April 27, 2016

Why DCNS Won.

Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A (Artwork courtesy DCNS).
In the avalanche of DCNS win articles over the last 2 days Hans J. Ohff has written this excellent explanation in The Conversation, of April 26, 2016. This is republished in full under The Conversation's generously provided Creative Commons Licence. The string is https://theconversation.com/why-the-french-submarine-won-the-bid-to-replace-the-collins-class-58223:

"Why the French submarine won the bid to replace the Collins-class

France will be awarded the contract to partner with Australia to build the next generation of submarines to replace the Collins-class, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced today.
But what was at stake in this A$50 billion program? What were the real technological differences between the submarines on offer?
In early 2015, the Department of Defence issued invitations to Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) of Germany, Direction des Constructions Navales Services (DCNS) of France, and the Japanese government – represented through Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) – to submit concepts for a submarine design by November 30, 2015.
The proposal was also to address the construction and managing of Australia’s most complex defence project ever undertaken. Sidestepping competitive tendering, the government opted for a competitive evaluation process (CEP) to determine its overseas partner(s) for the future submarine program (FSP) project SEA1000.
Headed by Rear Admiral Gregory John Sammut, the Commonwealth’s CEP evaluation team was scheduled to submit its recommendation to an expert advisory panel by early June 2016.
This process has been brought forward in order for the government to announce the overseas submarine design house and, importantly, where FSP will be built before the Senate and the House of Representatives are dissolved for a double-dissolution election.

The French option

DCNS’s Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A, a derivative of its Barracuda nuclear-powered attack submarine currently under construction in France, has turned out to be the winner.
Because of the endurance and long range stipulated by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the French have selected the Barracuda as their design reference. The Shortfin Barracuda will be equipped with four diesel alternators to generate electricity, a >7 megawatt permanent magnet motor and ample battery storage.
These should allow it to meet or exceed the RAN’s requirements of range, endurance and indiscretion rate, which is the time the submarine spends exposed while recharging its batteries.

A video by DCNS profiling the Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A.

The Shortfin Barracuda uses a pump-jet propulsor that combines a rotor and stator within a duct to significantly reduce the level of radiated noise and avoids cavitation.
The aftcontrol surfaces on a single propeller submarine are likely to disturb the water flowing into the rotating blades. This, according to DCNS, will generate cavitation, which is best mitigated by the introduction of a propulsor where the rotor and stator are shrouded.
DCNS also claims it has incorporated the most sensitive passive sonar ever offered with a conventional submarine. Matched to the US AN/BYG-1 combat system requirements and equipped with sophisticated above-water sensors, the French claim that the Shortfin Barracuda will offer operational capability beyond the RAN’s requirements..

The Japanese option

Buttressed by a handshake between then-prime minister Tony Abbott and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe, the Japanese were sure that MHI/KHI would secure Australia’s largest-ever defence contract. The companies began to work on their evolved Sōryū-class submarine for the RAN, called the Goryu-class, or “Australian Dragon”.
The agreement signed on July 8, 2014, by the governments of Australia and Japan for the joint development of submarine technology, and more specifically the Marine Hydrodynamics Project, provided the Japanese with the requisite peace of mind to work on an optimal Australian submarine submission.
The introduction of the CEP in early 2015 did not unsettle the Abe government unduly as long as Abbott was in charge in Canberra. However, the ousting of Abbott and the appointment of a new defence minister, Marise Payne, meant Japan could no longer be assured of automatic selection. The CEP for the FSP became thoroughly and hotly contested.

The Japanese Soryu-class submarine Hakuryu was to be adapted for Australian use. United States Navy

Caught by surprise when Germany and France were invited to compete for the coveted submarine contract, the Japanese government countered by agreeing to build all 12 submarines in Australia and use the construction facilities in Adelaide as a future base for a major innovation centre.
In a further move, it indicated its preparedness to share its most secret submarine stealth technology with the RAN. And to demonstrate the unique capabilities of the Sōryū-class, the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force was sending the JS Hakuryu to take part in Exercise Nichi Gou Trident with the RAN and RAAF off the Sydney coast.
Not to be distracted by this move, the opponents of the Japanese option let it be known that the RAN would not attain regional superiority even with the evolved Sōryū-class.
Critics asserted that the lack of Japanese submarine technology and know-how meant that the Sōryū offered less capability than the existing Collins-class. It was a deficiency so fundamental, they claimed, that the lengthening of the Sōryū by six-to-eight metres for improved crew habitability and increased range made little difference to the Goryu-class when matched against the submarine designs of the French and the Germans.
The Japanese had planned to install proven high-tech lithium-ion battery technology in numbers 11 and 12 of their current class, and claim that their submarines are quieter and dive deeper than any other conventional submarine in service.

