Tagarchief: HDW

Submarine Ahoy: Good news for both Sweden and the Netherlands!

This morning the press releases from both Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding and Saabgroup (through its subsidiary Kockums Saab Naval systems) revealed a teaming agreement:

Swedish defence and security company Saab is teaming with Dutch shipbuilder Damen Shipyards Group to explore future opportunities in the international submarine market. The companies have signed an exclusive teaming agreement to work together in pursuit of the potential Walrus-class submarine replacement programme for the Netherlands. In addition to this project, Saab and Damen will also explore ways in which they might bid jointly on other submarine procurement programmes.

Read the full Press releases @ Saabgroup and @ Damen Naval.

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On July 30th 2014 I wrote the following:

Business case JFS: part 1

You think I misspelled that? Well your wrong. It stands for a new project called: Joint Future Submarine (JFS). No not again…. You could think! First let me explain the used terms:

Joint – A submarine is a strategic asset important for the whole defence force. It will gather intelligence over sea, and over land, it will insert and extract Special Forces, it will influence warfare on land with land-attack missiles and act as a (satellite) communication relay, between forward / expeditionary positioned land and air forces, if necessary.

Future – this one should be clear, a submarine design must be compatible for future uses. Just like the Walrus class we may expect them to operate for long lifetime. They must be built in a modular way to insert future technology at the moment not even available.

Submarine – yes ofcourse, the vessel is a submarine. They will be of the non-nuclear type. But must be fitted with Air Independent Propulsion systems. The type, just as the Walrus class should be able to operate independently on long ranges and without any direct support vessels.

Well we can learn from past mistakes now do we? So if some projects failed in the past because they had the program management wrong, they put new demands into the program in between, and they produced aircraft while testing had not been finished… yes than such a project is bound to fail…. Again. But if we get this the right way… well than such a project can be very promising.

This wasn’t the first time I mentioned this option though, I already had this in mind years ago when I was still developing the DutchForce21 concept for the reorganization and reequipping the Dutch Armed forces.  Read some of the other posts on my blog, about the future Submarine need and about (future) Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) needs for the Netherlands and Europe.

  1. Business case JFS: part 1
  2. Joint Future Submarine: part 2
  3. Future need for Anti-Submarine Warfare capabilies in European context – Part 1
  4. ASW capabilities: the European context – Part 2
  5. Business case JFS: short addition

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How things can change over a year isn’t it? I remember it was December 2013 when the news arose about problems at Kockums with their greedy mother company TKMS / HDW. I received some information and found others through my network of defense experts worldwide.

Maybe that the naval domain can show the “air domain” how a cooperative project must be done. Both Damen and Saab know how to build vessels on a modular way. within budget, within technical scope so the products they build can be used what they were meant for.  No paper planes … eh… submarines i mean, but real ones, operational available and enough of them to operate properly.

I will keep an eye on this Joint Future Submarine project.

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Business case JFS: short addition

Remembered the new project proposal I called: Joint Future Submarine (JFS)? A project to replace the current Dutch Walrus-class submarines with new ones in a joint cooperative program… because the Dutch lost their full capabilities to deliver new submarines themselves.

class_walrus2_2

 

Joint – A submarine is a strategic asset important for the whole defence force. It will gather intelligence over sea, and over land, it will insert and extract Special Forces, it will influence warfare on land with land-attack missiles and act as a (satellite) communication relay, between forward / expeditionary positioned land and air forces, if necessary.

Future – this one should be clear, a submarine design must be compatible for future uses. Just like the Walrus class we may expect them to operate for long lifetime. They must be built in a modular way to insert future technology at the moment not even available.

Submarine – yes ofcourse, the vessel is a submarine. They will be of the non-nuclear type. But must be fitted with Air Independent Propulsion systems. The type, just as the Walrus class should be able to operate independently on long ranges and without any direct support vessels.

In short just look at the new Kockums A26 propsal from Sweden’s Saab Group!

download (1) kockums_a26_468

ASW capabilities: the European context – Part 2

I previously wrote :

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I will contiue with some conclusions regarding the detailed numbers i wrote in part 1.

