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


Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

S-80 is Submarine of La Macha, because it chases impossible dream like Man of La Mancha[1].



MHalblaub said...

S-80 was designed in a time Spain wanted to build more buildings than people exits in Spain. This bubble did burst...

Spain does not have the money to afford new submarines. That seems to be the main reason for delays.


Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

China or India may adopt AIP for Kalina [1]. They say this AIP will show high performance. If Kalina equips with Chi-MTU and stay in Baltic Sea, it will be nightmare.

Project Kalina is a proposed fifth-generation diesel-electric submarine currently being developed by TsKB Rubin and others, for the Russian Navy. It will be fitted with air-independent propulsion technology, and copies may also be sold to India and China.


Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub

Yes, Spain is learning what is already known - that it is extremely difficult to start a local design and build submarine program.

Taiwan will learn this over the next 30 years.



Peter Coates said...

Hi Anonymous [at 24/5/17 10:20 PM]

China may have proven it can parallel develop a Stirling AIP with Sweden but I don't know whether India could do similar.

The Russians have been talking about new AIP for the very slow Lada/Amur program for many years. As if to indicate progress Russia has rebadged its future AIP sub as "Kalina".

Maybe a Chinese MTU diesel would help in a third generation, non-AIP, Kilo.