Since the 15th century the navy with the best sailors and the best technology (in that order) tended to win, and often decisively. The 19th century inventions revolutionized naval warfare beyond recognition but the 20th century saw an avalanche of new naval technology that has not ended.
There is an old contractor practice of deliberately making an unreasonably low estimate of cost when proposing a design. The Navy goes along with this, in the interest of getting Congress to approve the money. The Warship undergo numerous minor (and sometimes major) changes during their 20-30 year service life. Warship building is slow, painstaking work, involving the integration of multiple weapons systems and sensors, aviation structures and battle hardened electronics that can survive battle. But it’s most expensive to do it while you are building it. This drives up costs. Since Congress has a short memory, and nobody take much heat for this never ending “low ball” process. Many admirals, members of Congress, and even a few shipbuilding executives, have called for reform. But it just doesn’t happen.
A "sea state" is the general condition of the free surface on a large body of water—with respect to wind waves height and swell.
“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.” ~ Sun Tzu
A three tier security arrangement for coastal security was formally put in place with the Indian navy guarding the outer tier, the Indian coast guard patrolling the intermediate layer and the marine police force patrolling the shallow and inland waters. Others such as the Customs Department (marine-preventive) and the Central Industrial Security Force (marine wing) have also been made part of the coastal security architecture. This arrangement looks perfect on paper. However, the Indian navy argues that while it has been entrusted with the overall responsibility for coastal security, it does not have the power to task all the concerned organisations or command their resources for everyday coastal security duties and therefore should not be held responsible. Similarly, the Indian coast guard argues that it has been given the responsibility only for coordinating with the concerned central and state agencies for coastal security but not made in charge of coastal security. The marine police’s argument is that since the Indian navy and the Indian coast guard are guarding the outer and intermediate waters, it is their responsibility to prevent any intrusions into the coastal waters from outside and therefore should not be held accountable in case of any incident.
The aspirant builds a superior fleet in peacetime, concentrates that fleet in wartime, defeats its adversary decisively, and then exploits command by imposing blockades and otherwise throttling enemy shipping. Hence, deviating from the linear approach—from the Mahanian script—is sometimes necessary (in reality) to prevail.
For Luttwak the “great choice” in offensive theater strategy is “between the broad advance that only the very strong may employ”—for otherwise the advancing force will find itself outnumbered everywhere—“and the narrow advance that offers the opportunity of victory even to the weak.” By focusing ships, aircraft, weaponry, and manpower at select places on the map, that is, the weaker contender can amass superior strength at points of contact with enemy forces. The downside: a belligerent that risks a narrow advance courts danger by weakening itself away from the main line of advance. It could be clobbered along vulnerable flanks or other places where its defenses are feeble.
The very strong can afford the broad approach. It leaves no flanks exposed. Caution, oddly, is the province of commanders of dominant forces. The not-so-strong lack that margin of material superiority. They must dare all to gain all, accepting risk in hopes of a lavish payoff. Luttwak portrays blitzkrieg as a prototypical narrow-front strategy. It’s about punching “pencil-thin penetrations” through enemy frontiers, sending columns rapidly through the gaps, and sowing mayhem in enemy rear areas. It is “part adventure and part confidence trick,” and not for the faint of heart.
The strong, then, can bludgeon lesser opponents; the weak must use a spear against more numerous foemen. The American way of war is the way of the strong. Ever since World War I—when the United States raised an army bigger than the French Army, built enough ships to transport that army across the Atlantic, deployed it along the Western Front, tipped the balance in favor of the Western Allies, and helped put an end to the bloodletting, all in nineteen months—U.S. commanders have predicated their strategies on overwhelming material superiority. They incline to broad-front strategies.
In the closing stages of World War II in Europe, for instance, Allied commanders debated whether Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery should head a narrow-front dash across Germany, or whether the less daring broad-front approach was more prudent. Monty told anyone who would listen that he would make a splendid leader for such a charge, but U.S. leaders successfully pushed to overrule him. Or, U.S. forces were so preponderant by the latter phases of World War II in the Pacific that they could pursue twin offensives across the Central and Southwest Pacific. This “whipsaw” strategy kept the beleaguered Japanese perpetually off-balance, unable to defeat both offensives or to decide whether to concentrate dwindling naval forces to blunt one of them.
That history is unlikely to repeat itself. No new U.S. Navy is under construction; nor is the nation likely to lay down massive numbers of new hulls in times of fiscal malaise, and when the prospective adversary, unlike Imperial Japan, has refrained from provocative actions like invading its neighbors. America will steam off to war in the Pacific with the navy it has.
As Maximus implies, and as Clausewitz declares outright, the victor needs the consent of the vanquished to make the military result permanent. If the vanquished reject the outcome, they set the stage for new rounds of struggle. Should it lose a war along its maritime periphery, China could renew the fight later, assuming the military trendlines go its way, or try to overturn the result through coercive diplomacy. So could the United States and its allies.
Who would hold the edge in a protracted struggle? It depends on what’s at stake in a particular controversy, on the belligerents’ resolve to get their way, and on the resources they command. A passage from Clausewitz we pound home over and over in our seminars spells out the rational calculus of war. “Since war is not an act of senseless passion but is controlled by its political object, the value of this object must determine the sacrifices to be made for it in magnitude and also in duration.” How much importance each belligerent attaches to its goals, that is, determines how many lives and resources it is prepared to expend to reach those goals, and for how long.
But there’s a corollary: “Once the expenditure of effort exceeds the value of the political object, the object must be renounced and peace must follow.” Once the enterprise starts costing more than it’s worth, statesmen should strike the best peace deal they can and exit the conflict. Whatever sunk costs the nation has incurred are just that—sunk, and written off.
People often don’t know when they’re beaten, or refuse to admit it. They may postpone a final reckoning rather than accept defeat. U.S. and allied leaders must think ahead to the immediate objective, how to end various contingencies with China on favorable terms. But they also need to consider what will come next. China isn’t going anywhere—and so managing the peace in Asia demands the long view.
Destroyers (Big & performance loaded)
The DDG-51 Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Dewey (DDG 105). (2010)
The DDG 51 was the first U.S. Navy ship designed to incorporate shaping techniques to reduce radar cross-section to reduce their detectability and likelihood of being targeted by enemy weapons and sensors.
Originally designed to defend against Soviet aircraft, cruise missiles, and nuclear attack submarines, this higher capability ship is to be used in high-threat areas to conduct antiair, antisubmarine, antisurface, and strike operations. DDG 51s were constructed in flights, allowing technological advances during construction. Flight II, introduced in FY 1992, incorporates improvements to the SPY radar and the Standard missile, active electronic countermeasures and communications.
The Aegis guided missile destroyers are the US Navy's most powerful destroyer fleet. The Arleigh Burkes are capable of fighting of air, surface, and subsurface battles simultaneously. These highly-capable, multi-mission ships can conduct a variety of operations, from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection, in support of National Military Strategy.
First commissioned in 1975, the class was designed with gas-turbine propulsion, all-digital weapons systems, and automated 5-inch guns. Serving for three decades, the Spruance class was designed to escort a carrier group with a primary ASW mission, though in the 1990s 24 members of the class were upgraded with the Mark 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) for the Tomahawk surface-to-surface missile. Rather than extend the life of the class, the Navy accelerated its retirement. The last ship of the class was decommissioned in 2005, with most examples broken up or destroyed as targets.
These ships are having issues with it heat exchangers in the ship’s integrated power plant that uses advanced induction motors. The ship’s crew has been dealing with a series of relatively minor incidents until now, including a seawater leak in a shaft lube oil system.
The GPS-guided, rocket-powered projectiles developed for the new 155mm Advanced Gun System currently cost about $800,000 a piece, nearly as much as a cruise missile, making them too expensive for the Navy to buy in large quantities for the stealthy USS Zumwalt. The Zumwalt is supposed to be stocked with 600.
The lack of anti-ballistic missile capability may represent a lack of compatibility with SM-3. In view of recent intelligence that China is developing target-able anti-ship ballistic missiles based on the DF-21, this could be a fatal flaw. However, it is very likely that the following destroyer will sport the deadliest weapon system to date: an electronic railgun that fires using electromagnetic pulses. In addition, current vessels are also equipped with a Peripheral Vertical Launch System, capable of reducing damage from a missile battery explosion. Together with the F-35 and the US missile defense program .
Given the vessel's expected role, the Zumwalt class destroyers will likely carry many more Tomahawk missiles than either the Ticonderoga or Arleigh Burke class ships. "The DDG-1000's technology was essential to a future (cruiser with) "boost phase anti-ballistic missile intercept capability".
The vessel—which is the largest American surface warship since the 1950s--brings a new untried wave-piercing “tumblehome” hull design, new power systems and gun technology that have not been used on a modern warship before. The ship is highly automated with a crew of just 142 -- compared to older ships that have a complement of about 300. But despite its massive size, the stealthy warship appears on an enemy’s sensors as something no larger than a small fishing boat.
The 600-foot long ship is armed with 80 missiles tubes, two massive 155mm guns that can lob guided shells 80 miles away and a pair of 30mm guns for self-defense. Theoretically, the ship can take on all comers in the air, sea, underwater or on land. In the future, the ship could be fitted with futuristic lasers and electro-magnetic rail-guns too. Additionally, the so-called DDG-1000 can also carry either a pair of helicopters or a single helicopter and a trio of drones.
But it all comes at a steep price—the first two ships cost $4.2 billion dollars each while the third costs $3.5 billion. The DDG-1000 is so expensive—and there are so many doubts about its technology—that the Navy is building only three of the ships before in favor of buying an improved version of its older Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. One those doubts includes a potential Achilles’ heel –the ship’s bizarre stealthy hull—which is the most obvious new feature of the new destroyer.
The hull looks like it is upside down unlike a normal ship, the bow slopes upward from the water up to the deck. Because if you reversed the bow (turned it upside down) reverse sheer [upwardly curving deck); and run tumblehome along the length (narrows above the waterline while the rest of hull is wide at the waterline and slopes inward); you create a wave pierce which doesn’t go up and over the waves but through them. The reason boats have used this configuration is to provide a much smoother ride through the water, important with guncarrying ships.
If one were to look at the ship directly from the front, it would resemble a bell rather than the traditional “flared hull” with a V or U shape that is most common. There have been persistent concerns about how stable the tumblehome design is in any sort of rough seas—in fact, one of the concerns about the design is that it could capsize if it is hit by a large wave from the wrong angle.
“This is an area that the Navy is taking seriously,” one naval architect familiar with the design told The Daily Beast. The Navy declined requests for interviews—and would not directly address the issue. However, slides presented by the Naval Sea Systems Command in April show that the service has not yet completed certifying the hull for stability. The Navy recently upgraded a maneuvering and sea-keeping lab facility in Carderock, Md., where the ship’s design is being tested.
“This is a high priority for that facility,” the architect said. There have been persistent concerns about how stable the destroyer’s design is in any sort of rough seas—in fact, one of the concerns about the design is that it could capsize if it is hit by a large wave from the wrong angle. There might be reason for concern. A 2007 engineering paper presented at the 9th International Ship Stability Workshop in Hamburg, Germany, shows that tumblehome designs are more prone to capsizing especially went the ship is hit from behind.
“The number of capsizes for the most- probable sea state 8 [30 to 46 ft waves] conditions increased drastically for the tumblehome topside for following, stern-quartering, beam and head seas,” the report reads. “The capsize risk for the tumblehome geometry had a greater increase for small increases in KG [center of gravity] than the flared topside geometry.” However, there has been a lot of work done since the report was released, the naval architect said. The tests in the study assumed that the ship would displace about 9690-tons; the Zumwalt is a 15,500-ton vessel.
“Sea-keeping performance improves with increasing displacement and since the DDG 1000 is significantly bigger than this, that would improve the results,” the naval architect said. “I would expect that as the design evolved and more knowledge was gained from tests and analysis, the hull form would be modified to improve the sea-keeping performance.”
The wetness of the wash constantly coming from the bow precludes sitting outside on the deck and thus it’s not as good for warmer climes. For the North Sea or North Atlantic though, it makes great sense, especially if the hull is long and narrow, as in multihulls and longer monohulls.
Either way, the Navy is proceeding full steam ahead in preparing the DDG-1000 for sea. Late last month, the Navy activated the Zumwalt’s enormous Rolls-Royce MT-30 and RR450 gas turbine engines as it started testing of the ship’s unique “integrated power system”—which dispenses with having the engines connected directly to the propeller and instead turns an electric motor. To remain afloat at high seas these have to be speed machines.
Unlike a normal warship, where the gas turbine engines are connected to directly to the propellers, the Zumwalt uses an entirely new concept. The engines actually turn generators that produce a total of about 80 mega-watts of electrical power that supplies the vessel’s electrical grid. A portion of that electrical power is then used to turn the ship’s propellers using advanced induction motors—which are spun using electromagnets. The motors are powerful enough to push the massive warship along at better than 30 knots. That might not seem like a big deal, but the using the engines to generate electricity instead of directly driving the ship frees up a lot of juice for future weapons like lasers and rail-guns from some sort of science fiction movie.
In the meantime, the ship is equipped with the range of missiles carried by Navy warships. One thing the ship won’t be able to do is defend against ballistic missile attacks—which is one of the reasons the Navy ditched the design in favor of the older Burke-class design. While the ship’s AN/SPY-3 radar is capable, it does not operate in the proper frequency band for that mission. That’s a major deal. There’s a rising threat of ballistic missiles in the West Pacific, where China is deploying such weapons.
If the the US Navy can just get the magic guns to work on their new 13,000 ton ‘destroyer’ that has 20% fewer VLS cells than the current 1980s technology Burke class destroyers, and 40% fewer cells than the 1970s technology Ticonderoga-class cruisers in a larger hull, things will start to look a lot better and less like 1905 when an upstart Japanese naval force with borrowed technology sank a modern European one and made it look simple.
