March 1, 2016

Arguments by John White for the TKMS Bid

Cutaway depiction of TKMS-HDWs Type 216 - its within requirement 4,000 ton displacement offers the options of, LIBs, AIP, one or more Vertical Multi-Purpose Locks (VMPL) behind the sail and/or the option of two 650+ mm Horizontal Multi-Purpose Locks (HMPL) in the bow (Diagram courtesy Submarine Dossier)
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Is buying from Japan, without major defence export experience since 1938, worth the risk of another failed Australian submarine project? See COMMENT section below.

Also see an excellent article from ASPI. Submarine Matters has long been discussing the very complex issue of Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs) in comparison with the latest AIP technology.

ASPI's Strategist published an article of March 1, 2016 by Dr John White, Chairman, TKMS Australia, entitled:

Naval shipbuilding in Australia: into the digital age:

Part of this TKMS article http://www.aspistrategist.org.au/naval-shipbuilding-in-australia-into-the-digital-age/ is:

"Andrew Davies is off-base on Lithium-ion batteries, which have been developed by TKMS over a number of years. Such a battery was successfully trialled in the Planet Solar, a solar powered trimaran that sailed around the world. New safer chemistry is undergoing trials and will be at Technical Readiness Level (TRL) 9 for the Future Submarine Project. Andrew also misunderstood the energy density difference between batteries (lead or lithium) and a reformer-fed AIP System. AIP reduces the snort frequency significantly. While it’s not critical in peacetime operations it becomes a matter of life or death in a hostile or highly-contested patrol area.
Mark Thomson’s questioning of Rough Order of Magnitude estimates from the CEP might be true of Japan or DCNS, but tkMS’s ‘hot production line’ is overlooked by Mark. tkMS’s cost includes 28,000 line items interrogated and scaled as necessary using tried and tested methods to arrive at a cost. The 163 submarines contracted by tkMS have all been on a fixed price. While it’s difficult for stop-start production lines to maintain meaningful supply chain data, tkMS doesn’t have that problem.
Commentators who question the efficacy of the CEP are wide of the mark. It will identify the best submarine partner provided they possess experience across these key conditions:
  •         A track record of exporting submarine technology
  •         English as the technical language used in the exporting shipyard
  •         The partner has a current hot production line
  •         The partner employs at least 800 submarine technologists with a minimum of 10 years of           experience
  •         A parent navy relationship
  •         A binding Government commitment to Australia
If these criteria were applied we would have avoided problems with both the Collins-class and the Air Warfare Destroyers. tkMS and Germany meet all of these criteria and without question are a safe pair of hands. If Australia wants to get it right and reform naval shipbuilding tkMS has the right credentials for the job."
COMMENT
Building submarines involves great expense - an increasingly important issue given declining Australian Government revenue to pay for competing defence items and civilian (health, education and welfare) items. Twelve submarines will likely decline to six as sense prevails.
A new class of submarines also involves considerable technical risk. Experience building many different classes of submarines for overseas customers reduces risk. If strategic relationship (with Japan and the US) were not over-riding criteria then TKMS would likely have the strongest bid. 
Looking at precedent. But for misplaced confidence in Kockums at the final stage, TKMS-HDW would have won the Collins tender in the 1980s. Kockums, steeped in tailor-making submarines only for its own navy, and in the Baltic Sea environment, won the Collins tender. Australia is constantly overhauling the Collins diesels (by necessity driven over longer distances in their Indo-Pacific missions) to reinforce the poor choices made in the 1980s.
Is history repeating itself like a slow-motion train wreck? Since 1938 Japan has only built submarines for its own Navy. And since the 1960s Japanese submarines have only been used for a rigidly defined set of missions in Northeast Asia...venturing no further south than Northern Luzon.
In our choice of submarines, lets steal defeat from the jaws of victory again. Its only $10 Billions in  taxpayers' money until its ours :)
Pete

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

Last year, TKMS Australia Chairman John White insulted Japan [1], but, now he is going to pay the price for arrogance.

