May 7, 2016

Caustic French Take on Not Yet Signed Submarine "mégacontrat"

COMMENT

French blog The Jack Turf Journal has a caustic take (of May 1, 2016) on Australia's and President Hollande's coming submarine contract of the century. Jack expects "heated discussions" before the actual contract is signed. He adds the 8 Billion euros France stands to gain is but a drop in the ocean compared to France's 2.2 trillion euro national debt.

Still DCNS and around 200 French subcontractors will benefit. This includes Thales, Sagem, Jaumont Electric, Schneider Electric France, Aubert & Duval, Manoir Industries, etc. 

ARTICLE

"Jack" remains unimpressed. I translate "Comme foutage de gueule gouvernemental, on ne fait pas mieux..." to be Typical government bollocks, it is no big deal. 

SUBMARINES AUSTRALIA, OR CONTRACT OF THE CENTURY foutage MUG OF THE CENTURY?



The translation from French into English:
"Australia has awarded France a "mégacontrat"? to build its next-generation submarines but it is the US that will equip the ships of ultra-secret weapons systems.
The French group DCNS naval defense specialist held by the State and Thales won a contract last week to 50 billion Australian dollars (34 billion euros) of which 8 billion only return to France  on 50 ...

Do the math: That makes us 160 million euros turnover  per year  (no profit, if done, what remains to be proven, the contract is not yet signed, being subject to heated discussions )   short, a drop in the ocean of 2.2 trillion debt.

Other problem: France does not seem so good that in weaponry, since weapons systems and combat that will equip these submarines will be American.  The American giant Lockheed Martin, which is in the race, explaining "learnedly" that it was "in fact the eyes, ears and the sword of the boat," leaving us so I understand the role of mere assembler welder to construct the frame submarines ... 
Contract of the Century?

Comme foutage de gueule gouvernemental, on ne fait pas mieux..."

"Remember one thing people are idiots." 
What President Hollande is quoted as saying on October 10, 2013.

18 comments:

Ztev Konrad said...

The [French]Jeumont Schneider alternators in the Collins were rubbish, much the same as the [Swedish]Hedemora diesels. The chance to get a higher quality machinery made in Japan has been lost, but for France beating the germans at their own game is satisfaction enough.

Kim Beazleys comments in a sub article in ASPI are interesting
"I was taken aboard the then-latest Virginia-class submarine, the USS Missouri. The captain showed us the control room and asked me if I recognised anything. I said ‘yes’ and told him that I appeared to be standing in a Collins-class submarine. He responded, ‘Exactly’.

"Like most directly associated with submarines in the US at the beginning of this selection, I hoped for the Japanese outcome..

http://www.aspistrategist.org.au/australias-future-submarine-problems-of-politics/

BK said...

Pete,

you forgot to mention the company Areva...

See here: http://www.minister.industry.gov.au/ministers/pyne/media-releases/science-action-support-our-economy

Best, BK

Peter Coates said...

Hi Ztev

I'm hoping DCNS will utilise German propulsion products for the Shortfin. Including

- MTU 4000 diesels (noting most Scorpenes use MTU 396s. As well at MTU diesels in France's FREMM frigates) and

- Siemens Permasyn motors.

I think Beazley's personal pushing of the Collins Project blinded him to its many defects. Beazley continues to place positive spin on the Collins' fiasco.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi BK

The Areva-ANSTO deal, of course, predates the Shortfin announcement http://www.areva.com/EN/news-10749/ansto-selects-once-again-areva-tn-s-used-fuel-transportation-solutions.html (April 1, 2016 and long before I've read)

More directly Areva TA makes the K15 reactor for the Triomphant SSBNs and the soon to be launched Barracuda SSN https://www.strategypage.com/militaryforums/462-1488-page2.aspx#startofcomments .

I reckon if Areva develops a new generation submarine reactor that can last 32 years without refueling Australia might be more interested in buying Barracuda SSNs in the second batch of 6 in the 2030s.

Regards

Pete

BK said...

Pete,

26 days is nothing in the context of 50bn AU$.

My bet is on a second or third batch of nuclear powered Australian submarines, because that is where the real benefit of the French deal lies.

I would be surprised if DCNS would use the Siemens Permasyn Motors. That would be the first time for them, right?

Coming back to the decision: in some articles the difference between the final two bids were said to be significant, others spoke of marginal. What is your take on that - was there really such a big difference in the two bids (apart from nuclear of course)?

Regards,

BK

Anonymous said...

President Hollande is doing all he can to stand re-election. Not withstanding his popularity is in the low teens. Besides, DCNS is in restructuring and it is trying its best not to layoff too much. I said in an earlier comment on the SSN tender, watch out for the French.

I believe the nuclear reactor division of Areva is now owned by the equally French state owned EDF (Electricite de France). Needless Areva is one financially sick company which is already on its death bed. Fukushima did not help.

Neither is EDF any financially better. It is in needs of cash at the tune of a few $B right now. Its EPR reactor is decades late, not just in France, but also in Finland. And it faces $B of investments to keep old French reactors in service. On top, there is no money at all to even decommission reactors when that time will surely come (the rule in the US is it costs as much $ to decommission a reactor as to build a new one) so in the long run we are looking at a bill worth a few hundreds $B or a few thousands euros per inhabitant including newly born toddlers. Taking on Areva sure does not help.
KQN

MHalblaub said...

I would say Australia is the costumer and can decide what engines, e-motors or combat system they want.

Even though I do not think they choosed the wrong combat system and submarine size.

Regards,
MHalblaub

Ztev Konrad said...

MTU Freidrichshafen is now owned by Rolls Royce. The french diesel maker SEMT Pielstick is now owned by MAN, the other principal German diesel maker.

