February 22, 2018

Rising China "US$42 trillion economy by 2030"

https://www.lowyinstitute.org/the-interpreter/china-and-military-balance

versus US$24 trillion for the US in 2030

February 21, 2018

Disappearances of Two (High Security) Russian Shipbuilding Engineers

The following draws on a French language article of January 24, 2018 titled "Mysterious disappearances of two Russian engineers" on  "Khan's" mainly Russian website, The portal of the naval forces of the Russian Federation. 

Engineer A

Over the last 4 weeks, two Russian shipbuilding engineers have been reported missing. Life working in trusted positions of the Russian military-industrial complex can be grim. 

Engineer A, aged 38, formally employed by the Yantar shipyard at Kaliningrad (see map below) was officially reported missing on January 11, 2018. Kaliningrad is a high security Russian Baltic Fleet Base area. There the Yantar shipyard builds, amongst other things, Project 11356M frigates, which are equipped with Kalibr cruise missiles.

The Russian Federal Security Bureau (FSB) had become suspicious of Engineer A's activities in nearby Vilnius, Lithuania (a NATO country) in July 2017. Engineer A had then, in agreement with Yantar, stopped working for Yantar in August 2017. On January 11, 2018 the FSB issued a "search" warrant for Engineer A.  It is unclear whether the FSB eventually arrested Engineer A.

Engineer B

Engineer A's disappearance raised suspicions of a pattern occuring with the later disappearance of Engineer BEngineer B was a "first class" engineer [1] of the Malakhit Design Bureau [2] (St. Petersburg) on January 24, 2018. Engineer B lived alone in the suburbs of St. Petersburg.

Tragically, on January 25, 2018, it was reported (Russian article) that Engineer B was found hanging in his St. Petersburg apartment.

[1]  By implication Engineer B held a senior position with access to nuclear submarine Top Secrets.
       This may have included nuclear submarine design information collected by espionage from all

       other nuclear submarine building nations (as well as the German 212's smoothly faired 
       demagnetised hull).

[2]  The Malakhit Bureau along with Rubin Design Bureau are the two leading Russian engineering
       firms that specialize in the development of nuclear submarines. The Malakhit Bureau designed
       Russia's latest SSGN, the Project 885 Yasen> The Yasen is probably of high interest to Western
       countries and certainly its stealth and SSGN VLS features are of interest to China.

COMMENT

Not all is known about the reasons for Engineer B's suspected suicide. If it was work related, high security work can be highly isolating and alienating. In Russia security pressures are not improved by the low pay Russian engineers recieve for highly sensitive defense work. Russia's dark, very cold,  northern Winter also doesn't help. 

Engineer A was based at the highly militarized Kaliningrad, "exclavein orange on the Baltic, problematically surrounded by NATO countries, separating it from the main Russian landmass. Kaliningrad functions as the headquarters of  Russia's Baltic Fleet, ringed by Chernyakhovsk (air base)Donskoye (air base) and Kaliningrad Chkalovsk (naval air base). Engineer B lived and worked in St. Petersburg, also marked on map. (Map courtesy of Geography in the News via National Geographic)
---

Pete

February 19, 2018

Russian Submarine Building Statistics 2017 - Yasen-Ms

The following is a translation from French, drawing from a long excellent article by "Khan" of January 12, 2018, titled "Russian Shipbuilding [Statistics] 2017". That article is contained in the French language, but mainly Russian website, The portal of the naval forces of the Russian Federation. 


The end of 2017 reveals information on the financial and industrial priorities of [shipbuilding in Russia]. This provides context to some long delays in delivery of some surface vessels and submarines...The nature of the platforms is changing, with a trend toward combat units of lower tonnage [eg. more corvettes] but still with a high weapons load (eg. Kalibr missiles). So, what do we have to remember about shipbuilding for the Russian fleet in 2017?

... Submarines

No submarines were commissioned in 2017. However 3 subs were launched in 2017 (see TABLE below):
-  the second Project 0885.1 Yasen SSGN (K-561 Kazan) was launched by Sevmash shipbuilding at
   Severodvinsk (which is by the White Sea, north of St. Petersburg). 
-  the seventh Yasen (Ulyanovsk) was put "on hold".
-  6 Project 636.3 Kilo class SSKs for the Pacific Fleet were commenced at the Admiralty shipyard
   St. Petersburg. This was starting with 2 Kilos (B-603 Volkhov and B-274 
   Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsk). 

TABLE of Submarines Commissioned or Launched 2013 to 2017.

2013

Commissioned
2
Launched
1
2014

Commissioned
4
Launched
7
2015

Commissioned
2
Launched
3
2016

Commissioned
2
Launched
2
2017

Commissioned
0
Launched
3


See the WHOLE ORIGINAL ARTICLE in French HERE (right-click mouse to translate into your own language).

