July 31, 2013

Pakistan Submarine Capabilities: Agostas and Cosmos

  One of Pakistan's three MG110 (Cosmos Class) minisubs (see the two men for scale). Perhaps mainly used for reconnaissance and special forces delivery?
On 29 July 2013 the US privately funded Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI) published the following update on Pakistan submarine capabilities http://www.nti.org/analysis/articles/pakistan-submarine-capabilities/ . Note the disclaimer "This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies [MIIS] and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright © 2011 by MIIS [unclear whether the information is dated 2011 or 2013]"

I've added some extra comments within {...} brackets, extra links and boldings for emphasis.

"The Pakistan Navy operates a fleet of five diesel-electric submarines and three MG110 {40 ton, 6 frogmen or 2 tons of explosive, Cosmos Class from Italy 1988 onwards} miniature submarines (SSI). [1] Although these vessels are currently based at Karachi, it is possible that in the future some may also be based at Port Ormara {specifically at the Jinnah Naval Base}. [2]

The nucleus of the fleet is comprised of:

 - two {aging} Agosta-70 boats {PNS Hashmat and PNS Hurmat} and

 - three modern Agosta-90B {PNS Khalid, PNS Saad and PNS Hamza} submarines,

all of French design. Pakistan's third Agosta-90B, the S 139 Hamza, was constructed indigenously and features the DCNS MESMA (Module d'EnergieSous-Marin Autonome) air-independent propulsion (AIP) system. Pakistan began retrofitting the two earlier Agosta-90B vessels with the MESMA AIP propulsion system when they underwent overhaul in 2011. [3]

Submarine Tables for Pakistan

The Agosta-90B Hamza (Khalid-class) was constructed at the Karachi Shipyard and Engineering Works (KSEW). [4] Pakistani officials and media outlets extolled the accomplishment, treating the indigenous {but French designed...} submarine's 26 September 2008 commissioning as a significant step in the enhancement of the country's naval capabilities vis-à-vis India. [5] It is the first conventional submarine in the Indian Ocean to feature the AIP system (in this case a 200KW liquid oxygen MESMA AIP), which allows the vessel to increase its submerged endurance for up to 3 weeks and improves its stealth characteristics. [6]

During the 1971 war between India and Pakistan, India effectively blockaded the port of Karachi, Pakistan's only major harbor. In response, Islamabad was able to curtail India's naval supremacy only through the use of its submarine force.
Above is an old Agosta 70 of the Hashmat Class 

{In 1971 Pakistan's PNS Hangor a Daphne Class submarine} sank one Indian frigate. [7] {PNS Hangor was decommissioned in 2006}. Drawing on these experiences and the perceived threat posed by a larger Indian Navy, Pakistan has been continuously investing in its submarine force, within the constraints posed by its economy.

An effective sea-denial capability is vital to Pakistan. Given that over 96 percent of this trade is seaborne, the Pakistan Navy and its submarine fleet is charged with protecting the country's sea lanes of communication (SLOC). [8]

Developments in India's naval infrastructure and force posture significantly inform Pakistan's own naval planning. In February 2001, the Pakistan Navy publicly considered the deployment of nuclear weapons aboard its submarines, arguing that it had to keep pace with developments in India. [9] Islamabad later rescinded its statement in January 2003, reaffirming Pakistan's commitment to a "minimum credible deterrence." [10] In the wake of India's short-range Agni-I test that month, then Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Shahid Karimullah left the option open, saying that the country had no plans to deploy nuclear weapons on its submarines, and that it would do so only if "forced to." [11] But most experts agree that Pakistan is, at the very least, attempting to develop a sea-based version of the indigenously built nuclear capable ground-launched 'Babur' cruise missile. [12] This missile is similar in design to the American Tomahawk and Russian KH-55 cruise missiles. [13]
Above is a newer AIP equipped Agosta 90B of the Hamza-Khalid Class.
Pakistan has explored options to purchase additional advanced diesel-electric submarines in an attempt to address the country's "critical force imbalance" with India, which plans to begin acquiring six French AIP-equipped Scorpène submarines at a rate of one per year in 2014. [14] Discussions between the Pakistan Navy and Germany's ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) began in 2004 concerning the possible purchase of three diesel-electric {HDW}Type 214 submarines equipped with an AIP system based on fuel cell technology. Although the deal appeared close to completion in 2008, it stalled over financing concerns and German political opposition to fueling an arms race in South Asia. [15] Parallel to the negotiations with TKMS, France also attempted to sell its Marlin or Scorpène-class submarines to Pakistan, and revived discussions after Pakistan failed to finalize the contract with Germany. [16] In May 2011, the Pakistani cabinet approved the start of negotiations with China over the purchase of diesel-electric submarines equipped with AIP. [17]"

See original report included detailed list of endnotes at http://www.nti.org/analysis/articles/pakistan-submarine-capabilities/

July 14, 2013

Great Summary of Submarine Trends

 The US attack ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) Ohio. The Ohio Class forms the mainstay of America's nuclear triad. The USS SSBN's in total represent a greater capability than all non-US SSBNs combined.
Below is a well balanced summary of international submarine developments, produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, July 11, 2013 http://www.nti.org/analysis/reports/submarine-proliferation-overview/ :

