March 27, 2016

The future French SSN and SSBN Programs - DCNS Prototype for Australian CEP

DCNS HULL PROTOTYPE (BARRACUDA) FOR SHORTFIN CONTENDER, 2007 - 2017 LAUNCHES, 1 EXPECTED

Barracuda SSN Name
Laid down
Launch (est.)
Commissioning (est.)
Suffren
19 Dec 2007
end of 2016 (the crew expect)
end 2018 
Duguay-Trouin
26 June 2009
?
end 2020
Tourville
28 June 2011
?
2022
Grasse 
?
?
2025
Ruby
?
?
2027
Casabianca
?
?
2029
DCNS indicate that the "Shortfin" contender for Future Australian Submarine is to be a conventional (diesel-electric) version of the nuclear propelled Barracuda SSN (Suffren class). Barracudas laid down 2007 - first may be launched in 2017. Table based on https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classe_Suffren_(sous-marin)#Noms . 
---

The Shortfin that France is offering is to be a conventional version of the future Barracuda SSN. The first Barracuda, the Suffren, was laid down in 2007 and apparently will be launched late 2017 (see Suffren's future crew article) and commissioned late 2018.

What occurred in the decade (so far) of Barracuda/Suffren's construction has not been explained to the Australian public or appeared in the media. Apparently the French Government delayed the construction schedule due to:

-  changing mission requirements involving redesign (changes to submarine) perhaps in view of the growing threat from Russia and greater intelligence gathering needs in the post 9/11 War on Terror

-  to reduce annual Barracuda construction spending in order to cross subsidize other defence programs and civilian budget items (following the 2008 Global Financial Crisis?)


"The fall of the USSR and the new world order, with its low intensity conflicts and the increase in maritime traffic, have upgraded the role of navies. The evolution of the missions has significantly delayed the replacement schedule of the six SSNs of the [current] Ruby [Rubis] class ...by six attack submarines [the Barracuda SSNs]. The Barracuda definition phase started in October 1998 and design phase in 2002 for the then planned [launch and] tests in 2008 and [entry into] service in 2010. In 2015, the commissioning of the first in class [Suffren] was postponed [to] 2018 as a result of budget difficulties."

The French Government then reasoned the 8 year delay offered the advantage of being able to smooth (budget and labour force) transition from the last Barracuda (launch around 2028) to the development of the SSBN class replacing the current Triomphant SSBNs. Replacement SSBN class design work will accelerate from the late 2020s with perhaps the replacement SSBN first of class being laid down around 2037.

These need to redesign, re-budget and program transition reasons for the delay in launching the Barracudas have made sense to the French Government that ultimately owns DCNS but it still involves much non-scheduled uncertainty - something ASC is already too good at. The private competitors to DCNS in Australia's Future Submarine contest (that is TKMS, MHI and KHI) would find it unprofitable to have the first 3 submarines of a class (see Table above) sitting in huge sheds  under construction for 10 years (on average) before those 3 submarines are actually launched.

The Australian war-ship-building industry can benefit from greater certainty and discipline in what is Australia's most expensive defence project ever.

The Japanese Soryu's building record [Table below] with the prototype for the Australian Soryu [if Japan is chosen] shows certainty not only down to yearly milestones, but frequently down to the month. Very methodical, on-time, on-budget.

JAPANESE (MHI/KHI BUILT) HULL PROTOTYPE FOR AUS SORYU CONTENDER (2007-2017 LAUNCHES,  8 LAUNCHED + 2 (EXPECTED)
SS
No.
Build No
Name
Pennant
No.
MoF approved amount ¥ Billions & FY
LABs, LIBs, AIP
Laid Down
Laun
-ched
Commi-ssioned
Built
By
16SS Soryu
Mark 1
8116
Sōryū
SS-501
¥60B FY2004
LABs + AIP
Mar 2005
Dec 2007
Mar
2009
MHI
17SS
8117
Unryū
SS-502
¥58.7B FY2005
LABs + AIP
Mar 2006
Oct 2008
Mar
2010
KHI
18SS
8118
Hakuryū
SS-503
¥56.2 FY2006
LABs + AIP
Feb 2007
Oct 2009
Mar
2011
MHI
19SS
8119
Kenryū
SS-504
¥53B FY2007
LABs + AIP
Mar 2008
Nov 2010
Mar
2012
KHI
20SS
8120
Zuiryū
SS-505
¥51B FY2008
LABs + AIP
Mar 2009
Oct 2011
Mar
2013
MHI
No
21SS
No 21SS built
22SS
8121
Kokuryū
SS-506
¥52.8B FY2010
LABs + AIP
Jan 2011
Oct 2013
Mar
2015
KHI
23SS
8122
Jinryu
SS-507
¥54.6B FY2011
LABs + AIP
Feb 2012
Oct 2014
7 Mar 2016
MHI
24SS
8123
Sekiryū
SS-508
¥54.7B FY2012
LABs + AIP
Mar 2013
Nov 2015
Mar 2017
KHI
25SS
8124
SS-509
¥53.1B FY2013
LABs + AIP
Oct 2013
Nov 2016?
Mar 2018
MHI
26SS
8125
SS-510
¥51.7B FY2014
LABs + AIP
Oct 2014
Nov 2017?
Mar 2019
KHI
Table courtesy of information provided to Submarine Matters. LABs = lead-acid batteries,  AIP = air independent propulsion.   
---