Ultimately, the changing threat and enormous price tag doomed the program and only three ships will be built at exorbitant cost.
Derived from improved Takanami class destroyer, it will replace the Hatsuyuki Class destroyers and are intended to escort the Hyuga and 22DDH helicopter destroyers, and safeguard the Aegis guided warships in ballistic missile defence operations. It is also known as the Japanese variant of Aegis.
The F-22P hull uses many of the radar cross-section reduction features of China's Type 054 frigate to help it evade detection by radars mounted on other ships, aircraft and anti-ship missiles.
These destroyers are in service with the Republic of China (Taiwan) Navy. Originally built for Iran, four destroyers were acquired by the US Navy following the cancellation of the deal by the Iranian government. Taiwan acquired all four of the destroyers from the US Navy in 2001. Four Kidd Class destroyers were decommissioned by the US Navy in the late 1990s.
The sale of all the four destroyers to Taiwan was authorised by the US Government in 2001. The ships were transferred to the Taiwanese Navy under Kuang Hua VII programme.
The $732m deal included hardware upgrades, overhaul, activation and training. The four ships were renamed Keelung (1801), Suao (1802), Tsoying (1803) and Makung (1805), and commissioned into the Taiwanese Navy by 2006.
Designed to conduct general purpose operations, Kee Lung ships are capable of carrying out anti-air, anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare. They can also support amphibious landing forces. Built to operate in the Persian Gulf waters, these ships feature advanced air-intake and filtration systems in order to handle dust and sand.
A New Threat Upgrade (NTU) anti-air warfare system and a TARTAR D anti-surface warfare system were also installed. The Harpoon missiles onboard Suao (1802) were replaced with Taiwan-made HF-3 supersonic anti-ship missiles.
Its powered by a gas turbine propulsion system.
Expectations about employment of the ships vary quite a bit, but there is general agreement that the PLAN has determined that it needs a large ship able to operate at great distance from home bases, and that will presumably include anti-air, anti-submarine, and anti-surface capabilities. The need for range, self-sufficiency, and multi-mission capability creates the need for size.
Media reports of the 055 as an experimental "super ship" mounting laser weapons and railguns are likely exaggerated. New American destroyers are larger in part due to an effort to mask most of their sensors, weapons, and other exterior features behind a sleek, stealthy surface. The Soviets built big cruisers with cruise missiles designed to strike U.S. carrier battlegroups. South Korea's 'Sejong the Great' destroyers are identical in sensors and loadout—and produced 10 ago.
The Type 055 guided missile destroyer's will have 4 large AESA radars (for 360 degree situational awareness) and electronic warfare systems. Its other missions will likely include anti-submarine capability, missile defense systems and "anti-satellite" operations. It will have 96 to 128 vertical launching systems (VLS) cells, meaning the ship will not only be able to carry more weapons, but also larger missiles. U.S. Burke and Japanese Kongo class destroyers have only slightly smaller missile loadouts.
All of this sounds very much like the KDX type cruiser or USS Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyers. First constructed in the late 1980s, the Burke class was designed to defend aircraft carriers from waves of Soviet supersonic anti-ship missiles.
It has the same hull as Type 052C but adds a new 130mm main gun, a 64-cell vertical launching system, modeled on modern American destroyers, and improved Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar system. It also boasts advanced weapons systems such as HQ-9 long-range air defence missiles and DH-10 cruise missiles. The PLAN may have found its premier surface combatant.
Having experimented with various DDG designs, the PLAN was simply settling on a model that incorporated the best of each test platform. They have gone through several quick iterations in this time, starting from their 1950s vintage technology Luda class destroyers and progressing through short runs of their Type 051 and initial Type 052 destroyers, coupled with a purchase of four, more modern Russian Sovremenny destroyers, to now serially producing their Type 052C, Lanzhou Class destroyer, of which six have now been built. An advanced and upgraded version of this vessel is the Type 052D. Serial production of these newer vessels is expected to continue with at least eight contemplated.
On paper, at least, the Type 052D appears to be a more modest version of the U.S. Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class DDGs and Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruisers. The PLAN DDG displaces less than the American vessels, which displace 11,000 tons and 9,600 tons respectively. This indicates that it has smaller fuel capacity and thus shorter cruising range. On the other hand,its dimensions are more than adequate for the types of regional missions it will likely be assigned in the “near seas” or the Indian Ocean. Its armament is smaller than that of the Burkes or Ticonderogas, which carry 96 and 122 VLS cells, respectively. But again, this Chinese destroyer packs a punch for localized conflicts in Asian waters. It will also operate under shore fire support in most cases, evening the fire-power balance.
China is now capable of deploying between two and three advanced surface combat ships while Japan is limited to one. In addition, China is designing a new Type 055 guided-missile destroyer comparable to the US Zumwalt-class and is equipped with a rail-gun and HQ-26 surface-to-air missiles.
It features an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar system with four statically-mounted antennas for 360-degree coverage.
The Type 052C used the same hull and propulsion as the preceding Type 052B destroyer. However, the hull of at least one planned ships was modified into newer Type 052D stealthier radar cross-section.
While the Type 052B used a mixture of Russian and Chinese systems, the Type 052C used predominantly Chinese systems, with a few sensors being notable exceptions. Most Chinese ships used derivatives of the French combat system Thomson-CSF TAVITAC.
Older model was equipped with YJ-83 ASCM.
When receiving Indian External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna during his four day visit to Vietnam on September 17, President Truong Tan Sang welcomed India’s “Look East” policy. He hailed the active participation of India in the region and supported the strengthening of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-India dialogue. Krishna’s Vietnam visit came amid a new row between China and India, exemplified by the fact that the Indian company ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) has begun exploring oil and gas in two blocks in Vietnam’s East Sea waters. The East Sea is also known as the South China Sea.
For decades, the navy's eastern command played second fiddle to the western command, which is headquartered at Mumbai. Long considered the navy's "sword arm" the western command cornered most of the resources and attention of strategic planners.
The enhanced attention being paid to the eastern command is prompted in part by apprehensions over China's looming naval presence in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. But it is part of India's two decades-long effort to focus its diplomatic, economic and military energies eastward as part of its "Look East" policy. Besides, the navy's new eastward orientation is also aimed at enabling India to emerge a significant player in the emerging Asia-Pacific security architecture.
India's incursion into the South China Sea, including visits to Vietnamese ports by its warships, is undoubtedly also a retort to Beijing's so-called "string of pearls" strategy to contain the Indian Navy. For years China has maintained electronic listening posts on Burma's Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal to eavesdrop on Indian naval communications. More recently Beijing has increased its naval relationship with Pakistan to include port privileges for Chinese warships and Beijing is heavily involved in the building of a deep sea port in Sri Lanka.
Vietnam, of course, is happy to have regional naval power India as an ally in its increasingly tense relations with Beijing over the South China Sea and has also revived a longstanding security relationship with Moscow. Last week Hanoi also signed an agreement with Indonesia to establish joint patrols on their maritime border to improve security in the South China Sea. Hanoi is also buying attack submarines from Russia to try to counter China's burgeoning submarine fleet, whose most potent craft are based at the southern tip of Hainan Island.
In confronting Beijing, India is entering a long and complex, but increasingly acid dispute over the South China Sea whose corrosive qualities have risen as the estimates of the submarine oil and gas reserves have escalated.
As well as Vietnam, Beijing is lined up against Taiwan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia with rival claims based on ownership of some or all of the Paracel and Spratly groups of islands, islets and reefs. Based on these claims, each country asserts a 200-mile (322-kilometre) exclusive economic zone around each outcrop and the rights to all resources in that area. Beijing goes much further than the other claimants. It asserts that almost the entire South China Sea, right down to Indonesia, some 1,200 kilometres south of Hainan Island, is Chinese territory based on "historic title" that it says overrides the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Even beyond that, while UNCLOS allows for peaceful right of passage for foreign vessels across exclusive economic zones, Beijing increasingly portrays the South China Sea as its own territorial waters where its authority extends over all foreign vessels. China's Asian and southeast Asian neighbours are increasingly alarmed by this posture, especially as their fishing, merchant and research vessels now regularly have to deal with violent or threatening confrontations with Chinese ships.
When Beijing claimed that it now considers its ownership of the Spratly Islands in the South China Sea as a "core interest," Clinton retorted by proposing that the U.S. help establish an international mechanism to mediate the overlapping claims of sovereignty between China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.One response from China's neighbours has been to ask the United States to reassert its naval presence in the region and to reignite sometimes diminished defence alliances, for example with the Philippines. This Washington has done and Japan, which has its own territorial disputes with China outside the South China Sea but much of whose imports and exports travel its sea lanes, is moving to strengthen its political ties with Southeast Asia and India. This new U.S. assertiveness vis-à-vis Beijing has been widely welcomed in the region. The other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) strongly endorsed Clinton's call for multilateral commitment to a code of conduct for the South China Sea rather than China's preferred bilateral approach. However, while the U.S. remains distracted by economic woes and the challenges of the Arab Spring in the Middle East, Japan is proving unable to tackle its political inertia and emerge as a credible balancer in the region. Thus the regional environment is conducive for assertion by Beijing.
Indonesia reneged by handing over two submarines and four missiles boats to the Pakistan Navy during the 1965 conflict. Further this expansion gave President Sukarno the muscle to propose that the Andamans and Nicobar Islands should become a part of the Indonesian Archipelago in case Pakistan waived her claim to these territories as being part of East Pakistan!
It features an Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar system with four statically-mounted antennas for 360-degree coverage.
The Type 052C used the same hull and propulsion as the preceding Type 052B destroyer. However, the hull of at least one planned ships was modified into newer Type 052D stealthier radar cross-section.
While the Type 052B used a mixture of Russian and Chinese systems, the Type 052C used predominantly Chinese systems, with a few sensors being notable exceptions. Most Chinese ships used derivatives of the French combat system Thomson-CSF TAVITAC.
Older model was equipped with YJ-83 ASCM.
The ship also has 100 mm gun based on a French design for use against surface targets. The ship uses the hull design of the older Type 051B (Luhai class), but is equipped with the advanced Russian S-300FM air defence missiles systems. The ship possesses less advanced steam turbine propulsion compared to gas turbine propulsion present in all newer Chinese destroyers.
Older model was equipped with YJ-83 ASCM.
Based on the Kolkata-class design, the Visakhapatnam class Project 15B destroyers involves constructing 4 destroyers for Rs 29,325 crore. Like the 15A, the 15B class are also intended to be the primary escorts for the new Indian Carriers, the INS Vikramaditya, and the INS Vikrant.
The ship is 163-m long ship and is being propelled by 4 gas turbines. It is designed to achieve a speed of over 30 knots at a displacement of approx 7300 tons. Russia's Northern Design Bureau, enlisted as a design consultant has helped reduce the size of the design's superstructure. These ships are being built from indigenous warship steel, developed by SAIL and supplied by Essar.
The Visakhapatnam class Project 15B destroyers will be armed with a 127 mm main gun while the INS Kolkata has a 76mm Super Rapid Gun Mount (SRGM). It has state-of-the-art weapons, sensors, an advance Action Information System, Integrated Platform Management system, sophisticated Power Distribution System and a host of other advanced features. There will also be several changes and upgrades to the armament and to the stealth features. These include:
- Adding the new, Indian Nirbhay Land Attack Cruise missile to the VLS inventory, with a 1,000 km range.
- Adding the new, hypersonic, Brahmos II anti-surface/ship missile to the armament, with a 300 km range.
- Adding a new, Extended Range Anti-Air Missile (ER-SAM) with a range of at least 100 km.
- An improved superstructure with radar and infrared stealth.
- A fully flush deck, also enhancing stealth.
Project 15 Indian destroyers can be considered roughly equivalent to the Chinese ships designed under the project 052C inducted 10 years ago. Ships of the project 052C are equipped with radars with active phased antenna arrays. The Chinese ship also carries more anti-aircraft missiles, which have a longer range. Thus, we are talking about an approximately ten-year lag behind China. But in fact the situation is even worse. 052C are almost entirely Chinese-built ships. The first few still carried Ukrainian turbines, just like the Indian destroyers, but since then China has mastered independent production of such turbines in Harbin. At present, India does not have the ability to participate in a full-scale naval race with China.
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It was almost seven years after the Kolkata was launched before it started sea trials in 2013. During those sea trials, machinery issues sent the vessel back to the yards for repair. Each vessel has cost India close to 1 billion U.S. dollars. The design was developed by the Indian Navy's Directorate of Naval Design, with detailed design developed by Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL). Built by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd (GRSE), Kolkata, it will be the first warship armed with an indigenous rocket launcher for anti-submarine warfare. They are the largest naval vessels ever constructed at the Indian naval yards at Mazagon. Interestingly, the Kolkata-class is almost 2,000 tonnes heavier than its predecessor --- the Project 15 Delhi-class destroyers --- because of its heavier armour plating. Despite that, it moves as fast as the Delhi-class, propelled by the same Ukrainian turbines. This indicates how much they have improved its propulsion system.
These capabilities give Project 15A INS Kolkata an ability to operate without supporting fleet of ships. It has state of the art sensors and Battle Management Systems, will significantly improve India's area air coverage at sea as well as the strength of multi-mission capabilities. It has an in-built anti-submarine capability, can take on anti-ship missile and a fighter aircraft. It will the first Indian ship to be armed with 16 land attack, anti-ship Brahmos missile, again manufactured in India with Russian collaboration. These capabilities give INS Kolkata an ability to operate without supporting fleet of ships. The navy’s unique Weapon and Electronic Systems Engineering Establishment (WESEE), undertook the herculean task of integrating the melange of Russian, Israeli, Dutch, French, Italian, and Indian systems which went into this ship. Nowhere else in the world is such a complex undertaking attempted, but WESEE’s endeavours have been invariably rewarded with success.
A concern for the INS Kolkata, in addition to not having her primary anti-air armament, is that she will go to sea without a Towed Array Sonar (TAS). The indigenous system did not meet Indian requirements and the Indian Navy is now feverishly looking to purchase a system to integrate into the vessel from elsewhere.
