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New Subs winner announced

Posted: 26 Apr 2016 12:16
by MikeJames
The envelopes are in and the winner is...Paris???

Apparently the decision is in and the Government has chosen to go with the medium technical risk / medium project risk option and has chosen DCNS Short Fin Barracuda design. This is a modified French Navy SSN with the glow in the dark bits replaced by a diesel power plant and massive battery racks to serve the electic motors.

I have to say I didn't see them as the likely winner, I either expected the Germans on the basis they have the most experience in transferring technology to foreign shipyards or the Japanese given the strategic and political pluses of a Japanese win.

The US Navy will not be happy, they really don't like the idea of their best tech leaking back to the French. Compartmentalisation and firewalls between what the French see and what the US supplies will be paramount.

Australian submarines: France wins $50bn contract

The Australian
April 26, 2016 9:18AM|

Cameron StewartI
Associate Editor

France is expected to be named today as the winner of the $50 billion submarine bid, pipping Germany and Japan to build the next generation of submarines for the Royal Australian Navy.

The Australian understands that the prime minister Malcolm Turnbull called France’s president Francois Hollande last night to inform him that France had won the giant contract.

Mr Turnbull is expected to announce the winning bidder in Adelaide at 11am.

The decision means that Australia’s new submarines will be a conventionally powered version of France’s new nuclear-powered Barracuda-class of submarine.

This will be Australia’s biggest-ever defence project and it is considered huge even by international standards.

Construction of the sub*marines will involve jobs for *between 1200 and 2000 workers in roles ranging from submarine design to high-level welding.

Treasurer Scott Morrison, who sits on the National Security Committee, said defence procurement was geared towards benefiting the broader economy.

“What’s important for our defence procurement plan is that we’re actually getting the technology and other transfer that occurs from being involved in these projects,” Mr Morrison told ABC radio.

“They are significant expenditures of public money and we will be focusing on ensuring that Australians get the real benefit of that for jobs and growth in the future.”

Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 26 Apr 2016 12:40
by SlatsSSN
Thanks Mike...somewhat stunning as you said.

Wondering what was the tipping point. I thought the idea was to not going towards untested tech, would have to think gutting a nuke for conventional power is "fairly untested", although DCN is a company with a good rep.

Interestingly pump jet propulsion, - and that is part of the build, has much higher power demands than swinging a prop, so will be bloody amazing how much endurance these boats will have in diesel / electric form with a pump jet installed.

Time will tell.

Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 26 Apr 2016 19:51
by rritchie71
A very interesting read about how the Shortfin Barracuda design came about

Text from the article, 8 Apr 2016|Gerard Autret and Sean Costello

Designing the Shortfin Barracuda

A common misunderstanding about the conventionally powered Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A is that is somehow “converted” from the nuclear powered French Barracuda. This characterisation is inaccurate. In fact the conventional ship uses the nuclear ship as its design reference.

As a new design for Australia’s specific requirement, the first design activity DCNS conducted was to size the ship. Based on what Australia needs the submarine to do, a calculation is performed to determine the necessary volume and weight required – how much submarine do we need? The answer to this question is found using specific programs within DCNS, and displacement is determined.

From this volume the naval architect then asks the next question – does an existing design approach the estimated displacement? If the answer is ‘yes’, this existing design becomes the reference for the new ship. If the answer is ‘no’, then a completely new design is required. In this situation one design loop will be insufficient and the design agency faces many years of risk reduction activity.

This threshold question is very important to understand and it is possible for different design agencies to answer this question differently, depending on the magnitude of the design loop in question. Design agencies will call on all their background tools, technologies, experience and know-how before answering one way or another. However, in the case of DCNS a clear and positive decision was made that the French Navy’s Barracuda would provide a very suitable design reference for the Shortfin Barracuda.

The data that enabled the selection of the Barracuda as the Australian design reference included such things hull diameter, length and steel, existing hydrodynamic studies of manoeuvrability, drag and acoustic performances and the suitability of main systems including, ship control, electrical, hydraulic, sonar, sensors, habitability, weapons storage, cooling, and ancillary platform systems. In each of these major systems the existing system design of the French Barracuda is used for the Shortfin Barracuda and from these known references an interpolation is performed for the new system design.

