Category Archives: Navy

Diesel submarines return

It is a well-known fact that in the United States Navy as well as in the Royal Navy and French Navy all combatant submarines are nuclear-powered. At the same time as Russia, China and India operate not only nuclear-powered submarines, but also diesel-electric submarines.

Scorpene SSK (above), SMX-Océan (center), Barracuda SSN (below)
Scorpene SSK (above), SMX-Océan (center), Barracuda SSN (below)

There are some sophisticated models among modern diesel-electric submarines. I reckon the most advanced subs of that type are Sōryū-class attack submarines (Japan) and Type 214 class submarines (Germany). Sōryū-class submarines are fitted with air-independent propulsion based on Kockums stirling engines license-built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, allowing them to stay submerged for longer periods of time. Therefore, I am not surprised that Australian officials are leaning towards replacing the Collins-class submarine with Sōryū-class boats bought from Japan.

Apparently, France is going to return to the club of diesel-electric submarines. As naval-technology.com reported, SMX-Océan, a conventionally powered attack submarine design concept, unveiled by DCNS Group, is based on the basic Barracuda-class nuclear submarine layout including weapons, masts and combat system. The SMX-Océan submarine will be a transposition of the Barracuda SSN nuclear powered attack submarine into diesel-electric submarine (SSK). It is expected to enter into French Navy’s service by 2017.

The new multi-role submarine will be suitable for deployment in anti-surface warfare (ASuW), anti-submarine warfare (ASW), anti-air warfare (AAW), land attack and even Special Forces missions. Special operations forces (SOF) equipment for 16 divers will be fitted to the sub, as will an internal reserved area, lock out chamber for eight divers, and an external watertight storage. It will also feature a dry dock shelter, hyperbaric chamber, swimmers delivery vehicle, and unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) dock. The SMX-Océan submarine will integrate sensors with manned or unmanned vehicles that provide capability to gather intelligence in four domains including air, surface, under the sea and on the land. It will be capable of launching UUVs and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs).

With up to three months’ endurance, an SMX-Océan could cross the Atlantic six times without surfacing. DCNS teams have developed and combined a number of innovations including a high-performance air-independent propulsion (AIP) system using second-generation fuel cells for submerged endurance of up to three weeks (21 days). With a total of 34 weapons including torpedoes, mines, anti-ship missiles, cruise missiles and anti-air missiles, the SMX-Océan’s firepower will be unprecedented for an SSK. The SMX-Océan concept design also includes vertical launchers to provide a salvo capability for cruise missile strikes on land targets.

SMX-Océan conventionally powered attack submarine
SMX-Océan conventionally powered attack submarine

 

Technical data

Length:                                                             100 m (330ft)

Height:                                                             15.5 m

Beam:                                                               8.8 m (28.9ft)

Surface displacement:                            4,750 t

Maximum diving depth:                         350 m

Maximum speed, submerged:            20 kts

Range:                                                               18,000 nmi at 10 kts speed

Navy needs new «docks»

It is not a secret of the Universe our World is changing. After the Russian-Georgian and Russian-Ukrainian war, NATO revised its understanding of Russia. Moscow made no secret of his ambition with regard to its neighbors. Thus, the United States understood the need to maintain amphibious fleet in a constant state of readiness to be able to move troops in Europe.

LPD Flight II
LPD Flight II, Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.

As said Sam LaGrone, the USNI Online Editor at the U.S. Naval Institute, Huntington Ingalls Industries (HII) has revised its plan to use the hull form of the San Antonio-class amphibious warship (http://navyarm.blogspot.ru/2014/11/san-antonio-class-lpd.html) as a candidate for the Navy’s next generation amphibious warship – LX(R).

HII’s new Flight IIA modifies the original LPD-17 design by removing some of the higher end capabilities of the San Antonio and creating a so-called amphibious truck to replace the existing class of aging Whidbey Island (http://navyarm.blogspot.ru/2014/11/whidbey-island-lsd.html) and Harpers Ferry (http://navyarm.blogspot.ru/ 2014/11/harpers-ferry-class-lsd.html) 16,000-ton landing ship docks (LSD).

The largest improvement in capability will be to the ship’s communication and aviation ability.

The current LSDs have a minimal command and control capability – the ability to communicate with other U.S. military forces and coordinate different types of aircraft and smaller vessel – and no native ability to host and maintain the aircraft of the trio of ships that make up the Navy’s Amphibious Ready Groups (ARGs).

The LX(R) will be much bigger than the ships it will be replacing – displacing about 7,000 more than the current LSDs at 23,470 tons, HII officials told USNI News.

Instead of the four Colt-Pielstick diesel engines, HII’s model reduces the prime mover count to two unspecified main propulsion diesel engines (MPDE).

The Mark-46 30mm gun weapon system is replaced with a Mark-38 Mod 2 remote controlled 25mm chain gun providing offensive and defensive ability.

The AN/SPS-48E air search radar is replaced with a TRS-3D, which is currently outfitted on the National Security Cutter providing a more suitable sensor for its mission.