Numbers, people and training
Not only do numbers matter, people to operate the systems, and training… for ASW does matter. The number of people available have declined, and because there are less ships (and people) to do more operations (other than ASW) their availability for dedicated anti-submarine operational training is at a very dangerous low point. The last factor will be: the wearing out of the ships, because all ships will be at a high level of operational availability for low intensity operations… like anti-piracy  in the horn of Africa or on station.  Ships and systems aren’t available for what they were intended for… but are available for operations they are too expensive to operate for. Even the OPV’s are relatively high cost because of the High tech sensor suite and the high load guns on board. (compare it to the French Gowind L’Adroit OPV, or the Spanish BAM for instance. Or take the very expensive NH90 naval helicopter which may be very good for Anti-Submarine warfare and other military operations, but way over the top for SAR, training, Drug and law enforcement operations.

Imbalance
This imbalance isn’t only visible in the Netherlands. The whole of Europe, at least the modern Western-European armed forces have suffered the same decline in ASW capabilities.  The Netherlands and other EU-member states should rethink the decline of (their) relevant capabilities!

Read about it in this indepth special report from a workshop from 2008: DV C. Parry Maritime developments and their

 

 

Read all the answers to questions like: Why is it important? Where do we need it for? But first let me start by elaborate on the necessity for a European approach to our maritime security. Personally I think it is possible to do this in a manner that both respects the sovereignty of (our) nation(s) and create an effective European force if necessary. Besides that it will be necessary to better control our borders, surrounding waters and Exclusive Economic Zone’s (EEZ) both in times of peace (coastguard operations) and war (military naval operations Sea Control / Sea Denial)

“Although the interests of European countries can also be differing, we have one big shared interest: We all live on the European continent.”

Not alone but in partnership
In my opinion a European approach to Security & Defence is a very important thing to do because Europe will face imminent threats in the years to come. At the same time we see the forces of the NATO split into the United States (80%) and the rest. European countries are lacking many important capabilities and the Armed Forces of the United States are (re)focusing on the South East Asian and Pacific theatres of operation. Besides that we see that the United States interests aren’t always the same as European and European countries interests. In contrast even, sometimes the interests of the United States and European countries are diametrically opposed to each other. Both Russia and China are following a more aggressive stance while Western (especially European) countries take a more avoidant stance. At the same time we see the West giving priority on short term financial benefits by decreasing defence spending and trying to secure for example (defence) export deals with both countries (thus selling them high tech weaponry and technology transfer) while ignoring possible future conflict situations with both countries. We see a lot of developments in our back- and front yards:

threats to europe

  • Russia: Ukraine, threat full maneuvers in the Baltic Sea, claiming territories in the North pole area, an aggressive stance against some of the Visegrad group of counties and (other) Baltic states e.g.

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  • China: claiming territories and islands in the South China Sea area, setting up no fly zones over other countries territories (Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia)  the same for Taiwan, South Korea and Japan areas.

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  • Turmoil in several Mediterranean countries: With lots of refugees and civil war in Syria, Iraq and many problems surrounding the whole Southern European (Mediterranean) borders.

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Common interests in Europe within NATO
My conclusion is that Europe and the European member states should do more to become more independent from the United States, within NATO structures if necessary, and act as fully responsible and as an assertive (group of) countries. Although the interests of European countries can also be differing, we have one big shared interest: We all live on the European continent. Eventually this also benefits the United States and NATO but on our own terms.

