January 21, 2016

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.



Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

I have impression that the command and combat system of JMSDF (Japan Maritime Self Defense Force) fits to the US system.

JMSDF started operation of SF(Self Defense Fleet) system as CCS(Command and Control System)in 1975, which was developed based on FCC (Fleet Command Center) of US Navy. JMSDF started MOF (Maritime Operation Force ) System as a successor of SF System in 1999. MOF has dispersion structure, and its aim is to create Common Operational Picture (COP)[1] which is at top of C4I (Command Control Communication Computer Intelligence) system. C4I of JMSDF is based on NTDS (Naval Tactical Data System) which is one of C4I of US Navy. Core of MOF is at Yokosuka Operation Center.

Anonymous said...

To be continued

In case of Soryu submarine [2]:

C2T (Command and Control Terminal) & MTA(Maritime Terminal Adapter) are submarine terminals of MOF system and link intra-submarine network to MOF system network

LCS (Launch Control System) controls launch of torpedo and Harpoon missile. LCS is licensed by Boeing under US approval.

MFICC (Multi Function Intelligence Control Console) consist of common terminals. Operators control sensors and weapons and monitor related information.

NICI (Navigational Instruments Connection Interface) links INS and GPS to network.

SLI (Submarine Local-area-network Interface) is duplex intra-submarine network using fiber optical transmission path. Each subsystem links to SLI and intercommunicates through SLI.

TDBS (Target Data Base Server) is component of the sonar system, integrates sonar and weapon information, and delivers information to subsystem. TDBS is licensed by Lockheedmartin under US approval.

TDS (Tactical Display System) displays all information. The captain conducts decision-making based on TDS, delivers information to crews, and sends information to MOF system through C2T.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_operational_picture
[2] http://blog.livedoor.jp/wispywood2344/tag/%E6%BD%9C%E6%B0%B4%E8%89%A6


Peter Coates said...

Hi S

Thanks for those 2 (Jan 22) comments. I'll use them for an article on Japanese Combat System (+ Communications, Command and Control) next week.