June 16, 2017

Australia should avoid another Orphan Diesel Engine on the future Shortfin

Ztev Konrad made some good points in his June 16, 2017 comment 

Pete's response is:

A good comment - on the money .

The bottom of this site http://www.fairbanksmorse.com/marine/  indeed points to Fairbanks -Morse diesels being used for backup on Ohio, Seawolf and Los Angeles class nuclear subs. MAN diesels also on the F-M site here.

Virginia class diesels (bottom of another site) were described in 2004 as Caterpillar 3512B V-12 Twin-turbo charged engines.

The characteristics of backup diesels for nuclear subs might be different than for continuous long range use on conventional subs (SSKs). I'd be happier if F-M was still supplying diesels to SSKs rather leaving this market years ago.

Why did F-M leave that market? Was it part of the US avoid building diesel-electric propulsion subs at all costs policy?

I think regular tried and tested submarine Kawasaki, MAN or MTU diesels would be better for Shortfin rather than again specially developing "new orphan" engines like the Garden Island-Hedemoras (GI-H).

Yes Australia's inexperience (and trust in Kockums in the 1980s-90s) was readily apparent. ASC and the RAN no longer had Vickers or the UK RN (Parents of the Oberons) to protect Australia in the Collins project. GI-H's were one submarine class ORPHAN diesels which would have been good for the cold, short distance, Baltic, but remain a constant problem for Australia's warm wide ocean requirements. Tried, tested common-in-submarine-use MANs or MTUs should have been selected for the Collins instead.



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?