Introduction to Submarine Proliferation Resource Collection

Submarine proliferation impacts both regional stability and the ability of states to deliver weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Since the end of the Cold War, the total number of active submarines in the world has fallen, largely as a result of large-scale decommissioning of former Soviet vessels.[1] However, the number of countries operating submarines has increased. This is due largely to ongoing regional tensions in the Middle East, and both South and East Asia, which have driven submarine procurement. In this database, two specific trends are examined: the spread of nuclear propulsion technology beyond the five recognized nuclear weapon states, and the conventional submarine procurement programs of countries that may or may not have WMD capabilities. An additional issue, and one that has increased the demand for diesel-powered submarines, is the advent of Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) technology, which allows non-nuclear submarines to stay submerged for longer periods of time, thereby increasing performance and survivability. The use and spread of AIP technology is also examined in this database.

An Evolving Export Market

Although the number of states acquiring submarines has grown in recent decades, the group of countries exporting submarines has remained relatively small. Today, France, Germany and Russia are the three most active exporters of conventional submarines. France's Direction des Constructions Navales Services (DCNS) and Germany's Howaldtswerke Deutsche Werft (HDW) are the two principal submarine producers in their respective countries.[2] Between them, they have exported to approximately 21 navies.[3] Meanwhile, Russia has a number of design and construction enterprises that have been involved in the export of conventional boats to some 14 navies around the world. Notable recipients of Russian diesel-powered submarines include ChinaIran, and India. China and India, in particular, have purchased large numbers of Russian Kilo-class vessels over the last two decades.[4]

Competition among exporters for lucrative construction contracts can be fierce, and this has often led to producers offering technology transfer to secure deals. One example is France's provision of production technology to Pakistan as part of its 1994 sale of Agosta-class vessels.[5] Technology transfer of this kind will result in the proliferation of submarine producers as recipients become capable of constructing their own submarines.

AIP Technology

Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) technology provides diesel-powered submarines with greater submerged endurance (several weeks as opposed to several days), thereby enhancing their survivability.[6] This is achieved through the use of liquid (or compressed) oxygen or hydrogen fuel cells that allow vessels to stay submerged for longer periods without the need for external sources of oxygen.[7] The smaller size of AIP vessels also gives them greater access to littoral waters than their larger, nuclear-powered, counterparts. For nations that are unable, or unwilling, to develop nuclear powered submarines, AIP offers an attractive alternative that gives improved submarine performance without the financial cost of pursuing nuclear propulsion. For this reason, AIP technology has been popular with small navies that wish to gain greater underwater endurance.

Implications for Regional Stability

The increased endurance and survivability that AIP technology provides has heightened concern that nuclear armed states such as Israel, India and Pakistan could mount warheads on submarine launched delivery systems. An issue that is particularly troubling for regional stability is the proliferation of submarines capable of firing advanced cruise missiles.[8] Such concerns are especially relevant to South Asia and the Middle East, where the deployment of submarines carrying nuclear warheads may intensify regional arms races. Furthermore, an increased reliance on submarine-based delivery platforms among recognized nuclear weapon states such as the United Kingdom and France has only strengthened the argument that submarines offer increased survivability, and therefore, an assured second-strike capability. As a result, there is now a trend towards greater sea-based deployment of nuclear weapons among nuclear weapon states outside the NPT, such as India and Israel. In fact, it is rumored that the Israeli Navy has already mounted nuclear-tipped cruise missiles on the Dolphin-class submarines it acquired from Germany.[9] Although such sea-based deployments may increase stability by ensuring a second-strike capability, they also have the potential to trigger arms races that create greater instability. The proliferation of conventional nuclear submarines, even among states that do not possess a nuclear weapons capability, may precipitate regional conventional arms races.

Nuclear Propulsion

Despite the advent of AIP technology, a number of states continue to pursue nuclear propulsion, often for reasons of national prestige or arms race dynamics. India and Brazil have taken significant steps toward this goal. Although India began work on its so-called Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) in the 1970s, the project ran into a number of financial and technical difficulties.[10] In July 2009, however, India launched its first ATV submarine, the INS Arihant, at the Ship Building Centre in Vishakapatnam.[11] The vessel is undergoing extensive sea trials before being commissioned into the Indian Navy, which may be delayed until 2013.[12] New Delhi plans eventually to build a fleet of three ballistic missile submarines (SSBNs) that will perform a strategic nuclear role, with each vessel likely to carry 12 Sagarika submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBM).[13] By comparison, Brazil's development of a nuclear-powered submarine is far behind India's, and its first vessel is unlikely to be ready until 2023 at the earliest.[14] Between 1980 and 2005 Brasilia invested heavily in the development of uranium enrichment, fuel fabrication and reactor technology, and is now conducting work on a prototype reactor called the RENAP-11.[15]

In their bids to develop nuclear propulsion both India and Brazil will receive assistance — to varying degrees — from other states. Russia has been India's key partner. In addition to Russia's export of nuclear reactor technology to India, the Soviet Union leased a Project 670 nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine to New Delhi in 1988.[16] The vessel's reactor was operated by Russian crew, and the submarine was returned to the Soviet Union in 1991. Due to delays in its indigenous program, India signed an agreement with Russia in 2004 to lease another nuclear-powered attack submarine, a Project 971 Shchuka-B (NATO designation Akula II), inducted into the Indian Navy as the INS Chakra in April 2012.[17]