The Flight IIA retains about half of the medical spaces on the LPD. Company officials also said the current iteration would feature two spots for the Navy’s LCAC hovercraft or one utility landing craft (LCU) – which is in line with the Navy’s current thinking for requirements for the LX(R). Other changes include reducing the troop capacity from 800 to 500 with a crew of about 400 sailors.

Though HII is original designers and builders of the LPD-17 ships, they are not guaranteed the design and construction contract for the new LX(R) ship class. General Dynamics NASSCO in San Diego, California has also helped the Navy in its current push to lower the cost at the start of the acquisition process and is considered likely to bid on the final work.

The Navy’s frontend analysis of alternatives process for LX(R) has been described as, «the best ship design conversation we’ve had in a long time inside the government», NAVSEA chief Vice Adm. William Hilarides said in May.

HII officials didn’t announce a cost estimate for their version, but according to past information from the Navy a San Antonio LX(R) could cost about $1.64 billion for the lead ship with follow-ons costing about $1.4 billion for a total of 11 ships.

Flight II vs. LPD 17
Flight II vs. LPD 17

 

Dimensions

Overall length: 684 ft, 208.5m

Beam, DWL: 105 ft, 31.9m

Full load Draft: 21.7 ft, 6.6m

 

Weights (long tons)

Lightship: 16,600

Full load at delivery: 22,800

 

Performance

Sustained Speed: 20+ knots

Installed Power: 26,820 SHP

Service Life: 40 years

 

Machinery Systems

20 MW MPDE

Direct Drive Reduction Gears

2 x Controllable Pitch Propellers

 

Amphibious Systems

Vehicle Square (net): 24,600 sq ft

Cargo Cube (net): 17,000 cu ft

Cargo Fuel, JP-5: 310,000 gal

Landing Craft: 2 x LCAC or 1 x LCU

Well Deck Operations: Wet/Dry

 

Navigation

NAVSSI

AN/UQN-4A Sonar Sounding Set

AN/WQN-2 DSVL

AN/SPS-73 Surface Search Radar

AN/WSN-7

AN/URN-26 TACAN

Anti-Jam GPS

Integrated Bridge

 

Communications

SI COMMS

HF/VHF/UHF Voice/Data

DWTS/EPLRS

UHF/SHF/EHF SATCOM

SMS

Secure VTC

SWAN

 

EW & Decoy

AN/SLQ-25

AN/SLQ-32A

MK-36 SRBOC

 

Aviation Facilities

Land/Launch Spots

2 x CH-53E or

2 x MV-22 or

2 x CH-46 or

2 x AH/UH-1

 

Electric Plant

AC Zonal Distribution System

10 KW

400 Hz Frequency Converters

 

Auxiliary Systems

A/C Plants (CFC Free): 1,500 tons installed

RO Plants: 72,000 GPD installed

Cargo Elevators: 12,000 lb capacity

Lift Platform: 6,000 lb capacity

 

Medical Facilities

Medical Operating Rooms: 1

Hospital Ward Beds: 8

Dental Operating Rooms: 1

 

Accommodations

Ship’s complement: 396

Troop: 506 Total

 

Surveillance

2D/3D Radars

AN/SPQ-9B – Fire Control Radar

AN/UPX-29 Central IFF

 

Weapons

2 x RAM Launchers

2 x 25mm Mark-38

4 x .50 Caliber Machine Guns

 

Command and Control

Links 11, 16

AN/SPQ-12V

NTCSS

GCCS-M

SGS/AC

CENTRIX

 

Survivability

Collective Protection System (Single Zone)

Strengthened Structure Against Whipping

Fragmentation Protection

Water Mist Fire Extinguising System

Degaussing System

 

Great ships require
deep waters

Canberra’s Commander Air, Commander Paul Moggach, told IHS Jane’s that the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) commissioned first-of-class landing helicopter dock HMAS Canberra in Sydney on 28 November.

HMAS Canberra (LHD 02)
HMAS Canberra (LHD 02)

Thus, the sealift capability of the RAN has been dramatically increased. Based on the design of the Spanish Navy’s aircraft carrier Juan Carlos, the Canberra can embark, transport, and deploy more than 1,000 troops and their equipment from alongside or by helicopter and landing craft.

Canberra will be joined in 2016 by sister ship HMAS Adelaide (LHD 01). The hulls of both ships were constructed by Navantia at its Ferrol facility in northwest Spain and subsequently transported by heavy-lift ship to BAE Systems in Melbourne for addition of the superstructure, fitting out, and systems integration.

Design changes for the RAN included upgrades to air conditioning, Australian explosives standards in the magazines, enhanced firefighting and medical facilities, and four Typhoon remote-controlled 25 mm weapons systems at each corner of the hull for close-in defence. The Australian-developed Nulka hovering anti-missile decoy will be fitted at a later date.

The flight deck is configured for simultaneous operation of four medium-sized helicopters, such as the NHIndustries NH90 (MRH90 in Australian service) or the Sikorsky S70A-9 Black Hawk, or four Boeing CH-47D/F Chinooks. Up to eight medium helicopters can be accommodated in the hangar, and up to 18 can be carried if the light vehicle deck is also utilised.

