May 30, 2017

Pakistan's 8 future submarines to carry the deadly Hangor name

More is being revealed about Pakistan's relatively large conventional submarine program. Large in terms of:
-  the future submarines will be 2,300 tons submerged (larger than the 1,800 ton average), and 
-  in numbers (8 future Hangor-class subs to add to the 3 already operational Agosta 90Bs and the 2 older Agosta 70s subs perhaps still used for training) 

Pakistan's (?) QUWA Group May 28, 2017 reported:  
-  the 8 future submarines will be called the Hangor - class 
-  Pakistan's STM will lead an upgrade program for the 3 existing Agosta 90B submarines, which
   are air independent propulsion (AIP) equipped. 
-  Pakistan is also aiming to develop a new mini-sub.

Each of the 8 future Hangors is expected to cost only US$350-400 million. If true this will be far lower than the $500-600 million for (even non-AIP) European built submarines.

Without mentioning "Hangor class", wikipedia reportsPakistani Navy officials have confirmed that AIP will on the new Hangors. "The type of AIP system has not been disclosed. China's Stirling AIP system has been speculated as the most likely solution though a Fuel-cell AIP has been deemed as more effective for the warm waters of Pakistan's coastal waters and the Arabian sea."China may not necessarily include AIP. AIP being a separate item often costing at least $100 million per submarine. European designed or new generation Chinese AIP could be plugged in during the builds or  retrofitted. 

Where's the money coming from?

Where the deeply in debt Pakistan is getting the money to buy 8 AIP equipped submarines is a mystery:

-  probably US civilian and military aid, overt and covert, may not amount to much of it - given the 
   US would not be happy with Pakistan buying big-ticket Chinese weapon systems

-  military aid from Saudi Arabia might be more likely, especially if Pakistan is hosting Saudi crew
   training, construction and maintenance training, for the slowly and quietly developing Saudi
   submarine program

-  China would be cross-subsidizing the Hangors, thus achieving the low prices, because Pakistan is a
   strategic ally against mutual enemy, India. Pakistan also has some influence in minimising Central
   Asian Islamic terrorism occurring in China.


ThDaphné class PNS Hangor (I), with its Commander Ahmad Tasnim. (Photo courtesy Alchetron)

The choice of "Hangor" for the future class would be on account of the success of the original Hangor. Submarine aficionados will recall that during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971,  PNS Hangor torpedoed and sank Indian ASW frigate, INS Khukri. Hangor was a Daphné-class submarine that served in the Pakistan Navy from 1970 to 2006. So Pakistan sunk a frigate but lost the 1971 war.


May 25, 2017

First picture of LIBs and LABs for Japanese submarines, LIB research graph

Just received May 25, 2017 

Precise details of yet to be deployed submarine batteries are usually tightly held secrets. However the Japanese Ministry of Defence (MoD) has exhibited transparency by providing the following document to Submarine Matters 

The document provides:

-  a diagram of a Lithium-ion Battery (LIB) used in larger numbers (than LABs) in future Soryus (to
   be launched through to the early 2020s) and then in the new Japanese submarine class that will 
   emerge in the mid 2020s.

-  the first picture of a Lead-acid Battery (LABs) used in their hundreds in each Japanese Oyashio
   and Soryu class submarine

Too difficult for Submarine Matters to cut, paste, put on website and fully translate the whole Japanese document. However I converted PDF into WORD. This allowed part Japanese character translation using


On the document, the Battery in center of picture, is an image of the Japanese Navy's (JMSDF's) new Lithium-ion Battery (LIB) which weighs 770 kg, with dimensions 444mm x 431mm x 1647mm. 

These LIBs will be used on 27SS the first Soryu Mk 2 see the Oyashio-SORYU Table. 27SS, being built at MHI, might be launched this year (2017) and may be commissioned in March 2020. The longer than usual trial-commissioning period is for testing such new battery technology.

- on the left of battery document in blue are the LIB battery management system components.



I was able to retrieve an image of the above LAB battery (in document it is on the right). This would be installed in all current Japanese submarines. This battery weighs 880 kg. 
Dimensions are 444mm x 432mm x 1665mm

A LIB Battery development graph (in Japanese) comparing Japanese and foreign progress is included below the battery pictures.


Separately Howies Marine has produced this interesting Youtube (below) of Japan's changeover from LABs + AIP to LIBs. The Youtube also broaches the subject of the US returning to a part diesel-electric (SSK) submarine service.

