May 11, 2016

Jeumont Electric's poorly timed Media Release on Future Submarine Propulsion?

Is the following the first public relations problem involving the DCNS win?

There may be no Design Contract signed between the Australian Government and DCNS until 2017 but is carrying a Media Release by Jeumont Electric, May 10, 2016 : 

"Jeumont Electric One of Top Five Suppliers in Australian Submarine Programme

Jeumont Electric announced today that it has been selected as a major supplier in the Australian government's Sea 1000 Future Submarine Programme, French naval defence and energy company DCNS [now Naval Group] is the Australian government's exclusive partner on the programme.
The contract covers the construction of 12 submarines to replace the fleet's six current Collins-type submarines and also includes the transfer of stealth technology, production, and the combat system, plus maintenance throughout the submarines' lifetimes.
Jeumont Electric, a recognised expert in rotating electric machines for more than a century, had been working on the technical and business aspects of the bid since October 2015, earning a position among the programme's top five largest and most strategic suppliers.
Jeumont Electric will supply the propulsion pack, which includes manufacturing permanent-magnet synchronous motors and the associated power electronics cabinets, and will also provide maintenance training.
"We are pleased that the Australian government has entrusted DCNS with this contract," said Daniel Marlot, Director of Sales, Marine Industry at Jeumont Electric.
"We are working closely with DCNS and with most of the other suppliers involved in this exciting programme. Our teams in France had demonstrated the quality of their work on several previous projects.
"We are pleased to bring our know-how to this demanding and far-reaching new programme. We plan to build a close working relationship with the Australian government to ensure their full satisfaction."
Australia's Collins submarines notoriously had/have problems with unreliable propulsion. Parts of the Collin’s propulsion (see right-sidebar) are:

3 × Jeumont-Schneider generators (1,400 kW, 440-volt DC), and

1 × Jeumont-Schneider DC motor

Has Jeumont jumped the gun with an early Media Release? Might it be part of an unreliable propulsion system(?) years down the track? 

As at 1pm (Australian Eastern Time) May 11, 2016 there has been no Australian Defence Minister Media Release confirming Jeumont Electric's victory. 

To do this situation justice the Australian Govenment is now constrained by pre-election  "Caretaker Conventions" which, on page 3, require:

"1.3...the conventions are that the government avoids:..

•  making major policy decisions that are likely to commit an incoming government;
•  making significant appointments; and
•  entering major contracts or undertakings"

Parts of the future submarine propulsion systems, costing $100s millions (in total), might be seen as "major".


Ztev Konrad said...

Isnt it normal for all large contracts for the main contractor to supply a list of their primary sub contactors, subject to final design/price approval once the contract is let.
I think Jeumont is over egging its 'potential' inclusion in the sub contract in the future. It has of course to overcome its poor repution and cause of substantial capability loss because of its equipment use in the collins class

"The sub is powered by 3 x Garden Island-Hedemora HV V18b/15Ub (VB210) 18-cylinder diesel motors driving 3 x Jeumont-Schneider generators (1,400 kW, 440-volt DC).[6] A single 1 x Jeumont-Schneider DC motor (7,200 shp, 5.4 MW), drives a 1 x seven-bladed, 4.22 m (13.8 ft) diameter skewback propeller which propels the sub.[7]

"The sub that engages in the yearly multinational exercises off Hawaii usually embarrasses this nation by having to limp to harbour to have hose repairs or have major generator malfunctions such as the January 2010 issue with HMAS Farncomb involving failures in 1 of the submarine’s 3 French Jeumont-Schneider, 1,400 kW/ 440-volt DC generators, and this has served in many respects as the final straw"

Peter Coates said...

Hi Ztev

Thanks for spotting the Collins generators' reliability problems. It is much more controversial and complex than I thought. See many hits on "generator" at This includes:

"HMAS Rankin,
(click to view full)
March 30/10 [2009 or 2010] : Generator fail. The Australian Senate’s Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade hears a range of testimony, including updates regarding Australia’s submarines. The bottom line? The Australian firm that manufactured the generators under license didn’t manufacture them to the same standard as the original French firm. The Chair is Archie Bevis [Labor – Brisbane], and the other speakers are Mr. Kim Gillis, General Manager of the Collins effort at Australia’s Defence Materiel Organisation; and Bob Baldwin [Liberal – Paterson]:

“Mr BALDWIN – As I understand it, the issue is that the windings failed on the generators – is that correct?""

Quite a can of worms from a hasty Media Release perhaps?



MHalblaub said...

Such announcements are made to keep the share holders satisfied and stock price high.

Josh said...