INS Chennai was the first vessel to be built with DMR-249 Grade B steel made by SAIL (equivalent to Russian AB2 grade steel used in P-16, P-15, two P-15A DDGs & four P-28 corvettes).
It was in 1960 that the MoD bought the complete design package of the Leander-class FFG’s superstructure and its licenced-manufacturing rights from the UK’s Vickers Armstrong & Yarrow. However, the first of six Leander-class FFGs to be built by the MoD-owned Mazagon Docks Ltd (MDL)—INS Nilgiri--was commissioned only 12 years later on June 23, 1972, nine years after the Royal Navy commissioned its first Leander-class FFG. Thereafter, between 1974 and 1981 the following five Leander-class FFGs were commissioned, and were followed by three Project 16 Godavari-class FFGs and three Project 16A Brahmaputra-class FFGs, accounting for a total of 12 FFGs built as variations (conceptualised and designed by the Navy’s Directorate General Naval Design, or DGND) of the same basic hull design and with the same steam engine-based propulsion package.
The eastern naval command has grown remarkably in recent years. In 2005, it had 30 warships under its command. Six years later, that number has grown to 50 - roughly a third of the Indian Navy's entire fleet strength. It is poised to expand further.
India's only aircraft carrier INS (Indian Naval Ship) Viraat is to be assigned to the eastern command after the refurbished Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov (renamed INS Vikramaditya) joins the western fleet. All five Rajput-class guided-missile destroyers (modified versions of Soviet Kashin class destroyers), which were with the western command have joined the eastern fleet.
The Indian Navy's only ship to be acquired from the Americans, the amphibious USS Trenton, now renamed INS Jalashwa, has been put under the eastern command. It will be joined soon by the indigenously manufactured stealth frigates INS Shivalik, INS Satpura and INS Sahyadri as well as the US-manufactured P-8I Poseidon long-range maritime patrol aircraft and the Italy-made new fleet tanker, INS Shakti.
It will be the eastern command that will take charge of India's nuclear submarines. INS Arihant, which is undergoing sea trials was constructed at Visakhapatnam. Two other nuclear submarines are reportedly under development here.
The eastern command has bases at Visakhapatnam and Kolkata. It will soon have a forward base at Tuticorin and an operational turnaround base at Paradeep. In addition to naval air stations at Dega and Rajali, the eastern command has got a new one, INS Parundu at Uchipuli, where UAVs are being deployed. Reports in the media have hinted at a nuclear submarine naval base somewhere near Visakhapatnam. Codenamed Varsha, the project is under wraps.
The gap between the western and eastern commands appears to be narrowing. In the wake of the eastern command's rising profile and strength, the Indian navy recently upgraded the post of the eastern command's chief of staff to three-star rank, ie the same as that of his counterpart at the western naval command.
India's east coast faces six littorals - Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia - across the Bay of Bengal. Its Andaman and Nicobar Islands are scattered midway between its east coast and the Straits of Malacca.
China, though not a Bay of Bengal or Indian Ocean littoral, has been able to secure for itself a presence in these waters by building strong political, economic and defense relationships with several littoral states, including building commercial/naval port infrastructure there that have dual civilian and military use. Besides Gwadar in Pakistan, which sits on the Arabian Sea, China is building ports at Hambantota in Sri Lanka and at Chittagong in Bangladesh. In Myanmar it has upgraded several ports including those at Sittwe, Kyaukpyu, Bassein, Mergui and Yangon and is building radar, refit and refuel facilities at its naval bases at Hainggyi, Akyab, Zadetkyi and Mergui. China's presence in these ports may be presently benign. This “string of pearls” also includes Tanzania (Bagamoyo). However, Indian analysts warn that Beijing could seek to use these ports for military or strategic purposes. Given its substantial influence in these countries, its demands could well be conceded, they say.
That would bring the Chinese navy into the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. While analysts believe that China is still several years, if not decades away from having the capability of supporting sustained naval deployment in the Indian Ocean, it is this looming possibility that India is preparing for by beefing up its eastern naval command. Besides, building force levels of the eastern command to prepare for this contingency, the Indian navy has also been building ties through port calls and joint exercises with other Asia-Pacific navies, many of whom are China-wary.
While joint naval exercises are aimed at developing naval interoperability among the participating fleets, those between India and other China-wary navies carried out in the Bay of Bengal are also aimed at sending out a message to the Chinese navy that its possible future presence in the Indian Ocean will not go unchallenged. The Indian navy has exercised with the navies of Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia since the early 1990s.
The Milan naval exercises in the Bay of Bengal include several Asia-Pacific countries. In September 2007, for the first time ever, the Indo-US Malabar exercises, which are usually held in the Arabian Sea, were held in India's eastern seaboard and included Singapore, Japan and Australia too. The Indian navy has forayed into the South China Sea, which China describes as a ‘core national interest' as well as the Pacific Ocean on port visits and for joint exercises.
The eastern naval command's rising profile has paralleled the evolution of India's "Look East" policy. The navy has played an important role in achieving this expansion. If in the 1990s, the navy remained confined largely west of the Malacca Straits, the past decade has seen it make forays into the Pacific too. Increasingly it is engaging in multilateral exercises in waters off Northeast Asia and its vessels have ventured up to Vladivostok.
India has shown increasing capability to impact the Asia-Pacific security architecture. While still not a key player in the region, neither is it marginal. Much of the global discourse on the evolving Asian security architecture has focussed on maritime rivalry and containment of China. But there is scope for co-operation given shared threats that countries face from pirates and terrorists to sea lanes and choke points. The seas provide a potential area of collaboration among Asia's naval powers. This can be used to begin building a new co-operative Asian order. --- Sudha Ramachandran
Air power and air cover at sea and maritime reconnaissance are essential ingredients in the lexicon of ‘war fighting at sea’, and means must be devised to include aviation MR and fighter assets in the naval ORBAT commensurate with the operational role a Navy is required to play. The dictum ‘what you cannot patrol you cannot control,’ is still valid.
India is planning to develop the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as a major amphibious warfare hub by setting up full-fledged training facilities and basing a sea-and-land fighting unit to provide teeth to its capability to take the battle into enemy shores. India is in the process of building own large-size amphibious warfare vessels and has also procured a warship from the US now christened INS Jalashwa to augment its capabilities in this regard.
The Navy is also in the process of setting up Operational Turn Around (OTR) bases, Forward Operating Bases and Naval Air Enclaves along the coast, which would enhance the reach and sustainability of its surveillance effort on both the coasts.
Another capability the Indian Navy quietly added in November 2013 was a dedicated communication satellite. The satellite is described as a force multiplier by senior naval officers. It covers the Navy’s entire area of interest in the Indian Ocean and beyond. The satellite handles all data transfers for maritime domain awareness and the entire range of communications and networking needs of the Indian Navy.
We need to use this window of opportunity to build up our own naval capabilities. Our regional diplomacy should support this approach by fostering closer relations with these 'countervailing' powers.
The Indian Navy has no such choice of a neighbour it can share costs with, and yet has a responsibility in the Indian Ocean to ensure peace and stability. This makes Indian Navy’s task a Hobson’s choice. The escalating cost of fuel is a consideration for all navies and conventional carriers are nick named ‘Guzzlers’, and yet aircraft carriers serve a purpose for large navies, just as submarines do in no less a measure.
The Indian Navy has always tried to give both platforms importance. The trend in surface ships by navies is to give accent to littoral warfare and build littoral combat ships, which can combat terrorism and operate closer to the shore known as the littoral, but large platforms are essential for support of the fleet at sea ‘to carry boots on ground’, provide disaster relief and evacuations. Navies also have to acquire large landing platforms with helicopters in numbers for this.
The navy's indigenisation programme starts with a consensus that buying foreign-built warships undermines budgets and capabilities. Given this co-operative ethos, it is unsurprising that defence shipyards tend to be headed by retired admirals.
When the navy wants a new class of warships, it begins by selecting an Indian shipyard to build it; the directorate of naval design creates a conceptual design and works with the shipyard to translate that into a detailed design; the directorate of indigenisation co-ordinates with industry to ensure that as many systems as possible are sourced from India; the navy allocates the budget and the shipyard rolls out the warships. Indigenous warships are often late and there are occasional quality issues. But the navy gets its home-designed warship at less than the global price. And each time a spare part is used, each time a refit or upgrade is carried out, more money is saved. Over its service life of three decades, the cost of an Indian warship comes to less than a quarter of one bought abroad.
Corvettes (Small & agile)
- Sweden's Visby-class (one of the class of U.S.'s LCS is based on this, although not as small)
- German's K130 Braunschweig-class
- Morocco's Damen made SIGMA-class
- Russia's Project 20380 Steregushchy-class
- Russia's Project 21630 Buyan-class corvette
- China's (formerly 582) Type 056 (NATO: Jiangdao-class)
- India's Kamorta-class
- Singapore's Formidable-class Frigate
- Russia's Gepard-class Frigate
Known earlier by its GRSE 'Yard-3017' nomenclature where the keel was first laid and launched in 2010, the sturdy warship Kamorta is the first in its class of four ASW corvettes being built under Project-28 (P28) for the Indian Navy. A sturdy warship, INS Kamorta, is the country's first indigenous anti-submarine warfare (ASW) corvette, built under Project-28 (P28) for the Indian Navy. It is named after the erstwhile Petya Class ship from USSR ex-Kamorta. ASW corvettes Kadmatt, Kiltan and Kavaratti are to follow suit progressively. Named after islands in Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshwadeep archipelago, ASW corvettes Kadmatt, Kiltan and Kavaratti are to follow suit progressively. Cost of four of these class of ships is Rs. 7852.39 crore.
The design includes many stealth features, including reductions in noise and vibration of the vessels. The aim with this project is to stipulate unprecedented standards while providing opportunities to Indian vendors to develop expertise with the technology. As in INS Shivalik, high-grade steel produced in India was utilized for its construction. The sophisticated frontline warship with stealth features will also be the first warship armed with the new trainable chaff launcher - Kavach. Revati, the naval variant of the DRDO-made Central Acquisition Radar (CAR), is a confirmed sensor aboard the vessel. It is also the first naval ship fitted with bow mounted 'Sonar' (sound navigation and ranging) for enhanced underwater surveillance. With about 90 percent of the ship being indigenous, it is also capable of deploying a helicopter, adding considerable punch to the ship's anti-submarine capability. It to be noted that the foldable hangar door has been fitted for the first time with a rail-less helicopter traversing system.
The first two raft-mounted gearboxes for the first corvette were produced in France on the DCNS Nantes site, but the next four were produced in India under a transfer of technology agreement between DCNS and its industrial partner WIL (Walchandnagar Industries Limited). France's DCNS has provide a comprehensive engineering package of raft mounted Propulsion Power Transmission Systems consisting of eight reduction gear units on cradles and either thrust blocks. It incorporates state-of-art low-noise CODAD (combined diesel and diesel) propulsion system with hydraulic coupling between main engines and gearbox.
Indigenously developed IRSS (infrared signature suppression system) devices are fitted in engine exhaust for reducing infra-red signatures enabling it to stealthily operate. With reverse osmosis plant for fresh water generation, sewage treatment plant with vacuum toilet facilities totally compliant with International Maritime Organisation regulations, the warship measures up to all stringent regulatory needs to operate across oceans of the world.
The ship is also fitted with sophisticated, indigenously made stabilizing systems. The propulsion as well as the power generation systems with damage control system is enveloped by an 'Integrated Platform Management System' for achieving a superior state of control and integration. The hull of the ship is built with special grade high-tensile steel (DMR249A) developed by Indian Navy and procured from SAIL (Steel Authority of India) for which GRSE trained its team of welders to achieve conditions of near zero-rejection state. This grade of steel is being used for the first time on any indigenously built naval ship making the ship very cost effective, fuel-efficient, powerful and well suited for the service intended.
With an approximate displacement of 3,400 tonnes, it can achieve a maximum speed of 25 knots. It is powered by four indigenously designed 3888 KW diesel engines at 1050 rpm and can cover nearly 3,500 nautical miles at 18 knots.
The overall length of the ship is 109 meters and is nearly 13 metres wide at its maximum bulge. Each ship will be manned by 14 officers and 150 sailors.
The P15A destroyers will deploy 16 BrahMos in vertical launch configuration, heavy-weight torpedoes, ASW rockets, 76 mm Medium Range gun and two guns as Close-in-Weapon System (CIWS) with dedicated fire control systems, chaff systems and the PDMS which would be installed in due course. Her sensors include the most advanced bow mounted sonar, advanced ESM system and direction finder, an air surveillance radar with capability to detect target exceeding 200 Km and an active towed array system. It includes a license-built Otobreda 76 mm Super Rapid gun in a stealth mount and L&T built derivatives of the RBU-6000 torpedo launchers. Ship is equipped with a Bow mounted Sonar and are capable of deploying a Seaking 42B helicopter, adding considerable punch to the ship’s anti-submarine capability.
Stealth features include X-form Hull for low RCS, Raft Mounted Gear Box for low under-water noise and Infra-red Signature Suppression Device for low heat radiations. Usage of DMR 249A steel for construction which has been developed indigenously by Defence Material Research Laboratory and manufactured in-house Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL). The hull of the ship is built with special grade high-tensile steel (DMR249A) developed by Indian Navy and procured from SAIL (Steel Authority of India) for which GRSE trained its team of welders to achieve conditions of near zero-rejection state. Use of Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic (CFRP) superstructure integrated with the steel hull in the third and fourth ships of the class. First time installation of revolutionary foldable hanger door and Railless Helo Traversing System and Telescopic Boat Davit.
Highlights of the design includes Low Radar Cross Section (RCS) signature through full beam superstructure, inclined ship sides and reduced Infra-red (IR) signature by use of “Infrared Suppression System (IRSS) device’ for cooling the engine and diesel alternator exhausts, developed indigenously by Naval Scientific and technical Laboratory (NSTL).
