January 23, 2018

Chinese undersea sound surveillance sensors (SOSUS) near Guam

"The Chinese Academy of Sciences recently disclosed that underwater acoustic sensors have been monitoring sea activity near Guam since 2016."

Source: Russia's SputnikNews relaying a Hong Kong, South China Morning Post report of  
January 22, 2018. 

COMMENT

The report indicates "The sensors collect water temperature and salinity data that impact how sound moves through water". These make the underwater acoustic (SOSUS) sensors more accurate AND also provides a scientific research "cover" for basically ASW sensors. 

Once China perfects node sensors near Guam, and in the South, China Sea, China will lay 500+ km  undersea SOSUS cable arrays, stringing many sensors together
-  thereby providing electrical and communications channels to the sensors.

The main (near Guam) Chinese sensor targets would be the US Submarine Squadron 15 (SUBRON 15), at Naval Base Guam island. 

Anderson Air Base (at right) is also on Guam island, as is Guam (Apra) Naval Base, where
SUBRON 15 has long been based. South China Sea on left. All "targets" for China's developing SOSUS systems.
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SUBRON 15 mainly consists of:

-  the large submarine tender USS Frank Cable (AS-40)

-  four Los Angeles class SSNs, namely USS Key West (SSN 722), USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723), 
   USS Topeka (SSN 754) and USS Asheville (SSN 758). 

-  an Ohio class SSGN also occasionally visits.

Pete

January 22, 2018

Suspicious Russian Submarine Fire, Vladivostok, Diesel Vapour? Battery Hydrogen?

KQN has drawn Submarine Matter's attention to a January 21, 2018 Russian claim that the Russian Navy intentionally set a Russian conventional, diesel-electric, Kilo class submarine on fire, on January 21, as part of a “damage control exercise”. This fire was/is at Vladivostok Main Naval Base, Russian Pacific Fleet.

The Kilo is most likely part of the Russian Pacific Fleet's, Vladivostok, 19th Submarine Brigade and may well be an unimproved Project 877 Kilo (likely Pennant Number "B-260", "B-445", "B-394", "B-464", "B-494", "B-187", "B-190" or "B-345"). Intentionally starting a fire is highly unlikely given the cost of a Kilo and close proximity of several other Kilo subs near the fire (see photo below).

Russian Kilo submarine on fire, January 21, 2018, at Vladivostok. (Photo courtesy Anonymous Russian via a scoop by Tyler Rogoway, The Drive January 21, 2018, website).
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It will be interesting if the Russians admit the real reason, eg:

-  residual diesel fuel vapour catching alight 

-  angle grinder or welding equipment started a fire of insulation or diesel fuel vapour between the 
   outer hull and pressure hull, 

-  battery maintenance causing release of flammable Hydrogen gas from the batteries, leading to fire. 

OR

-  fire of highly volatile torpedo propellant, then subsequent "cooking-off" of torpedo warheads

Precents include:

-   the welding caused fire between outer and pressure hulls on the Russian Oscar class SSGN "Orel
    on April 8, 2015

-  the fire and explosion of IndianKilo submarine INS Sindhurakshak, on August 14,  2013.

Pete

January 18, 2018

Japanese Soryu Higher Power Snorkel (Intake and Exhaust) Study


"wispywood2344" has drawn and labelled this very useful diagram of the Japan's top of the line Soryu class submarine.  The diagram (minus the Stirling AIP) could represent the Japanese entrant "SEA-1000 Japanese submarine (SEA-J)” in the Australia’s Future Submarine competition (which France won in April 2016). larger version of the diagram is at http://blog.livedoor.jp/wispywood2344/others/Soryu_cutaway.svg
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Anonymous has kindly provided information for the following. One of the key factors in considering Soryu propulsive power (see January 16, 2018 article) comes through taking account of the efficiency of the snorkel (diesel intake and exhaust) system. If resistance against snorkel intake and exhaust is too high, the diesel generation system does not function well, resulting in poor output. 

Though the effectiveness of intake and exhaust system has been proven for Japanese submarines equipped with generators of around 4MW (total), the effectiveness of intake and exhaust has not been published for 8MW generators (the power required by Australian Future Submarines).

In this current article there is some discussion of the Japanese entrant "SEA-J" (diagram above) a Soryu enlarged for Australian conditions.

LARGER SEA-J

SEA-J highly likely omitted the Stirling AIP  (including LOx tanks, sections (9) and (10), 4th compartment) and was lengthened by 6m (from current 84m to 90m). This provided for:
-  extra diesel fuel (to increase range from the current Soryu Mark I's limited 6,100nm 
   range to the 10,000-12,000nm Australia required 
-  extra batteries (for increased fully submerged range on battery) and
-  larger bunks for the on average taller crew. The bunks are already individual for 65 crew
   (ie. no uncomfortable "hot bunking").  