Meanwhile, France will assist Brazil in constructing the hull for its first nuclear vessel. Brasilia originally approached both Russia and France as possible suppliers, but eventually signed a contract with France in September 2009.[17] The contract states that France will supply Brazil with the hull for a nuclear vessel on the condition that Brazil will be solely responsible for the vessel's nuclear components.[18] Any spread of naval nuclear technology beyond these two states creates nonproliferation concerns due to a loophole in the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). This loophole allows states to withdraw fissile material from international safeguards if it is to be used for military reactor fuel, thus creating the possibility that fissile material will be diverted to a nuclear weapons program.[19]

Export Controls

When considering the export of submarines, states often prioritize financial gain over security concerns because of the lucrative nature of construction contracts. Russia's provision of nuclear reactor and submarine-design technology to China and India are clear examples.[20] Additionally, multilateral export control regimes contain few restrictions on the sale of submarines, partly because they have historically been used for defensive purposes. The UN Arms Register requires states to declare the transfer of warships that displace 500 metric tons, or are able to fire missiles or torpedoes with a range of 25 kilometers or more.[21] The Wassenaar Arrangement goes further by requiring states to report the sale of vessels that displace 150 tons, as well as those that are equipped to fire missiles or torpedoes with a range of 25 kilometers.[22] However, declarations to the United Nations have not been comprehensive, and neither of these regimes bans the sale of any type of submarine.[23] The NPT also allows the export of nuclear submarines, as nuclear propulsion is viewed as an acceptable use of nuclear energy. As a result, there is little to prevent states from selling submarines to countries located in regions of high political and military tension.


[1] James Clay Moltz, "Global Submarine Proliferation: Emerging Trends and Problems," Nuclear Threat Initiative Issue Brief, March 2006, www.nti.org.
[2] "Agosta SSK," DCNS, www.dcnsgroup.com; and "Israel buys two nuclear-capable submarines," The Washington Post, 25 August 2006, www.washingtonpost.com.
[3] "Submarines," Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, www.hdw.de; and Pierre Tran, "DCNS Pins Hopes on Exports," Defense News, 8 November 2010, www.defensenews.com.
[4] "Russian arms exports to China may drop significantly," RIA Novosti, 4 February 2009, www.rian.ru; and "Submarine Forces: India," Jane's Underwater Warfare Systems, 11 November 2009, www.janes.com.
[5] "Submarine Forces, Pakistan," Jane's Underwater Warfare Systems, 25 September 2009, www.janes.com.
[6] Milan Vego, "The Right Submarine for Lurking in the Littorals," U.S. Naval Institute, Proceedings Magazine, June 2010, Vol. 136, p. 6.
[7] "Sub Proliferation Sends Navies Diving for Cover," Jane's International Defence Review, 1 August 1997.
[8] James Clay Moltz, "Serious Gaps Emerging in Export Controls on Submarines," NIS Export Control Observer, produced by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, June 2005, p. 23.
[9] "Israel buys two nuclear-capable submarines," The Washington Post, 25 August 2006, www.washingtonpost.com; and James Clay Moltz, "Serious Gaps Emerging in Export Controls on Submarines," NIS Export Control Observer, produced by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, June 2005, p. 23.
[10] T.S. Gopi Rethinaraj, "ATV: All at Sea Before It Hits the Water," Jane's Intelligence Review, 1 June 1998.
[11] "Submarine Forces, India," Jane's Underwater Warfare Systems, 14 August 2009, www.janes.com.
[12] Rajat Pandit, "Strategic Karwar Naval Base Set for Major Expansion," The Times of India, 20 May 2012, http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com; Robert Norris and Hans Kristensen, "Indian Nuclear Forces, 2008," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November-December 2008.
[13] Rajat Pandit, "Strategic Karwar Naval Base Set for Major Expansion," The Times of India, 20 May 2012, articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com; Peter Crail and Eben Lindsey, "India Launches First Nuclear Submarine," Arms Control Today, September 2009, www.armscontrol.org.
[14] "Brazilian Submarine Construction Progress Detailed," BBC Worldwide Monitoring, 17 October 2011, www.lexisnexis.com; "Brazil Launches Construction of Four Scorpene-Class Submarines," RIA Novosti, 17 July 2011, en.rian.ru..
[15] "Project 670 Skat," Federation of American Scientists, www.fas.org.
[16] "India to get Russian nuclear submarine for 10-year lease," RIA Novosti, 17 March 2010, www.rian.ru.
[17] "India Inducts Russian Made Nuclear Submarine into Navy," The Times of India, 4 April 2012, http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com; Sarah Diehl and Eduardo Fujii, "Brazil's Pursuit of a Nuclear Submarine Raises Proliferation Concerns," WMD Insights, March 2008, www.wmdinsights.com.
[18] "Brazilian Submarines: DCNS Passes Major Milestone Towards One of Group's Biggest Contracts Ever," DCNS web site, 7 September 2009, www.dcnsgroup.com; "Acordo Entre o Governo da República Federativa do Brasil e o Governo da República Francesa na Area de Submarinos" [Agreement Between the Government of the Federative Republic of Brazil and the Government of France in the Area of Submarines], Brazilian Defense Ministry on the DEFESA@NET web site, 23 December 2008, www.defesanet.com.br.
[19] Chunyan Ma and Frank von Hippel, "Ending the Production of Highly Enriched Uranium for Naval Reactors, Nonproliferation Review, Spring 2001, p. 87.
[20] James C. Bussert, "China Copies Russian Ship Technology for Use and Profit," Signal Online, June 2008, www.afcea.org.
[21] "Considerations for Reducing the Benchmark Range for Torpedoes on Warships of Less Than 500 Metric Tons," 2009 Group of Governmental Experts on the UN Register of Conventional Arms, United Nations Office of Disarmament Affairs, www.un.org.
[22] "Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-Use Goods and Technologies," July 2004, www.wasenaar.org.
[23] James Clay Moltz, "Serious Gaps Emerging in Export Controls on Submarines," NIS Export Control Observer, produced by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, June 2005, p. 24."