Pete

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Production of the 1st of class Barracuda is going pretty well actually. Cost and timelines have increased by less than 10%, so although there were some surprises along the way, no show stoppers. For example, by mid-2013, delays were only 6 months... after 6 years of production. Delays/costs haven't increased noticeably since then.

The real reason for the slow production rate is simple - to keep an even production drumbeat with only 10 hulls (4 SSBNs + 6 SSNs). As it is, DCNS's submarine production capacity is only at 70% utilization, so they have to rely on exports (Brazil, India etc) to cover the rest.

HK

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Result is everything. We do not need an explanation of the process.

Japan experienced Global Financial Crisis in 2008, huge disaster (Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, Fukushima nuclear disaster) in 2011 and onset of boorish and irrational reaction against Senkaku Islands nationalization in 2012. But, MHI and KHI have proceeded submarine building and achieved on time delivery. This is proven or demonstrated ability of submarine building.

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi S

(My name fixed.)

Yes companies can always give reasons for delay.

As DCNS is mainly state owned it can more easily justify give reasons for slowing down the Barracuda/Suffren class program.

And as the French Navy is also state owned it cannot put much pressure on DCNS to speed up completion of the Barracuda.

Regards

Pete

Jack Greene said...

Good post. Reminds me of the building pace of French battleships in the 1880's. I do agree with your earlier post that 12 subs may be six too many . . .

Anonymous said...

Pete, you overplay your hand here. It is clear that you don't want Barracuda to win the CEP, but you are clutching at straws.

There is no "unscheduled budget uncertainty" with Barracuda. No subs "sitting in huge sheds for 10 years":

- When the Barracuda contract was signed in Dec 2006, first delivery was scheduled for "late 2016/early 2017".

- As of mid-2013, this was delayed by 6 months. One of the reasons for the delays was that critical resources were diverted to manage two simultaneous export/technology transfer programs (India + Brazil).

- As of today, the schedule is as follows:
Spring 2016: Hull welded shut
Summer 2016: Launch
2nd half 2016: start of systems tests, including reactor divergence and first tethered dives
Spring 2017: Start sea trials
2nd half of 2017: acceptance and delivery
2018: Operational work-up
2019: Official service entry (Full Operating Capability)

Construction started in 2008, so that will be 9 years until sea trials. Compare to 8.5 years for the 1st Virginia class SSN, which was delivered incomplete with major systems missing. Compare to Astute... to imply that somehow there is a lack of "discipline" and lots of "uncertainty" is a bad joke.

As for the Japanese, they are not building SSNs and as soon as something gets too complicated they license from abroad (Sterling AIP, US combat system, Thales optronic mast, Hughes sonar, MTU diesels). So far they have not proved much except that they can bash steel together on a regular drumbeat and make incremental improvements to existing systems. And they have never managed a single technology transfer/offshore production program... ask Navantia and BAE how that went.

Anonymous said...

P.S. Forgot to sign my comment.
HK

Ztev Konrad said...

The dates the french laid down their boats are interesting, 2007, 2009, 2011. Which indicates their programming up to that point, say 2012.
This was well after the GFC which began in 2008. For france it was the election of a new President and government
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_presidential_election,_2012
This event to me, indicates a major change of policy and or budget for Defence and the result was the white paper of 2013
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_French_White_Paper_on_Defence_and_National_Security.
The main points are defence spending was to be cut to 1.5% of GDP and even though the numbers of Barracuda class were kept at 6 ( which was the same number as the 2008 white paper) we can assume budget for that program was not maintained to keep up the previous schedule.