Omitting the AIP (especially the large, weight shifting, LOx tank, of diminishing utility on Australia's long range missions) is easily understood. But the 6m increase in length is less understandable. SEA-J's extra length may be needed to handle an extra two diesel engines (four in all for the 8MW total power) instead of just two diesels in the existing Soryu Mark I

MORE POWERFUL SNORKEL SYSTEM

Rearrangements in SEA-J may be new sections 5, 6 and 7 to accommodate the larger, more powerful, diesel driven snorkel sytem. Such a faster working snorkel system would be required for the extra pressure and faster operation of four diesels (totaling 8MW) in SEA-J.

A larger, more powerful snorkel system may also be required in the Soryu Mark II (see Table, for 27SS, laid down in 2015) which may be launced in 2018. Mark II will have more powerful diesels to more quickly charge and technically exploit the new Lithium-ion batteries (LIBs) to be introduced in Mark II

Faster charging on Mark II will improve its indiscretion ratio (IR). Indiscretion being a submarine's fully surfaced or shallow submerged danger period, when it is snorting. SEA-J could have also benefitted from fast charge LIBs (if Australia had selected SEA-J).

Mainly by Anonymous 

January 17, 2018

Australian Submarine Expert, Senator Patrick, Forgets US Admiral Johnson

Australia's government owned ABC News service reports, January 17, 2018, in part  http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-17/submarine-delays-could-lead-to-cost-blowout-senator-says/9334240

"The cost of Australia's Future Submarine program is likely to blow out by billions of dollars because it is already missing key deadlines, [Rex Patrick] a former defence contractor turned senator has warned.

...In December, [the Australian Defence Department] confirmed two planning documents due to be released last year had yet to be finalised, but the department insisted there had been "no delays to key milestones" and no "cost or schedule impacts" to the $50 billion project.

Senator Rex Patrick, who once also served as a Royal Australian Navy [RAN] submariner, has not been convinced and said some military insiders were privately conceding the submarine program was "starting to go a little bit off the rails".

[The Head of Australia’s Future Submarine Program since September 2013] "Rear Admiral [Gregory] Sammut is a highly respected and highly capable naval officer, however he's never run a major project, he's never run a minor project," Senator Patrick said....” See WHOLE ABC article.

PETE's COMMENT

Given the postings rate of senior RAN officers Rear Admiral Sammut has already headed the RAN-Project liaison aspects of the Submarine Program for a long time since 2013. The 50 year Submarine Program will of course see more than six changes of RAN Head.

Head of program is a shared function between senior officers of the Prime Minister’s Department, Minister of Defence Industry, CEO of Naval Group Australia and also Naval Group HQ Cherbourg.

Perhaps the closest thing to THE Program Manager is US Navy Rear Admiral (retired) Stephen E. Johnson (photo below). He is General Manager Submarines in the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group, Australian Department of Defence. Johnson worked for 3 years in the management team of US Virginia class submarine program (from 1992-1995) and 6 years on the Seawolf class submarine program (1998-2003). See Johnson’s longer bio here  .



Johnson's Australian Department of Defence Position Description reads "Stephen E. Johnson commenced as General Manager Submarines in the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group on 4 November 2015. Steve is responsible for all aspects of submarine support across Defence in Australia, working across government and industry as the project integrator of our existing submarine fleet and the Future Submarine Project." See here and here.
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Pete

January 16, 2018

Soryu LABs vs LIBs, AIP and Indiscretion Ratios

Anonymous has provided the following comments from January 13 to 15, 2018 (with some further translation by Pete). This is on the interrelated issues of LABs vs LIBs, AIP and Indiscretion Ratios. The maths are quite challenging.

According to the former Commander of the Japanese Navy Submarines Service, Vice Admiral (retired) Masao Kobayashi, in a lead-acid battery (LABs) submarine, one hour-ventilation by using a diesel generator (DG) is needed after battery charging to release hydrogen generated by the charging process. 

Based on this information, the indiscretion ratio of the five following submarine Cases/scenarios have been reviewed and very roughly estimated for Japanese submarine missions of 70 days. This is where the surveillance period is 50 days and transiting period is 10 days x 2 = 20 days) and the DG output (hotel load + propulsion) is 250kW:

The lower the Indiscretion Ratio (IR) (the snorkeling period per 24 hours) the better.

Case I   (submarine length 84m, LABs, powered 100MW (or is that 100 kW?) - air independent
             propulsion (AIP), 2 x 2MW-generators, model Soryu MK I, IR =7%;

Case II  (length 84m, lithium-ion batteries (LIBs), 2 x 2MW-generators, model Soryu MK II)
              see Table below) IR=6%;

Case III  (long range Soryu proposed for Australian Future Submarine (AFS), length 90m, LIBs, 
               4 x 2MW-gnerators) IR=2.5%;

Case IV  (AFS, length 96m, 100MW-AIP, LIBs, 4 x 2MW-gnerators) IR=2%;

Case V   (AFS, length 96m, 100MW-AIP, LABs, 4 x 1MW-generators) IR=7%.