July 12, 2013

An R2P troop intervention into Syria dangerous for West

US TV show host Rachel Maddow with clips from US Rightwingers who advocate active involvement of Western forces in the Syrian Civil War.

My Comment

But there are also those from the Centre and Left who  argue that a Western Responsibility to Protect (R2P) intervention with Western troops "Boots" on the ground, is necessary to defend the Syrian people against the Syrian Assad Government.

There is a very real risk that a Western troop intervention that destroys the Syrian Army would be seen as yet another Western invasion and occupation of a Muslim Middle Eastern country.

If such an intervention occurred the civil war might rapidly become an anti-Western insurgency with former soldiers of Assad's army, Shiite Hezbollah militia and the Sunni "rebel" opposition forces all fighting Western troops. This is what happened in Iraq after the 2003 Western invasion - something that should not be repeated.


July 11, 2013

USS Jimmy Carter Secret Tapper of Undersea Cables

(Diagram courtesy Wikipedia) of USS Jimmy Carter indicating some additions to aid a cable listening mission (click on image to expand).

Vigilis at Molten Eagle  wrote the following excellent post on July 3, 2013, see http://aquilinefocus.blogspot.com.au/2013/07/article-ties-uss-jimmy-carter-ssn-23-to.html :

"Article ties USS Jimmy Carter (SSN 23) to 'Sensitive' NSA Listening

Tamedia Publications romandes http://www.linkedin.com/company/tamedia-publications-romandes * SA is a Swiss media group headquartered in Zurich. With daily and weekly newspapers,  magazines, and newspaper printing part sof Tamedia media companies. The company was founded in 1893 and is listed on the Swiss Stock Exchange since 2000. 
*Suisse romande or Romandie refers to French-speaking districts of western Switzerland. "Suisse romand" describes the French dialect spoken in Switzerland. 


July 7, 2013 Tribune de Genève   L'USS Jimmy Carter, les oreilles de la NSA au fond des mers  -  By Pascal Schmuck.
Translated excerpts in italics [emphasis mine]:  The USS Jimmy Carter, the ears of the NSA on the seabed

The particular American nuclear sub is capable of monitoring submarine optical fiber cables. No communication seems immune to the ears of the National Security Agency (NSA). Satellite comms are routinely monitored by the Echelon program, but the fiber optic submarine cables have not escapes their monitoring.

Of course, transatlantic comms are already monitored on both sides of the ocean, by the Americans and the British. But the United States has also developed a special nuclear submarine capable of intercepting more sensitive communications. The USS Jimmy Carter was built in the early 2000s to operate wiretaps.

Since we know that almost 90% of Internet traffic is carried by submarine cable versus 10% by satellite. Submarine cables give rise to many fantasies, as we hear whenever one of them is cut. USS Jimmy Carter seems to represent a capability of strategic significance.

NOTES (Wikipedia)
1- As of 2006, overseas satellite links accounted for only 1 percent of international traffic, while the remainder was carried by undersea cable .

2- [USS Jimmy] Carter has additional maneuvering devices fitted fore and aft that will allow her to keep station over selected targets in odd currents. Past submarines outfitted this way were used to tap undersea cables, to intercept communications of foreign countries. Intelligence experts speculate that the MMP may find use in similar missions as an underwater splicing chamber for fiber optic cables.[4][5][6][7]
Submarines are always silent and strange.



Subsequently an excellent article from The National Interest, August 5, 2017 reveals:

"The extreme quietness of the Seawolf class gave the Navy the idea of modifying the last submarine, USS Jimmy Carter, to support clandestine operations. An extra one hundred feet was added to the hull, a section known as the Multi-Mission Platform (MMP). The MMP gives Carter the ability to send and recover Remotely Operated Vehicles/Unmanned Underwater Vehicles and SEALs and diving teams while submerged. It includes berthing for up to fifty SEALs or other attached personnel. Carter also features auxiliary maneuvering devices fore and aft for precise maneuvering in situations such as undersea cable tapping and other acts of espionage."