Have the French posted anything regarding what type of diesel was planned or what specifications it will have? About the only hard thing I've seen listed is that there will be four engines, but nothing concerning power or type. I assume the installed power will be rather greater than Collins given the larger size of the boat and I think larger output of the electric motor (7MW?).


Anonymous said...

In multinational corporations I work for, legal counsel would not approved that type of PR unless you are selected. Note their PR clearly sates "has been selected".

They are likely already IN the Barracuda SSN design and project. So unless the Shortfin design starts deviating from the Barracuda SSN, they may already be de facto in. Now may be experts can comment how big a job to design them out, probably not a small one either?


Peter Coates said...

Hi Josh

I haven't seen any French post regarding what type of diesel was planned or what specifications it will have? Yes information in a right side-bar at lists:

"4 diesel alternators...7 MW (9,400 hp) permanent magnet motor"

But judging about some other information in that sidebar "4,500 t surfaced..4,000 t submerged" !!! may be unreliable. I have also heard 6 x Diesels.

Perhaps the only certainty will be the diesels will be designed in Germany by:

"MAN Diesel & Turbo SE is a multinational company based in Augsburg, Germany that produces large-bore diesel engines and turbomachinery for marine...applications."


- MTUs by
"Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG is the name of a German industrial concern, which holds interests in a number of engine manufacturing brands and facilities, owned by Rolls-Royce. The company previously traded, from 2006 to 2014, as Tognum AG. Prior to 2006, the core company - MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH was a constituent of Daimler Chrysler Powersystems"



Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN [12/5/16 3:20 AM]

JEUMONT Electric is probably already in the Barracuda SSN design and project, as indicated by "In France, JEUMONT Electric will supply the main power generation onboard the new BARRACUDA SSN submarines."

Yes developing a reliable conventional propulsion system may be DCNS biggest hurdle as main foreign partner. The propulsion job cannot be simply outsourced to subcontractors (even Australian ones) as May Have happened concerning a different French company working with an Australian partner over the Collins generators.



AncientSubHunter said...


Just a BZ to you for this timely piece and its note about past problems with this company's reliability.

I've been around for a few years, growing up in the '70s and observed how journalism was done then compared to the nonsense that passes for "journalism" today in all the major and minor media outlets.

Unlike you, no one follows up with initial stories or are happily distracted by the idiocy of the primary focus of "journalism": entertainment/drama which is fully supported by a public that prefers to know what outfit the Kardashians are wearing this afternoon.

Thanks for keeping us informed.

Ztev Konrad said...

While Jeumont-Schneider was the name at the time of the Collins build, today the name of that part of the original company involved with heavy electric engineering today is Jeumont Electric , part of the Altawest Group.

"JEUMONT Electric is exhibiting at EURONAVAL 2010 which is organized at the exhibition park of Le Bourget (Paris) from 25 to 29 October 2010. This event gets together all the companies active in the naval defense segment. JEUMONT Electric will be happy to welcome you in Hall 2 Stand D 20 JEUMONT Electric , manufacturer of motors and generators is leader in electric propulsion of submarines and surface vessels"

This is the JE website for their press releases, which have a number of submarine projects listed

The translation of the detailed part relating to their involvement with Australia's SF Barracuda
Jeumont Electric will provide the "Propulsion Pack" consisting of the manufacture of synchronous motors, permanent magnets associated with power electronics cabinets and will provide training maintenance of its machines.

While their involvement with Kockums in swedens new subs is this

Jeumont Electric is chosen by SAAB AB Kockums Kockums for the project in close collaboration with Schneider Electric, providing the Swedish navy the complete system for the A26 submarine. This system includes two propulsion motors, converters cabinets, propulsion circuit breakers, batteries and control system.

And again their involvement with Brazils submarine program.

Jeumont, June 1, 2015 - Jeumont Electric will deliver on June 15, 2015 the Brazilian Navy, the largest and most powerful synchronous permanent magnet motor never provided the world. It is accompanied by his cabinet power converters. 4 sessions of 2 weeks technical training to complete this project. The engine is down nearly 6 meters, 3 meters wide and 4.5 meters high.It weighs 72 tons,.

Its a bit like comparing and contrasting the different programs to work backwards about what S-E are really supplying - and what they are not

Peter Coates said...

Hi Ztev [13/5/16 12:03 PM]

Thanks for the Jeumont details.

Lets hope the spin promised for Jeumont's Shortfin motors and generators is as well timed as its Media Release.



Peter Coates said...

Thanks AncientSubHunter

Much appreciated :)

Bridging submarine technical issues and politics is a pleasure.