The German option

Arguably the German Navy’s submarines are among the world’s stealthiest underwater platforms. Aside from their traditional combat roles, they are employed as “vehicles of position” that gather intelligence, perform surveillance and reconnaissance at maritime choke points, shipping lanes and harbours.
The design philosophy of “as small as possible and as large as necessary” has so dictated the Type 212A submarines of the German and Italian navies. It also uses air-independent propulsion, which is quieter in operation than conventional diesel-electric.
The latest submarine of the world’s most prolific submarine builder remains small at 1,660 tonnes submerged displacement. Yet the new class is more than three times larger than its predecessor, the Type 206A.

The compact German Type 212A submarine. United States Navy

With this successful upsizing, TKMS answered the sceptics who claimed that the Germans would have found it difficult to evolve their existing submarines designs to the >3,810 tonnes Type 216 Australian variant.
In conjunction with Siemens, TKMS also offered the integrated 3D Digital Shipyard. The application of simulation software was to ensure issues that could affect construction were identified before the first steel is cut. They claimed it is a risk mitigator in the evolution and up-scaling of an existing design.
In this regard, the Germans were countering DCNS’ propulsor with Siemens’ Permasyn propulsion motor and MTU’s proven submarine diesels. While the drive train on the Type 216 required up-scaling of the main motor to over 6MW, Siemens believed that this would have been accomplished without undue difficulty.

Strategic outcome

All three companies have proven track records in submarine design and construction. Building overseas would have seen the Japanese leave their comfort zone. However, they brought defence and geostrategic advantages to the negotiation table. Offering the RAN supply and repair bases in Japan was one of their most persuasive arguments.
The Germans pushed their vast submarine design and building experience – more than 160 submarines delivered to 20 navies over the past 50 years. This experience, TKMS claimed, would have put the FSP in a “safe pair of hands”.
The French Navy operates submarines across the five oceans. DCNS argued that the experience and propulsion technology they transferred from their conventional and nuclear submarines made them the preferred candidate for the FSP. And they turned out to be right."


Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Japan Defense Minister asked for explanation on the defeat of Japan. But, I do not think Australia should answer his question, because Mr. Turnbull had selected the submarine under sovereignty of Australia. We must respect Australia’s decision and we respect it.

Also, our right and dignity must be respected by Australian government. Convective leakages of CEP, one of which was conducted in our flotilla visiting Sydney, were really insulting and against security of information. Japan has right to ask for explanation.

If Australia really wants to repair relation between Japan and Australia, Australia should show her will to repair by the action not by diplomatic words. It is not so difficult. Australian government should reveal who is responsible for the leakage of the secret information and why the leakage happened. We are not kids nor interesting in meaningless rubbish statement like “AFP could not point out who leak the information. But, Australia government believes it will never happen again”.


MHalblaub said...

Is there a direct link between winner of the CEP and contrac award?

Is it possible Australian government will request final offers for a more elaborated request from more than one company?


Josh said...

One surprising factor that I missed right up until after the announcement was that the Shortfin will employ a shrouded propulsor. You never see that on D/E boats because of the drag this puts on a boat with low energy density and generally a patrol speed slow enough that cavitation is a non issue (There's probably a correct hydrodynamic term for 'drag' but I'm not familiar with it. Also I'm aware of the Black Sea Kilo that had a propulsor but as far as I know this was a test bed that isn't in service and wasn't repeated).

Broadly the French design seems to take a brute force approach to rate of advance and indiscretion rate: larger hull, four diesels, more fuel, more (lead-acid) batteries to achieve the range goals. I suppose this was somewhat less technically risky compared to say LIB, though the fact that it will be basically a new boat in Barracuda shaped hull would tend to have the opposite effect compared to the more established German and Japanese designs.


Anonymous said...

Even with the pump jet propulsor, there is still a blade rate noise which is a multiple of the number of stators and propeller blades. In the Shortfin/Barracuda design, the 4 X control surfaces are located just ahead of the pumpjet intake. Those surfaces will for sure disturb the flow field and will excite additional noises as well.

Although a pump jet does delay the cavitation to ~12 knots, unlike a nuclear submarine with unlimited energy, a diesel submarine will run down its batteries, LIB or LAB, very fast at that speed and range will suffer a great deal. Moving along at 4 knots makes no difference in noises between a well designed skewed propeller and a pump jet or even at 7 knots.

And then there is the issue a pump jet cannot flow in reverse so some auxiliary propulsors similar to a bow thruster on yachts are required.

Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi pete,
So how soon will first steel will be cut for the new submarines

Anonymous said...

The unmatched synergy between DCNS sensors and US AN/BYG-1, there is a lot of hand waving in that claim.

Both countries see each other as industrial competitors, and are mutually wary of each other's industrial espionage, so system integration will be at best challenging given the black boxes and firewalls that will be raised, as to system optimization one can probably forget about this part. If further R&D is required on either side, it is unclear as to what priorities they will get within the software/firmware releases.

Anonymous said...