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One continent, common threats
European countries share one continent, they thus share common threats to their borders and to their common interests in regard of flow of goods, fuel, raw- and rare materials. Al these interest depend on open and (European) controlled seas. But what if we (Europeans) do not have the ships, submarines, maritime patrol aircraft, helicopters and people to secure those Sea Lines of Communication (SLOC)? Ships with all the things we need (and that’s a lot because many things we can’t make ourselves because its cheaper to buy in Asia….)   sail from Asia to Rotterdam. For example its about 9.343 NM from Singapore to Rotterdam if you take the Suez canal. What if there is a chokepoint, lets say the Suez canal is closed? Ships have to re-route to sail around Africa which means a trip of 14.181 NM. What if there are problems around Africa too? And the northern passage to go round Russia and China isn’t possible? Can we defend our merchant vessels? Against pirates? Ok, but can we defend our merchant vessels against, submarines, enemy fighter attack, long range anti-ship missiles? Is this really a delusional idea? Who would have thought that Russia would be waging war against a country with borders to Europe? Is it really unthinkable that China will wage war against small ASEAN countries like the Philippines, Vietnam e.g.? Does the Netherlands have (or even needs) the capability to perform these kind of operations all by itself? No, that won’t be possible unless it would arm all of its merchant ships… But the European navies together can make a very impressive capability to secure our SLOC. But then we need to cooperate.

No to full integration, Yes to full cooperation
A fully integrated European Armed Force and additional overhead is totally unnecessary in my opinion. This would build a water head without any muscles. I see possibilities for mutual respectful cooperation and standardisation using NATO standard procedures, training, doctrine, (modular) weapon and sensor systems, fuel and spare parts. This will also improve the cooperation with our US allies. Burden sharing with the US will benefit both. We can secure their interests: merchant vessels on route from Asia to the US, and they can secure European merchant vessels en route to Europe. But there is even a broader possibility there are other countries to cooperate with. Brazil, India, South Africa (BRIC countries…. Without China unfortunately) could be security partners too.

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Read about some of the current and proposed Maritime Patrol Aircraft market.

Future need for Anti-Submarine Warfare capabilies in European context – Part 1

Some time ago I wrote two blogs about the need for a future RNLN Walrus class submarine replacement:

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Of course just having four submarines isn’t the only thing needed to have an effective Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) capability. With this blog I will try to make a case for a European improvement of ASW capabilities. With this first blog I will look at the decreasing numbers of some capabilities within the Netherlands Armed forces. The next blog will show the European context and the last blog will point out… the necessity of submarines, ASW capabilities and the ultimate goal: being able to command the seas: and thus perform Sea Control / Sea denial operations, where we want it, whenever we want it!

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Spend more, getting less in return
European defence forces spend less on their defence capabilies is a very common remark… but is that really true? Because the numbers are declining and the costs for new systems and operating them are skyrocketing.

The Dutch MoD assumes that it will cost around € 270 million to operate 35 + 2 (test) JSF thingies from two main operating bases per year.. This wil be the same as it is until now…. But only then we now operate about 68 F16 fighters. So There may be less budget, but the budget that we have will be used to operate almost half the fleet we used to operate. So in the end we spend more… per aircraft… while we will get less output: less aircraft operational at one time, less training hours, and very, very expensive aircraft for certain “simple” tasks like QRA. And as we can see in many unbiased official documents, Other fighters have their qualities too, are proven and effective… and can be very affordable.

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The last couple of years… well almost 10 to 20 years, many European governments, like the Dutch government seem to have forgotten why  we need a well-equipped war fighting capable navy. A new trend have arose where full fletched destroyers, frigate’s and corvettes have been replaced by so called Ocean capable  (a term also used: Offshore) Patrol Vessels. These vessels are mostly capable of operating in a coastguard role, with some weaponry and sensors and often helicopter facilities.  One of the main area’s which this “rebalancing” of fleets have led to is a large diminish of Anti-Submarine warfare capabilities. The European navies decreased the number of submarines, submarine hunting vessels, Anti-Submarine Maritime Patrol Aircraft and Helicopters capable of these important tasks.  Besides that navies tend to invest less in training hours for these kind of operations. Why? The threat of the Soviet fleets have disappeared right? To give you an example: The Dutch Navy in 2004 (ten years ago) had:

  • 13 (around 2004 it where 10) P3C Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft in the latest modernisation standard. These aircraft where capable of searching and destroying submarines and surface vessel at great range and long endurance. Also capable of Search and Rescue (SAR) missions. Later some were improved for operation over land (EW and SIGINT operations)