Their connectivity by fibre optics and internet is being operationalised by Director Generals of Coast Guard and Lighthouses to ensure warnings for reaction, under the NC3I project set up under the Cabinet Secretary (the country’s highest civil services officer). The DG Shipping has set up Long Range Identification and Tracking (LRIT) of all ships at sea in the Indian LRIT Region and has provided feeds to the Navy and Coast Guard.
All these are being linked to the National Command Centre. The systems deployed are very advanced, and call for highly skilled manpower with adequate training, and standard operating procedures (SOPs).
Frigates are meant to be faster and cheaper than the big and heavy destroyers. The U.S. Navy has learned hard lessons that speed at sea is a terribly expensive capability and is not worth sacrificing so much. Except for large nuclear-powered ships, high speeds are only possible for limited times and in good weather. Moreover, speed is needed to deploy quickly over long distances but more than 25 knots is unlikely to needed for any tactical use. Hence, upcoming ships will trade some speed in favour of more weapons and heavier armor. The Navy’s new Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is not only staggeringly overpriced and chronically unreliable but — even if it were to work perfectly — cannot match the combat power of similar sized foreign warships costing only a fraction as much.
China's 4,000 ton Type 054 frigate is based on Western, not Russian, designs. Pakistan's Chinese-made Type 054 (Jiangkai I) Sword-class frigates resembled the French La Fayette-class frigates in shape and displacement. In addition, the Chinese used French, or French-derived, electronics and weapons. The French exported these systems to China in the 1980s, and later granted production licences. These systems were similar to those used on the La Fayettes in the 1980s. It is the first Chinese warship equipped with VLS (Vertical Launch System) and has 32 VLS cells for HQ-16 anti-aircraft missiles. There are 8 anti-ship cruise missiles, a 76mm gun and two 30mm multi-barrel auto-cannon for anti-missile defense. There are 6 torpedo tubes and 12 launchers for anti-submarine rockets (carrying depth charges). There is also a hangar for a helicopter. All this is handled by a crew of 165.
Jiangkai II frigate led to development of the Type 054A frigate, using the same hull but with improved sensors and weapons. The Type 054A has a top speed of 48 kilometers an hour and endurance of about three weeks on internal fuel (moving at cruising speed). It replaces the 1,400 ton Type 053 frigates (based on Russian Cold War era Riga class).
The 051Cs were the first ships with an Aegis type radar and carried 48 Russian S-300 anti-aircraft missiles, and eight anti-ship cruise missiles that could also be used for land attack. Since 2003, 2 older Type 052B Guangzhou-class destroyers and 6 Type 052C Lanzhou-class destroyers have entered service. In 2013 the first of the Chinese Type 052D destroyers was seen on sea trials in the East China Sea. This design appeared very similar to the American Aegis equipped destroyers (especially the Burke Class).
Before 2015, the new Chinese Type 052 destroyers were described as similar to the Burkes but in reality the Type 052s were “Burke Lite” while the Type 055 is much closer to the Burkes in capabilities and, at least on paper. Currently, five 052Ds is in service, 5 are being built and at least 8 more are planned. These appear to be 7,500 ton ships armed with 64 American style (hot launch) VLS tubes for anti-aircraft (HQ-9), cruise, or anti-ship missiles. The first Burkes were 8,300 ton ships, while the latest ones, laden with more gear and smaller crews, are 10,000 ton ships. This is what heavy cruisers weighed in World War II.
The LCS was meant to avoid the expense of building an improved version of the 71 Perry class frigate. It was designed to have a shallow draft so they can operate where bigger (destroyer) ships cannot, permitting access to very shallow "green" and even "brown" coastal and riverine waters where most naval operations have taken place in the past generation.
The basic idea was to design the LCH with a lot more flexible, making it possible for different “mission packages” to be quickly installed so that LCS could do what the navy needed (like assemble a lot of mine clearing ships or anti-submarine vessels) in an emergency. Foreign navies had already applied the concept successfully. The Danish Navy’s “Standard Flex” series of weapon modules had in particular grabbed the U.S. Navy’s attention.
There are actually two LCS classes; the Lockheed Martin's mono-hull (traditional) USS Freedom class and the General Dynamics' USS Independence class which is a radical trimaran design. The navy surprised everyone in 2010 by choosing both designs and requesting that the LCS ships be split between the two very different looking ships (they both share many common elements). However, these ships are under-armed and lacks the range and electronic warfare capabilities. The surface-warfare chief had said that the Navy had yet to settle key LCS issues regarding its missions and tactics.
The LCS began development in 2002, went into sea trials in 2009, commissioned in 2010 and put it into mass production in 2012. The navy originally sought to have between 50 and 60 LCSs by 2014-18, at a cost of $460 million (after the first five) each. The USS Freedom ended up costing nearly $600 million, about twice what the first ship in the class was supposed to have cost. All these problems caused the navy to decide in early 2014 to cut the number to be built from 52 to 32. The navy believed that the cost could be brought down to under $500 million each, as mass production begins. That did not happen. At this point cancellation of the program is becoming an attractive option. At this point it looks like the navy will only have, at most, 30 LCS ships by the end of the decade and still unsure about exactly what it can use these ships for.
They are relatively fast, can be constructed quickly, and can be fitted with variety of interchangeable modules (e.g., air defense, surface warfare, mine-sweeping, anti-submarine warfare, underwater warfare, special operations, surface attack, etc.), which allow the ships to be quickly reconfigured for various specialized missions. Both LCS designs were supposed to be for ships displacing 2,500 tons, permitting access to very shallow "green" and even "brown" coastal and riverine waters where most naval operations have taken place in the past generation. Top speed was expected to be over 80 kilometers with a range of 2,700 kilometers. Basic endurance is 21 days.
Currently it takes far longer (2-3 days instead of 2-3 hours) to replace. Normally, a ship of this size would have a crew of about 200. Each LCS actually has two complete crews ("blue" and "gold") of 50 (plus mission package personnel) who take turns running the ship. This makes it possible to keep an LCS at a distant posting for years, by simply flying in a relief crew every six months. The RAM (RIM-116 "Rolling Air-Frame") missiles replaces the earlier Phalanx auto-cannon. SeaRAM has a longer range (7.5 kilometers) than the Phalanx (two kilometers).
In an interesting change at the start of 2015 the navy decided reclassify the LCS as frigates. This was not unexpected as in size and function the LCS ships were very comparable to frigates but the LCS was meant to be much more than a frigate and used a very innovative design. The navy could have built a new class of frigates, but the LCS design was a lot more flexible, making it possible for different “mission packages” to be quickly installed so that LCS could do what the navy needed (like assemble a lot of mine clearing ships or anti-submarine vessels) in an emergency. This has not worked out as well as expected. Unlike the foreign systems they were modeled on, LCS modules will not be swappable within day or two as originally envisaged. Instead, the process can take weeks.
Lots of problems with design was to be expected because the LCS was a radical new warship design and these always have a lot of problems at first. For the LCS the problems never stopped. Some were fixed, other resisted solution at all and others were fixed, then broke again. In the end there was plenty of innovation but nothing that was useful or reliable. The U.S. Navy has been increasingly unhappy with the performance of American ship builders. The problem was the same one the Navy has had with so many warships since the 1980s; poor management in design and construction.
The worst problems are with the ASW module. All the components work well and integration is fine but in getting all this done someone lost track of module weight, which was not supposed to exceed 105 tons. The excess weight must be removed before the LCS can safely and reliably use the ASW module. This will prove expensive since most of the ASW components involved have been around for a while and are not easily or cheaply modified. Hence, the U.S. Navy has decided to permanently install modules (either surface warfare, mine warfare or anti-submarine warfare) in the 40 LCS ships the navy plans to have.
The first version had a long crack in its hull and it's prone to "galvanic corrosion". The LCH ship has weight and stability issues, lack of compartmentation, structural weaknesses, excessive vibration at speed, weak flight decks, poor sea-keeping by both versions, insufficient stores, inadequate range, poor endurance, sub-standard survivability (though some additional shrapnel protection will be added). This was to be expected because the LCS was a radical new warship design and these always have a lot of problems at first. There is some nervousness about all this. The U.S. Navy has not introduced a radical new design for nearly a century.
In 2011 the navy decided to equip LCS with a surface launched version of the Griffin air-to-surface missile as an alternative to the Hellfire II. But it was soon realized that the Griffin took longer to reach a target than the Hellfire and that the speed difference could be critical given the types of targets this system was designed to handle (small armed boats some carrying missiles of explosives for a suicide attack). So the navy went back to the Hellfire.
The latest problems are development delays that have to do with poor management of 3 unique weapons systems developed for the LCS. The simplest weapon involved is a surface launched Hellfire missile. The problems of the MCM (Mine Counter Measures) module are with the “integration” (the hardware and software created to get all components of the MCM module to work efficiently together.)
The ballooning LCS construction costs caused the Navy to try to save money by ordering that future ships be built to commercial standards. This will reduce their survivability level (protection of ship, crew, and vital systems) to (or below) the lowest level (of three) the Navy recognizes. LCS has been rated as not survivable in a “hostile combat environment.”
When Saudi Arabia became the first export customer for the LCS they specified four modified Freedom type LCS ships that were basically modified to be frigates. The Saudis called their LCS the MMSC (Multi-Mission Surface Combatant) frigates. MMSC will have a larger crew of about 120. A helicopter will also be carried on the MMSC and the heavier armament means it will not be able to use the mission modules the LCS was designed to carry.
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The Admiral Grigorovich, alternately referred to as the Krivak IV-class, is a modernized rather than a brand new stealth design. Its primary function is air defense, escorting, and submarine hunting. Its most distinguishable characteristic are two vertical launch batteries of Kalibr SS-N-27 supersonic cruise missiles (NATO code name is “Sizzler”). The Krivak IV is the fourth generation of the Krivak frigate class. Gorshkov is the only Russian combat ship to be equipped with BrahMos missiles.
Krivak-class, or Project 1135, that was first commissioned in 1970. It was was upgraded thrice until the 1990s. Between 1970 and 1989, 40 Krivak I, II and III were built in Soviet Union. While Krivak I and II class was used by Soviet Navy KGB Border Guards were the sole operator of the Krivak III class. Today all Krivak class frigates with the exception of two still serving in BSF are decommissioned. Krivak class was the main frigate force of Soviet Union at that time. After the end of Cold War, Russian Federation started a number of frigate design programs with the intention of replacing Krivak and other light frigates such as Grisha and Koni classes.
The first result of this new generation ships was Jastreb class Neustrashimy launched in 1988 and commissioned in 1993. Jastreb class was intended for the replacement of Krivak class. Neustrashimy was followed by Gepard class, Tatarstan launched in 1993, commissioned in 2002 and Steregushchiy launched in 2006 and commissioned in 2007.
Between 2000 and 2012, the Indian Navy received six Krivak III’s, which were modernized with a new suite of armaments and electronics. Re-branded as the Talwar-class frigate, each vessel is armed with a 100mm A-190E naval gun on its bow. Unlike its Russian predecessor, however, the Talwars had eight lethal BrahMos cruise missiles in vertical launchers. The Talwar also supports a helipad on its stern, replacing the 130mm guns of the early Krivak.
The Indian Navy wanted to fill the gap created by the decommissioning of the Leander class frigates until the Project 17 Shivalik class frigates entered service. In recent years, India has purchased six Russian-built Krivak (Talwar) class frigates. The first three were delivered in 2003-04, while the second set is being delivered in 2009-12.
'Teg', the frigate of the Project 11356, also known as Talwar Class, is first of the three frigates ordered by the Indian Navy in 2006 under a 1.5 billion dollar deal with Russia. India Navy already operates three of these stealth frigates and had ordered three more to bolster its fleet. The two other warships of the same class - the 'Tarkash' (Quiver) and the 'Trikand' (Bow) are at various stages of construction at the "Yantar" naval shipyard in Russia's Baltic exclave of Kaliningrad. Earlier in the last decade, Russia's another Baltiisky Zavod shipyard in St Petersburg had built first three of the stealth frigates - INS Talwar, INS Trishul and INS Tabar.
The first tranche of three frigates (INS Talwar, Trishul and Tabar) was contracted in 1997 for about one billion dollars and delivered between 2003-04. The second tranche of three (INS Teg, Tarkash and Trikand) was contracted in 2006 and delivered in 2012-13 for a slightly higher price.
Each of the new frigates is to be armed with eight jointly developed BrahMos supersonic anti-ship cruise missile instead of the Klub-N/3M54TE missile system, a 100-millimetre gun, a Shtil surface-to-air missile (SAM) system, two Kashtan air-defence gun/missile systems, two twin 533-mm torpedo launchers and an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) helicopter.
The Talwar class is an Indo-Russian joint production. Ships of this class have quite a few systems of Indian origin and manufacture, including their anti-submarine sensor (sonar) suite and complete communication equipment.
In July 2006, the Indian government announced that Russia would build 3 “stealth warships” for India under a Rs 5114 crore (INR 51.14 billion, then about $1.1 billion) contract signed in New Delhi. The contract actually covers 3 modified Krivak III/ Talwar Class frigates, as a follow-on to an earlier $900 million purchase in 1997.
The Krivak III/ Talwar Class ships like INS Tabar are not really stealth warships by comparison to more modern designs like Singapore’s new Formidable Class frigates from France (a Lafayette Class derivative). They’re best described as mid-range multi-role frigates, with some stealth features and a potential emphasis on anti-submarine work.
They’re also important to the 4,000t Talwar class, whose potential for a strong ASW role is partly derived from the anti-submarine capabilities of some Klub-N missiles. Talwar class ships like the Navy’s existing INS Talwar (Sword), INS Trishul (Trident), and INS Tabar (Axe) can carry 14 vertically-launched Klub missiles, though sources indicate that the new Teg (Saber), Tarkash (Quiver), and Trikand (Bow) may be fitted for 8 of the much larger supersonic BrahMos anti-ship missiles instead.
