November 15, 2017

Indian Admiral Lanba Visits French Barracuda SSN Project

An interesting report of November 12, 2017 from Sandeep Unnithan has inspired facts and thoughts:
-  Admiral Sunil Lanba Chief of Indian Naval Staff visited the Naval Group (was DCNS) submarine
   yard at Cherbourg, France, in early November 2017. Admiral Lanba was given a detailed
   presentation on France’s new SSNs, the Barracuda class. The first, the Suffren, is due to be
   launched soon.

-  Naval Group is also building six Kalvari class Scorpene SSKs for the Indian navy at Mazagon
   Docks, Mumbai under a 2005 contract. 

-  Naval Group is also competing for the much delayed six AIP SSK Project 75I. If Naval Group wins
   Project 75I Naval Group may just possibly agree to technology transfers from the Barracuda in
   several respects:
   :  influencing the hull shape of an improved, larger Scorpene for Project 75I
   :  the pump jet and K15 reactor used in France’s Triomphant class SSBN and soon to be launched
      Barracuda class SSN may influence India's SSBNs (to fire K-4 SLBMs in the 2020s) and
      influence India's 6 SSN Project (in the 2030s)

As well as visiting France’s Naval Group I would guess that Admiral Lanba has recently been leading Indian delegations to visit shipyards of the other remaining Project 75I competitors, which are:
-  Germany’s TKMS
-  Sweden’s Saab, and
-  Russia’s Rosoboronexport/Rubin Design Bureau

The Suffren, first of the French Barracuda nuclear propelled attack submarines (SSNs) sports a paint job indicating 1 of 4(?) torpedo hatches and the bow sonar (?) The launch ceremony will probably be in late 2017/early 2018. (Photo courtesy AFP and Naval Group).



PUNTER said...

French Suffren-class Barracuda sub is delayed again.

"The Chief of Staff of the French navy, Admiral Christophe Prazuck told the defence committee of the National Assembly in July: “The first vessel will enter (French) service late, around 2020, instead of 2017. It’s not a scooter but a machine that is difficult to build and mistakes have been made that need to be identified, corrected and then made up for.”"

Peter Coates said...

Thanks Punter

As I said below the photo "The launch ceremony will probably be in late 2017/early 2018."

I think Suffren is likely to have a "soft" politicised "launch" on land to counter criticism of the Barracuda Project's costs and extensive delays.

An 2018 launch of Suffren may mean this problematic first of class boat is likely to have an extended trial period with problems to rectivy (including reactor efficiency for SSN use).

This may mean Suffren is truely commissioned in regular servicw in 2021. If Suffren has pump jet and hull flow problems (which can impact sonar efficiency) then delays could flow on to Australia's Future Submarine (Shortfin) Project - which is meant to "cut steel" in 2022.



GhalibKabir said...

Sometimes I wish Indian politicians had the vision to concurrently list DCNS help with a larger SSN (when they ordered the Scorpene) and planned ahead of time. I understand early 2000s the SSBN program was in full swing. However a parallel track of at least getting DCNS on board to help with a larger attack boat design (minus reactor related support) could have helped a lot. We could have had a boat under construction by now.

Now India has to make do with restricted use and degraded facilities of the INS Chakra and soon to be leased older hulls of either the Irbis or Kashalot. The earliest Indian SSN is unlikely before 2032 at least.I am hearing that an Indian SSN is unlikely to be laid down before 2022 or even 2024. so assuming a 6 year construction time and 2 year trial, 2032 it looks like...

Peter Coates said...

Hi GhalibKabir

Yes, it seems India has difficulty completing submarines (1 Arihant and 1 Kalvari this century) let alone planning and anticipating SSN and Project-75(I) order tactics.

Australia has long has similar problems.



GhalibKabir said...

By any yardstick, If there is ever a global contest for the 'best dog's dinner of the year', the Indian SSK and SSGN program can easily give other entries serious run for their money...

Ideally the BJP Government in power during 1998-2004 should have ordered 12 scorpenes and 10-12 kilos using firm orders in exchange for rolling payments and price escalation limitations. this might have ensured reasonable use of limited resources and allowed the IN to get the mix of 24 SSKs & 6 SSBN/SSN mix by 2030.(by 1999, the 24 SSK/6 N-boat plan had been agreed on)

instead, what we have is a totally mangled procurement process of 2x6 Scorpenes with huge cost escalations in between and no indigenous SSK & SSN programs in the pipeline.