July 8, 2013

Russia building 3rd Yasen Graney Attack Submarine


The multi-choice named Yasen, NATO Graney, Project 885, Severodvinsk Class submarine. Click to expand.
"Russia to Lay Down 3rd Yasen Class Nuclear Sub on July 26 2013
ST. PETERSBURG, July 4 (RIA Novosti) – Russia on July 26 will begin constructing the third of at least eight nuclear-powered submarines to make up the core of its underwater attack fleet, the vessel's designer said Thursday.

The Novosibirsk, the third Yasen-class sub, designated as Graney-class by NATO, will be laid down at the Sevmash shipyard near the White Sea, said Vladimir Dorofeyev, head of the St. Petersburg-based Malakhit design bureau.

The Project 885 vessel is designed to launch conventional or nuclear warhead-bearing missiles up to 3,000 miles (5,000 kilometers)[not yet clear what missile fired from a Yasen will have that range - presumably a ballistic missile?], as well as effectively engage other submarines, surface warships and land-based targets.

The first Yasen-class sub, the Severodvinsk, is undergoing a second round of sea trials in the White Sea and is expected to enter service with the Navy by the end of this year.

The submarine's armament includes 24 cruise missiles and eight torpedo launchers, as well as mines and anti-ship missiles.

“Everything is going according to schedule, coordinated with the Navy,” Dorofeyev said.
The second vessel, the Kazan, was laid down in 2009 and is under construction at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk.
With its 8 VLS tubes Yasen-Graney's can launch P-800 Oniks (similar to BrahMos) SLCMs, RK-55 Granat SLCM, Klub Sizzler SLCM missiles and in future 5,000 km ranges cruise or ballistic missiles.

July 7, 2013

Vietnam's Kilo Subs Steadily Being Built by Russia

A Kilo 636 Submarine of the type Russia is building for Vietnam. 
"Vietnam’s 2nd Russian-made sub completes sea trials 
The second Kilo-class submarine Vietnam agreed to buy from Russia has completed its sea trials and been returned to the shipyard where it was built, Russian news agency Interfax reported Tuesday.

The submarine named Ho Chi Minh City and built by Admiralty Shipyards of St. Petersburg undertook two dives, reaching a depth of 190 meters on one of them, reported Interfax.

The Ho Chi Minh City set off for its sea trials on April 28, four months after being launched.

The training of the submarine’s Vietnamese crew will take place later this month.

According to Interfax’s sources, the third of the six submarines that Vietnam ordered from Russia, named after Vietnam’s port city of Hai Phong, will be launched at the end of this year, while the remaining three are still being built.

Vietnam signed a US$2 billion deal to buy six Kilo-class diesel-electric submarines during Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to Moscow in December 2009, with Russia promising to deliver all of them by 2016. As part of the deal, Russia agreed to train the Vietnamese crew and supply Vietnam with necessary equipment.

The first sub, named after Vietnam’s capital city of Hanoi, was launched in August 2012. 

It underwent 23 successful dives, according to an Interfax report in May.

The first two subs are scheduled to be handed over to Vietnam later this year.

Kilo-class subs, nicknamed “Black Holes” for their ability to prevent detection, are designed to carry out anti-submarine and anti-ship missions, general reconnaissance and patrols, according to a RIA Novosti report. They are thought to be among the world’s quietest diesel-electric powered subs.

Equipped with six 533-millimeter torpedo tubes, they can travel up to 9,600 kilometers without refueling; have a displacement capacity of 2,300 tons; and can reach depths of up to 350 meters.

Vietnam has said it has purchased the Kilo-class subs and other armaments exclusively for self-defense purposes." 
No doubt Vietnam's new Kilo submarine service will see China as its principal adversary - particularly over South China Sea tensions.

The Kilo version Russia is building for Vietnam - the Kilo 636-MV - will also field the Klub (NATO designation "Sizzler") 3M-14E cruise missile, useful against surface ships and for land attack - see http://klipinghankam.blogspot.com.au/2011/05/vietnam-kilo-636-submarine-technology.html .

July 5, 2013

2025 before India could lease Chakra III nuclear submarine

INS Chakra ("II") (rebuilt using Indian money) when handed over to India (in 2012) for ten year lease. Chakra III would look very similar but would only be leased by India around 2025 if India and Russia rapidly agreed on its re-building. 
For several years the Indian Government has been considering leasing "Chakra III" a second derivative of the Akula nuclear propelled attack submarine.  Chakra III would supplement INS Chakra (the Akula derivative India leased last year). 
As new Akulas are no longer in production (in Russia's Amur and Sevmash Shipyards) India would be looking to have an existing Akula hull to be rebuilt. India and Russian focus appears to be on the Iribis Akula hull, which is sitting in Russia's Amur Shipyard.
India would also consider buying a rebuilt existing hull (Iribis) less expensive and less politically problematic than buying a new build Russian submarine such as the Yasen. Russia might also be reluctant to sell its latest attack submarines to India - in part due to the risk that the West (including the US) and China might get too good an opportunity to examine a completely new Russian submarine.
Iribis was laid down for the Russian Navy in 1994, but due to lack of Russian money (and altered post Cold War strategic requirements) Iribis was only 60% complete when work was stopped. As Iribis was never launched it would be sitting on stocks - probably in poor shape.
Once, or if, India and Russia do agree to use the Indian money that would be essential in the rebuilding of Iribis there would be at least a 10 year delay - perhaps until 2025 - before Iribis is ready for India to lease.