The government has cleared the Rs 2,176-crore acquisition of eight specialised vessels or LCUs (landing craft utility), capable of "hard beaching" on enemy shores, to boost the country's amphibious warfare and island protection capabilities. Since the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 26, 2004, the landing platform dock (LPD) and the amphibious assault ship (LPH) have emerged as an instrument of soft power, with their on-board fleets of multi-purpose utility helicopters, landing craft (LCM), and air-cushion vehicles; plus their command-and-control capabilities and cavernous holds proving to be invaluable for disaster relief, small-scale policing or mass civilian evacuation operations. At the same time, the LPDs and LPHs and today emerged as invaluable tools for undertaking asymmetric warfare (against pirates in the high seas), expeditionary amphibious campaigns (such as those undertaken by the Royal Navy in 1982 to retake the Falklands Islands), and low-intensity maritime operations involving vertical envelopment tactics, which the Indian Navy calls “effecting maritime manoeuvres from the sea”.
It was in the September 2004 issue of FORCE magazine, an analysis on the need for the Indian Navy to urgently begin planning for acquiring a modest fleet of no less than three LPHs for it to undertake both humanitarian relief operations within the Indian Ocean Region whenever required, as well as prepare for the prospects of undertaking power projection-based expeditionary amphibious campaigns with its own integral naval infantry assets (as opposed to the still existing flawed practice of transporting a mere mechanised battalion of the Indian Army on board large landing ship tanks (LST-L).
This comes even as the defence ministry is finalizing another project to acquire four huge amphibious warfare ships, called Landing Platform Docks (LPDs) for "stand-off beaching", for around Rs 16,000 crore. India's five-year effort to bolster its littoral capabilities will begin showing progress this year as the Navy enters the global market to acquire four landing platform dock (LPD) warships.
The LCUs and LPDs will help in swiftly transporting thousands of troops, heavy weapon systems and infantry combat vehicles over long distances to take the battle right to the enemy mainland.
The LCUs are likely to be based at India's first and only regional 'theatre command', the strategically-located Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), which will complete 10 years of existence next month.
While the Navy's 2005 doctrine emphasized preparedness for littoral warfare, driven by India's emergence as a regional power and increasing Chinese operations in the Indian Ocean, the pace of acquisition is slow and inadequate, defense analysts here said.
"Well, at long last, we are paying attention to getting more assets that can be used for littoral operations. The pace is slow but is building up. Four LPDs are to be built for the Indian Navy. Our current inventory of landing craft utility and landing ship tanks are quite old. LPD Jalashwa is actually quite old but in a fairly satisfactory condition," said Probal Ghosh, a retired Indian Navy captain and defense analyst.
Naval warfare changed on Sept. 9, 1943. Dictator Benito Mussolini had been deposed, the new Italian government was abandoning a lost war and its doomed Nazi ally and the Italian fleet was sailing to Malta to surrender. But the habitually treacherous Nazis, who had always suspected their Italian allies of similar trickery, detected the Italian ships leaving port.
The Luftwaffe dispatched a force of Dornier Do-217 bombers to deal with the Italian ships.
As the bombers approached, the Italians were unsure whether the Germans meant to attack or just intimidate. They were relieved to see the German aircraft appear to drop their bombs into the ocean. Perhaps with uncharacteristic gentleness, the Germans were just firing warning shots.
But then something unexpected happened. Instead of plunging straight down into the sea, the bombs headed toward the Italian ships. One slammed into Roma’s hull, exited out the other side and exploded in the water, destroying an engine room.
A second bomb penetrated the deck into the forward magazine, where shells for the ship’s big 15-inch guns were stored. The battleship exploded, killing 1,253 members of her crew.
The age of the ship-killing missile had dawned.
Battleships were armored to survive multiple bomb hits—in 1944, the Japanese super-battleship Musashi was hit by 17 bombs and 19 torpedoes before sinking. But a bomb dropped from high enough should have enough kinetic energy, imparted by gravity, to smash through thick deck armor.
The problem was hitting the battleship in the first place. High-flying bombers in the 1940s had scant chance of hitting a warship frantically weaving through the water at 30 knots. That meant aircraft had to come in low to attack, which made them easier targets for the ship’s antiaircraft guns and also robbed the bombs of kinetic energy.
The 11-foot-long Fritz-X, slung under the wing of a bomber, had radio-controlled fins that could change the munition’s glide path. A tail-mounted flare enabled the operator on the bomber to track and adjust the weapon’s course. Tests showed that 50 percent of bombs would land within five meters of the target—astounding accuracy for the 1940s.
Does this sound familiar? It should, because the concept endures in modern weapon such as America’s Joint Direct Attack Munition, a kit that makes dumb bombs smart by adding fins and satellite guidance.
Since World War II, torpedoes are considered lethal ‘one shot weapons’ and in the 1971 war, Pakistan Navy’s Hangor sank INS Khukri on Dec 8, and 178 souls in white lost their lives off the waters off Diu. Appropriately, the Indian Navy is now adequate attention to both aircraft carriers and submarine capabilities.
At the moment, navy warships are equipped with old Russian heavy torpedoes. Western naval warships have light weight torpedoes for anti submarine operations but Russian warships and submarines have heavy weight anti ship torpedoes, which are however not compatible with the Scorpenes.
All torpedo tubes are of common size called 21 Inch (533mm) and Atlas Elektronik has the DM2A4 Seahake from Germany and WASS from Italy has the Blackshark IF21 which Malaysia has chosen for its first Scorpene Tungku Abdul Rahman which called at Cochin en route to Lumut early in September 2010. Both are new generation, long-range, stealth, wire guided torpedoes featuring electrical propulsion system and a fibre optic cable for torpedo guidance. The Indian Navy exchanged notes.
India’s request to buy 32 MK-54 All-Up-Round Lightweight Torpedoes, 3 recoverable exercise torpedoes, 1 training shape, plus containers, spare and repair parts, support and test equipment, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, transportation and other supports. India intends to use the torpedoes on its forthcoming 8 P-8I Neptune maritime patrol aircraft, and the numbers involved mark this as an initial familiarity and training buy. Technically, Boeing is the P-8i lead integrator, but the Mk54 is a Raytheon design. On the other hand, Lockheed Martin offers the GPS-guided, high altitude launch HAAWC/Longshot, consisting of an adapter kit mounted on a Mk.54.
This high speed is due to supercavitation, whereby a gas bubble, which envelops the torpedo, is created by outward deflection of water by its specially shaped nose cone and the expansion of gases from its engine. This minimizes water contact with the torpedo, significantly reducing drag.
The Russians started designing it in the 1960s when the NII-24 research institute was ordered to produce a new weapon system capable of combating nuclear submarines. Research on developing a self-propelled supercavitational projectile began in the early 1960s at the Ukrainian Institute of Hydromechanics. In 1969, the GSKB-47 merged with NII-24 to create the Research Institute of Applied Hydromechanics in Ukraine. The research led to the construction of underwater supercavitating rifles for use by elite Russian Spetznaz troops, and in the mid-1970's to the creation of the world's first supercavitating torpedo (constructor Merkulov).
Iran claimed it has created a version named Hoot. A downgraded Shkval, the Shkval-E went to an international arms fairs in 1995, and both China, Iran and France have been known to have acquired limited numbers of Shkvals.
The U.S. torpedo researchers have been unable to design a similar torpedo with detection and homing technology that will enable the torpedo to distinguish an enemy sub from a rock formation. Also, the U.S. emphasis is more on silence rather than speed. The U.S. military has tested a prototype, but combat-ready versions are not expected for at least 15 years. In 2000, former U.S. Naval intelligence officer and an alleged DIA spy Edmond Pope (Captain, USN, retired) was held, tried, and convicted in Russia of espionage related to information he obtained about the Shkval weapon system.
The import of ATAS was blocked since the mid-1990s because the DRDO was developing an indigenous ATAS called Nagan. In 2012, the Nagan project was officially shut down and the DRDO began work on another system called ALTAS.
Until then, these vessels have only limited sonar capability, provided by a relatively ineffective Passive Towed Array Sonar (PTAS), and a hull-mounted sonar called HUMSA. Without an Advanced Towed Array Sonar, India's most advanced warships - including 25 destroyers, frigates and corvettes built and bought since 1997 - would be sitting ducks.
With the Indian Navy's best warships worryingly incapable of detecting modern submarines, such as Pakistan's Agosta 90B, the ATAS project is therefore a key element of the strategy to secure Indian waters. The project is destined to be rolled out to various classes of ships including Delhi, Talwar, Kamorta, Shivalik and Kolkata. The first six systems will be manufactured at the company's facilities and the follow-on batches would be manufactured in Indian under the Transfer of Technology (ToT) arrangement with Indian public sector unit. Eighty advanced sonars could be tendered over the next three years.
Company officials said the towed array sonar provided by ATLAS permits observation of the sea space at ranges considerably above 60 kilometers, depending on the propagation conditions of the water. This gives the sonar an operational range that by far exceeds that of radars and the weapons range of submarines.
While the Arabian Sea offers tricky, shallow-water operating conditions, the Bay of Bengal is much deeper. Thirty kilometres off Karachi, the ocean floor is just 40 metres deep; while five kilometres off Visakhapatnam, the depth is 3,000 metres. The Arabian Sea, therefore, is the playground of small conventional submarines.
Simultaneously, the Bay of Bengal offers the deep diving conditions that favour nuclear submarines, which are too large for shallow waters. That is why experts predict India will operate both conventional and nuclear submarines - conventional in shallow water, and nuclear in deep water.
Not very many countries have acquired the capability of developing underwater sensors. Developing sonars is more complex compared with radars because it requires understanding the ocean's depth, salinity and temperature. Sonar (sound navigation and ranging) is the dominating sensor capable of detecting underwater targets. After the successful development of APSOH sonar for leander class of ships, DRDO has not looked back. So far, three types of hull-mounted sonars have been developed for surface ships, i.e.,
- APSOH (Advanced Panoramic SOnar Hull mounted),
- HUMVAD (Hull Mounted Variable Depth sonar),
- HUMSA 5 & HUMSA-NG (new generation) (Follow on to the APSOH series; the acronym HUMSA stands for Hull Mounted Sonar Array), S. Kedarnath Shenoy is its architect.
- Nagan (Towed Array Sonar),
- Panchendriya (Submarine sonar and fire control system).
HUMSA-NG is being fitted in all new construction ships. In addition, the first submarine sonar PANCHENDRIYA has been proved and an airborne sonar MIHIR is in the final phase of acceptance.
Indian defence scientists have also tried to catch up with the Americans and the Europeans in the ASW. The development of towed array sonar NAGAN is also in progress. NAGAN is a low frequency active cum passive towed array sonar system which has been developed by the NPOL (National Physical and Oceanographic Laboratory, Cochin) in association with the Bharat Electronics and some private sector companies. NAGAN has replaced the French Thales supplied passive towed array sonar system. NPOL scientists claim that the NAGAN has been a major technological breakthrough, which is capable of long range detection.
Since 2000 the United States has done a lot of sensor related work on improving systems to detect very quiet submerged diesel-electric sub. AIP boats, in particular, were found to have many vulnerabilities. The AIP technology generated more noise and heat than just using batteries for underwater propulsion. The more the U.S. studied AIP subs in operation the more ways they found these subs could be detected.
The Americans pioneered the development and use of VLS technology and in the 1980s began installing twelve VLS tubes in its last 31 (out of 62) Los Angeles class SSNs (nuclear powered attack submarines) and continued that in the subsequent Virginia class and in a late 1990s conversion of four older SSBN (nuclear powered ballistic missile sub) to replace the ballistic missiles with 154 Tomahawks. These submarine VLS launched Tomahawks have been used in combat regularly since then.
Modern diesel-electric submarines have increasingly taken over from nuclear predecessors when it comes to coastal patrols, emitting a much quieter acoustic signature as they blend with commercial shipping lanes, trawlers and tourists, not to mention coral reefs, schools of fish and even varying concentrations of salt.
The AIP technology generated more noise and heat than just using batteries for underwater propulsion. The more the U.S. studied AIP subs in operation the more ways they found these subs could be detected. Diesel-electric subs operating submerged using battery power are theoretically the quietest. But the older a sub gets the more components become noisy.
Nuclear submarines have been used in once in combat in 1982, when a British SSN sank an Argentinean cruiser.
Indian Navy’s submarine arm had clocked an impressive strength of 21 submarines in the 1980s. 8 Foxtrots (Project 641) were also built for the Indian Navy from 1967 to 1974. The Foxtrot class was comparable in performance and armament to most contemporary designs. However, its three screws made it noisier than most Western designs. Moreover, the Foxtrot class was one of the last designs introduced before the adoption of the tear-drop hull, which offered much better underwater performance. The Foxtrot class was completely obsolete by the time the last submarine was launched. The Russian Navy retired its last Foxtrots between 1995 and 2000. The Indian Navy has decommissioned one of her oldest units, INS Vagli in Dec 2010 after 36 years of operational service.
In India, it was initially hoped that submarines would be available as part of the Western military assistance package. In 1963, India requested submarines of recent design from the United Kingdom. However, it was offered only the loan of a World War II vintage vessel then being used as a target submarine for fleet training. The vessel had actually outlived even this function and was shortly due to be scrapped. India subsequently investigated Soviet attitudes towards supplying naval vessels. The contract to buy the submarines was signed in November 1964.
The decision to buy 6 Foxtrot Class submarines from the Soviet Union was a new departure in naval strategy which indicated the pattern of Indian naval thinking, particularly as it related to technology change. Chatterji was one influential voice arguing that the growing vulnerability of surface ships inevitably led to the development of submarines and air forces. Chatterji was also of the belief that India should seek to build nuclear-powered submarines by the late 1980's.