The big risk for Japan might be that even if the US re-introduced some SSKs (using LIBs) into the US Navy the US would return to building its own SSKs (not rely on Japan). The US might even sell SSKs in competition against existing SSK builders.


May 23, 2017

Advanced AIP and Submarine Diesels - Built in China?

Part using MHalblaub's insightful comments of May 20, 2017:


In the 1990s Spain decided to forego the advantages of working on submarines with France's DCNI  and attempted to go it alone with the S-80 submarine project. This appears to not have worked out too well. In 2013 Spain announced  serious project management errors leading to the S-80 unbuoyant and overweight. One reason appears to be integration mistakes which made the combined, hull and combat system overweight. Years of extra development (and billions overbudget) have followed.

Foregoing developments with DCNI might be partly explained by increasing Spanish closeness with Germany's TKMS particularly in attempting to develop advanced methanol reformer fuel cell (FC)/AIP.

Details are inexact. But it seems TKMS with Siemens has been working on reformer FC/AIP since 1995. Here is a 2010 German conference paper reflecting how far Germany has gotten in work for  reformer FC/AIP.

Spain's SENER company may have began to work on this technology with TKMS in 2001 (and perhaps earlier).

Again Spain has fared badly. An intended delivery date of the first of class S-80 Isaac Peral was expected to be in 2021.  But IHS Janes reported in January 2017 that the AIP system would not be ready in time for the delivery of the first of class submarine.

Land-based Methanol reformer FC/AIP unit developed by SENER and TKMS not yet ready at TKMS’s shipyard in Kiel. (Photo courtesy SENER website)


MHalblaub indicated that MTU Series 4000 diesel engines may be ready for submarine use [on the first two or second two Type 218SGs for Singapore]. In 2014 the submarine version was tested

Australia's Armidale-class patrol boats [see sidebar here] are already running on MTU 4000 diesels. 


MTU diesels for submarine, especially the Series 396s, have been widely used.
This includes for:
-  All of the TKMS built subs (Types 206, 209, Ulas, 2012, 2014 and Dolphins)
-  Kockums Gotlands, and
-  Chinese Songs and Yuans.
-  If only 396s were built into the Collins subs..(instead of 3 x HedemorasLN
While China already enjoys the use of (Swedish designed?) Stirling AIP in its Yuan submarines... China may also benefit from dual-use diesels developed for submarines. 

A Rolls-Royce / China Yuachi factory in Yulin China will begin operating this year to produce up to 1,500 MTU 4000s annually - probably many for marine applications. Maybe many for the newest Chinese SSKs?

MHalblaub and Pete

Manchester, Terrorism likely - Nail Bomb?

Nineteen people have been killed and more than 50 injured in the suspected terror attack on the Manchester Arena. The explosion happened just after the end of a pop concert by the US singer Ariana Grande, who is popular among children and teenagers.
Police say the blast - which unconfirmed reports from two unnamed US officials suggested had been carried out by a suicide bomber - occurred in the arena's foyer.
Prime Minister Theresa May has suspended election campaigning and will chair a meeting of the Cobra emergency committee. She called the explosion an "appalling terrorist attack", with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn describing it as a "terrible incident".
"The whole building shook," said Emma Johnson, who was waiting to pick up her children from the concert when it happened. "There was a blast and then a flash of fire afterwards. There were bodies everywhere."

Witnesses said that the attack appeared to involve the use of a nail bomb. Nail bombs (often also including nuts, bolts and ballbearings) are used to increase the destructive power of explosives, as the shrapnel increases the bomb’s ability to wound its victims. 
The Manchester police are working on the assumption of terrorism. If so, it would be the worst act of terrorism in Britain since the "7/7 bombings" in 2005 on London Transport, which killed 52 people.

Ambulance after Manchester bombing (Photo courtesy Reuters). 

Manchester's location (in red) in the UK. (Map courtesy Pinterest).


May 19, 2017

Singapore’s submarines, particularly 218SG Propulsion


Originally TKMS broke a complacent Kockums' monopoly when Singapore ordered TKMS subs in November 2013This was the first batch of 2 x TKMS Type 218SGs (covered by Submarine Matters at the time). 

By September 3, 2015 enough details emerged on the 218s to write quite a long Submarine Matters’ description.