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  • 24 owned (during 2004 they had 22) SH-14D Lynx naval helicopter These helicopters where integrated on naval frigates and surface ships to help defend and hunt enemy submarines to secure the vicinity of own and friendly ships, both military and merchant vessels in convoy. These helicopters were also used for SAR, Special Forces Insertion, Transport and security operations (like Operation Atalanta)
  • Surface vessels: The Dutch Navy had several types of surface vessels which are capable of Anti-Submarine warfare, with or without naval helicopters.
    • 2x Replenishment ships capable of carrying 2 Lynx helicopters and loads of Aircraft fuels, spares and torpedo’s
    • 1x Air defence frigate with Torpedo tubes, and sonar
    • 7x Multi purpose Frigates with Torpedo tubes, and a bow sonar and equipped with one Lynx helicopter. Besides the hull mounted sonar these frigates are also fitted with a special towed sonar specifically intended for Anti Submarine Warfare. (Anaconda DSBV-61A towed array sonar)
    • 2x Landing Platform Dock ship with the secondary capability of operating as an ASW command and support ship with room for 6x naval helicopters.
    • 4x Air defence and Command Frigates. These are armed with hull mounted sonars
  • Submarines: 4x Walrus class submarines armed with torpedo’s and if necessary armed with Harpoon Anti Ship missiles (never bought by the Dutch Navy though).

If we look at the current status of the Dutch Navy… don’t fall of your chairJ I start with the actual decrease/increase (if there is any) by – xx! or + xx!

  • – 13! No more MPA; all sold to Germany (8) and Portugal (5). These aircraft replaced older/other aircraft so in the end EU/NATO decreased this important capability.
  • – 8! ASW capable helicopters; ass a cost-cutting measure all flying Lynx helicopters stood down on September 2012. At that time there were a couple of new NH90 in service. But this project has many problems so these where scaled down versions, not full Operation capable. Also the number of ASW capable versions are scaled down, 12 are planned as ASW naval helicopters, the other 8 where intended as naval transport helicopters for marines support operations.
  • Surface vessels:
    • -1! Replenishment ship operational; 1 Joint Support ship in construction, but because of the broad tasks it is supposed to fulfil it couldn’t always function as a replenishment ship. Besides that it is expected that the purposely build Replenishment ship Zr.Ms. Amsterdam (A836) will be sold around 2014. Effectively this means that the capability will be decreased more than just -1. Say -1,5!
    • -1! The Air defence frigate was effectively out of service around 2005.
    • -5/6! Originally there have been 8 Multi-Purpose frigates serving the RNLN. These ships where the backbone of Dutch Submarine hunting capacity. During the year 2004 Hr.Ms. Abraham van der Hulst (F832) was sold. Therefore I speak of a loss of 5 frigates compared to the current situation. The Dutch navy has only 2 of these specialized submarine hunting frigates left. Ofcourse we can count in the 2 Belgian ones because they are integrated within the Admiral BENELUX. But for EU/NATo thise meant a loss because they replaced their 3 frigates with two former Dutch MP frigates.
    • 0! The 2 Landing Platform Docks still remain in service.
    • 0! The 4 Air defence and Command Frigates still remain in service.
    • Submarines: 0! The 4 Dutch submarines eventually survived numerous “attacks” of politicians who wanted to get rid of the submarine service. One quote in particular is very interesting because it’s from the current Dutch minister of foreign affairs Timmermans:

Timmermans (Labour), “Yes, but it’s not the answer I want to hear I want to hear that there were no life-sustaining investments would be done in the submarine service.”. When (minister of Defence) Kamp stuck to his point, the parliamentarian Timmermans decided to break with: “Then this decision wil be the nose of the camel and I predict that we will never get rid of the submarine service.”

The Dutch submarine service has lost a lot of “fat from the bones”… it’s a very tiny service with very few personnel. But the effects it can generate is very interesting. They do a far more better job than the Canadians, Australians and many other countries operating the same or more ships with a lot more personnel. All those other services deliver fewer hours at sea at larger cost.

