in 1934. Meanwhile Germany packed the highest actual military value into the smallest submarine designs practical.   


Returning to the present day in the German corner, January 15, 2016 comments from MHalblaub are:

"I doubt that an US combat system would today overload an AIP.

Just compare the computing power used in 1990 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d8/Macintosh_classic.jpg (100 Watt for 8 MHz Motorola 68000 with 16/32-bit) and what we have today
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e8/Imac_16-9.png (400 Watt for 4.0 GHz i7-6700K with 64/64-bit).

((Power usage is related to the display. The 21.5-inch display version needs just 300 Watt))
The Siemens Fuel Cells provide about 300 kW for a Type 212 submarine. Enough power for 1.000 iMacs with a "small" display. 

Main application for computers on submarines are FFT-calculations to provide the nice water fall diagrams. Today's computer hardware has not only a 500 times faster clock speed. It also provides 4 CPUs and 64 bit data (another factor 8 for 32-bit audio - normal computer sound system just use 16 bit). 

So the computers are about 4,000 times faster today. I doubt that an AN/BYG needs the same power than in 1990. GDs system was even installed on Brazilian Type 209 submarines just powered by Lead-acid Batteries (LABs).

The 300 kW on Type 212 were provided by 9 FCM 34 fuel cell modules with a power output of 34 kW each at 630 kg weight (due to the fact that 1 cell is reserve the actual power output is 270 kW). The FCM 120 modules with 120 kW weight 930 kg. So power output according to weight was increased by a factor of 2. 

Fuel cells for submarines are mature systems. How many commissioned submarines use LIBs today? The three Japanese submarines will be commissioned far too late to make a decent decision in 2016. [Pete Comment - nevertheless LIBs are planned for the German designed future 216s https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/U-Boot-Klasse_212_A#Klasse_216 ]

Here on page 10 is a nice scaled and dimensioned drawing:
You can see how big the complete fuel cell system is and how the engine compartment (to the left) is quieted on Type 212 submarines - a double hull around the diesel engine compartment. Just the modules encircled with red and yellow belong to the FC (German: Brennstoff-Zellen - BZ) system. The area marked green is a regular switchboard necessary on every type of submarine (just ask for further translations)."
Providing a different view is Anonymous on January 16, 2016 commented:

"The 300 kW AIP module may or may not be sufficient without seeing the hardware architecture of AN/BYG. 

I understand that the AN/BYG is a fault tolerant multi core multi processor parallel computing architecture. So if each of the node has 8 quad core Xeon or Itanium processors and say there are 512 nodes, the power consumption can get big very fast. 

Essentially it is the same architecture as found today in big critical data centers, quite a bit more sophisticated than 1000 iMACs, much more like a supercomputer."


It needs to be remembered that Combat System is just part of a submarine's "Hotel Load". Added to Hotel Load is Propulsion Load. So total reliance on AIP does not equal Combat System electrical demands. 

While a submarine combat system may have a clock speed 1,000 times faster than say 10 years ago the software demands may have also increased greatly. This is similar to software demands keeping pace with and steadily passing current home computer hardware storage and speed capabilities. 

Historically for a submarine's electrical power requirements AIP doesn't appear to have been rated as a high requirement for Australian submarines. The Collins planners could have included AIP as fitted or retrofitted. Lack of AIP has also not featured on media or official inquiry fault lists for the Collins. 

However if the South China Sea may be one of the major patrol areas for Australian submarines then the rising quality of Chinese anti-submarine sensors needs to be anticipated. This boils down to an increased requirement for fully submerged operation in the South China Sea.

For a (say) 30 day operational mission in the South China Sea LIBs may not adequately or safely cover the whole period or whole speed range from (say) 4 knots to 10 knots. AIP may be needed for 4 knot operation and LIBs for 10 knots.

Meanwhile for transit from Fleet Base West (Rockingham) to the South China Sea at 10 knots (as fully submerged as possible ie. short snorting periods) LABs may well be inadequate. So LIBs may be the answer. This perhaps is making LIBs a high priority requirement in Australia's CEP.


January 20, 2016

Additional Data - One Japanese estimate, Build + Maintain 10 Australian Submarines


S has made an interesting comment as follows:

“[S] analyzed cost of Soryu based on budget, and [S] concluded that Australia can build and maintain 10 submarines for 30 years (total cost 1,600B Yen) [= approximately A$20 Billion] under a proper management system. 

Modification cost of 29SS to Aus 1 [per submarine for Australia] is 5 B Yen [A$62 million].

Adoption cost of US combat system is not high.