"The first boat (Suffren)was to commence sea trials in 2011 for an entry into service in 2012"
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Barracuda-class_submarine

There is no evidence that the SSN program was slowed to match a future SSBN schedule, rather the money was not available. And in spite of recent increases announced it doesnt seem 'heavy' equipment will get more

MHalblaub said...

So,
French DCNS is a state owned company. No matter they had to pay Russia for the none delivery of the assault ships.

About TKMS' submarines you hear problems here and there from some costumers. Why? The costumers want the problems to be fixed or a lower price (e.g. Greek).

The submarines built by Japanese companies and delivered to the Japanese Navy never had any public problems.

In case Japan has problems to deliver submarines on time and according to specifications will the Australian government sue an alley about that?

I can imagine Canberra to have no problems to sue TKMS or DCNS.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Ztev Konrad said...

MHalblaub doesnt seem to be familiar with Australian defence procurement. Only a few items are government-government sales agreements, where Australia buys what the 'ally is buying', eg C-17 or FA-18F. Others are commercial arrangement with the foreign defence contractor , ie Boeing with 737 Wedgetail, or Airbus helicopters for Tiger helicopter . etc. problems have been too many to list.

With Japan, the prime submarine contractor would have a commercial agreement with Australian government, it isnt current policy just to take one ordered by MoD J and built in Japan. The problem of not being able to sue an ally doesnt arise. Discussing the design with that as a factor is a dead end.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete and HK (28/3/16 7:21 AM)

Stirling AIP which is used for current model of Soryu will be abolished in the next or final model of Soryu and next generation submarine. Hughes sonar and MTU diesel are not used for Japanese submarine.

Japanese combat system is affected by US combat system. But, most of the J-combat system is manufactured without restriction of foreign license, only few are domestically manufactured under the US company license. Thales Electro-optic mast is used for Soryu. That’s all. Total cost of foreign original equipment including license fee is less than 4% of total submarine building cost.

MHI exported gyro for Patriot missile PAC2 to US. Mitsubishi Electric and UK are conducting joint- study on missile technology for F35. Currently, MOD are trying to export US-2, large STOL amphibious aircraft designed for air-sea rescue to India. KHI and Airbus, and Fuji heavy industry and Bell Helicopter are trying to participate in development of multipurpose helicopter.

By the way, DCNS exported latest landing system of helicopter for warship to China in 2012. This system will effectively act against JMSDF and US Navy. DCNS should not think that Japan and US forget this export.

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi S

Looks as though America's Sikorsky helicopter company has been kind enough to sell several S-76 helicopters to China - see http://www.sikorsky.com/pages/AboutSikorsky/PressreleaseDetails.aspx?pressreleaseid=109

The S-76 is dual (military-civilian) use. China is claiming its US supplied S-76 is only of use to China's "Ministry of Transport Rescue and Salvage Bureau".

Other users of the S-76 are the Air Forces of Spain, Argentina, Philippines, and Thailand etc.

Of use to China's PLA will be the S-76's:

"...standard equipment features are all-composite, flaw-tolerant main rotor blades; an advanced THALES integrated avionics system and autopilot; health and usage monitoring system, and active vibration control. The S-76D is powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada’s compact and light-weight PW210S, which delivers the best in class power-to-weight ratio and fuel burn with excellent payload and range benefits. Rotor Ice Protection System for all-weather capability will be available as an option.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacture and service. The company’s mission statement reflects its long commitment to safety and innovation: “We pioneer flight solutions that bring people home everywhere … every time™.” United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries."

see http://www.sikorsky.com/pages/AboutSikorsky/PressreleaseDetails.aspx?pressreleaseid=109

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete (ver.2)

Some people think S-76 is basically commercial utility helicopter, and other people think it can be used for military. But, important thing is how USA thinks and is not how we think. If USA thinks it is commercial use, then it is commercial use.

Helicopter & VTOL UAV Landing grids which DCNS sold Chine are apparently military use.
http://www.navyrecognition.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=682

Regards
S


Peter Coates said...

Hi S [28/3/16 9:09PM]

It seems the French provided landing grids are a considerable help to China's PLA-N helicopter and ship operated UAV effort.

Ultimately France can provide dual-use or military technology to China with the thought that China is not a threat to France in Europe.