Joint Future Submarine: part 2

With this article I will set some guidelines for such a program. I try to look at some organisational and operational demands. And some required capabilities. For these I have used an interesting article from my colleague of  the well informed marineschepen.nl website (GT). This business case also underpins the vision of DutchForce21 as I have written earlier (GT). Some remarks are drawn from the interview with Captain Ammerlaan. Captain Ammerlaan is commanding officer of the RNLN submarine service. I will write those in Italics, to make clear what the requirements are according to the RNLN .

Equal cooperative partnership
First of all, building a submarine is a very important and strategic asset. Currently we could say that the Dutch Walrus class submarines are the only real strategic weapons the Dutch government has at its disposal. They gather strategic Intel, they follow ships, and movements on the ground. And in times of war, submarines can be used to hold or block (Sea/Control / Sea Denial) other countries naval fleets. The high operational tempo of submarines requires, in my opinion, to be capable of supporting such ships in country and not depend on (most of the) spare parts to come from elsewhere.

Building in the Netherlands
if we read the interview with Commander Ammerlaan correctly we see they have done some research on the possibility to build new subs in the Netherlands. I was positively surprised because Ammerlaan mentions that he sees it possible… with some good arguments too. Dutch navy and industrial partners can do 80% of building with current level of technology and knowledge. For example IMTECH builds trimming, floating, driving systems for Royal Navy Astute class nuclear powered submarines, we have a design capacity within RNLN/TNO/Nevesbu, they have design, engineer and research skills available. Other hardware for example, such as pumps, diesel engines, valves and taps, are available. Besides that Thales and the RNLN own software organisation Force Vision are able to develop Software +Battle management systems.as they did on the current (upgrade) Walrus class ships and all other naval vessels.

Trustworthy partners
If we read the article correctly then we see a clear preference towards cooperation with the Norwegian navy, thus we can see a “slight” focus on the German designed submarine models of TKMS. In my opinion this would be a very unwise thing to do. It looks like in my opinion that they already are stuck with Norway/German submarines, ignoring other

Together but independent
I think there is a need for “independent” builders of submarines (and other relevant weapons) which shouldn’t be in the hands of just a couple of companies worldwide. Also the knowledge that TKMS and/or MTU sells high-tech engines to power submarines for example China to improve their performance, is a very bad thing to do. We saw German behaviour during the financial crisis: wanting all money from the Greek people…. But still selling them arms including new expensive submarines. And then there is the quality and trustworthy partnership issues in case of selling those submarines to Greece for example[i]. And of course the scandalous way the German company TKMS, with here UAE owner, dealt with Swedish shipbuilder Kockums. In short they used this takeover not to build affordable high quality submarines, but to eliminate a contender of their own HDW company and thus protect their A21X series of ships. They tried to takeover Swedish state owned submarine design knowledge contrary to agreement upon signing the contract. The contracts for A26 design and building where signed (as I read some time ago) for a very good price of about € 175 miljon a piece (building only development not included) This amount rose to about € 446 around 2013. But even that wasn’t enough for TKMS. They stopped negotiations between Kockums and FMV. Besides this TKMS also stopped Kockums from bidding the A26 design for the Singapore navy… they took over the deal and sold 2 A218SG submarines instead.

Money before people is the basis for all those problems. And to be honest we see that everywhere in Europe these days.

Therefore I propose to cooperate with a truly independent partner: with the arisen newly formed Saab Kockums Naval Systems and the Swedish government/military partners.

kockums_a26_468 download (1)

Low acquisition- Operational & Sustainment costs
Personally I think a cooperative effort to build future submarines at an affordable price, with affordable Operation & Sustainment (O&S) costs in mind are key. The DutchForce21 philosophy is relevant to implement in the JFS business case. The starting point is that the less resources armed forces will use to fight/secure those same resources the more the people benefit those resources. And that’s what the armed forces are for…to secure the peoples interests and safeguarding their lives and future. Because the trend of ever increasing acquisition- and O&S costs must be broken. Something that Saab has shown is possible with so many systems. For example the Gripen fighter system.