The four Navantia-built LCM-1E watercraft carried by each LHD can transport a maximum load of 54 tonnes via the ship’s well deck.

The ultimate goal of these efforts – an Amphibious Ready Group: a battalion-based combat team with enablers that will involve about 2,000 troops and require both LHDs to transport – is scheduled to be operational by 2017.

Initial operational capability (IOC) for Canberra is expected to be reached in 2016, enabling the ship to participate in that year’s Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise.

Earlier this year Prime Minister Tony Abbott ordered an assessment of the benefits of the F-35B short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) variant of the Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter and modifying the LHDs to operate them. Unfortunately, the general reaction from senior defence sources of the Royal Australian Navy has been that additional capability would not be justified by the time, cost, and risk involved.

As it is known from open sources, the fourth American warship named for the United States of America – USS America (LHA-6) can fulfill battle missions when configured with 20 F-35B strike fighters. USS America has been modified to make her better able to withstand the great amounts of heat generated by the F-35B’s engine exhaust when taking off or landing vertically. Intercostal structural members will be added underneath flight deck landing spots seven and nine to more closely perform timed cyclic flight operations without overstressing it. Other changes may involve re-adjusting some ship antennas to allow for a clear flight path.

From this, we can conclude that it is not so easy to accommodate aircraft carriers like Australian HMAS Canberra (LHD 02) or Japan Izumo (DDH-183) for using with new multirole fighter F-35B Lightning II.

Landing Helicopter Dock
Landing Helicopter Dock

 

Platform Characteristics

Length Overall                                                                           230.8 m

Length Waterline                                                                     207.2 m

Beam                                                                                                32 m

Design Draft                                                                                7.18 m

Full Load Displacement                                                         27,831 t

Crew and Embarked Forced Accommodation         1,403

 

Machinery

Propulsion                             2 x Siemens 11,000 kW PODs

Bowthruster                         2 x 1,500 kW Brunvoll/Siemens motors

Stabilisers                               2 x Fincantieri

Generators                            1 x 22,000 kW GE LM2500 Gas Turbine and                                                       2 x 7,680 kW Diesel

Integrated Platform Management System              Navantia – Sistemas

Fresh Water                          6 x Reverse Osmosis Plants (each 25 t/day)

Sewage                                     2 x Treatment Plants

 

HMAS Adelaide (LHD 01) and HMAS Canberra (LHD 02)
HMAS Adelaide (LHD 01) and HMAS Canberra (LHD 02)

 

Performance

Maximum Speed                                                                             20+ kts

Economic Speed                                                                             15 kts

Maximum Range                                                                             9,250 nm

Endurance                                                                                           45+ days

 

Capacity

Flight Deck                                                             4,750 m²

Dock (including ramp)                                     1,165 m²

Heavy Cargo Garage                                        1,410 m²

Light Cargo Garage                                           1,880 m²

Hangar                                                                      990 m²

Garages, Hangar and Well Dock               1,350 lane metre (2.9 m wide)

General Store Rooms                                       1,079 m²

Future Growth Margin                                    672 t

À la guerre comme
à la guerre

As you could hear, the famous soap opera «Mistral and Putin» continues with a new intriguing accompaniment.

BPC
STX France

On November 25, the Reuters reported, France suspended INDEFINITELY on Tuesday delivery of the first of two Mistral helicopter carrier warships to Russia, citing conflict in eastern Ukraine where the West accuses Moscow of fomenting separatism.

«The President of the French Republic considers that the situation in the east of Ukraine still does not permit the delivery of the first LHD (helicopter carrying and command vessel)», said a statement from President Francois Hollande’s office.

«He has therefore decided that it is appropriate to suspend, until further notice [when Hell freezes over], examination of the request for the necessary authorization to export the first LHD to the Russian Federation».

«Le président de la République considère que la situation actuelle dans l’est de l’Ukraine ne permet toujours pas la livraison du premier BPC (bâtiment de projection et de commandement). Il a donc estimé qu’il convenait de surseoir, jusqu’à nouvel ordre, à l’examen de la demande d’autorisation nécessaire à l’exportation du premier BPC à la Fédération de Russie». (Le Monde)

My prediction:

Russia will not receive the first Mistral (Russian sailors named him «Vladivostok») in the nearest future, I mean, in December of this year.

Vladivostok
DCNS Group

TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS (STX France, shipyards – Saint-Nazaire and Lorient)

Length overall                                                199 m

Breadth                                                              32 m at the helicopter deck level

Maximum speed                                           19 knots

Full load displacement                              21,500 t

Complement                                                   160 crew, 450 troops

Range                                                                  11,000 NM at 15 knots

Carrying capacities                                     16 helicopters

What was the purpose of this deal? Why Russia wants to spend more than €1.2 billion for the purchase of ships, which she would never be able to use? Because Russia has a common land border with all «enemies», such as China or Ukraine. This is the billion-dollar question.

By the way, if you are interested in comparison Mistral with the American amphibious assault ships, you could see general technical specifications of some LHA and LHD in my navy blog (http://navyarm.blogspot.ru/). I suppose, Russia has no chance to prevail in this direct comparison with the US Navy.

Thank DCNS Group for the photos