Skip to comments.France Aims at Expanding Market for conventional submarines
Posted on 10/27/2006 6:46:30 AM PDT by sukhoi-30mki
DCN Aims at Expanding the Market for SSKs
(Source: meretmarines.com; published Oct. 23, 2006)
PARIS --- At this weeks Euronaval exhibition, Frances DCN shipyards group has unveiled two new submarine designs for the export market: the Marlin, an updated variant of the Scorpene design, and the SMX-23 oastal submarine.
Already offered to potential customers, the SMX-23 is a small boat, displacing 855 metric tons and 48.8 meters long. Industry has tended to aim for high-performance submarine designs, while naval budgets are shrinking, says Jean Gauthier, a DCN naval architect specialized in conventional submarines. Recent export contracts, such as those concluded with Chile or Malaysia, have covered only two boats, which is the minimum number to establish a submarine force. Navies that have not been able to acquire a submarine capability because of financial constraints will now be able to, and whats more will be able to buy more than two, says Gauthier.
The new design will not compete with Marlin, which is far more sophisticated and designed for ocean-going operations. The SMX-23, on the contrary, is designed for coastal operations and, more significantly, will cost half as much as existing designs, such as the French-Spanish Scorpene, the German U212/214 class or the Russian Amur. We focused on reducing costs across the spectrum of missions and capabilities, wherever possible, says Gauthier. To achieve savings on this scale, DCNs designers went back to basics: This boat aims at deterring an aggressor from approaching the coastline. It is robust, easy to operate and to maintain, sails at speeds of less than 15 kts and dives to depths of less than 200 meters, which is a good compromise for patrolling coastal waters on the continental shelf.
The Intelligent Mine Concept
In 2004, at the previous Euronaval show, DCN unveiled the SMX-22 concept, consisting of a large, mother submarine and two baby submarines. Customers proved to be more interested by the smaller craft, which carried enough weapons to be used to protect coastal waters, the approaches to naval bases and other missions where long range is not an issue.
With a surface displacement of 855 metric tons (compared to 1,550 tons for Scorpene), the SMX-23 will have a range of 1,850 nautical miles at a speed of 8 kts or 3,000 miles at 4 kts. At this speed, it will have an underwater endurance of 60 hours on its batteries, and will be able to remain at sea for two weeks.
Its weapons fit will consist of six pre-loaded launch tubes, with no reload capability, and it will be able to carry torpedoes, underwater-launched anti-ship missiles or mines, which are easier to lay with a small boat than a larger one.
Crewed by 19 officers and ratings, the SMX-23 is designed to deploy special forces teams. These features give it an attack capability comparable to that of larger boats. Given these capabilities, it should have the same psychological effect against potential attackers, who would be wary of coastal submarines lurking on the sea-bed.
A Surprise: Acoustical Signature
To attain their goal of offering four submarines for the price of two, DCNs engineers have only used tried and tested technologies and off-the-shelf components, including some equipment originally designed for civilian ships. The design team also cut costs to the bone by deleting any feature that is not essential.
However, as the design advanced, the SMX-23 delivered pleasant surprises, notably in terms of acoustical signature. When we launched the project, we hadnt budgeted any money for noise suppression, considering that background noise would suffice to cover the boats signature. But we realised that the boats own architecture contributed to lowering its noise signature, as there is little in the way of refrigeration, of auxiliary equipment and of crew. The noise signature is thus inherently lower. The boats small size also allows it so maneuver in shallow water so as to hide near noise sources.
As the boat is also intended for surface patrols, notably for shipping control, its sail is fitted with a panoramic bridge, offering a field of vision of about 180 degrees.
DCN is now waiting for customer feedback to further refine the SMX-23 concept. The group is focusing on navies which want to expand their submarine forces for a given budget, or which want to establish a submarine branch. DCN believes that several countries hesitate to invest in submarines. According to Gauthier, some countries are worried by the complexity of submarine operations, and others fear that by operating at periscope depth for the first few years, a new submarine flotilla would not prove effective. The SMX-23 concept should prove especially attractive for navies that have never before operated submarines.
Alongside the boats themselves, DCN plans to offer an in-depth training program to future buyers, which it has already sold to Malaysia, for example. The company sees interesting prospects for the new submarine in Asia and in South America.
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do you suppose Kim Jong and that savage from Iran are on the buyers' waiting list?
What was that other ship they were so proud of - the nuclear aircraft carrier? - the one that has to be towed everywhere? :o)
Is the Charles De Gaulle carrier the only thing folks have in mind when talking about French weapons???The fact is that France manufactures world class SSKs-the first sub kill after world war-2 was achieved by a French built Daphne class boat.
The CDG may have had plenty of problems,but it seems to be doing reasonably well of late.
Everyone is always pointing the finger at the US for selling crappy weapons to third world countries, but my informed position is that it is mostly France and Russia doing this, not to mention all the nuclear reactors they've built that we have had to destroy (at our own expense).
Thanks for posting.
I wouldn't discount these minisubs. The mere possession of a large number of these boats would be a major deterrent. When you get into a shooting war between a submarine and a ship, all that matters is that you have a torpedo in the water. It doesn't matter how you got it there (in an SSN, a typical diesel SS, or one of these miniboats).
For sort of a comparison with the Army, these boats are sort of like a tank cannon that infantry can carry. They deliver an enormous amount of firepower but only with a limited range and speed. But they are cheap so you can buy lots of them.
Time to consider an air strike on France's shipyards. ;-)
Manufactured by Revell.
(Cement not included)
Panoramic windows in the sail... Cool... I want one...
I hope they remember to install screen doors.
Christian news and commentary at: sacredscoop.com ...
Sorry, I didn't mean to make you defensive about French weaponry. With De Gaulle's hostile attitude toward the States, it was easy to snort/laugh at his namesake carrier being towed to and fro.
I understand they have ordered half a dozen nuclear powered subs? To be delivered between 10 to 20 years from now? The Muslim takeover of France should be complete about that time and they will be most appreciative.
If trying to be reasonable makes me seem defensive,well maybe I am!!
De Gaulle was a weirdo,but he also was very close to Uncle Sam when it suited him!!
Thank you burzum for offering some more education on mini subs. A side note, I just finished a novel by Oliver North in which a mini sub were used for an operation. I have also read that mini subs are the choice of a few drug running lords.
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