January 7, 2018

US Nuke Sub Backup Diesels - Possible Technology Path for Aus Future Subs

First published June 16, 2017 but still relevant. 

High power submarine diesels, that are already in use, including those that act as backups in nuclear submarines, need to be explored as a diesel option for Australia. Such diesels may be less technically risky than Australia buying new "orphan" (ie. Australian use only) dielsels.

Australia's current orphan diesel is the Collin's (ex locomotive specialised) Garden Island-Hedemora  which has proven unreliable and hence is subject to RAN ordered performance restrictions. Hedemora Diesel is so orphaned that in February 2006 it was bought by Australian company Coote Industrial Ltd.[1]

An Australian future submarine diesel option that deserves investigation is the Fairbanks-Morse 38ND 8-1/8 diesel being used for backup on USN Ohio, Seawolf and Los Angeles class nuclear subs. See the bottom of http://www.fairbanksmorse.com/marine/. 

Significantly French associated MAN works with Fairbanks-Morse - “[see F-M website] FM-MAN engines are manufactured under license from MAN Diesel. 

Current and Still being fitted for nuclear submarine backup use is the Caterpillar 3512B V-12 Twin-turbo charged diesel. The US Viginia class SSN use these diesels as backup (bottom of another site) described in 2004. Closely related 3512C on Caterpillar site. Also here , here and here).



Ztev Konrad said...

I was thinking about your comment about the extra space between the F-M diesels Pete. Then it struck me, being horizontal pistons, the only way to do maintenance is take them out sideways. Obviously with one unit each side you have a single clear space in between. V type engines need to have space above and have a more complicated
heavy maintenance process requiring removal of cylinder head and all the valve gear first.

Peter Coates said...

A great article from ASPI Strategist, written by Geoffrey Barker, on June 19, 2017 :

"Should some of [Australia's future] Barracudas go nuclear?"

at https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/barracudas-go-nuclear/

It recounts the UK's decision to ditch a totally SSK future in favour of a future with vastly superior SSNs.

BTW: Can we trust Trump to succesfully secure (Russia's approval for) continued USN nuclear protection of Australia?