"India may take another n-sub on lease

India has expressed interest in leasing another nuclear attack submarine from Russia to supplement the Akula class hunter-killer that was inducted last year and the two sides are now ready to start negotiations on the project, the head of the top Russian design bureau for nuclear submarines has said.

Tentatively christened INS Chakra III, the new submarine will be a variant of the Akula class of stealthy nuclear-powered submarines that are capable of spending months under water but is likely to be equipped with more lethal weaponry, including a vertically launched Brahmos missile system.

If the project goes through, this would be the third Russian nuclear submarine to be operated by India. The first being the original INS Chakra that was taken on a three-year lease in 1988 and the second was inducted last year after a four-year delay. It too has been named the INS Chakra.

Vladimir Dorofeev, head of the [Russian] Malachite Design Bureau, which is the main centre for nuclear attack submarines in Russia, has said that the negotiations that India and Russia did during the 2012 lease of the Chakra would help in a smooth process for the acquisition of the new submarine. He also told The Indian Express that India has expressed an interest in acquiring the submarine and both the Russian design bureau and the shipyard that will construct it are ready for negotiations.

The submarine is likely to be reconstructed round the hull of the Iribis, a Russian Akula class submarine that was never completed as funds ran dry after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Dorofeev said that the new submarine could also benefit from the design efforts that Russia had put in its latest class of Yasen nuclear-powered attack submarines.

"The fourth generation of Yasen class submarine has been tested successfully, including the firing of a cruise missile from the submerged vessel. We can use that experience for the second Indian submarine. The launch was done using a new vertical launch system that can be used for the next submarine," Dorofeev said


From http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=82793 "

[Further details on the proposed Chakra III] The universal [vertical] launch system that has been tested can launch several types of missiles from a submerged vessel and can carry four to five missiles per salvo. However, [Vladimir Dorofeev, head of the Russian Malachite Design Bureau] refused to go into details of the project, saying that technical requirements for the next submarine will be discussed after India comes up with a set of technical requirements.

"If a political decision is taken then we as an industry should have no difficulty in delivering what is agreed to," he said. He expressed confidence that the matter will be discussed in future talks between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, who meet once a year [maybe in Dec 2013 based on last year's schedule] for top level confabulations.

He, however, refused to comment on Russian assistance for the indigenous INS Arihant class of submarines that India is constructing in Vizag (Andhra Pradesh). Joint cooperation or technology sharing would depend on political negotiations between the two nations, he said.

In April 2012, the Eastern Fleet that is tasked with patrolling some of the most sensitive waters around India, formally inducted the INS Chakra, a stealthy nuclear-powered submarine acquired from Russia on a 10-year lease.

The Akula II class submarine — renowned as one of the stealthiest in the world is an attack submarine — is nuclear-powered but does not carry nuclear missiles on board [Pete's Comment - but nuclear tipped Klub cruise missiles could be fired through the horizontal torpedo tubes...]."


In other Indian submarine news http://blogs.ottawacitizen.com/2013/06/15/india-faces-delays-with-new-submarines/ :

"The Indian Navy’s efforts to update its 1980s-era submarine fleet – aside from one semi-refurbished Akula nuclear submarine [INS Chakra "II"] on lease from Russia – is encountering significant bureaucratic delays, according to the Times of India. The plan to buy six French-designed Scorpene diesel-electric attack submarines, which was approved by India’s government in September 2005, has been delayed by problems attributed to the challenges of technology transfers, with the first boat now scheduled to be in the water in November 2016 at the earliest.

Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry has returned the Project-75I [mainly looking at additional AIP Scorpenes or HDW 214s] next-generation submarine file to the Defence Ministry for “clarifications”, delaying that program by at least three years."

July 3, 2013

Indian strategic weapons programs - gradual progress

The following Indian strategic weapon update indicates gradual progress in several areas. No weapons mentioned in the article are fully developed and will not be fully operational for several years.  India's Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) update is partly to justify, to the public and politicians, the considerable amounts spent on weapons development.

Updates provided by DRDO include:

  • another test later this year of the Agni 5  ICBM. The test subsequently occurred on September 15, 2013 - see http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2013/09/a-second-agni-5-test-any-mirv.html
  • the reactor of Indian built submarine INS Arihant may go critical - it went critical on August 10, 2013 http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/ins-arihants-reactor-goes-critical.html 
  • a July 2013 test of India's future Ballistic Missile Defence system - see earlier test information - http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2012/11/another-successful-advanced-air-defence.html
  • another test of India's (part Israeli designed) Nirbhay cruise missile - details of first test http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nirbhay_missile#First_Trial and
  • further tests of the Astra air-to-air and Nag anti-tank missiles.

  • In May 2013 V.K. Saraswat (above right) Director-General of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Scientific Advisor to the Indian Defence Minister, was interviewed  (Read: Transcript of full interview) concerning a number of Indian strategic weapon programs, including India's first indigenously built submarine INS Arihant .