The Soviet Union was apparently reluctant to transfer either nuclear-powered submarines themselves or the technology required for their construction in India. In 1980 and 1982 the only submarines offered seem to have been refurbished Foxtrot Class. As a result, India began evaluating possible alternative conventionally powered submarines to replace the Foxtrot submarines in service. At this point it was already decided that at least some units of the design which was chosen would be built in India, and that the ultimate objective of producing nuclear-powered submarines would not be sacrificed. From the mid 1970's, a number of submarine designs were under consideration from Western Europe and the Soviet Union. European countries involved were France, the FRG, Italy, The Netherlands and Sweden, with the FRG and Sweden the clearly favoured options by 1980.
Indian officials were looking for a design which could offer a chance to learn the production and operating skills relevant to nuclear-powered submarines. The Type-209 design offered by the West German company HDW met some of these criteria. In 1981 HDW won the order based a 'stretched' and heavier version of the Type-209 weighing 1500 tonnes (and consequently designated the Type-1500). West Germany also gained an advantage in negotiations by offering as a package a new generation of torpedoes supplied by the West German company AEG.
The initial order covered the sale of two submarines to be built in Kiel and included an option to produce up to four subsequently in India. The signature of the contract was held up, as officials in the FRG were unhappy about a clause in the contract, insisted upon by India, which would guarantee deliveries of spare parts in wartime. However, the option on the production of the submarines at Mazagon Docks in Bombay was exercised in December 1981. Construction began in early 1982 and the West German-built vessels were delivered in 1986-7. Production of the submarines run into problems, finally getting underway in 1984, and delivery of the first of these (originally expected in 1988) was delayed until 1991.
India's first indigenously-constructed diesel-electric submarine, the INS Shalki, a license-produced Type 209 Class 1500, was commissioned on 7 February, 25 years after the Navy established the first submarine squadron. Unlike many other technology transfer projects involving the construction of submarines to Western designs, the Shalki was fabricated entirely in India, and was not simply assembled from partially outfitted hull sections or "work packages" supplied by a Western shipyard. Raw materials such as high-strength HY-80 steel and pipes were imported but were cut, formed and welded in India.
By late 1984, the Soviet Union was apparently prepared to offer India submarines of more modern design in considerable numbers. Vice Admiral Tahiliani, then Vice Chief of Naval Staff, took a leading role in talks in Moscow in September 1984, after which official sources stated that the defense relationship had taken on 'a new dimension'. This has subsequently been interpreted to have meant that the Soviet Union agreed not only to supply more modern types of conventional submarine, but also to allow India access to nuclear-powered submarines. The formal agreement to lease a nuclear-powered submarine from the Soviet Union was signed in 1985.
By selling reactor technology to India, the Soviet Union may get a foothold in a strategically sensitive Indian domain. This would be particularly so if along with a supply of power reactors, the Soviet Union also provided technical and design assistance to make Indian production of its own submarine reactors feasible. The lease of SSN's would give India early operating experience with such reactors. The 'lease' arrangement may be a convenient way of guaranteeing return to the Soviet Union of the submarine reactor fuel. At the same time, other motives may be part of the appeal of this arrangement. The price that India is paying to lease these submarines is considerable (estimated Rs 3,000 crores for 4 to 5 submarines). Moreover, as India Today (31 December 1987) speculates Soviet nuclear-powered submarines operated by India in the Indian Ocean could complicate US Naval surveillance of Soviet submarines in that region.
The Los Angeles Times published an article in February 1988 in which western analysts contradict many of the claims made by the Indian navy concerning the submarine lease. The Indian navy first claimed that the submarine was an old Victor I class, but western analysts said published photographs clearly identify the Chakra as a Charlie class designed to carry eight cruise missiles. The article further states that Pakistan reacted to the lease by trying to purchase Canadian hybrid nuclear powered submarines.
The 1988 submarine deal has ended and future procurement of nuclear-powered submarines appear unlikely. A number of reports have surfaced that India had taken delivery of a second Soviet SSN as a replacement for the first submarine. Reports have appeared that radiation problems on the submarine were responsible for the death of one Indian scientist on board the submarine. These radiation problems may have been the main cause of the cancellation of the contract with the Soviet Union. The nuclear submarine leased from the Soviet Union has been returned, probably to save the annual cost of the lease, which amounts to Rs 120 crores.
Indian scientists lacked metallurgical knowledge of suitable materials for the hull. The selected steel required precise handling, cutting and welding. Having experienced some welding difficulties in the assembly of the German-designed boats, India observed its neighbour Pakistan producing French submarines locally, albeit with considerable delays. India had gained some earlier with the induction of HDW boats but as there was no follow-on programme, allowing the Mazagon Dock facilities to die, all that experience was lost and everyone involved in the project retired. Grade A welders emigrated to Dubai, engineers retired, and eventually all that was left were designers and the knowledge passed on to industry, particularly dynamic companies like Larsen & Toubro, which actually built the hull of INS Arihant. Some of the young naval commanders of the overseeing team eventually became flag officers in charge of putting together the hull sections built by L&T in the Visakhapatnam.
The plan to develop an SSN force in India has not run smoothly, and highlights the enormous technological barriers for a developing country in operating this kind of system. There is currently no harbour facility in India capable of handling radioactive materials, and the submarine reactor is shut down when the vessel is in port.
India has built a Soviet-designed facility called the Special Safety Service at Vishakhapatnam, designed to monitor the health of people working on the INS Chakra and detect any radiation leak emanating from the submarine. In early 1996 pressure from the United States and financial problems facing the Indian navy were reported as the main reason for the freeze. By mid 1996 India had already spent $285.7 million to develop a nuclear submarine. DRDO officials have estimated that the submarine will be completed in five years and will require an additional $714.3 million in financing to complete the project.
India and Australia, with the two largest resident submarine fleets in the Indian Ocean, have been looking to rebuild their fleet in recent years. Though initially prompted by the state of their rapidly aging fleets, both countries’ efforts to procure new submarines have been given new impetus by China’s recent assertive behaviour and forays in the IOR. The Indian Navy, which aspires to “blue water” capability, must be capable of sea control in certain sectors, as well as sea denial further away, for example, at the choke points leading into the Indian Ocean from the South China Sea. That requires at least 24 conventional submarines for our coastal waters; and at least five to seven SSNs that can carry out sea denial for extended duration at very long ranges.
In short, commissioning a nuclear-powered submarine is a challenge, especially for India, which is new to the technology. China took 30 years to come up with its comparable 094-class submarine, commissioned for sea trial in 2004. Its earlier 093 class was a dud and for display only. It can prowl the South China Sea but cannot cross into the Indian Ocean. To overcome design problems the Chinese also had to purchase technology from Russia.
By 2013 India will have two nuclear submarines, one locally built and the other leased from Russia. Along with a French Scorpene submarine and a Russian upgraded aircraft carrier, India will have a formidable force positioned at the western mouth of the Strait of Malacca, should China ever decide to act in haste. Barring a few powerful Russian-built ships, China’s fleet is poor-quality reverse-engineered copies. “Yuan” class submarine shaped like a Russian “Kilo” submarines.
Requiring at least 30 submarines to fulfill its commitments, the Navy currently has only 13 subs – that too fairly old diesel electric conventional submarines. Shockingly, only half of the strength is operational at any given time. Project 75I stems from a “30-Year Submarine Construction Plan”, approved by the cabinet in 1999, for constructing 24 conventional submarines in India. Two separate construction lines were to build six submarines each, one using western technology; and the other with Russian know-how. Based on this experience, Indian designers would build the next 12 submarines.
The Borey class submarines are expected to constitute the core of the Russian strategic submarine fleet, replacing the aging Project 941 (NATO Typhoon class) and Project 667 class (Delta-3 and Delta-4) now in Russian Navy service. The Knyaz Oleg will become the first serial upgraded version of Project 955A submarines. They will have smaller hulls and cons, better acoustic characteristics and lower noisiness.
Russia is planning to build 8 Borey and Borey-A class subs by 2020.
All the Borey class strategic submarines will carry the Bulava ballistic missiles, up to 12-16 ballistic missiles with multiple warheads (MIRVs). They will also have an escape capsule for all crewmembers.
A Borey class strategic submarine is 170 meters (580 feet) long, has a hull diameter of 13 meters (42 feet), a crew of 107, including 55 officers, a maximum depth of 450 meters (about 1,500 feet) and a submerged speed of about 29 knots.
The submarine will be armed with Bulava missiles. The Bulava carries the NATO reporting name SS-NX-30 and has been assigned the GRAU index 3M30. In international treaties, the common designation RSM-56 is used.
The submarine's hull is built with low magnetic steel to reduce its magnetic signature. The submarine is smaller than the Akula Class vessels but possesses more fire power. While the Oscar-II class, like the ill-fated “Kursk” submarine, can carry cruise-missiles with a limited range, these submarine carries an assortment of long-range cruise missiles, able to hit targets from 5,000 to 1,500 kilometers away. Such distance nearly erases the traditional classifications of what is a strategic submarine and an attack submarine. Armed with long-range cruise missiles and eight vertical launching system tubes for cruise missiles, the 119m-long and 12m-wide Yasen-class submarines can strike against submarines, surface warships and land-based targets.
Its main armament consists of 24 supersonic Oniks (SS-N-26) and Kalibr (SS-N-27) cruise missiles, self-guided torpedoes and mines. The vessel has a hull made from high-resilience low-magnetic steel, and so can dive to a depth of more than 600 metres (conventional boats cannot go deeper than 300 metres), which effectively puts it out of reach of all types of modern anti-submarine weapons. Its maximum speed is more than 30 knots (about 60 kilometres per hour). The nuclear submarine is equipped with an escape pod for the whole crew. The submarine has a full load displacement of around 13,800 tons and is powered by a KPM-type pressurised water reactor and steam turbine. She has a crew of 90.
The first submarine of the class, Severodvinsk (K-329) SSGN was launched in June 2010 for commissioning in 2012. The second submarine, Kazan, was laid down in July 2009. It is expected to be launched during 2013-14 for commissioning before 2015. The Graney Class will replace the Akula Class and Oscar Class submarines. The Kazan will feature more advanced equipment and weaponry than the Severodvinsk. The third submarine of its class, Novosibirsk, is under construction.
The ships will compete with the latest American Seawolf-class nuclear submarines in terms of their noise profile and will be world leaders in terms of fire-power. Moscow plans to acquire at least 10 of these boats by 2020.
Its designed for a broad range of flexible open-ocean and littoral missions. They are considered the most capable, quiet, and effect nuclear atack submarines in the world, thought the United Kingdom Astute Class SSNs are very close in capabilities and quietness. Virginia is clearly better as a littoral support.
Originally designed as a less expensive alternative to the larger Cold War-era Seawolf Class attack submarines, the Virginia class is slated to replace the aging Los Angeles class submarines.
Instead of periscopes, the subs have a pair of extendable photonics masts outside the pressure hull. Each contains several high-resolution cameras with light-intensification and infrared sensors, an infrared laser rangefinder, and an integrated Electronic Support Measures (ESM) array. Signals from the mast sensors are transmitted through fiber optic links through signal processors to the control center. The subs also make use of pump-jet propulsors for quieter operations.
An advanced electromagnetic signature reduction system built will first appear on the USS California (SSN-781). Through an advanced interfacing software system this will aloow the crew to monitor and reduce the vessels electromagnetic signatures as needed.
In 2004, the Swedish government received a request from the United States of America to lease Gotland – Swedish-flagged, commanded and manned, for a duration one year for use in anti-submarine warfare exercises. The GOTLAND will begin a one-year bilateral training effort with the US Navy (USN) Anti-submarine Warfare Forces.
It is the first ship and name-giver of the Gotland class, which is the first operational submarine class in the world to use air-independent propulsion in form of Stirling engines which uses liquid oxygen and diesel as the propellant.
It was built by Kockums, launched in 1995 and subsequently commissioned in 1996.
To date, Swedish submarines have been renowned for their quietness. HMS Gotland performed well enough in Mediterranean naval exercises to earn an invitation and eventual 2-year lease from the USA, which brought the boat and crew to San Diego to help train its forces against an advanced diesel-electric boat.
That reputation for stealth was dented somewhat by Australia’s much-enlarged 3,400t (submerged) Collins Class boats, which were designed by Kockums based on the 1,150t Vastergotland Class and built in Australia. For various reasons, the AIP-less Collins Class are known to be rather noisier than they ought to be.
It is now known that the A26 will have a “ghost mode”(Genuine HOlistic STealth) that makes the sub virtually undetectable while submerged. This includes the ability to sit on the sea floor, as if it were inert wreckage, while divers from the sub can still move in and out to plant mines or perform other functions. In short the A26 will emphasize stealth and the ability to dominate shallow and “busy” (lots of inlets, rivers and islands) coastal waters.
The second incident was that Sindhuratna has also gone through a recent refurbishment and that should have included replacing the 240 batteries. That was standard procedure because as these batteries get older they are more prone to these types of fires. But the Sindhuratna batteries were not replaced because procurement bureaucrats never got around to authorizing it. That is a common failing of the Indian procurement bureaucracy, in this case triggered by fears that anti-corruption investigators might uncover bribes being paid for the new batteries and bringing suspicion on all the procurement officials involved with the Sindhuratna refurbishment, whether they were guilty or not. In cases like that the procurement bureaucrats tend to do what is safe for them and that often means doing nothing. Indian investigators initially feared that key problems with the fires in both subs was poor Russian quality control. That proved not to be the case.
The submarine is a single-shaft vessel with a double hull. The bow planes are positioned close to the midship to improve the performance of the sonar. To reduce the submarine's acoustic signature, the flooding ports have been removed from the forebody. It also has a new gas-freeing system and the hull is covered with rubber anti-sonar protection tiles to reduce the risk of detection.
Part of the refit involved installation of equipment for Klub-S (3M54E1 anti-ship and 3M14E land attack) cruise missiles and over 10 Indian and foreign-made systems, including the Ushus hydro-acoustic (sonar) system and CSS-MK-2 radio communications system.