[1] http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-australia-submarine-exclusive-idUSKCN0PX1FG20150723
“Exclusive: Japan eyes British help to sink German bid for Australian submarine“ by Tim Kelly, Nobuhiro Kubo and Matt Siegel (Reuters, Thu Jul 23, 2015 10:58am EDT)

"There's an awful lot of politicians across the board ... that will not be very politically happy if this A$50 billion life cost sophisticated program goes to solve Japan's deficit problem," TKMS Australia Chairman John White told Reuters.

Ace Pilot said...

This comment isn't related to the post but here is a article that you would find interesting.

Seems Japan selects Toshiba as LIB supplier for Australia's next gen submarine. The article claims that if Japan win, Toshiba may build a LIB factory in Australia for both military and civilian purpose.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-australia-submarines-toshiba-idUSKCN0W33ER

Anonymous said...

To Ace Pilot(1/3/16 11:28 PM)

Supplier of LIBs for next Soryu is GS Yuasa which also manufactures the power-supply controller of LIBs.

GS Yuasa has the Australian branch, Century Yuasa Batteries Pty Ltd. which supplies batteries for automotive use. Why do they use Toshiba instead of Century Yuasa? Why does GS Yuasa share its patent on LIBs with Toshiba which is GS Yuasa’s competitor? How does Toshiba manufacture the power-supply controller and guaranty reliability of the electric network? How does Toshiba invest new production equipment for small amount of submarine LIBs and get a profit worth the investment? Does current Toshiba has corporate strength for this investment?

As Reuters did not analyze these important issues at all, I do not believe this article. Reuters does not seem to think an article needs analysis.

Ztev Konrad said...

Repeating the mistakes of the Collins means designing a new submarine for Australia and only Australia. I understand the TKMS current projects are around half the size of the required boat.
AS we have seen just the other week, a special Australia adaptation of the Tiger attack helicopter has failed, which follows the failure of the Australian adaptation of the Seasprite helicopter.
The Collins has in truth been a failure as well, but it was too big to fail, so was carried on and in some areas started from scratch.
Are the F-35s being even assembled in Australia or having any one offs for the RAAF?. of course not so it doesnt make any sense to even consider submarine designs that arent in service.
And saying Japanese subs havent even ventured past the northern Philippines, sounds like a modern version of saying japanese make poor soldiers because of their eyesight.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Ace Pilot and Anonymous's

It seems competition in the CEP is so hot that the contenders are making some difficult to fully support claims.

If building a Toshiba factory in Australia made any economic sense it should be built without any reference to the submarine build.

And as Anonymous [2/3/16 1:39 AM] says the submarine battery expert GS Yuasa already has an Australian branch, Century Yuasa Batteries Pty Ltd.

Regards

Pete

Ztev Konrad said...

If they know anything about boeing 787 batteries they wouldnt use Yuasa. Even Mitsubishi had problems with its Outlander PHEV fitted with Yuasa, but continued with those versions with Toshiba.

Anonymous said...

Though I'm not a profession of batteries, nor a fan of Toshiba, it is understandable there exists sort of preference for Toshiba LIB technologies. They use lithium titanate for negative electrodes, and, it is said, they provide inherent safety features, and longer service life. Allowable number of charge cycles is so high that they are now also adopted to stabilize dynamic fluctuations of commercial power systems. This could be well fitted for countries like Australia, with vast ground and sparse power systems, which may justify a reason for considering a new battery factory.

Regards,

MMM

Peter Coates said...

Hi Ztev

You've talked about LIBs in aircraft and cars.

Do you have any knowledge to share about LIBs in submarines?

Pete

Anonymous said...


The following may be counted as key conditions.

A track record of trouble such as vibration, noise and etc.

Existence or absence of finger prints which China can easy detect by sharing the key equipment such as diesel generator.

Governmental commitment on comprehensive weapon embargo to China or Russia.

MHalblaub said...

Dear Ztev Konrad,

the Soryus are also only a 3,000 t submarine. So every competitor has to scale their current submarines. "I understand the TKMS current projects are around half the size of the required boat." TKMS delivers submarine with half the size of Collins-class and about the same range.

"AS we have seen just the other week, a special Australia adaptation of the Tiger attack helicopter has failed, which follows the failure of the Australian adaptation of the Seasprite helicopter."
The problem could be to want to much Australian content for far to less money...

