January 26, 2018

Penske MTU 4000 competition to Kawasaki Diesel for Submarine - PART FOUR

Against my preference for Kawasaki diesels (see PART THREE) sourced through Naval Group’s European partner, MAN, is MTU/Penske/ASC’s promotion of the MTU 4000 for Australia’s future submarine.

ASC’s Media Release of October 6, 2017 reported:

“Australia’s sovereign submarine company, ASC, and Penske Power Systems have announced their intention to enter into an agreement to put MTU engines through their paces at ASC’s engine test facilities in Adelaide as part of an ongoing research and development activity.”

On September 9, 2017 Penske was more specific, reporting:

“In a world first, Penske Power Systems will unveil the much anticipated MTU 12V4000U83 submarine engine at Pacific 2017 on [October 3, 2017].

This will be the global reveal of MTU’s next generation of submarine charging unit engines, suitable for projects such as the upgrade of the current Collins class and inclusion within the Australian future submarine.

With a well proven pedigree, the 12V4000U83 boasts greater power ([only] up to 1,500 kW) than its 16V396SE84 predecessor while being IMO Tier II compliant and compact.”


With only an output of 1.5MW 12V4000U83 diesels fall short of the 2MW required in a 8MW total, 4 diesel arrangement for the Australian Future Submarine. The option of further developed more powerful MTU diesels may deserve consideration - though this is risky.

An unhelpfully blurry MTU diesel chart, with the very narrow power range MTU 4000 for submarine 3rd from bottom. See chart a little larger and clearer here http://www.mtu-online.com/mtu/applications/marine-defense/?L=eyeusejkvzrfvkp .

In a January 6, 2018 comment MHalblaub suggests MTU 4000 diesels for submarine more powerful with more cylinders than the current with MTU 4000 12V (2185mm Height x 1850mm Width x 2870mm Length (without gearbox).

Those larger maybe 2MW, more cylinder, MTU 4000s are:

-  16 V: 2185 x 1850 x 3510 or

-  20 V: 2240 x 1470 x 4040

But there may be risks of developing specially Australia Only (therefore potentially orphan) MTU diesels for submarine. The precedent of selecting untried Garden Island-Hedemora V18B14SUB(with turbocharger) for the Collins submarines should be remembered. The most unique, orphan part of the Garden Island- Hedemora V18B14SUB was the turbocharger, the precursor to over reliance on Australian technical solutions and exorbitant maintenance rather than relying on a large industrial development base like Kawasaki, MAN or MTU 12V4000s.

Additional issues are unstealthy vibration from diesels causing excessive noise as n the Hedemora V18B14SUB [source?]. 

High power Kawasaki diesels already used on Japanese submarines may be a less risky and more efficient choice.



Anonymous said...

Dear Pete,

I think there is a big difference between an orphan engine and an orphan submarine engine.

Garden Island- Hedemora V18B14SUB is an orphan engine while the MTU 4000 is produced in all variations since 1997.

MTU 20V 4000 might by an orphan submarine engine but the core engine is well known (spare parts and vibration scheme). Add ons for submarine use like air supply are known from MTU 396 and MTU 12V 4000.


Peter Coates said...


Yes I agree there are different degrees of Orphaness - which is the opposite of Military-Off-The-Shelf (MOTS), See MOTS questions at http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2018/01/australian-future-subs-diesel-generator_3.html .

Australia should choose MAN, MTU (was 396 now a 4000 with more cylinders) or Kawasaki diesels.

Australia should avoid the temptation of developing of a small company (like Hedemora) ORPHAN diesel. Even if this lifts that small company's financial fortunes in building a "whole" 24 new Orphan diesels specialised for Australia's 12 new subs.



Anonymous said...

I have to agree with MHalblaub. MTU is one of the worlds leading diesel engine makers, including for trucks (mainly mining), armoured vehicles, trains, ships, submarines, tractors, industrial gen sets etc. Even if its an Australian only engine, you will have the full weight of MTU behind it(MTU is also a major naval engine supplier to Australia - something they don't want to risk). Any 2mw sub engine is going to almost be an orphan engine whoever makes it (ie world market is a little limited). Would MTU be interested? I certainly think so. 12 subs x 4 engines = 48 engines. Plus if the Shortfin lives up to expectations, there is the potential for Canada as well.


Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous ,

Australian main specs for submarine were high transit speeds. Canada has some ice around its borders. Therefore a submarine able to stay submerged for longer times would suit Canada better. That is either nuclear propulsion or fuel cell AIP: French Suffren-class or German Type 21something.


Anonymous said...


You are forgetting about lithium-ion batteries. All the majors are working on them. Japan it appears will be the first in the water & they are eliminating AIP on the basis that it won't be needed. Naval Group say the technology is not there yet, but its at least 10 years before any Shortfins are in the water & the French are definately working on Li batteries, as are the Germans & of course Japan.

All eyes will be on Japan. As soon as the technology is proven safe (if it is), I expect Australia will go that way. It may be sub 1, it may be sub 6 or whatever but I very much doubt all 12 will be lead acid battery. If we can make it by sub 1, I expect Canada to be very interested - sub 6 or 9 may be a little too late for them.