On May 15-16, 2017 Singapore announced the order of 2 more 218s.

The first two 218SGs (in 2021-2022) will replace the two ex-Swedish subs, renamed RSS Chieftain and RSS Conqueror of the Singaporean Challenger class

The second batch of the 218s (in the mid 2020s) will replace two more modern ex-Swedish subs, renamed RSS Archer and RSS Swordsman, of the Archer class.


Singapore has long maintained several advanced submarines to:

-  work with nearby sensor arrays, surface and aircraft and allies to monitor activities of non-state 
   actors (Islamic terrorists, drug and arms smugglers, pirates etc)
-  monitor Chinese SSNs and SSKs transiting the Malacca Strait
-  protect the small city-state of Singapore against much larger neighbours (Malaysia, Indonesia and
   Vietnam) that also own submarines, and
-  for intelligence gathering (electronic and special forces, etc)


Its interesting to guess what propulsion types the first and second batches of 218s will have.


All four 218s may feature more efficient, more available, Reformer fuel cell (FC)/Air Independent Propulsion (AIP). On this type of AIP see page 42Spain’s Sener company may be still helping TKMS develop this AIP. Sener indicates

“To solve this problem, and given that the general market trend is to build ever larger submarines, SENER has partnered with ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), the European leader in submarine construction, to develop an AIP based on the methanol reforming process, which allows the hydrogen needed to feed the fuel cell to be produced on board.” 

Or the first two 218s may begin with existing HDW PEM fuel cell AIP and be later retrofitted with Reformer FC/AIP. 

German battery companies may be working with US EnerSys and/or General Atomics to develop more efficient and advanced Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs) for the 218s. EnerSys supplies batteries for diesel-electric (batteries are essentiall day-to-day) and nuclear subs (for backup). General Atomics  may be supplying the LIBs used by US Special Forces mini-subs.


The first two 218s may be fitted with MTU 16V396 SE (3.96 MW) diesels [1]. This would make it easier to retrofit more modern MTU 12V4000s. MTU 12V4000s may be fitted to the the second two 218s.

[1] In the spirit of some European companies sharing sensitive military equipment. "The beating hearts of [China's Yuan and Song submarines] are state-of-the-art diesel engines designed by MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH of Friedrichshafen, Germany." 

A Type 218SG model first displayed at IMDEX ASIA in Singapore, May 19-21 2015.

The 218's X-plane tale (Courtesy Coffee and Bullets)


May 18, 2017

Revised Table of Developers of LIBs and LABs for Submarine


Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs) for submarine use is not a Japanese monopoly. Other countries are developing LIBs for submarine, including European, South Korean, US, Russian, Indian and Chinese.

The world LIB development market is very complex with:

-  major companies supplying batteries to other companies for resale

-  various types of joint ventures between companies, and 

-  companies developing batteries for civilian uses (eg. cars) that also may decide to break into
   the LIBs for submarine market.

-  Companies already supplying Lead-acid Batteries (LABs) for submarine also developing LIBs for

Anonymous has heavily revised the TABLE and footnotes.

Table List of Submarine LAB/LIB Suppliers

LAB for subamrine
LIB etc

Non submarine
Nuclear and diesel submarines [12]

Space applications [11]
No data
Exide Technology
U205,U206, U209, U212; Dolphin, Scorpene, Walrus, Kobben, Näcken, Västergötland, Gotland, UIa, TR 1700, Agosta, Daphne, Redoutable, Rubis, Triomphant [2]
Onyx™ M70 Series LIBs use lithium lithium cobaltaite (LCO)

No data
Western type submarines: U209/U214/Scorpene/Agosta/Daphne
Eastern type submarines: Romeo/ Foxtrot/ Kilo
Design development has been done also for classes U206, U212, Vastergotland(A17)(A19).
Nickel cobalt manganese oxide
(NCM), lithium iron Phosphate (LFP)[4]
No data
HBL Power Systems Ltd.
12.391 kWh to 40.300 kWh [5]
Kilo, Sorpene [6]
No data
Underdevloping [7]
Sunlight Systems
Western type submarines: U206, U209, U212, U214, U209P, U210, Scorpène, Agosta, 6YOH, Sauro, Walrus, Kobben
Eastern type submarines: Romeo, Foxtrot, Kilo [8]
LiSO2 batteries [10]
Radio sets, Mines, Locator beacons, Anti tank weapons, Night vision equipmen
GS Yuasa
Oyashio, SotyuMKI
Lithium manganese oxide (LMO)
Lithium nickel cobalt aluminum oxide (NCA)
Lithium-titanate (ITO)
Lithium-titanate (ITO)
Western type submarines
U206, U209, U212, U214, U209P, U210, Scorpène, Agosta, 6YOH, Sauro, Walrus, Kobben
Eastern type submarines
Romeo, Foxtrot, Kilo
Lithium lithium cobaltaite (LCO) [3],