Same goes for Germany. This concerns the factory in China for building German designed MTU 4000 naval engines, which can be modified for Chinese submarine use.
see http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/rolls-royce-and-china-yuchai-to-jointly-produce-mtu-engines-300222849.html

Regards

Pete

Ztev Konrad said...

Regarding the names for the french Barracuda's
The DCNS website ( archived) give these names, in order.

The first Barracuda-class submarine will be delivered in 2017, and the subsequent vessels will be delivered at the rate of one every two years.
The six new submarines will be christened Suffren, Duguay-Trouin, Dupetit-Thouars, Duquesne, Tourville and De Grasse.

http://web.archive.org/web/20110211093857/http://en.dcnsgroup.com/naval/produits/sna-barracuda/?
The names are all significant naval commanders. It wouldnt make sense to mix in 'Rubis' and while Casabianca was also a naval commander it doesnt seem to have been for for his naval actions ( his ship blew up)

Peter Coates said...

Hi Ztev [29/3/16 2:58 PM]

Yes the Australian government may ask for delivery every 2 years (from 2030) for the Future Submarine - similar to the French Government's desire that Barracudas be delivered every 2 years. For 12 Australian subs that will be, more or less, "continuous build".

http://web.archive.org/web/20110211093857/http://en.dcnsgroup.com/naval/produits/sna-barracuda/? is well spotted. Poor https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luc-Julien-Joseph_Casabianca was indeed blown up by those Anglais basteeds.

While Captain Cook was killed and eaten, his French contemporary https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Antoine_de_Bougainville lived, rising to Admiral and enjoying retirement. Thirteen ships of the French Navy have been named after him https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_ship_Bougainville .

Regards

Pete

Le marquis de Seignelay said...

Hi Pete,

Thank you to add my blog to your list "submarine warfare". It was much appreciated. So, I discover your website and I do the same on my blog, it's very interesting.

This blogs or websites could interest you :
- "Soumarsov" : http://www.soumarsov.eu/ - French website on soviets and russians submarines ;
- "Le portail des sous-marins" - French website about French Navy and foreign submarines forces : http://www.corlobe.tk/
- "Le portail des forces navales de la Fédération de Russie" - French blog about Russian navy with a regular focus on russians submarines : http://www.rusnavyintelligence.com/

Regards,
Le marquis de Seignelay

Peter Coates said...

Hi Marquis de Seignelay

I am glad to make your acquaintance.

Your blog, The Colbert Chair http://lefauteuildecolbert.blogspot.com.au/ , looks excellent, with many of the same interests, submarines, surface naval ships and aircraft.

http://www.soumarsov.eu/nouvelles.htm fills a gap as it intensively looks at Russian submarines. The Russians too often make sweeping marketing claims.

http://www.corlobe.tk/spip.php?rubrique42 has much wider submarine comments - with sensible things to say about Australian submarines.

http://www.rusnavyintelligence.com/ yes very good on Russian subs.

Thank you for the list.

I'll visit your site http://lefauteuildecolbert.blogspot.com.au/ often.

Regards

Pete

Bazz said...

Submarines are bought as insurance for a time of hostilities of one sort or another.
In the event of hostilities Australia will have no diesel available as the first tanker attacked
will stop all deliveries.
So how do you refuel our 12 diesel submarines ?
Answer, you don't !

Peter Coates said...

Hi Bazz

Yes same with our diesel dependent tanks, trucks and trains. Same with petrol for our cars. Same for our aviation fuel dependent air force. All would stop if supplies from Singapore stopped.

But yes, the US nuclear reactors, that last 35 years on Virginia subs with no need to refuel, would be my solution - and hey I'm buying 4 :)

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Update on the Barracuda timeline, from my earlier post:

- First of class' hull has been welded shut, so production essentially complete
- Launch still planned for summer 2016, i.e. June/July.
Source: www.lemarin.fr/secteurs-activites/chantiers-navals/24913-dcns-la-coque-du-sna-suffren-est-fermee

So everything looks on track for first sea trials by Apr-May 2017, preceded by a whole battery of tests from Sep. 2016 onwards (including dive tests and reactor divergence)

-HK

Peter Coates said...

Hi HK [at 2/4/16 4:24 PM]

Thanks for the updates.

And I've added www.lemarin.fr/ to my blogroll (non-English). I've found many good French naval sites for the the blogroll but only one Japanese.

Regards

Pete