Janes Graph_700 breakingthecostcurve_Eng_700

I have mentioned Augustine’s law 16 many times now: this isn’t the only law. We have a choice to comply to this rule… or to find an alternative. As Saab has shown many times, they choose the alternative. The RNLN needs new and capable submarines bud at an affordable price just like the Swedish navy. Dutch Industry could also benefit from cooperation with Sweden because such an equal partnership will also make it possible to compete for international export orders against strong contenders like TKMS/HDW from Germany, Hyundai Heavy Industries from South Korea, DCNS from France, and Navantia from Spain. Besides the Russian and possible future Chinese export submarines ofcourse. This option should at least be considered instead of TKMS trying to squeeze extra euro’s out of Dutch taxpayers pockets.

Capabilities required
The capabilities required for a future submarine are as follows:

Long endurance:

  • A future submarine must be able to be away from home for at least 4 to 6 months.
  • with our 4 boats they operate at least 100 days at sea per ship
  • Independent operations: Ocean capable on its own power; The RNLN doesn’t have a support ship for those kind of trips.

High speed: For transit and underwater operations.

Silent: To stay undetected.

space for Special Forces + equipment

  • Because the space on current ships are very small, these teams have to sleep between torpedo’s and don’t have appropriate mission planning center.
  • Besides that we may expect the number of special forces to increase.
  • The necessary gear for special operations will become bigger and more space consuming.
  • Therefore it will be necessary to have a special modular space for special forces gear with an external lock / docking system. :

AIP system: To have longer periods under water, thus increasing chance to be undetected there is a need for a AIP system.

Weapons load out:

  • room for at least 20 torpedo’s as current Walrus class. From a colleague I received some additional comments on possible Swedish design change (change from A26 design into new Saab Kockums Next Generation Submarine design):

We will also see a new sub design for Sweden, ofc probably same size as A26 but focus could shift to more fire power. (because of Russian activities/Ukraine)

  • possibly weapon against low flying AC/heli; France is developing a Mistral missile derivative, Germany develops the IDAS missile and also the Russian industry is developing such systems at the moment.
  • possibly weapon against close land / sea targets: This isn’t the land-attack capability you think. This will only be a weapon with close to shore capability. There is a weapon developed at the moment by Diehl systems in Germany which will be able to perform both the short range air defence as well as the short range land-attack mission. It is called IDAS (Interactive Defence and Attack System for Submarines) also can be used against land targets, with a range of 25km. 4 missiles fit in a box which operate from the standard torpedo tube. As far as we can know IDAS is the only in its kind that also can handle land and surface targets. For more information read the brochure (pdf).

MIDAS launch

  • Unmanned systems (UXV) There are several unmanned systems in development to operate from submarines, both underwater, above water and in the air. The article also mentions Norway is keen to acquire this too.

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  • Low manning current crew is around 50. For the kind of missions the JFS is intended there is a need for an adequate crew. If the crew is to little it will damage the capabilities of the vessel on long endurance operations. The crew size can be downgraded because of automation but because the ship mostly will operate alone without any logistical backup. The export version of the Walrus class the Moray 1800 pfH design was supposed to have a crew of around 30-38 + The current A26 design has a very small crew, this should be dealt with by designers. Since it’s a modular design In my opinion it shouldn’t be a real problem.

Additionally, Mr. Ammerlaan point out that currently there is no political will for weapons to operate on Long Range strike missions. The current Walrus class vessels already are capable to fire Sub Harpoon anti-ship missiles,

download (2)Loading of a Sub Harpoon onboard a Dutch Walrus class submarine.

Whom never where acquired. DutchForce21 has a different opinion on this issue. I don’t think the JFS should be equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles with a very long range of 2000NM or so. But to have a missile to be able to operate at ranges of about 500-1000NM would be very needed in future scenario’s This way the purpose of submarines becomes even more clear. They are Joint strategic assets!