    On May 28, 2013, based on the Saraswat interview, The Hindu published the following article concerning:


    "Agni-V to be modified to attack multiple targets

    Weapon system to be fitted with Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles
    The configuration of Agni-V, India’s long-range nuclear weapons capable ballistic missile, is set to be changed to make the 5,000-km weapon system deadlier and capable of attacking multiple targets.
    The modification is to enable fitting Agni-V with Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRVs), V.K. Saraswat, Director-General of the Defence Research and Development Organisation and Scientific Advisor to the Defence Minister, told The Hindu. Another test in the present configuration of the three-stage missile would be conducted later this year.
    Besides imparting canister-launch capability, Agni-V would be equipped with MIRVs. “Work on that is going on and it is at design stage.”
    The resounding success of the maiden flight test of Agni-V in April 2012 catapulted India into a select league of nations having the technological prowess to develop Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles, he said. The Agni series will form the bulwark of land version of India’s nuclear deterrence triad.
    Meanwhile, the reactor on board the indigenously-built nuclear powered submarine, INS Arihant, is expected to go critical in a few weeks. The powering of the system should happen in a week or two, Dr. Saraswat said.
    (Once that happens, the 80-MWt (thermal) reactor would be in a position to deliver power to the platform and sea trials of Arihant would begin subsequently when the submarine is expected to move at the designed speed, go to the diving depth, attain maximum speed and perform all safety and emergency operations).
    Referring to the home-grown Ballistic Missile Defence programme, he said the next interceptor missile test to be conducted at a higher altitude of 100-150 km in July would be the most important one. “We have developed a new interceptor missile for it.”
    Another crucial DRDO missile test this year would be a “repeat launch” of ‘Nirbhay’. During the maiden trial of the subsonic cruise missile, the flight had to be terminated midway after it strayed from its trajectory. Dr. Saraswat attributed the problem to a manufacturing defect in the navigation sensor. Flight tests of air-to-air Astra and anti-tank Nag missiles would be also conducted."

    The Indian Government has indicated that once Arihant's nuclear reactor (under development for two decades) goes critical, Arihant will undergo several years of sea trials. Arihant, has already undergone limited trials at India's East coast naval base at Visakhapatnam for the last three years.

    The induction of INS Arihant into the Indian Navy's fleet will complete the crucial link in India's nuclear triad - the ability to fire nuclear weapons from land, air and sea.  So far, only the US, Russia, France, China, the UK (and possibly Israel) have the capability to launch a submarine-based ballistic missile.

    There is some concern over the overall strength of India's submarine fleet. India has 14 conventional diesel-electric submarines. Most are aging and outdated.
    Not mentioned in the DRDO update is India's most formidable submarine - the nuclear powered attack submarine INS Chakra (formerly the Russian Nerpa) long leased from Russia and built in Russia based on the Akula II design.

    July 2, 2013

    Indonesia Decides to Buy Korean Made Submarines

    An HDW 209 Type 1400 (this particular sub, S31, is Tamoio part of Brazil's Tupi Class) in what looks like "Sepetiba" Rio de Janeiro's harbour. Indonesia's three new submarines will be similar. 

    The HDW family tree with HDW 209 on several branches - click to expand.
    While North Korea is undergoing a tense and hopefully predictable transition to a new "Emperor?" of the Kim Dynasty (possibly Kim Jonghe Un) South Korea has its first submarine export order. Blending reports from The Jakarta Post (December 22, 2011) (South) Korea Herald (December 21, 2011) and South Korea's Chosun Ilbo (December 21, 2011):

    The Indonesian Defence Ministry and Daewoo Shipbuilding Marine Engineering (DSME) signed the contract on Tuesday December 20, 2011 for South Korea to build three submarines for the Indonesian Navy. Delivery may be in 2015-2016 with commissioning by 2018. These submarines are South Korean Improved Chang Bogo Class derivatives of the German designed HDW 209. It is inevitable that incorporated into these two submarines is technology developed for the HDW 214. HDW 214s are HDW's main current submarine for export.

    The contract was signed by the Indonesian Defence Ministry's Defence Facilities Agency chief, Maj. Gen. Ediwan Prabowo, and DSME President and CEO Nam Tae-sang.

    Under the contract, the two submarines built in South Korea will be in cooperation with Indonesian state-owned shipbuilder PT PAL.

    Ministry spokesman Brig. Gen. Hartin Asrind told the Jakarta Post over the phone that the contract was worth US$1.07 billion.

    Indonesia’s signing of a contract to procure three submarines from a South Korean company is an effort to keep pace with other countries in the region such as Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and Australia.

    The Improved Chang Bogo Class will weigh approximately 1,400 tons surfaced and 1,600 tons submerged, be 61.3 meters long, will carry up to 40 crew members and have eight weapons tubes for 14 torpedoes, mines, missiles (US Harpoon and/or Indian BrahMos?) and other weaponry.

    The three new submarines will replace Indonesia’s two old HDW 206 Cakra Class submarines; the KRI Cakra and KRI Nenggala (both launched in 1977). As submarines inevitably rust/corrode and expansion-contraction causes metal fatigue after 30 years the 36 year old KRI Cakra and KRI Nenggala are likely to be scrapped.

    Other Submarine Forces (and Acquisitions) in Indonesia's Region

    • Australia, 6 Australian built, Swedish Kockums designed Collins Class commissioned in 1996-2003 with 12 future Australian built "SEA 1000" Class subs for possible introduction 2030 onwards.