Scorpene designs built so far seem to have had MTU( Brazil) and MAN(Malaysia)

This well referenced paper discuses the different makers ( or licensees)
http://www.bmtdsl.co.uk/media/5045649/BMTDSL-Multiengine-submarine-power-supplies-Pacific10-Jan10.pdf
The 12 cylinder Pielstick PA4 engine is used on French submarines [Ref. 5] and those exported to other navies. The best known models are the PA4-185 and the 200-VG models. The PA4 engines are fitted with a variable geometry combustion chamber and are now supported by MAN.
The above paper was presented at the RINA PACIFIC 2010 - INTERNATIONAL MARITIME CONFERENCE in Sydney.




Peter Coates said...

Hi BK [7/5/16 2:49 PM]

I'll respond in the article for May 10 2016.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN [8/5/16 12:13 AM]

Very significant when you say "On top, there is no money at all to even decommission reactors when that time will surely come (the rule in the US is it costs as much $ to decommission a reactor as to build a new one) so in the long run we are looking at a bill worth a few hundreds $B or a few thousands euros per inhabitant including newly born toddlers."

Today the South Australian Government released a major report which sees potential in building:

- nuclear power stations (advocates rarely say eventual need for decommissioning reactor-stations costs as much as constructing them) and

- building low-intermediate and even high level waste dumps (with major sweetener that this will raise A$100 Billion in storage fees) over "120 years" [but what happens for the 1,000 years after?].

Do you know if anyone is paying France $Billions to store nuclear waste?

see http://www.reuters.com/article/australia-uranium-idUSL3N1862TE

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Ztev [8/5/16 10:06 AM]

Thanks for those details.

I'll use them in a future article.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub [8/5/16 4:42 AM]

I wonder if the US Combat System could be squeezed into an https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrasta-class_submarine ?

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

According to Today’s Japanese paper, winner and future biggest winner are France and China, respectively and loser is Australia, because US will definitely offer down-graded combat system to Australia. The paper pointed out weapon export strategy by France regardless of the friend or the enemy and suggests export of future small submarine SMX 26 to China.
(http://www.sankei.com/premium/news/160509/prm1605090002-n1.html)

I do not intend to throw cold water on the decision by Australia at all. I just introduced different standpoint of conservative Japanese paper. Of course, there is opinion that loser and winner are Japan and Australia, respectively.

Anyway, we should think twice before signing. If we have a slightest doubt, we had better not hesitate cancelation of contract.

Regards
S

Anonymous said...

When France builds its reactors, it did not account for the cost of decommissioning. This is one way to artificially lower the cost of electricity that EDF sells to French. But you do have to pay this at some point.

In the US, when you build a new reactor, you are obliged to put aside money in an escrow account for decommissioning later. Decommissioning a reactor takes decades to complete.

As to storage of nuclear spent fuel, there was a French TV report, I believe Antenne 2 which is state owned, ~2-3 years ago showing French nuclear spent fuel with you know who name on it thrown in the open fields in Siberia. So not all things are it they seem (according to that report). Nuclear waste is a whole can of worm that lasts thousands of years and we do produce an abnormal amount of that waste with no where to put it.
KQN

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [10/5/16 1:07AM]

I think the US (working through Combat System Integrators Raytheon and/or Lockheed Martin) will limit some of the Combat System HARDWARE and most SOFTWARE to Australian and US Eyes Only. So no matter if Japan, DCNS or TKMS had won SEA 1000 (hull + propulsion build) there would be that limitation.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN [12/5/16 8:21 PM]

Very interesting comments.

Is it true to say many French reactors were are for civilian AND military uses - so decommissioning costs weren't/aren't easily published?

I understand civilian (electricity) reactors can also produce the 7.5% LEU for submarine K15 reactor refueling. With K15s in the Triomphants and Barracudas.

Joint civilian and military uses would also distort French costing. I suppose the taxpayer pays through taxes AND through electicity charges?

"In the US, when you build a new reactor, you are obliged to put aside money in an escrow account for decommissioning later. Decommissioning a reactor takes decades to complete." HENCE THE US HAS BUILT/COMMISSIONED VERY FEW NEW REACTORS FOR DECADES?

France sending more Uranium back to Australia is one reason some in Australia want to open a permanent waste dump in the Australian desert. They say a waste dump will raise $Billions in fees from customers, but I don't believe it.

Poor Russians! U or Pu spread in the "open fields in Siberia" or left in rusty submarine fuel cores.

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Various kinds of “be” exist such as “should be”, “want to be” and “decided to be”, but only “is” has realistic meaning. Leakages of CEP secret happened three times, not twice. First and Second leakages are under AFP investigation, but, there is third possible leakage which suggests CEP decision was made at least Apr/10. Huge security holes still exist, because detail (who, why, where, when, how) of the leakage, and establishment and assessment preventive measure are yet conducted.

Issues of US Combat System belong to US and Australia, and are unrelated to Japan. As a friend of Australia, we feel that Australia is rather insensitive to secret of other’s technology. Even if US does not comment on security risk of Australia, it never means that US does not worry about it. Some people do not like my comment, but your friend should sometimes criticize you on serious matters.

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [15/5/16 9:03PM]

Thankyou for your comment.

I haven't read that there is any progress in the AFP investigations regarding the first 2 leaks. That is assuming the investigations still exist.

It would appear that those leaks were of a peak political nature - caused by differences between Abbott's and Turnbull's attitudes to who should win the CEP and how quickly the new subs should be built.

To actually identify those guilty would cause division in the governing Liberal Party - something that cannot happen until after the July 2, 2016 Election.

Regards

Pete