Separately soumarsov advises regarding the Project 885 Yasen SSGN class:
-  one (the first, named Severodvinsk K-560 ) is active in the Northern Fleet. She has been in
   experimental service for years and only in March 2016 was she fully combat ready.
-  the follow-on Yasens are designated 885M or “Yasen-M”. 
   :  the first one, Kazan, was launched in March 2017 and is expected to be commissioned at the end
      of 2018. 
   :  the last one, Ulyanovsk, is due to be commissioned 2023 at the earliest.

More on Russian SSKs, SSGNs, SSNs and SSBNs from soumarsov next week.

Pete

February 15, 2018

Russian Submarine Development as at 2018

In terms of conventional subs (SSKs) Russia has only been able to build and sell Kilo submarines (Project 877) since 1980 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilo-class_submarine#Project_877_units 

and Improved Kilo subs (Project 636) since 1996 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kilo-class_submarine#Project_636_units

In 2012 Russia also 10 year leased one Akula II SSN (known as INS Chakra) to India https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_submarine_Nerpa_(K-152)

Due to a limited submarine defense budget Russia has spent more on nuclear submarine development and production (new Yasen "Multipurpose", Borey/Borei SSBNs and updated Akula SSNs, Delta SSBNs and Oscar SSGNs) with insufficient money to develop AIP for conventional diesel-electric subs. 

Thus Russia has been unable to develop and market AIP submarines which it hoped to sell under marketing names of Project Amur https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amur-class_submarine and Kalina https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Kalina


What Russia has announced as Project Haski or Husky may only produce new nuclear multipurpose and SSBNs in the 2040s or later.

Pete

February 13, 2018

[Revised] Japan Increasingly its Submarine Propulsion (Diesels & Motors)

Submarine Propulsion in 7 lines. Air through snorkel is sucked into the Diesel Engine. Combustion from [spark and?] compressed diesel fuel produces the Diesel's mechanical power - Which then drives the Generator (which changes mechanical energy into electrical energy). The electricity and drives the Electric Motor which charges the Batteries. Diesels/Generator/Electric Motor/Magnets to rotate propeller to produce (about) 8-12? knot snorting speed. OR Batteries/Electric Motor/Magnets producing the silent running speed which is above 6 knots.
---

Following Submarine Matters Possible Motor Modifications for Australia's Future Submarine, February 9, 2018 Anonymous kindly commented on February 5, 2018 (with a bit of further translation by Pete):

The Soryu Mk 2 (at 27SS in the Table below) importantly will have:

(A)  a modified propulsion motor (designated “SMC-8B”) [1]
(B)  accompanied by Lithium-ion Batteries (LIBs). LIBs provide various benefits such as a low 
       indiscretion ratio (IR) [a lower the ratio of time spent at periscope depth snorting to time   completely submerged 
(C)  flexibility of operation and high speed performance submerged and
(D)  12V25/25SB diesels used in the current Soryu Mk 1 Soryu Mk 2 prior to use of 12V25/31S in Soryu Mk 3.

The newly modified propulsion motor (designated “SMC-8B”) will benefit from the more powerful diesel and the more electrically powerful LIBs quick charging of LIBs in order to achieve flexibility of operation and high speed performance submerged. In Soryu Mk 1, low speed performance is emphasized because of low effective capacity of LABs. 

In the Soryu Mk 2, higher silent (6> knots) speed performance will be emphasized, because of drastically improved LIB and motor capacity. This allows higher silent speed fully submerged for a much longer period. 

In other words, the main objective of the SMC-8B is the improvement of maximum silent speed. Key factors will be optimized to reduce vibration/noise, in Anonymous's opinion. As result, maximum speed from point to point somewhat changes as shown in [2] and [3]. Even a tiny improvement in the existing 5 minute duration of the 20 knots maximum speed would require a much more powerful engine. Anonymous does not think such a tiny improvement has meaning in actual operation. [4]

[1]       Budget of Japanese Ministry of Defense (MoD)

Soryu Mk 1s have propulsion motor SMC-8 and Mk 2s have SMC-8B (where the B means first revision) see Table below. The degree of revision can be measured by the first year cost which is the cost of new equipment and so on in the first year.  In SMC-8B, the first year cost was budgeted suggesting that SMC-8B experienced huge modifications or SMC-8B is actually a new model. So overall the last Soryu Mk 1 (26SS with SMC-8) costs ¥51.7B FY2014 (see Table below). Then the cost for the first Soryu Mk 2 (27SS) jumps to ¥64.4B FY2015 of which the development and unit costs of the first SMC-8B are a part.

[2]       “FY2014 Annual Report on Life Cycle Cost Management”, Equipment
Procurement and Construction Office, Ministry of Defense (MoD), page 78, Tabale 2. The maximum submerged speed of 26SS (Soryu Mk 1 with Lead-acid Batteries (LABs) + AIP) and 27SS (Soryu Mk 2 with LIBs) are both 20 knots.