    • Malaysia, 2 French built Scorpene Submarines KD Tunku Abdul Rahman Class commissioned in 2009 http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2009/09/malaysias-first-ever-submarine-scorpene.html

    • Singapore, 4 Swedish built Challenger Class commissioned 1999-2001 and 2 Swedish built AIP Archer Class see http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2009/09/singapore-submarine-development.html

    • Vietnam, 4 to 6 Russia built Kilo Subs to be commissioned 2015-2019 http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2009/12/tentative-vietnamese-plans-to-buy-kilo.html
    See also Indonesian-Malaysian clashes over the future Ambalat undersea oil field - one reason why both countries have bought new submarines - http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/2009/06/indonesia-gets-apology-from-malaysian.html

    July 1, 2013

    Australian Oberon Submarine Spying Missions 1970s to 1990s

    Diagram view probably common to all Oberons once owned by Australia, Canada and of course, the UK. Click to enlarge (Courtesy of http://jproc.ca/rrp/index.html)

     Canadian Oberon periscope/snorkel/radio masts - presumably Australia's were similar or the same. (Diagram courtesy of http://jproc.ca/rrp/rrp2/oberon.html)

    Australia operated UK built Oberon Class submarines from 1969 to 2000 https://www.submarineinstitute.com/submarines-in-australia/The-RAN-Oberon-Class.html . Australia's Oberons proved vastly more reliable and cost effective than their successors - the Collins Class. Although the Collins are arguably more capable, in some ways https://www.submarineinstitute.com/submarines-in-australia/The-Collins-Class.html .



     Brendan Nicholson of Australia's Melbourne Age, September 8, 2006 reports https://www.theage.com.au/national/secret-spy-missions-forced-to-the-surface-20060908-ge33cl.html [link still working as at August 14, 2020] :
    "Secret [submarine] spy missions forced to the surface"
    "AUSTRALIAN submarines carried out top secret Cold War spying missions on Russia and China that came to an abrupt end when a submarine was forced to surface in view of the foreign fleet after becoming entangled in fishing nets.

    News of the inglorious end to 14 years of high-risk secret missions in 1992, and the fact that they even occurred, has emerged because the sailors involved want their missions officially designated "warlike operations".

    Warlike or not, the missions carried out between 1978 and 1992 were certainly dangerous, with the Royal Australian Navy submarines occasionally sliding under or alongside potentially hostile ships. On one occasion, less than three metres separated the top of the periscope housing from the target ship's keel.

    An RSL congress this year carried a motion calling on the Federal Government to recognise RAN submarine covert intelligence gathering missions conducted between March 1978 and December 1992 as prescribed warlike operations. That would increase the benefits available to the sailors and their dependants.

    Veterans Affairs Minister Bruce Billson said yesterday he was aware of the submariners' claims and certain operations and activities would be re-examined. He said the process of reassessing these operations would take into account "the level of force authorised for use, enemy threat levels and environmental dangers".

    In the latest issue of the RSL's newspaper, Reveille, associate editor John Gatfield says the full story can't be told because of security regulations and because the former submariners are reluctant to talk. He says they spied on Soviet and Chinese warships and Soviet-built ships of the Indian Navy, often lying quietly at periscope depth and watching and listening.

    One mission was believed to have taken a submarine to the waters off Libya.

    Mr Gatfield says that had an Australian submarine been sunk or captured, Australia would have been accused of a hostile act; the government may have been forced to resign. He says most of the crews would not have known where they were or what they were doing; as few as five key personnel may have been in on the secret, with the chart table often blocked off with a curtain.

    The vessels' captains were ordered to stay out of foreign territorial waters, but they could seek permission to move in closer if they felt the risk was worth it. Mr Gatfield found no evidence submarines did so.

    The spy missions were carried out by the Oberon-class submarines that have now been replaced by the Australian-built Collins-class. The Oberons were equipped with eavesdropping equipment that allowed them to listen to communications and record propeller "signatures" of foreign ships and examine their performance.

    The first captain of HMAS Orion, Commander Rob Woolrych, says that submarine and HMAS Otama carried out 16 of these secret missions.

    Only the prime ministers and defence ministers of the day, the chief of the Australian Defence Force and a limited number of defence personnel were cleared to know about the operations. The prime ministers were Malcolm Fraser, Bob Hawke and Paul Keating.

    Robert Ray, now a Labor backbencher, was defence minister when one submarine, believed to be Otama, became tangled in nets in the South China Sea. Unable to get clear, the submarine surfaced and the crew cut the nets away. The Keating government stopped the riskiest operations.

    Commander Woolrych says the submarines had no right of innocent passage as they aggressively pursued their objectives. The missions were co-ordinated by the Defence Signals Directorate.

    The Libyan operation was carried out by HMAS Orion as it sailed for Australia in 1978 on its delivery voyage. Gatfield says the US and Britain asked Australia to send the submarine to monitor signals from Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's navy ships based in Tripoli, Benghazi, Darnah and Tobruk.

    Other missions took RAN submarines into waters thousands of kilometres from home and dangerously close to potentially hostile ships. "The slightest misjudgement by the submarine's commander could have created an international incident or worse, a disaster for the Australian submarine and its crew of about 70," says Mr Gatfield."