Energy density, 68, 84Wh/kg etc [9]
No data
Lithium polymer batteries for military use  (114-168Wh/kg) [13]
Lithium polymer batteries ?
No data
No data
Kilo uses Saft (Fr).
No data
Kalina submarines [14]  in collaboration with China
How about Saft?[15]

Exide Technology supplys OEM-LABs to other battery manufactures.

EnerSys, EverExceed , Exide Technology, HBL Power Systems Ltd., and Sunlight Systems are the major lead-acid battery  vendors in the market. Companies, such as GS Yuasa, Saft, Kokam, Arotech, and Toshiba, are aggressively developing Li-ion batteries for submarines and investing in R&D to reduce the cost and match the LAB specifications for the submarines.
The report also states countries, such as Japan, China, and Russia, are focusing on the Li-ion battery technology for the submarines. Russia is also planning to develop Li-ion battery technology for Kalina submarines in collaboration with China.

[3] Data in 2005

HBL is the largest defence battery manufacturer in India. All the products have been designed, developed and manufactured based on in-house technology. The Company supplies batteries for a wide range of applications - fighter aircrafts, helicopters, transport aircraft, submarine propulsion, light weight and heavy weight torpedoes, battle tanks, missiles and artillery fuzes among others.The Company has recently secured approval for Kilo class submarine battery and approval process for Scorpene class submarine is at an advanced stage of completion.

For many years, we had been asked why HBL did not make Lithium Ion batteries. We have now initiated a plan to manufacture prismatic Lithium Ion cells and batteries for specialized applications - not for consumer products. The project is likely to be implemented in the near term.

The design and development of more than 25 different cell types and the delivery of 60 battery shipsets to navies worldwide are the strongest evidences for our expertise and cumulative experience in the submarine battery sector. Indicatively, we have manufactured submarine batteries for: Greece, Italy, Egypt, Germany, Fance, Ukraine, Pakistan, Peru, Sweden, Poland, South Africa, Portugal, Korea, Netherlands, Equador

Energy density is 84Wh/kg for Ion’ Drive 630 (26kWh), 68Wh/kg for Ion’Drive® Motive 24 V 410 Ah

The most commonly lithium batteries used are manufactured based on Lithium Sulfur Dioxide (LiSO2) and Lithium-Ion technology. More specifically, LiSO2 batteries are constructed of a Lithium (Li) anode, a Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) cathode and their electrolyte is made of Acetonitrile in combination with Lithium Bromide.
(Radio sets, Mines, Locator beacons, Anti tank weapons, Night vision equipmen)t

EnerSys is the leading global supplier of lithium-ion batteries for space applications where space heritage, innovation, and a proven delivery track record come together to produce market-leading batteries.

Nominal capcity (160Ah), votage (20-29.4V) and weight (28kg) mean energy density (114-168Wh/kg)

"In December 2014, TsKB Rubin completed the research work" Kalina-Navy "as a result of which the advanced design of a promising multipurpose non-nuclear submarine with air-independent power plant (VNEU) and a lithium-ion battery (LIAB) was executed in accordance with the tactical and technical task of the Russian Defense Ministry," said Shlemov.

[Translated from Russian] In April of [2017?], a seminar-presentation of developments and products of SAFT (France) under the name "Lithium-ion power systems for large underwater vehicles" was held at the St. Petersburg State Maritime Technical University. From the Russian side, specialists from a number of interested organizations took part in the seminar, and from the French side SAFT representatives Bertrand Dotfey, sales director of the Cosmos and Defensive Systems division and Alain Coadou, manager of the new defensive systems, made a presentation.

Pete Comment: China also appears to be developing LIBs for submarine. See “EverSpring” of China, covered in a Submarine Matters' article of February 2, 2016.

Mainly Anonymous and some small comments from Pete