Aug 11, 2014 16:25 UTC
Latest updates[?]: FY 2014 order complete: 12 TI-14 sets, and a Virginia Class installation & check-out kit.
Acoustic Rapid Commercial-Off-The-Shelf Insertion (A-RCI) is a sonar system upgrade installed on the USA’s entire submarine fleet, including SSN-688 Los Angeles & SSN-688I Improved Los Angeles Class, SSN-21 Seawolf Class, SSN-744 Virginia Class, SSBN-726 Ohio Class nuclear missile boats, and the new SSGN Tactical Trident special ops and strike subs.
This DID Spotlight on ARCI adds a bit more explanation of exactly what the program entails and where its benefits were focused, as well as covers contracts placed under the A-RCI program from FY 2005 onward. The program’s concept is simple: you can upgrade the system without changing the sensors. By sharply upgrading ship sensor processing, it integrates and improves the boat’s towed array, hull array and sphere array sonars, running more advanced algorithms and providing a fuller “picture” of the surrounding environment. Sometimes, it really is all about what you can do with it. A-RCI’s open architecture concept also make it easier to integrate additional sensors, providing a dual-track improvement option for American submarines.
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Jul 29, 2014 16:30 UTC
Latest updates[?]: Australian government Discussion Paper lays it out re: submarines.
Bridge to the future?
In its 2009 White Paper, Australia’s Department of Defence and Labor Party government looked at the progress being made in ship killing surveillance-strike complexes, and at their need to defend large sea lanes, as key drivers shaping future navies. These premises are well accepted, but the White Paper’s conclusion was a surprise. It recommended a doubling of Australia’s submarine fleet to 12 boats by 2030-2040, all of which would be a new successor design that would replace the RAN’s Collins Class submarines.
The surprise, and controversy, stem from Australia’s recent experiences. The Collins Class was designed with the strong cooperation of ThyssenKrupp’s Swedish Kockums subsidiary, and built in Australia by state-owned ASC. The class has had a checkered career, including significant difficulties with its combat systems, issues with acoustic signature and propulsion, major cost growth to A$ 5+ billion, and schedule slippage. Worse still, reports indicated that the RAN can only staff 2 of its 6 submarines. High-level attention led to a report and recommendations to improve the force, but whether they will work remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the nature of Australia’s SEA 1000 future submarine project – and its eventual cost – remain unclear, with estimated costs in the A$ 36-44 billion range. This FOCUS article covers Australia’s options, decisions, and plans, as their future submarine program slowly gets underway.
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Jun 29, 2014 15:50 UTC
Latest updates[?]: New government moves quickly on RFP for submarine batteries and cables.
India’s submarine fleet currently consists of 16 boats: 10 Russian SSK Kilo (Sindhugosh) Class, 4 locally built SSK U209 (Shishumar) Class, a leased nuclear-powered Improved Akula Class SSN from Russia (INS Chakra), and its own INS Arihant SSBN. Most of the Kilos have been modernized, but readiness rates for India’s existing submarine fleet sits below 40%, and the U209s will have trouble lasting much beyond 2015. With Pakistan acquiring modern submarines, and Chinese submarine building exploding, expanding India’s submarine fleet became an obvious national priority.
In 2005, India confirmed that it would buy 6 Franco-Spanish Scorpene diesel submarines, with an option for 6 more and extensive technology transfer agreements. Unfortunately, 7 years after that deal was signed, “Project 75″ has yet to field a single submarine. A poor Indian procurement approach, and state-run inefficiency, are pushing the country’s entire submarine force toward an aging crisis. This DID FOCUS article covers the Scorpene deal and its structure, adds key contracts and new developments, and offers insights into the larger naval picture within and beyond India.
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