[3]       Using English wikipedia websites - LIBs have a greater average charge and discharge efficiency 80%-90% (see LIB sidebar) compared to LABs with a lower average in the 50%-95% (see LAB sidebar). A Soryu Mk 2 submarine using LIBs, like a Soryu Mk 1 submarine using LABs both will not exceed 20 knots.

[4]       Additional comments by Anonymous of February 13, 2018. Japanese submarines are not equipped with reduction gear. Their speeds are electrically adjusted. The DC motors of Oyashios and AC motors (PMSM) of Soryus have different adjustment systems. In the Soryu Mk 1 (SMC-8), maximum silent speed is greater than 6 knots. This may correspond to the maximum operating output of a small rotor. In the Soryu Mk 2 (SMC-8B) an increased maximum silent speed for a longer period is expected.

Since 20 knots for 5 minutes is a performance limitation of the SMC-8, achieving 20 knots for an hour would require major modifications such as an increased cooling system, bigger rotor and stator, reinforced bearing and shaft. The speed of a submarine is proportional to cubes of output of the propulsion motor. A 10% increase in maximum speed (from 20 knots to 22 knots ) would need a 33% increase in output (from 5.9MW to 8MW). This requires major modifications. These modification may cause additional vibration leading to greater submarine noise.

Achieving a higher silent speed for a longer time within the framework of the submarine's current output is a more realistic objective.

TABLE SORYU & Oyashio Program as at February 132018 

SS
No.
Diesel Type
Motor
Build No
Name
Pennant
No.
MoF approved amount ¥
Billions FY
LABs, LIBs, AIP
Laid Down
Laun
-ched
Commi
ssioned
Built
By
8105 Oyashio
SS-590/ TS3608
¥52.2B FY1993
LABs only
 Jan 1994
Oct 1996
Mar 1998
 KHI
6SS-15SS
Oyashios 
10 subs
2 Toshiba motors
SMC-7?
8106
-8115
various
SS-591-600
¥52.2B per sub
FY1994-FY2003
LABs only
 15SS Feb
2004
15SS
Nov
2006
15SS
Mar 2008
 MHI
&
KHI
16SS
Soryu Mk 1
12V25/25SB
SMC-8
8116
Sōryū
SS-501
¥60B FY2004
LABs + AIP
Mar 2005
Dec 2007
Mar
2009
MHI
17SS
8117
Unryū
SS-502
¥58.7B FY2005
LABs + AIP
Mar 2006
Oct 2008
Mar
2010
KHI
18SS
8118
Hakuryū
SS-503
¥56.2 FY2006
LABs + AIP
Feb 2007
Oct 2009
Mar
2011
MHI
19SS
8119
Kenryū
SS-504
¥53B FY2007
LABs + AIP
Mar 2008
Nov 2010
Mar
2012
KHI
20SS
8120
Zuiryū
SS-505
¥51B FY2008
LABs + AIP
Mar 2009
Oct 2011
Mar
2013
MHI
No 21SS
No 21SS built
22SS
8121
Kokuryū
SS-506
¥52.8B FY2010
LABs + AIP
Jan 2011
Oct 2013
Mar
2015
KHI
23SS
8122
Jinryu
SS-507
¥54.6B FY2011
LABs + AIP
Feb 2012
Oct 2014
7 Mar 2016
MHI
24SS
8123
Sekiryū
SS-508
¥54.7B FY2012
LABs + AIP
KHI
25SS
8124
SS-509
¥53.1B FY2013
LABs + AIP
22 Oct 2013
12 Oct   2016
Mar? 2018
MHI
26SS
end of SMC-8s
8125
Shoryu
SS-510
LABs + AIP
2014
6 Nov 2017
Mar 2019?
KHI
27SS First
Soryu Mk 2
12V25/25SB
first SMC-8B
8126
SS-511
LIBs only
2015
2018?
Mar
2020
MHI
28SS  Second
Soryu Mark 2
12V25/25SB
SMC-8B
8127
SS-512
¥63.6B FY2016
LIBs only
2016?
2018?
Mar 2021?
KHI
29SS First Soryu Mk 3
SMC-9?
8128
?
¥76B FY2017
LIBs only
?
?
2023?
MHI?
30SS Second Soryu Mk 3
12V25/31S
8029?
?
¥71.5B FY2018
LIBs only
?
?
2024?
KHI?
Table from information exclusively provided to Submarine MattersLABs = lead-acid batteries, AIP = air independent propulsion, LIBs = lithium-ion batteries. ¥***B = Billion Yen. MHI = Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, KHI Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation of Kawasaki Heavy Industries. On Feb 13 2018 Diesel and Motor types were added.
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Anonymous and Pete