I see the Shortfin Barracuda / Australian Future Submarine (AFS) as being delayed by 2 years. That is, the design phase might extend until first cutting of steel in 2024. The main reason is the delay in launching and testing of the partial baseline Barracuda/Suffren SSN.
To reduce the likely 2 year delay French Government majority owned Naval Group can still pursue the strategies mentioned yesterday:
In terms of technology transfer - cooperative or otherwise economic:
A. Spain's Navantia may be willing to sell technical innovations and test data involving the now
enlarged S-80 Plus (see English and Spanish wiki). Such information is especially valuable
as the S-80 Plus evolved from Spain's early involvement with France in the Scorpene program in
the 1990s. Since then Navantia has made many technical improvements. The S-80 Plus is also of
interest because it is the first 3,000+ tonne, very modern European submarine, to be near
B. Naval Group is not the only major contractor involved in the Australian Future Submarine.
Lockheed Martin (LM) is the Australian Future Submarine's Combat System Integrator doing
30% - 40% of the work.
LM is also the S-80 Plus's Combat System Integrator. This makes the Combat System solutions
LM has developed for the S-80 Plus highly relevant to the Australian Future Submarine. In LM's
solutions further Combat System similarities include the Harpoon missiles the S-80 Plus and
Australian Future Submarine both deploy and both have expressed a future interest in being
capable of torpedo tube launching Tomahawk land attack and long range anti-ship missiles. See
more tomorrow on the S-80 Plus.
Naval Group, assisted by the French Government, can also gather information about other 3,000+ tonne SSK's from other nations/companies, including:
C. TKMS' new design for 3,000+ tonne SSKs in response to South Korea's 3,000 tonne KSS-III
request and Israel's (probably 3,000+) three Dolphin 3s that are on order.
D. Japan's current and future 3,000+ tonne Soryus are also worthy of close study and perhaps
negotiation especially concerning their Kawasaki diesels and future Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs)
E. Innovations in Sweden's future 2,000 tonne A26s would also be of interest.
F. Russia and China are also developing SSKs with some features of interest.
All this can feed French computer databases and be useful for ongoing and future simulations involving the Australian Future Submarine. The simulations are part of an information loop that throw up further Naval Group requirements for foreign submarine information. Information gathering is also useful for future large SSK competitions that Naval Group is eyeing.