DCNS has high confidence in the performance of the design as the Shortfin Barracuda is within the envelope of the nuclear design. Where the nuclear design’s systems are not transferable the next most applicable systems are chosen. The main area where Barracuda design references were not used was in the area of the electrical system (batteries and voltage), power generation (induction and diesel generators) and propulsion (main electric motor). In these systems the design reference comes from the Scorpene class of diesel electric submarines, or from an existing submarine technology within DCNS. Existing technologies are re-used in all systems in the Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A. System by system, the whole ship performance is validated and the design loop closed.

The selection of the nuclear Barracuda as the design reference for the Shortfin also enabled DCNS to meet requirements in addition to range and endurance. The Australian requirements for warm water operations and very low acoustic signatures are good examples. As the nuclear Barracuda is designed to operate globally, shares the same hull form as the Shortfin Barracuda and is also compliant with nuclear safety standards, it is very suitable for the Australian requirement. This avoids many years of design studies for validation of equipment such as pumps and hoses, and allows the designer to take margins for higher performances elsewhere in the ship.

Acoustic performance is driven by three related factors of onboard equipment: silencing, reduction in the noise of the propeller and the overall hydrodynamic performance of the hull while manoeuvring. For the Australian requirement the nuclear Barracuda is again the closest design reference and all the relevant ship systems are reused. The challenge for any attack submarine is to maintain a nearly silent acoustic signature at a speed necessary to manoeuvre within weapons range of the target. The nuclear Barracuda is designed to reduce radiated noise when operating at a speed sufficient in order to close a threat submarine undetected. Of particular importance is the pump-jet propulsor, which combines a rotor and stator within a duct to significantly reduce the level of radiated noise through the effects of wake harmonisation and avoidance of cavitation.

One other myth worth debunking is that designers of nuclear submarines do not have to manage the power consumption of on board equipment as electricity from the reactor is “unlimited”. In large attack submarines, such as the French and proposed Australian Barracuda, the power consumption of the hotel load (the electricity needed to power the combat system and maintain the life support of the crew) is more than that of the propulsion system at the most frequently used speeds. In the case of nuclear submarines, the very high cost and significant weight of the reactor, as well as the safety requirement to operate on batteries without the reactor online, drives the architect to minimise the consumption of the hotel load to the lowest realisable level. In the case of a conventional submarine the preservation of energy in the main storage battery drives the same system design.

In summary, the description of the design process and choices made in the development of the Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A show that one submarine is not converted to another. Rather, a design reference is selected and an iteration of a new design is developed to meet the requirement with interpolation of known data and the re-use of proven technologies.

Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 27 Apr 2016 12:27
by fastone045
All this sounds nice, but I read in The Navy magazine that the US will not supply the front end important war fighting systems for the French or German subs? So what will this mean for our new subs - a toothless tiger sorry toothless Baracuda?


Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 27 Apr 2016 14:01
by rritchie71
Hi Craig, I read a bit about that aswell. No doubt there would have been a lot of negotiations going on in the background that we as the public will never see or know about. i.e. what would the U.S. supply if France or Germany was picked and not Japan.

The U.S. concerns centered around protecting the highly classified technology as I understand it. So DCNS and Australia would have had to provide safeguards to U.S. satisfaction.

First, we appointed former high ranking U.S. Navy officers as part of the selection process.

Then in April,
Obama indicated “The selection was a sovereign issue of Australia and that the selection of France or Germany would not in any way affect the Australia-U.S. alliance”.

Both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon (the only two bids involved in the weapons fit, so either way it is American) both said that they could work with DCNS.

These hoops would have to have been jumped through and passed at the highest level for those comments to be made publicly.


Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 27 Apr 2016 18:04
by MikeJames
As I said a few posts back, compartmentalisation and firewalls between what the French see and what the US supplies will be paramount.


Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 29 Apr 2016 23:35
by MichaelB

Look at the wording > Both Lockheed Martin and Raytheon (the only two bids involved in the weapons fit, so either way it is American) both said that they could work with DCNS.

COULD which means it is possible not that it will happen. They did not say they WOULD. Turnbull could make a speech without waving his hands around like Kevin Rudd, he could reduce income tax to 10%, he could actually do what he said he would do when he became Prime Minister but how many “coulds” in the world will actually happen?

One thought has rattled through my mind on these subs. The RAN says they are the most modern out there but they won’t be here until 2030 i.e. another 14 years. Wouldn’t they then be almost obsolete and overtaken by advances in technology by then?

Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 30 Apr 2016 11:05
by SlatsSSN
Looks like there are many elephants in the room... a couple of observations / questions

Pump jets are quieter and have higher thrust outputs than conventional props dues to the conical wake thrust produced. But the tradeoff is you need higher torque to turn them than props. For electrical motors with bucket loads of torque no problems but the current drain is typically higher than props. Also at lower speeds the efficiency of pump jet is worse than propellers - its a bit like turbo lag in a car.
This is why a lot of the newer diesel and hybrid fuel cell boats still spin props rather than pump jets, as it comes down to endurance range is higher with the prop across a wide range of performance / speed settings. If you have nuclear power and unlimited range this is not an issue, but it will be interesting to see how this pans out with this new sub and what skunworks-type technology they throw at it. But to me that raises a question of risk. A prop could have been a lower risk alternative. The radiated noise of propeller driven boats maybe higher than pump jets, but many modern propeller driven boats have proved time and again to be sufficiently quiet. Just look at the Ohio's and our Collin's performance once they sorted out the earlier issues.

A big advantage a pump jet has is the angles of the stators - the supporting struts that hold the pump jet on, are designed to eliminate any torque roll effect on the hull, reducing radiated noise through engine mounting rafting movements, and reducing a considerable load on the propulsor / prop drive train. The fixed stators can however increase drag.

Trafalgar class SSNs have pump jets - except the lead boat Trafalgar had a conventional 7 bladed prop fitted initially, with a plan to convert her. However the cost was too high to have her converted, AND interestingly her operational performance was found to to be completely satisfactory that such a conversion was viewed as trying to fix something that wasn't broken. So my read on that is, is pump jets may not be as great as advertised.

The biggest question for me is why 12 boats?
I know that you need to have a redundancy plan and maintenance schedules etc, but can we man them?

And the bigger question seconding Mike Brown... is by the time the last boat is in service surely obsolescence kicks in?

Anyway - its going to cost us if it does go to plan in todays money about $2K for every man, woman and child in Australia.

Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 30 Apr 2016 18:43
by rritchie71
I think we are getting way too much into the politics.

We are not doing anything that other countries have not done before us and done it successfully.

And remember, the French are militarily self-sufficient because they want to be, not because they have to be. It’s not because the U.S. do not trust them, it is because France wanted strategic independence after WWII and sees arms as a major export opportunity and thus produces it's own, and let’s be honest here, they are cutting edge.

Step back and think of the big picture, who is the U.S.’s biggest military partner in Europe and actually, in the entire world ? Where secrets and technology are shared and their servicemen serve on each others vessels for operations, training and go into combat together ? It used to the U.K, it hasn’t been for a long time, it's France. That level of co-operation is far more than lettings us buy a U.S. weapon system for our future submarines.

The U.S. wanted Japan to win because of Pacific regional strategic purposes, not because they didn't like the French or German sub.

The selection committee had highly experienced naval engineers, if they thought the French proposal was not achievable, they would not have given it a thumbs up, let alone said it was better than the rest.

The first F100 came into service with the Spanish in 2002, the first Arleigh Burke with the USN in 1989, they are still some of the most powerful weapons in the field, simply because they have been upgraded over time.



Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 30 Apr 2016 22:41
by SlatsSSN
Hi Rob

I don't think we are wandering too far into the politics - but agree most defence procurement is political both domestically and globally.

I think all Australian taxpayers are quiet rightly nervous given the overruns on previously experienced procurements. The thing that particular fascinates I think is that not many- save perhaps DCNS and their supporters saw this coming. Yet we all foot the bill.



Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 01 May 2016 21:11
by MikeJames
I understand from a contact in Canberra who I asked "WTF were they thinking? French???" that Navy sought, and received, assurances from the US Government that they would supply the equipment regardless of which submarine was chosen. This assurance was given. The decision would not have been made if the French had been ruled out, the RAN would not have recommended the Short Fin Barracuda to the Government if they were not possessing iron clad government-to-government guarantees on that matter, US navy and tech support to the RAN is too important to risk.

The 12 boat build is there for a number of reasons.

1. It allows for a long-term continuous build, meaning that by the time the last boat is built, the follow on design will have been selected and construction on it will be well advanced, ensuring that our building and maintenance capabilities are supported.

2. The boats will be built in tranches of either four or six boats, the later tranches will differ from the early ones as they incorporate new equipment, sonar and computing technology, better batteries and silencing and emergent tech like blue-green lasers, sub-mounted Unmanned Underwater Vessels and new weapons such as supercavitating torpedoes and supersonic cruise missiles and sub-launched and recoverable miniature drone aircraft.

3. It will allow for two full sub squadrons, one based in the west at Stirling, the other in Sydney, allowing for much better posting cycles for submariners and their families. For example a lieutenant is posted to HMAS Whatever, a sub based out of Sydney as his family move to Sydney and get established. Our lieutenant does a two year posting aboard and then goes ashore for a three year posting in MHQ. This is followed by a one year posting to Watson for his PWO (Sub) Course and then back to HMAS Wherever for another two years as XO as a LCDR. That's eight years based in Sydney and with another staff posting ashore in Sydney our now LCDR could be looking at 11 years in the one place. Posting continuity will go a long way to helping retention of subs-qualified personnel.

4. Even at best we might have 12 subs, but it is unlikely any more than eight would be operational at any one time, with two in deep maintenance/upgrade and two in for yard time, so it is finding the capability to man eight subs at once that is the issue, not twelve.


Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 01 May 2016 21:53
by SlatsSSN
Thanks Mike. That makes sense.


Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 02 May 2016 23:41
by scott154
Thank you guys! A great read. I came home from work today and this was in the letter box, I have never seen this before! never happened with the AWD's except in the newspapers. Nice brochure, how many other people received one? Scott

Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 03 May 2016 08:31
by rritchie71
Hi Scott, it's a start, I'm presuming by the cover it is the beginning of DCNS getting themselves out and about in the Adelaide community, not a political party marketing leaflet ?

You could keep it, to say this is where it all began one day, when you build your 1:72 Shortfin Barracuda.... :D



Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 03 May 2016 09:23
by RussF172
The French obviously think it is a very big deal as they flew three French Air Force transports into Canberra in the last day or so including one carrying the French Prime Minister. An A340, an A330 and a smaller French Air Force Biz Jet. I expect some of them will be heading to Adelaide in the coming days also doing a lot of hand shaking.

Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 03 May 2016 10:56
by rritchie71
Let the sorting out of the details begin.... :)

Whilst people will find things to dig at, as we always do. Really this is the first time a government has tried to create a continuous build industry (as I understand it), and I say about time. After all we have been promised it since 2007 and nobody did squat about it, in actual fact they ran the industry down and made it less efficient.

Whilst no doubt lots will go wrong, hopefully more will go right, and we will never achieve the economy of scale of the U.S. who have built close to 70 Arleigh Burkes over the last 25years, and are placing the order for the next generation, the Flight III with AMDR instead of SPY1. We should really gain a lot of knowledge from this, that can be retained and re-used, which is where a lot of our expensive costs have come from, re-inventing the wheel all the time is not a cheap exercise in ship building.

Really the attention should turn to the future frigate program now, as I understand it (please correct me if I am wrong), it will technically start first.



Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 03 May 2016 12:14
by cootafleet
THE chinese own so much of our country now maybe we should make them pay for them. :oops1: :yy:

Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 03 May 2016 12:48
by scott154
Hi Rob, you are correct in saying it was DCNS doing the brochure! That was the first thing I looked for on the back, thinking this would be political :yes: but it was from DCNS Canberra's office. And no Rob, lol I will not be doing a 1/72 Sub. Scott

Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 03 May 2016 14:58
by MikeJames
rritchie71 wrote:Really the attention should turn to the future frigate program now, as I understand it (please correct me if I am wrong), it will technically start first.



Actually the OPVs will be first, then the frigates. The idea is that the first few OPVs will be built at Osborne to keep the workforce occupied between the AWD and the Frigates, with later OPVs being built in WA at Austal.

The order of major projects is...

2 AORs (reuse the Success and Sirius names maybe?) with a third to be sourced later (Supply?)


Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 03 May 2016 22:21
by littoralcombat

Isn't it a bit early to say the follow-on OPV'S will be constructed at Austal. It will subject to a competitive tender process and there is more than one Yard here in the West capable of constructing vessels of that size/nature.


Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 04 May 2016 08:51
by phillip08
The Sub announcement has generated some intesting comments and disturbing facts coming out about the French and their record of withholding of parts, ammo and tech support to countries they have supplied weapons ansd equipment to over the years especally should they see a threat to a trading partner that they feel is better for their economic well being than a combatant, they have already done this to AUS by refusing to supply parts and ammo for the Mirage fighters from 1968 until 1972 just in case they were used against the NVA. They continued to supply the Arg'es missiles as they did more trade with them than the UK, they only stoped after the UK & the US threatened them. French foriegn policy or their record of withdrawing support is very long and still used today, it was not mentioned anywhere by DCNS or the French Gvt. There's a few wrists being slashed in the corridors of power at present as the French in US$ terms do more trade with the Middle Kingdom than we do.


Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 04 May 2016 09:10
by SlatsSSN
Agree Phil there is form there that a dummy spit that happened with the Mirages could occur again.

Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 04 May 2016 09:35
by SlatsSSN
In terms of sub modelling one the biggest limitations we have is the time lag between a new class of boat hitting the water and half decent plans coming available. There is of course a time lag too for skimmers but taking AWD as an example - a GA plan is now available. The secrecy surrounding subs is a different ball game. There are some exceptions but these are exceptions rather than rule.

Often the very first time you see anything like a scale representation, its a kit usually in around 1/350 scale that comes out of Asia or if your lucky via Revell in 1/144 scale if the sub is German. I have seen a few large scale RC kits developed via computer modelling extrapolations of these small scale kits.

Added to the limitation of plans, the average model boat hull maker does not posses the skill or patience or foresight to make geometrically perfect upper and lower hull halves, which are the kit configurations that RC sub builders want and are willing to pay for. A hat tip to those who can - rare but limited breed, these guys actually do make money from the hobby. The main problem is that model boat hull builders don't actually build and operate RC subs. They are oblivious to the needs of the subdriver.

So are we going to see a 1/72 kit of the short fin Barracuda this side of the Collins retirement and the first of the boats in production? I'd be forever hopeful but I doubt it based on passed form.

Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 21 Jun 2017 11:12
by littoralcombat

Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 21 Jun 2017 15:09
by rritchie71
To not answer your question...:) It is not what is said in the article, it is what is not said.

DCNS does not want to subcontract to ASC. They have left out of the article why DCNS does not want to subcontract to ASC (the elephant in the room). It doesn't mean they are not building the submarines in SA.

In regards to the elephant in the room, the government expects DCNS to be responsible for the workforce that builds the submarines.
If they subcontract to ASC, then the government transfer's that workforce risk to DCNS, along with some other risks. DCNS is not happy to accept some of those risks in their current form.

Read the article below and then think about who some of those politicians on that committee answer to, who are their donors/backers and it all starts to add up. Have a problem in one place, apply pressure and pain in another to sort it out......... No judgement on what is right or wrong here, just what is known, and there is probably much more that is not public knowledge that we do not know about.


Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 21 Jun 2017 20:52
by littoralcombat
Well i never asked a question but can probably identify the primary unacceptable risk highlighted so well by your link. That being the Ball and Chain that is the Union involvement in Australian Shipbuilding. With their 'participation' there will never be a sustainable Domestic/Sovereign Warship/Sub Industry beyond OPV, Anzac replacement or Collins replacement when Foreign Sales must take over.
So of course the Subs will be built in SA, but my guess is it will be a non-Union gig, you want a job, that is the deal, if not, see you later. :yes:

Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 21 Jun 2017 23:21
by rritchie71
The core issue goes deeper than the union. ASC is a government entity created to service the RAN, DCNS has to compete commercially and competitively against others and make a profit.

They may both build submarines but they run their operations very differently, this I suppose is the sorting out of those contractual details they have been talking about.....


Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 11 Dec 2018 18:13
by SlatsSSN
was reading some old news today - well from a couple of months back this year.

Will we see a cancellation of the DCN Short Fin Barracuda?

The unit cost of these boats will eclipse that of the Seawolf SSN.. ridiculous for a conventionally powered boat.
Wondering what it would take for the Govt to reassess given we now have the T26s in the pipeline predominately as they are meant to be great sub hunters. Thoughts?

Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 14 Dec 2018 19:58
by littoralcombat
Well this is also a little old, but worth watching if you have a spare 30mins.
There is no doubt in my mind that leasing Virginia Class Boats (if the Donald would sign up for it) was/is the option that makes sense, even if we were to pull the pin on the Short-Fin and pay any penalties.
Also, I think we are kidding ourselves if we really think that as a result of us building the twelve boats here, that it would create export opportunities. There are just too many very experienced Sub builders out there for a potential client to take the massive risk of trusting a relatively new-start operation.

Re: New Subs winner announced

Posted: 14 Dec 2018 20:33
by MikeJames
This furfy comes up way too often, so lets shoot it down all over again. :no:

1. Leasing Virgina / Sea Wolf / Los Angeles. The US has NEVER offered to lease their nuke boats to anyone, not the Brits, the Canadians and certainly not us. We are the only three navies in the world that would even be considered by the US and the offer has never been made.

2. Buying Virgina / Sea Wolf / Los Angeles. See point 1.

3. Anyone who tells you the American's made an offer is full of it, they are deliberately misrepresenting a statement by the head of the Pacific Fleet. His statement was that 'the decision to operate nuclear submarines was one for the Australian Government'. Certain people interpreted that quite deliberately to mean if we said we'd want to operate nuke boats then the US would lease / sell them to us. This is just not true.

4. The process of ramping up to operate nuclear subs, say the Brits were willing to sell us Astutes or the French Barracuda's off their production line would take about 6-8 years at the minimum from order to delivery if we put an order in tomorrow. The main bottlenecks are lead times for components, in particular the reactors.

5. It would take up at least that long and possibly longer to set up a system of engineers and maintenance people trained to operate around and on a nuclear power plant. Given the limited numbers of sub-tranied crews we have and the issues with manning six Collins, we would struggle mightly to crew six nukes, let alone any more, as all three potential boats (US/UK/FR) require larger crews than Collins.

6. The political issues aren't just going to be wished away. The state that handles most of the maintenance, South Australia, has an ALP government that is quite left and committed to renewable energy, in part to appease a strong Green left political imperative in a number of electorates in the state. The chances of them supporting the maintenance of nuclear-powered submarines in SA is a very slight one at best.

7. Federal Politics. Asssume that the Morrison Government is somehow returned to power next year (work with me here) and they decide to ignore Pyne and junk building the Shortfins here for a buy from someone willing to sell us nuclear subs. You would have to hope that Morrison and his people are returned at the next two elections because if they lose office an ALP Government will immediately cancel the project. They will do that because they will need to appease their left wing, who will be eagerly parroting Green slogans of a 'nuclear-free Australia' :nuke: , 'no floating Chernobyls' :nuke: , 'no to a nuclear-armed Australia' :nuke: and such other rubbish.

So basically anyone trying to convince you that Australia should buy / lease nukes is selling you something, probably shares in the Sydney Harbour Bridge, because RAN SSNs are a fevered pipe dream.