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[i] http://5dias.net/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Submarine_Hot_Doc.pdf

 

Business case JFS: part 1

You think I misspelled that? Well your wrong. It stands for a new project called: Joint Future Submarine (JFS). No not again…. You could think! First let me explain the used terms:

Joint – A submarine is a strategic asset important for the whole defence force. It will gather intelligence over sea, and over land, it will insert and extract Special Forces, it will influence warfare on land with land-attack missiles and act as a (satellite) communication relay, between forward / expeditionary positioned land and air forces, if necessary.

Future – this one should be clear, a submarine design must be compatible for future uses. Just like the Walrus class we may expect them to operate for long lifetime. They must be built in a modular way to insert future technology at the moment not even available.

Submarine – yes ofcourse, the vessel is a submarine. They will be of the non-nuclear type. But must be fitted with Air Independent Propulsion systems. The type, just as the Walrus class should be able to operate independently on long ranges and without any direct support vessels.

Well we can learn from past mistakes now do we? So if some projects failed in the past because they had the program management wrong, they put new demands into the program in between, and they produced aircraft while testing had not been finished… yes than such a project is bound to fail…. Again. But if we get this the right way… well than such a project can be very promising.

class_walrus2_2

The Royal Netherlands navy operates 4 Walrus class submarines build locally in the Netherlands.  The builder at that time has gone bankrupt in a very suspicious way in with it looks like the Dutch Government intentionally didn’t do anything to safe them. Before that they did some attempts to sell some export submarines.. for example to Taiwan.  Although older and not equipped with AIP engines the Walrus class are of very high standards and quality still one of the best diesel submarines operational worldwide. For more information on the Walrus…. Including its current upgrade read this. The Walrus class submarines are capable and used for the following tasks:

  • Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW)
  • Special Forces Insertion
  • Anti-Surface Warfare (ASuW)
  • laying sea mines;

But certainly also important especially during peacetime operations:

  • Reconnaissance and protection of shipping (SLOC)
  • Electronic and Signal intelligence
  • Enforcing international sanctions
  • conducting coast reconnaissance;

In future submarines will be capable of the same things, but in my opinion they will become more focused on delivering special forces and operate unmanned systems. Also there is a visible trend that submarines more and more will be used to influence warfare on land. Therefore any future submarine should be able to deliver Land-attack capability. In a future article I will go deeper into the necesaty of operating submarines now and in the future. One point I want to make now is that worldwide we see the balance of submarine users drops to the “other” side.

The decrease in demand in the mature market in the West and the increasing demand from the rest of the world, which has limited industrial capability but stable financial growth, has led to growing licence production through technology transfer agreements – a trend that is expected to increase.

Needless to say that the RNLN and, beyond that, Europe as a whole need a proper submarine and submarine hunting capability to secure Sea Line of Communication (SLOC) and to secure future energy and raw materials.

Submarines form an essential core of today’s naval fleets as a result of their flexible mission capabilities and ability to complement other strategic resources. Worldwide, 41 countries possess submarine capability and together operate 450 submarines. Most of these nations are modernising their fleets or increasing them as a result of changing security situations. A total of 154 submarines are to be procured over the forecast period (2011–2021), costing in excess of US$180.0bn.

North America is expected to constitute 46.27% of the market during the forecast period – a total of US$87.3bn. The US, as the largest defence spender in North America, accounts for almost the entire amount.

European nations are expected to cumulatively spend US$46.2bn across the forecast period and constitute 24.48% of the total submarine market.

Regional hostility prevailing among Asian states is also driving the submarine market, which is expected to cumulatively be worth US$46bn across the forecast period, 24.35% of the total market.

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Brazil and Argentina are the main spenders in the submarine sector in Latin America, totalling US$8.6bn, 4.55% of the market.

Expenditure on submarines in Europe will remain constant, with a cumulative total of US$46.2bn to be spent over the forecast period. However, expenditure is much lower than during the Cold War, as most European countries have significantly reduced their arsenal following the demise of the Soviet threat. Countries such as Norway are contemplating eliminating their submarine capability entirely, while others such as Germany have drastically reduced their fleet by divesting older equipment as a result of fiscal deficit.