Premium [build] cost in Australia is 10B Yen

30years- operation cost is double of building cost.

Life cycle cost for 30 years = {basic cost (65B) +US combat (0B)+ modification (5B)+ premium (10B)}x 2= 160B Yen [= approximately A$2 Billion per submarine]

[S] January 18, 2016 at 1:15 AM”


The figures above in square […] brackets are in Australian dollars where
1B = 1 Billion Yen = 12.4 million Australian dollars (A$) at January 18, 2016 exchange rates.

Building and maintaining 10 submarines for 30 years (at total cost 1,600B Yen) [approximately A$20 Billion] appears to be an attractive all up price.

1. However if:

Building cost is {basic cost (65B) +US combat (0B)+ modification (5B)+ premium (10B) = 80B Yen = aproximately A$992 million 


"30 years operation cost is double of building cost" = 2 x A$992 million = A$1.984 Billion

Then wouldn't total for "Building and maintaining 10 submarines for 30 years" = A$992 million + A$1.984 Billion = A$2.976 Billion per submarine = approximately A$3 Billion per submarine?

Making Total for all 10 approximately A$30 Billion?

Actually A$30 Billion is much lower than a September 2015 estimate of $40 Billion ($14 Billion "Build" + $26 Billion "Maintain").

2.  I assume that the Maintain costs would not include personnel costs for (Navy + Defence civilian) pay and updating Combat System costs?


On January 19, 2016 S provided further comments:

LCC, Software and Labour Costs etc

“Life cycle cost (LCC) means total cost including design, building, operation/maintenance and abolishment stages. The Japanese MoD reports LCC of submarines based on the actual data every year. I estimate LCC is twice of building cost in the case of 30 years, it means LCC of one submarine is 160B yen [A$ 2 Billion].

Hardware of command system is not so expensive, but the US license fee for US [mainly Combat System and Weapons] software should be considered. The torpedo tube [electronics and software updates and hardware replacements] is expensive, but I think US torpedo tubes costs may be cheaper than Japanese, [because the US can spread the cost of tubes over large existing fleet of SSNs  and Ohio subs and the 2 to 3 Virginia SSNs per year that the US is building].

For a new Australian submarine modification of fuel tanks, improvement of endurance and hull lengthening will be conducted, but they are not bigger modification than between the Oyashio-to-[currently being built late model Soryu Mark 2s] (+8B yen). Improvement for the earlier Soryus Mark 1s included hull lengthening, [Anechoic tiles] and installation of AIP.

[Of the 65B Yen per submarine – see above formula] 30B yen, amounting to about 50% of Building cost is labour cost. I considered the GDP per capita ratio between Japan and Australia (= 0.6), then premium becomes 10B yen (= 30B yen x 0.5/0.6).

1600B yen LCC for 10 subs may be tough, but 2400B yen [800B Building cost + 1600B LCC for the whole Australian  submarine fleet] I think is very achievable.”


As an example. 23SS launched October 2014 – to be commissioned March 2016.

[Pete Comment - Much of the costings below can be considered elements of the Japanese Combat System. This Combat System is likely to have many commonalities with the US AN/BYG-1 Combat System, given Japan uses the Harpoon missile, (Mark 48 similar) Type 89 torpedo and the Japanese Navy operates closely with the US Navy. Both the Japanese Main (including half the submarine fleet) Fleet and US Seventh Fleet ar based at Yokosuka thus likely to share many C3 - Command, Control & Communications (hardware, software and personnel “wetware”)].

S said “According to official data, costs of 23SS (total cost 54.6B yen) are as follows:

Command System (2.5B yen):

C2T (Command and Control Terminal) & MTA (Maritime Terminal Adapter), LCS (Launch Control System), NICI (Navigational Instruments Connection Interface), TDBS (Target Data Base Server) and TDS(Tactical Display System)

Weapon and Sensor System (10B yen):

Electro-optic mast, 13m Periscope, Submarine sonar system, Jamming system, Radar system, 53cm Torpedo tube, Harpoon launching system, Submarine decoy, Sound device for submarine decoy

[Upgrades to Torpedo and Harpoon missiles? (1.5B)]

Communication System (0.4B yen):

Radio communication device, Secure &Encryption device, Bridge information display, Submarine signal flare, Antisubmarine morse signal, Rescue signal generator for submarine

Propulsion, [LAB] Batteries, Generators and Building Costs (40B yen):

Submarine electric motor, Stirling AIP, Submarine building, Diesel generator, Main batteries, Condenser of cooling units.”

S and Pete