"Are the F-35s being even assembled in Australia or having any one offs for the RAAF?."
Israel is reconsidering the F-35.

"And saying Japanese subs havent even ventured past the northern Philippines, sounds like a modern version of saying japanese make poor soldiers because of their eyesight."

The short form for Japanese Navy is JMSDF. There would be a constitutional problem to operate submarines in far away foreign territories.

I still think many small 1,000 t submarines would fit better Australia's real needs.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Anonymous said...

Lithium titanate offers exceptional lifespan among all types of lithium ion batteries. It is also very safe and presents super fast recharge. However its specific power and specific energy are less than NCA batteries that were used in the Planet Solar ship mentioned by TKMS. NCA is not very safe and it also has subpar lifespan (fewer recharge cycles). NCA battery is used by Tesla in its cars as well as its consumer power grid products. Tesla uses NMC battery for its industrial power grid products because NMC presents a better than average lifespan.
The Chinese lithium battery discussed in an earlier blog is Lithium phosphate and it is much safer than NCA battery.

A good article on different lithium battery types: http://batteryuniversity.com/learn/article/types_of_lithium_ion
KQN

Ztev Konrad said...

Submarine battery problems are unlikely to be publicised- except in unusual cases, and the public knowledge of the Boeing battery problems, indicated the assembly process by Yuasa was deficient along with their testing. This is their core product and yet it was amatuer hour.

Peter Coates said...

Hi Ztev {2/3/16 7:29 AM]

Re your "And saying Japanese subs havent even ventured past the northern Philippines, sounds like a modern version of saying japanese make poor soldiers because of their eyesight."

Sub Matters bases articles on evidence. Hence likely Japanese sub deployment patterns draws on open sources available eg: http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2015/02/possible-japanese-submarine-deployment.html

Newcomers may take a while to maintain the respectful tone (to all) expected.

Regards

Pete

MHalblaub said...

Dear Pete,

you might mention that TKMS is not a company of its own. TKMS is just a division of ThyssenKrupp (TK). TKMS is part of TK's "Industrial Solutions".
https://www.thyssenkrupp.com/en/konzern/industrial_solutions.html
(Hard to find TKMS on this page.)

Regards,
MHalblaub

Peter Coates said...

Thanks MHalblaub [at 3/3/16 10:48 PM]

I'll remember that.

Regards

Pete

Sanchun Yaton said...

Hi Peter,

Thanks for your posts. Your blog is definitely a must-read and your analysis always sharp.
What is your thought about Toshiba's proposal to establish a plant in Australia to produce Li-Ion batteries, including for Soryu subs? Because as far as I know (at least af far as Google Translate allows me to understand Japan MoD's reports), GS Yuasa, through its subsidiary Yuasa Technologies, remains for now the sole supplier of LiBs for Soryu subs...

Regards,

Sanchunyathon

Peter Coates said...

Hi Sanchunyathon

The Toshiba LIB issue and reasons for the announcement would be better known to MHI/KHI/JMoD and Toshiba.

See the comments on the Toshiba LIB issue earlier (March 2 and 3, 2016) in this thread https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=19245896&postID=7178157272784185005

Regards

Pete

Sanchun Yaton said...

Concerning Japanese LIBs, if my automatic translations of Japanese MoD's documents are correct, Japan authorities has evoked since last year their intention to dual-source Soryu's batteries in order to lower LIBs cost. It is my personal PoV, but I think if a Japanese civil servant does write in an official report that "a dual sourcing is being studied", it means in reality that "the second industrial partner has already been found". GS Yuasa, which has been producing LIBs for a few years on the basis of a technology financed and partly developped by the MoD, has probably started to share the production with Toshiba already. Let's wait for more recent reports from the Jap MoD to check if GS Yuasa remains the sole supplier or not. I'm tempted to bet on the 2nd option.

Have a nice day, everyone.

Sanchun

Peter Coates said...

Hi Sanchun [at 9/3/16 9:36PM]

Thanks for that information. Yes certainly the development of Japanese LIBs, GS Yuasa and Toshiba, are things to watch closely.

Regards

Pete