DCNS does not say anything about the pump jet's lower efficiency at low speeds. For the same hull's speed, the pump jet requires greater RPM which means the diesel gensets will be loaded down much more, and that can lead to higher fuel consumption (this is not true if fuel is nuclear)

A pumpjet in a submarine is fixed so it does not have the same maneuverability (this is not true if the pump jet is steerable) at slow speeds.

A pump jet produces less acceleration than a propeller from slow speeds or a stand still.

Where a pump jets works best is high speed high acceleration,a very defined narow speed range.

All these facts are well proven in speed boat and drag boat racing.


imacca said...

" Critics asserted that the lack of Japanese submarine technology and know-how meant that the Sōryū offered less capability than the existing Collins-class. It was a deficiency so fundamental, they claimed, that the lengthening of the Sōryū by six-to-eight metres for improved crew habitability and increased range made little difference to the Goryu-class when matched against the submarine designs of the French and the Germans. "

Seen this assertion of the relative capabilities of Collins vs Soryu now in a couple of articles. Is this based on simple specs comparison, or is there actual experience from exercises as to their relative effectiveness??

I know there is always a lot of hype and bullshit around this kind of thing, but my impression is that Collins has actually performed (sustainment issues aside) pretty well against US opponents. Wot? Soryu not so well?

Peter Coates said...

Hi S

As I wrote at http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2016/04/what-should-be-in-brief-to-cabinet-on.html Australia (PM, Foreign Minister and Defence Minister) has a lot of apologising to do to Japan.

Abbott setting up the whole deal wrongly caused this situation.



Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub [28/4/16 12:40 AM]

In strictly legal terms Australia might not be obliged to move to contract signing with DCNS/France.

But after Turnbull's 26 Apr 2016 Announcement in international political terms Australia would be politically obligated to sign. International politics influences much legal conduct.

Just a shame Abbott broke usual procedures - leading to the relations problems with Japan now.



Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN and Josh

The discussion and possible Shortfin SSK risks in adopting a pump jet propulsor are very interesting. I'll write a short article about that tomorrow.

Diesel engines for Shortfin next week.



Peter Coates said...

Hi imacca [28/4/16 11:02 AM]

"Seen this assertion of the relative capabilities of Collins vs Soryu now in a couple of articles. Is this based on simple specs comparison, or is there actual experience from exercises as to their relative effectiveness?? ... Collins has actually performed (sustainment issues aside) pretty well against US opponents. Wot? Soryu not so well?"

Because of Government secrecy we can't compare:

1. what open media commentators said about alleged Soryu capabilities or alleged Japanese marketing performance


2. what the secret CEP assessment indicated and results of naval exercises indicated

Probably what some ASPI commentators and Hugh White say (with feet a bit in both camps) may be most interesting.

But that might be a month or 2 after relations with Japan have calmed down a bit.


Anonymous said...

Alrosa is the Kilo diesel submarine with a pump jet with 7 stators and 11 propulsors. It spends more time in dry dock for repairs and upgrades to its pump jet than at sea.

One potential problem with pump jet is ingestion of garbage and sea weeds. The Vietnamese navy operates a 500-ton Russian designed corvette missile boat with a pump jet. The pump jet on paper is ideal at 30-40 knots but then the SCS is full of garbage (welcome to humanity) that gets ingested and in no time you ends up with a stuck or broken pump jet. One can visualize the sounds of garbage bouncing around against the shroud. And it too spends more time in dry dock than patrolling. So that so far is a 1 class ship.
A pump jet designed to sustain speeds above 25 knots is not the same as that on a submarine though

BK said...

Dear Pete,

obviously, the French and the German bids were very close, and I personally think Sean Costello did a really good job. One can only hope that in light of this http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/fab19252-ca85-11e5-be0b-b7ece4e953a0.html#axzz47ooIzk5o , this http://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/france-investigates-whether-malaysian-pm-najib-was-bribed-in-submarine-deal and this http://www.reuters.com/article/brazil-petrobras-submarines-idUSL1N10917520150729 , DCNS will be a safe pair of hands.



Peter Coates said...

There is an interesting article "Why Doesn't Australia Want Japan's Submarines? (Some of Best in the World)" http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-buzz/why-doesnt-australia-want-japans-submarines-some-best-the-16100

by James Simpson, National Interest, May 9, 2016, which concludes:

"But aside from these major platform sales, Japan is also signing more and more joint defense research agreements that could produce viable export products for platforms such as the F-35. Tokyo should focus on these smaller products, technologies and systems in order to build up its institutional know-how before attempting another major platform sale.

The government should also consider taking a back seat to its contractors. Although Japanese law requires government involvement in arms sales, the government led both the Soryu bid and the US-2 [amphibious plane] talks — and didn’t do a very good job.

The contractors that will ultimately build the products that the government is selling are lukewarm to the export mission. Unless the government can draw them into the process and harness their corporate advantages, Tokyo will likely remain out of its depth."