In addition, the boat's cooling system was modified, a "Porpoise" radio-locater fitted and other work carried out "increasing the boat's military capacity and safety".
The boat is due to set sail for Mumbai Jan 29 via the North Sea route off Britain. It will be accompanied by Russian ice-breakers. It will be the first time an Indian submarine has undertaken a handover in ice conditions.
The boat displaces 2,300 tonnes, carries 52 crew members, has a top speed of 19 knots (35 km per hour) and diving depth of 300 metres. Zvezdochka, which specialises in repair and refit of nuclear-powered boats, has already refitted four of India's diesel-electric fleet -- Sindhuvir (S58), Sinduratna (S59), Sindhugosh (S55) and Sindhudvhaj (S56).
There are three variants of the Kilo class: the original Project 877 which came into service with Russian Navy in the 80s; the improved fire control system 877K and the wire guided torpedo variant of 877M; while the export variant would be the 877EKM which is being operated by Indian Navy along with Russian and Iranian counterparts. India operates 10 Kilo class submarines, purchased from the Soviet Union and Russia between 1986 and 2000. The 10 Indian 877EKM is equipped with Novator 3M-54E1 anti ship missile and was retrofitted to fire Novator 3M14 land attack cruise missile. Four of the older submarines have been modernised at the Zvezdochka shipyard in Severodvinsk, which included a complete overhaul of hull structures; improvements to control systems, sonar, electronic warfare systems, and an integrated weapon control system; as well as adding SS-N-27 anti-ship missiles. An Improved Kilo class which also being exported internationally, including China. Meanwhile the Vietnamese had received 2 Project 636 Kilo class submarine from Russia and awaiting for remaining 4 subs to complete construction.
Russians use their Kilos are mostly for home defense. Russia has 17 Kilos in service (pus six in reserve) and six Improved Kilos have been ordered. India, on the other hand, uses the Kilos as their primary combat subs.
These new series improved non-nuclear submarines provide optimum combination of acoustic stealth and target detection range; the latest inertial navigation system; modern automated information management system; powerful high-speed torpedo-missile weapons. Although absent of AIP, it features low noise, advanced hull architecture and an optimal level of control process automation, the submarines provide high reliability and require low maintenance. It is capable of accommodating a crew of 52 on-board, the submarines can patrol for up to 45 days and are armed with 18 torpedoes and eight surface-to-air missiles. It can reach a speed of 20 knots (37 kilometres per hour), with a cruising range of 400 miles on electric propulsion and max submission of 300 meters.
It features advanced acoustic ‘stealth’ technology derived from the Kilo and Lada designs; an extended combat range and is mainly intended for anti-shipping and anti-submarine missions in relatively shallow waters. The submarine uses anechoic tiles to absorb sound waves emitted by active sonar, thus reducing probability of detection by surface vessels, anti-submarine aircraft or enemy submarines. These tiles help attenuate sounds emitted from inside the submarine, adding its ability to shut-down the diesel engines when submerged, it reduces the range by which the sub may be detected by passive sonar.
Russia requires at least 10 Varshavyanka-class submarines to protect its interests in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Starting from 2014, the Admiralty Shipyards began delivering two ships per year to the Russian Navy, with the first two submarines, Novorossiysk and Rostov-on-Don, joining the Navy in August and December 2014. The third and fourth, Stary Oskol and Krasnodar, were transferred to the Black Sea fleet in July and November 2015. The fifth, The Great Novgorod, was delivered in October 2016.
Construction on the submarine named Kolpino began in October 2014, and it was launched in May 2016. Its construction was a milestone in the realization of a long-term plan of the Ministry of Defense alert restore Russia's Black Sea Fleet, and programs to improve the diesel-electric submarines for Navy fleet of Russia.
“Our potential opponents call it the ‘Black Hole’ due to the very low noise emission and visibility of the submarine,” Konstantin Tabachny, captain of the Novorossiysk.
Combat effectiveness of the submarine of Project 636 is significantly increased at the expense of upgrading its equipment missile complex "Club-S" in conjunction with the installation of new advanced electronic weapons systems, ensuring its use.
On the submarine propulsion scheme adopted single-shaft installation, the axially symmetric shape of the hull, optimized ratio of its length and diameter. It is possible not only to reduce hydrodynamic noise submarines and sonar noise operation, but will also provide increased full submerged speed and distance swimming underwater. To improve the stealth motion was adopted by a brand new gas extraction system, leaving virtually no trace of the stern while driving under the RDP. PL architecture ensures its above-water status on emergency filling one compartment and two adjacent to one side of the main ballast tanks. The improved body shape and design of steering systems provide high maneuverability submarine while swimming in shallow water and on the working depth can hold steady at periscope depth development of the sea waves.
The power plant is designed as follows full electric propulsion, which would be flexible electricity system to optimize driving modes under the RDP and the charging of the batteries. Back-up provided a submarine propulsion system to confidently swim underwater and above water in case of damage of the main shaft and propeller, to overcome the minefields, as well as maneuvering in shallow and restricted waters when docking.
The optimization of management processes combat systems and hardware submarine was achieved rational combination of automated and manual processes, enabling high reliability and efficiency of management to reduce the number of crew.
The 2016 stolen Malaysia or Chile commercial manuals of generic version, stamped “Restricted Scorpene India” , originated from the hacking of DCNS & THALES (by a former French employee fired in 2011 while providing training in India), included what frequencies the submarines gather intelligence at, what levels of noise they make at various speeds and their diving depths, range and endurance. It also discloses magnetic, electromagnetic and infra-red data as well as the specifications of the submarine’s torpedo launch system and the combat system. It details the speed and conditions needed for using the periscope, the noise specifications of the propeller and the radiated noise levels that occur when the submarine surfaces.
A submarine’s “audio signature” is like a fingerprint. It is unique, and allows sensors like those in maritime reconnaissance aircraft to identify individual submarines, from a bank of “signatures” that navies maintain. Indian Navy's first Scorpene has not yet done its “noise ranging trials”, which would pinpoint its audio fingerprint. Until these trials are completed, there is little possibility of it falling into the wrong hands. Scorpene submarines are operated by Malaysia and Chile, while Brazil will also operate them from 2018. The Indian Scorpene is slightly longer, which would make its audio and magnetic signatures marginally different.
The secret data included details of the capabilities of SM39 anti-ship missile. Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday, say they are catering for a “best case scenario”, and “worst case scenario”. The latter encompasses the possibility that the full version of the documents have fallen into hostile hands, and 6 Scorpene submarines that will join the navy’s fleet by 2019 have been operationally compromised.
The CM-2000 Scorpene is the next generation diesel-attack submarine with true multi-role capabilities. It can be tailored to meet ever changing threat scenarios, from piracy to terrorism to encroachment of territorial waters. It also has the ability to deliver special operation unit underwater in terms of unit insertion and extraction carried out on areas which is out of reach of aircraft or too dangerous for warship to come close.
Its co-produced by DCNS and Navantia which derives from the proven Rubis class nuclear attack submarine which is now in service with the French Marine Nationale. Build in modular configuration and applying latest technology in acoustic signature reduction and fitted with integrated command and control system. The submarine incorporates a high level of system redundancy to achieve an average 240 days at sea a year for each submarine. The use of high-tensile steels has reduced the weight of the pressure hull, allowing a larger load of fuel and ammunition. The reduced complement minimises training costs and increase combat efficiency by making more space.
To make the Scorpene submarines especially stealthy, India's design uses, according to Naval Technology, HLES-80 “high-yield stress-specific steel, supplied by ArcelorMittal, which allows the submarine to dive almost 1150 feet (300 metres) under the surface and achieve an average of 240 days at sea per year per submarine. While that metric is pretty commonplace for American and Russian subs, this will be India's first ultra deep-diving submarine.
The Franco-Spanish Scorpene diesel submarines and extensive technology transfer deal was finalized until late 2005. The cost had been subject to varying estimates over the life of those multi-year negotiations, and continued to change after the contract was awarded, but the final figure for the first 6 boats is now generally accepted as being about $4 billion. Six Scorpene submarines are currently being built under Project 75, but when they come on stream by late 2018 an almost equivalent number will have retired from the current fleet. Building a submarine fleet The Indian Navy makes do with 14 old-style, diesel-electric submarines, of which just seven or eight are operational at any time.
Meanwhile, the MoD must ensure that the expensive (Rs 6,000 crore) technology that it bought for the Scorpene, and will buy for the Russian submarine line, fructifies into a world-class indigenous design. This will require close involvement from the navy’s integral design establishment. A concurrent role must be allocated to NIRDESH, the newly set up National Institute for Research and Development in Defence Shipbuilding.
While nuclear submarines are not harmful for the crew, the cost of disposing of spent nuclear fuel is much higher and increases the operating cost manifold.
Chakra, the filler of strategic space
A strategic posture of a nation is a declaration, more by deed than articulation, of its orientation, will and intent. It purports to mould and shape a future that would benefit its larger objectives. The process is fraught with the hazards of conflicting interests and therefore it demands the weight of the nation's comprehensive power both soft and hard.
In an era when the face of soft power is that of an Assange and its voice, that of Gandhi, Gibran, Che and Osama; a critical instrument to uphold posture is the State's military power and the talent to distinguish between the maintenance of armed forces and their use.
The operational canvas is a transient that abhors futuristic force planning. So it was, year-after-every-five year the planner was condemned to an exercise that perceived threats and building force structures to cope.
STATE OF ART
In terms of the platform, the Akula II represents the state of art in SSN design, the programme having been launched in the mid 1990s. The nearest in terms of design vintage is the British ‘Astute' class also of the mid 1990s,but in terms of capabilities it is smaller and less accomplished; while the American Los Angeles class predates the Chakra by a decade. Also, the design philosophy harmonises with the orientation of our strategic nuclear submarine project.
As far as the economics of the matter is concerned, $920 million for a 10-year lease with certain support features attached must be viewed in perspective of what the SSN represents and the fact that a new SSN of similar capability with a 30-year life would have a price tag of about $3billion and a through life cost of (thumb rule) $9 billion would suggest that the deal is a sound one.
As any nation that has committed to operating maritime nuclear force will fully appreciate that kudos are due to our planners who visualised a theory, saw a form and translated it to a force plan and now have given substance to each step of the way.
Not much of a sea-based deterrent
Just when the Russian nuclear-powered Akula-II submarine joins the Indian Navy as INS Chakra on a 10-year lease at a cost of over $one billion, the moot question is: does it contribute to India's sea-based nuclear deterrence?
To put matters in perspective, India in 1988 had procured the Soviet Charlie I class nuclear attack submarine, renamed INS Chakra on a three-year lease. The vessel came without strategic weapons, with the sole purpose of familiarising naval personnel on training and maintenance of nuclear-powered submarines. The rules of engagement spelt out that INS Chakra would not be used in war. The hidden part of the deal was that Soviets would help India in its indigenous Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV), both materially and intellectually. While the promised assistance to the ATV programme which culminated in the launch of 80MW nuclear reactor S-2 vessel (to be called INS Arihant on commissioning) by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 26 July 2009 came in fits and starts, the technology of the 6,000 tonne vessel is between first and second generation vintage. By comparison, the U.S. has ninth generation nuclear-powered subs which do not require refuelling throughout their lifetime.
Admittedly, the gestation period has been long; it is recognised the process has been challenged by a fragmented approach (the Chakra in its first avatar came to us in 1988) and plagued by the economics and the geopolitics of the times. But these are challenges that any strategic project must expect to face and defy.
The nuclear attack submarine (SSN) being completely independent of air for propulsion frees it from the need to surface frequently, the enormous power generated permits a bigger hull to operate at high speeds with large payloads for durations that is limited by human fatigue and replenishment of consumables only (reactors require refuelling at intervals of 25 years). In real terms, it is critical to understand what the Chakra represents. Working the submarine to our operational challenges and demands is just the tip of the iceberg, training and building a bank of specialised personnel; creating the necessary infrastructure to maintain nuclear submarines; unique logistic management practices; development of doctrines and procedures; generating design feature for the indigenous programme and, most importantly, building an ethos of efficient and safe nuclear submarine stewardship and exertions, these are the 8/9th submerged part of the iceberg. Strategically SSNs in numbers provide a vital element of a riposte to any “sea control strategy” that an adversary may contemplate or a “denial strategy” that we may plan.
‘INTIMIDATION AND ACCRETION'
It was, therefore, the ‘instantaneous intimidation' that drove plans and consequently resulted in ‘a tail chasing' accretion of forces. Unfortunately to some, this inspiration continues to be the pretender that fills strategic space. The case of our strategic maritime posture as a function of the declared ‘Look East' policy is a study in point. Here the need for a theory to make transparent the complexity of the problem and invite the necessary intellectual rigour to not just ‘chart a course' but also to analyse and cater for the hurdles that may beset policy is the first imperative.
As Julian Corbett so eloquently put it, theory may not be a substitute for judgment and experience, but is a means to fertilize both.
Significantly, the recent acquisition on a 10-year lease of the ‘Chakra' (Russian Akula II class nuclear attack submarine) is an extremely perspicacious departure from the past for it is a concrete step towards the translation of the theory and realisation of the larger strategic maritime posture that serves policy.
Two earlier attempts in the 1970s and 80s had been abandoned. It started under Raja Ramanna in the late ’70s. But the project to build the nuclear submarine in parallel with dry-running the reactor at Kalpakkam began by Vice Admiral M.K. Roy, to start the now famous Advanced Technology (ATV) programme to build a nuclear submarine in the mid-’80s. The technical heart of this undoubtedly massive achievement was laid with the German HDW project. First, Mazagon Dock would learn how to actually construct the body of the submarine. Second group, to commercially order parts from abroad. And third group, formed the backbone of the construction team after learning how to design submarines from the small German Ingenieurkontor Lübeck (IKL) submarine design firm. The lease of the Russian Charlie-class submarine was critical for the Indians to learn its secrets. The Russians retired the last of their Charlie II submarines in 1994, but former Russian President Boris Yeltsin shared its basic design data with India as a gesture of goodwill.
