April 5, 2018

Russian Built Kilo Submarines Exported to China - Propulsion

Russia has built and exported a total of 12 Kilo submarines to China since the early 1990s, including:

-  2 original Kilos designated by Russia as Project 877EKM, and

-  10 Improved Kilos designated Project 636 (including 2 x 636.1s and 8 x 636Ms).

In the 1990s andd early 2000s these Kilos were quite standard to advanced submarines. So it is assumed China looked at these exports as a technology transfer, reverse-engineering opportunity. It is assumed the Chinese Song and Yuan class submarines owe much to the Kilo design. For example the Songs and Yuans retain the Kilos tear drop shaped double hull with (vertical-horizontal edge) "square" sail/fin.

It is not known the extent China reverse engineered the Kilo diesels to drive the Songs and Yuans. This is because MAN as well as Rolls Royce and MTU may have made superior marine diesels for submarine available to China.
  
Kilo Project 877EKM Propulsion

The Russian wikipedia entry on the original export Kilo 877EKM (or ECM) provides details on the “Powerplant”: Kilo 877 submarines have a single-shaft power plant with 2 x 4-2DL42M diesels, each of 1000 kW at 700 rpm. These diesels work with PG-142 generators.
[But then the Russian to English translation gets confusing with: "The row motor [?] of the PG-101 model has a power of 4 MW at 500 rpm and is duplicated by an electric motor of the economic stroke type PG-140 (139 kW at 150 rpm).”[3] Two reserve propellers of the "screw in tube" type are located in the semi-ring tunnels in the aft part inside the light hull of the boat [4] and are driven into rotation by the reserve electric motors PG-168 (2 x 75 kW at 650 rpm)." [3]
[but fortunately translation becomes clearer with] "The battery type 446 consists of two groups of 120 elements each, and is located on the lower decks of the 1st and 3rd compartments. Its energy capacity is enough for 400 miles of underwater speed at a speed of 3 knots. The reserve under the RDP is 6000 miles on 7 knots."

Tables A and B below have been modified from English Wikipedia

TABLE A Russian 877 Kilos Exported to China

Operator
Pennant #
Name
Project
Laid down
Commis
sioned
Status
364
Yuan Zheng 64 Hao
877EKM
???
Nov 1994
active 2007
China
365
Yuan Zheng 65 Hao
877EKM
???
Aug 1995
active 2007


Kilo Project 636 (636.1 and 636M) Propulsion 

As with the earlier Kilo 877EKMs, Kilo 636s (636.1 and 636M) use 2 x Two 4-2DL42M diesels. Anonymous indicates they are L6 type diesels with 300mm of bore and 380mm of stroke. Using PG-142 generators they generate 1000kW of electrical output at 700 rpm. 

TABLE B Russian 636 "Improved" Kilos Exported to China

Operator
Pennant #
Name
Project
Laid down
Commis
sioned
Status
China
366
Yuan Zheng 66 Hao
636.1
Jul 1996
Aug 1997
active 2006
China
367
Yuan Zheng 67 Hao
636.1
Aug 1997
Oct 1998
active 2006
China
368
Yuan Zheng 68 Hao
636M
Oct 2002
Oct 2004
active 2006
China
369
Yuan Zheng 69 Hao
636M
Oct 2002
2005
active 2006
China
370
Yuan Zheng 70 Hao
636M
2004
2005
active 2006
China
371
Yuan Zheng 71 Hao
636M
2004
2005
active 2006
China
372
Yuan Zheng 72 Hao
636M
2005
2006
active 2006
China
373
Yuan Zheng 73 Hao
636M
Jul 1992
Aug 2005
active 2007
China
374
Yuan Zheng 74 Hao
636M
May 2003
Dec 2005
active 2006
China
375
Yuan Zheng 75 Hao
636M
May 2003
Dec 2005
active 2006

More research will be done on the Russian Navy's Kilo 636.3s for which Anonymous has provided the details: 2 x 7-2D42M diesels are used for the Kilo 636.3s, They are L6 type diesels with 300mm of bore and 380mm of stroke. Using PG-167 generators they generate 1500kW of electrical output at 750 rpm. 

Six 636.3s are active in Russia's Black Sea Fleet and two to six 636.3s may be supplied to the Russian Pacific Fleet by the early 2020s. Russia may have eight Kilo 877s (some active, some laid up) in the Pacific Fleet.

Pete and Anonymous

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think the main difference between the 7-2D42M and 4-2DL42 is the increased performance using 2 stages turbochargers and intercoolers. Both plants trace their origins back to the 30/38 in the 1930s. In my view the 30/38 is similar to the old British Gardner engines, they are both very economical low speed engines. None of the 30/38 variants, including the 7-2D42M, can run at speeds higher than 750rpm. I am speculating given these engines with long crankshafts, long stroke high torque, Kilo SSK is optimized for low speed patrols, meaning running their engines at 400-500rpm.
One difference I notice between the Russian 636.3 and the 636.1 (looking at photos of the Vietnamese Kilo) is the existence of pump jet outlets on both sides, at the rear just below the horizontal tailplane on the 636.3. They are for very low speed shallow depth operation I think. Not sure where the auxiliary propellers on the 636.1 are located.
In my view the main weakness on the Kilo, 636.3 or 636.1 is the sonar suite. few Russian submarine designs have the spherical bow sonar due to the location of the torpedo tubes. With sonar, passive performance is directly related to the surface area. There are also no flank sonar arrays that I am aware of.
I think there are 4 potential areas for performance improvements on the Kilo SSK. After all, Russia need to sell SSK to get cash, especially in light of the vaporware that is the Kalina SSK.
1. improved sonar performance. May be add the flank arrays. Improved electronics (I have read they use dated CPUs)
2. replace LAB with Lithium-Ion. This will require new gensets.
3. optimize the sail, better meshing with the hull
4. better skewed propeller design. If you compare the German type 212 propeller to the 636 propeller, you can clearly see the German propeller is much better.
KQN

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN

Great comment with lots of argument and detail.

I'll turn it into an article today.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi KQN again

Your comments [with my bracketed comments] have just become article "Russian Navy and Export Kilo submarine issues & their diesels" of April 6, 2018, at http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2018/04/russian-navy-and-export-kilo-submarine.html .

Regards

Pete