September 25, 2015

DCNS's Shortfin Barracuda Bid Becoming Clearer

(above) Xavier Mesnet, Development and Marketing Director, Submarines and Surface Ships, DCNS, speaks about DCNS's efforts in support of Shortfin Barracuda for SEA 1000 CEP. 

DCNS also plans to compete in the future frigate (SEA 5000) and smaller patrol vessel (SEA 1180) evaluations. 


While current French SSNs and SSBNs are shown in this Youtube the computer aided design and command center interiors that go into them would be similar in an Australian Shortfin Barracuda. 

DCNS Group opened its DCNS Australia subsidiary on November 19, 2014


The prospects of French competitor DCNS (led in Australia by Sean Costello former Chief-of-Staff to former Defence Minister David Johnston) may have improved now that a hybrid or full build of the future submarine may occur in Australia.  

DCNS's Shortfin Barracuda bid is firming up as the milestones for the Barracuda SSN become closer.

"Anonymous" (below) speaks with authority and there are no noticeable language differences that require cleaning up.


In Comments for Submarine Matters’ article Shortfin Barracuda Bid Maybe Competitive But Still Sketchy of September 16, 2015. “Anonymous” on September 20, 2015 10:11 AM said:

“Barracuda first of type construction is complete. The next 6-8 months will be spent getting systems on line, with sea trials likely to start before mid-2016. So it's safe to say that the level of risk is being rapidly reduced.

The extent of changes from SSN to SSK is greatly exaggerated on this blog. The front half of the sub will barely change at all. They may simply convert some of the trim tanks to dual use for more transit fuel. There is already storage for some fuel aboard as evidenced by the presence of two emergency diesels. 

Only one hull section (rearmost propulsion section) will require complete redesign, in order to accommodate diesels, fuel and batteries. This involves a scaling of the Scorpene propulsion module, using similar components. Hardly revolutionary stuff however. There will certainly be no arbitrary down-scaling of hull thickness, or complete redesign of 80% of the hull components.

All the talk about methanol reforming is off base. The AIP solution - if required by the client - will be 2nd generation fuel cell. This has been demonstrated at scale, on land, so is somewhat more advanced than just a paper design, though still early days. If the customer is smart, they will order the first sub without AIP, and give the technology time to mature. Better to retrofit a fully mature AIP module at a later date, than to make such a critical selection now when the technology is advancing so fast (certainly faster than the submarine build process!).

Without AIP, Shortfin will be closer to 4,200t (surfaced), having one less hull module than Barracuda SSN. The reduced length to diameter would actually improve drag.

The US may indeed kill Shortfin Barracuda by denying integration of their combat system and weapons. DCNS have expressed their willingness to work with whatever combat system the RAN wants.”



Nicky said...

Hi pete
My question is how successful is it that you can take a Nuclear sub hull and turn it into an AIP SSK hull. Would this be France's first attempt at taking a Nuclear submarine hull and adapt to AIP SSK Submarine.

Peter Coates said...

A good question for DCNS Nicky

I think DCNS had a drawing board design derived from the Rubis SSN known as the Turquiose SSK - see

But Turquiose was a design concept never built.

So it is only right that Australia's $3 Billion per submarine should be a bold experimental project which may be better than the Collins.

Hey, its only taxpayer's money :)