Comparison of Cases I and V shows that IR is determined by slow charge rate of LABs in a LAB-submarine. Comparison of Cases II, III an IV shows that output of the DG shows critical effects on IR for LIB submarines.

Performance at low speed means IR is Case IV>= Case III >>Case II >Case V = Case I.

Performance at high speed, which depends on batteries, is Case III>= Case IV >>Case II >Case V = Case I.

The facts that:

-  using up stored liquid oxygen (LOx) ends the usefulness of the Soryu’s Stirling AIP, and
-  LIBs are better than LABs

shows the flexibility of operation of each cases: Case III>= Case II >Case IV> Case V=Case I.

The superiority of AIP and LIBs, or simple LIBs, depends on a submarine’s mission. DGs play a critical role in both LIBs-submarines (Cases II and IV) within certain diesel power output ranges.

Anonymous thinks the future of LABs-submarines (Cases I, III and V) are limited with or without AIP and recent the tragedy of Argentina’s ARA San Juan shows LABs are not automatically safe.

More mathatically IR was very roughly estimated as follows:

Over 24 hours the balance of energy supplied [Es] to batteries and energy consumed [Ec] form batteries and AIP is described in equation (1)
(1)   Es = Ec
(2)   Es = Energy from diesel generator [Ed] + Energy from AIP [Ea]
(3)   Ec = Energy for propulsion [Ep] + Energy for hotel load [Eh]

The Indiscretion ratio (IR) which is the snorkeling period [ts] per day (=24h) is described in eq (4)

(4)   IR = ts/24 x 100 (%) = (tg + th)/24 x 100 (%)
(5)   ts = snorkeling period for diesel generation [tg] + snorkeling period for hydrogen release [th
        This is where, th =1h for LABs with hydrogen generation, and th = 0h for LIBs without 
        hydrogen generation.

Charge of batteries (capacity X (MWh)) with Y of C rate, Ed for ts is described in (6)
(6)   Ed = 1000XYtg  This where C daily energy from Z (MWh)-AIP for 50 days-opertion is 
        described in (7)

(7)   Ea =1000Z/50 =20Z
(8)   is derived from (2), (6) and (7), Es =1000XYtg + 20Z
(9)   If 250 kW of energy is consumed in an hour, then, Ec = 250 x {24-(tg + th)} ---
(10) is derived from (1), (8) and (9), 1000XY tg+ 20Z = 250 x {24-(tg + th)}
(11) is derived from (4) and (10), IR =[1-{(1000XY tg+ 20Z)/(250x24)}]x100=(tg + th)/24 x100 .  
       Where, tg = (250 x24-20Z-250 th)/(1000XY+250)  IR is from eq (11)

10MWh-LAB, non-AIP, 0.2 C rate, 2MW-diesel: X=10, Y=0.2, Z=0, th =1, IR=14.8%
10MWh-LAB, 100MWh-AIP, 0.2 C rate, 2MW-diesel: X=10, Y=0.2, Z=100, th =1, IR=11.1%
20MWh-LIB, non-AIP, 0.2 C rate, 4MW-diesel: X=20, Y=0.2, Z=0, th =0, IR=5.8%
20MWh-LIB, non-AIP, 0.4 C rate, 8MW-diesel: X=20, Y=0.4, Z=0, th =0, IR=3.0%
20MWh-LIB, 100MWh-AIP, 0.2 C rate, 4MW-diesel: X=20, Y=0.2, Z=100, th =0, IR=3.9%
20MWh-LIB, 100MWh-AIP, 0.4 C rate, 8MW-diesel: X=20, Y=0.4, Z=100, th =0, IR=2.0%

ANONYMOS’s CONCLUSION (LIBs Over LABs)


Though the estimates are based on many assumptions and are rough, the results clearly show the superiority of LIBs over LABs. Anonymous believes LIBs are indispensable to maintain the regional superiority of a conventional submarine.

 TABLE - SORYU & Oyashio Program as at January 16, 2018 

SS
No.
Build No
Name
Pennant
No.
MoF approved amount ¥
Billions FY
LABs, LIBs, AIP
Laid Down
Laun
-ched
Commi
ssioned
Built
By
5SS Oyashio
8105 Oyashio
SS-590/ TS3608
¥52.2B FY1993
LABs only
 Jan 1994
Oct 1996
Mar 1998
 KHI
6SS-15SS
Oyashios
10 subs
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
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
8125
Shoryu
SS-510
LABs + AIP
2014
6 Nov 2017
Mar 2019?
KHI
27SS First
Soryu Mk 2
8126
SS-511
LIBs only
2015
2018?
Mar
2020
MHI
28SS  Second
Soryu Mark 2
8127
SS-512
¥63.6B FY2016
LIBs only
2016?
2018?
Mar 2021?
KHI
29SS First Soryu Mk 3
(1) (3)
8128
?
¥76B FY2017
LIBs only
?
?
2023?
MHI?
30SS Second Soryu Mk 3 (2)
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.
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By Anonymous