The construction of the submarine’s hull began in 1998, and a basically Russian-designed 83 megawatt pressurised-water reactor was fitted in the hull 9 years later. However, the Russians did not pass its nuclear reactor technology to India. India’s quest to build a nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN, in U.S. Navy parlance), reportedly began in 1970 under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Code-named the Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV) program, its existence was kept under wraps for more than three decades ago before the former chairman of India's Atomic Energy Commission, PK Iyengar, revealed it at a public forum back in 2007.
Arihant is half the size of Akula (Project 971 Shchuka-B), and carries twelve indigenous K-15 Sagarika missiles with a range of 435 miles. Or, alternatively, it can carry four K-4 nuclear-tipped ballistic missile—each with a range of 2,200 miles. Two more Arihant-class submarines are currently under construction at the shipyards in Visakhapatnam. The follow-on vessels will be larger and incorporate improvements over the lead boat. Arihant is the first of five nuclear–powered ballistic missile submarines that India is planning to build. The first-in-class boat reportedly cost $2.9 billion to complete.
In common with U.S submarines, and unique among Soviet combat nuclear submarines, the Charlie class had a single reactor and a single propeller shaft -- all other Soviet submarine classes feature two reactors and two propellers. The heart of the Arihant is its Land-Based Nuclear Propulsion Plant, an Indian built and designed by Russia’s Afrikantov OKBM, 83MW pressurised water-cooled water-moderated reactor, that uses uranium as fuel and light water as a coolant and moderator. This will allow it to operate quietly and stay submerged for about 2 months at a time. “Indian scientists and technologists are capable of making light water reactors and we are already constructing an LWR at Kalpakkam in south India for the submarine,” Iyengar was quoted. The 83-mw Pressurized water reactors (PWRs) used on Arihant might be under powered but adequate enough since not all nuclear submarines even if they have similar displacement and size have different reactor power, E.g. first generation Chinese Ballistic nuclear submarine introduced in 80’s had 50-mw reactors which gradually was increased to higher powered ones over the years .
That Arihant will require frequent refueling and complex overhauls (RCOHs) which means Arihant hardly will be available for operational patrol even for one-fifth of its lifespan. Experts we spoke to explained that only few submarine reactor have longer effective core life of more than three decades particularly US made SSN and SSBN submarines due to advancement of reactor technology and many Western Nuclear submarines citing example of yet to be deployed French Barracuda-class submarine which will require major refueling and complex overhauls (RCOHs) every 10 years this explains that there is no particular standard for core reactor overhaul or refuelling in nuclear submarines operated by very few countries.
Building the 85-megawatt pressurized water reactor that powers the Arihant posed tremendous problems. India’s Bhabha Atomic Research Center contributed the core design, uranium enrichment and related functions while the Defense Research and Development Organization handled the rest of its construction. Miniaturizing the design to fit the submarine was the main problem that BARC faced. Without Russian technical help it would have taken another five years to complete. A replica of this reactor has been operating on land for the past four years. Nevertheless, critical processes of the Arihant’s reactor are not yet functioning. For the uranium core reaction to sustain itself usually takes two to three years. However, every step is a new learning curve for Indian scientists, and taking it slowly is not a bad approach.
Building the hull was not easy either. India had lost its strategic vision and simply allowed the Mazagon Dock facilities to die. Grade A welders emigrated to Dubai, engineers retired, and eventually all that was left were designers and the knowledge passed on to industry, particularly dynamic companies like Larsen & Toubro, which actually built the hull of INS Arihant. Some of the young naval commanders of the overseeing team eventually became flag officers in charge of putting together the hull sections built by L&T in the Visakhapatnam. Indian scientists lacked metallurgical knowledge of suitable materials for the hull. The selected steel required precise handling, cutting and welding. At times it appeared that Indian hull builders could not accomplish this, which added to manufacturing delays and cost overruns. Three extra years were added to perfect fabrication techniques. This explains why it took 10 years from the formal design to the actual commissioning of the submarine.
The Arihant’s surface and submerged displacement ranges from 6,000 to 7,000 tons compared to the 4,000 to 5,000 tons of Charlie II. Its submerged speed is also higher at 25-35 knots compared to Charlie’s 25-30 knots. The Arihant can dive to 300 meters. She is designed to carry four nuclear-tipped submarine-launched ballistic missiles called the K-4 (comparable in many ways to India’s Agni-III land-based missile) which have a range of 3,500 kilometres or a dozen Indian-built K-15 missiles, renamed as B-05 which can strike targets about 750 kilometres away, and six torpedo tubes. Indian Navy desperately needs strategic N-subs, while as a nation India needs ballistic missile-firing one. The Arihant’s VLS silos are not capable of housing a 5,000km-range SLBM but future submarine models are expected to have that capacity. The Arihant has a diameter of about 10 metres. Submarine diameters are the key dimension. The US, which has the best rocket technology, is able to put its 8,000-mile ICBM within a 12.8 metre hull. The Russians were unable to confine an ICBM within a 12-metre hull and so their missile tubes protruded two metres outside the pressure hull. The future of India’s nuclear submarine project is entirely in the hands of the rocket scientists.
On the east coast, L&T (which has gained experience building India’s nuclear submarine, S-2 christened as Arihant) should be permitted to join hands with Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL), the MoD’s new shipyard in Visakhapatnam, for building a second line of submarines with Russian technology. The L&T-HSL JV should also be designated the node for developing and building a line of SSNs, which remains a glaring hole in India’s defence capabilities. Every other country with nuclear submarine capability first built SSNs before developing the technology for SSBNs, as nuclear ballistic missile submarines are called. India alone has begun with a complex SSBN (the INS Arihant) and is continuing building more SSBNs without taking on the simpler design challenge of SSNs.
One of the new weapon systems with India is the Shaurya missile – a submarine-launched medium-range ballistic missile, capable of carrying one ton of a conventional, or nuclear armed warhead over a range of 750 km. The Shaurya is specially designed for the new Indian submarines, offering India ’second strike’ capability, significantly adding to the country’s strategic deterrence.
It is a submarine-launched medium-range ballistic missile, capable of carrying one ton of a conventional, or nuclear armed warhead over a range of 750 km. The Shaurya is specially designed for the new Indian submarines, offering India 'second strike' capability, significantly adding to the country's strategic deterrence. Together with the Agni III missile, that has a range of 3500 km, Shaurya could reach all major cities in mainland China, like Beijing, Nanjing and Shanghai, when launched from a submarine off the China coast. It can also cover all the area of Pakistan from off-shore positions in the Arabian Sea. India's first nuclear-powered submarine, INS Arihant is currently under construction and could be equipped with the new missile. Shaurya was developed in parallel to the K-15 'Sagarika' ballistic missile, built with significant help from Russia.
The Shaurya can be launched from under water as well as from land. The missile is contained in a gas-filled canister stored inside the submarine's hull and uses a two-stage solid propelled rocket after launch. To achieve high accuracy, the missile is capable performing trajectory corrections using an on-board inertial navigation system. Described as a 'hybrid' missile, Shaurya can shape its descent trajectory, posing a difficult target for missile interceptors. Overall, the missile has an accuracy of 20-30 meters Circular Error Probable (CEP), contributing to effective conventional attack capability, in addition to the nuclear strike option.
K-4 with less than 2 tons payload, it will be able to hit from Bay of Bengal into deeper Chinese cities while staying far away from coast waters of china. K-4 intermediate ballistic missile will be game changer for India in many ways, not only it will complete India’s third leg of the nuclear deterrent (air and ground-launched weapons being the other two) and will also be ideal invulnerable second strike weapon stated in the nuclear doctrine.
There is a canisterised surface-to-surface tactical ballistic missile variant named Shaurya with a range of 600 km. Pralay ballistic is based on Shaurya hybrid propulsion missile, like a ballistic missile, it is powered by solid fuel; and, like a cruise missile, it can guide itself right up to the target.
JL-2 are Chinese second-generation intercontinental-range submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) with a two-stage, solid–liquid-fuelled propulsion design. The missiles are thought to be able to deliver nuclear payloads (multiple warheads) between ranges of 8,000 and 14,000 km. JL-2's design is based on the mobile land-based DF-31 ballistic missile.
After several years of delay, the PLA Navy could now able to launch submarine-based ballistic missiles at a near wartime frequency. Its development started in the early nineties. Chinese Navy Type 032 test submarine was used development and trials of the JL-2. JL-2 is now fully deployed onboard Type 094, will be deployed onboard the future chinese SSBN (Type 096).
A second possibility is that the new submarine is (with Chinese assistance) a copy or modification of a decommissioned Soviet-era Golf-class missile-firing submarine. 40 such subs were purchased by Pyongyang — ostensibly for scrap metal — in the mid-1990s. They may have used the past 20 years to reverse-engineer it. China, which has produced a version of the Golf known as the Type-031 and which was used until 2013 as an SLBM test platform.
North Korea’s current submarine force includes around 70 submarines. Most of the vessels are older diesel submarines, including 22 Romeo-class or Chinese design Type-031 subs. More than two dozen, are small, Sango-class mini-submarines used for covert commando operations to infiltrate South Korea during a conflict. They also have four 1940s-design Whiskey-class submarines from Russia.
Protecting Pakistan’s sea lines of communications (SLOC) is a vital mission that the Agosta 90B performs, as commercial seaborne trade is the lifeline of the country’s economy. Tactically, the Agosta 90B has a distinct advantage in littoral waters, where marine life and the busy shipping lanes originating out of the Strait of Hormuz can easily camouflage the acoustic signature of the submarine.
Improved Type 093G are nuclear-powered attack submarines will replace outdated Type091 which had poorer propeller design. In 2009, USN ONI listed the original Type 093 "Shang" class submarines as being far noisier than Soviet Victor III-class submarines which entered service in 1979. The have a long list of more minor defects as well.
The upgrades Type 093 SSNs has a vertical launch systems installed as well as the capability to fire the YJ-18 anti-ship cruise missiles. This gives the it the same capabilities as US Los Angeles class submarines of the 1980s. Aside from being an anti-ship missile, the YJ-18 is also capable of attacking land targets, making it an equivalent to the US Tomahawk missile.
Type 94 SSBN (ballistic missile carrying nuclear powered boat) looks like a Victor III with a missile compartment added.
However, China’s new Jin-class ballistic missile submarine is noisier than the Russian Delta III-class submarines built more than 30 years ago, according to a report produced by the U.S. Navy’s Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI). The Type-95 is estimated to be noisier than the Russian Akula I SSN built 20 years ago.
It is not clear whether one of these is the vessel that was first spotted at Xiaopingdao in 2006 or whether these are two additional vessels, bringing the total to 3 vessels. The pictured subs appear to have 12 JL-2 missile tubes.
Five submarines are believed to have been constructed and a sixth may be o0n the way. It incorporate a great deal of Russian technology and will replace the Type 092 submarine (NATO reporting name: Xia class). The first-of-class was constructed at Huludao Shipyard in Huludao, Liaoning and launched in July 2004.
Taking a SSN design and adding extra compartments to hold the ballistic missiles was method pioneered by the United States in the 1950s to produce the first SSBNs. VLS (vertical lunch system) tubes were pioneered with the later models of the U.S. Los Angeles class submarines.
The Type 093s look a lot like the three decade old Russian Victor III class SSN design. And the subsequent Type 94 SSBN (ballistic missile carrying nuclear powered boat) looks like a Victor III with a missile compartment added.
Taking a SSN design and adding extra compartments to hold the ballistic missiles was method pioneered by the United States in the 1950s to produce the first SSBNs. VLS (vertical lunch system) tubes were pioneered with the later models of the U.S. Los Angeles class submarines.
Currently, there is only three Chinese “Han” class nuclear submarines, nuclear-powered submarine because China still faces many problems to ask. Now, the “Han” class submarines in service, but they still are very noisy, and can easily be detected by Western sensors.
Their first generation Chinese SSBN, the 6,500 ton 092 entered service in the early 1980s, as a stretched version of the 091 class SSNs. The 091s were more dangerous to their crews than to any enemy. Radiation leaks and general unreliability made these boats, which entered service in the 1970s, much feared by Chinese sailors. China has spent a lot of time developing solutions to all these problems.
Pakistan will build Project S-26 and S-30 submarines under license. The S-30 submarines are based on the Chinese Qing class submarines-3,000-tonne conventional submarines which can launch three 1,500-km range nuclear-tipped cruise missiles from its conning tower. The Type 032 was initially called the Type 043 by some sources, creating some confusion. The new Type 032 submarines is a variant of the Type 041A Improved Yuan-class SSK with lots of additional improvements to the structure and performance. It is Chinese navy's new submarine test bed.
It is armed with YJ-2 (YJ-82) anti-ship missiles and a combination of Yu-4 (SAET-50) passive homing and Yu-3 (SET-65E) active/passive homing torpedoes. The export by China to Pakistan of the 1,500km-range CJ-10K cruise missile would be a clear violation of the Missile Technology Control Regime.
The submarine can carry about 50 special forces personnel, the use of special operations or underwater unmanned underwater vehicle submerged secrets to perform short-range combat missions. US Navy nuclear submarine equipped with special forces adopt such tactics in the war on terror repeatedly perform penetration missions.
China-developed Stirling Engine air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems. The AIP system for the Qing-class SSK was developed by the 711th Research Institute of CSIC. R&D work began in June 1996, with a 100-strong team of scientists and engineers led by Dr Jin Donghan being involved in developing the Stirling-cycle engine, while another team led Professor Ma Weiming of China’s Naval Engineering University began developing the all-electric AIP system. The two projects entered the production engineering stage in 2007, with the Shanghai Qiyao Propulsion Technology Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the 711th Institute, becoming the principal industrial entity charged with producing the AIP system. Incidentally, the Qing-class SSK's all-electric propulsion system is a derivative of a similar system that was developed about a decade ago for the PLA Navy's six Type 093 Shang-class SSGNs and three Type 094 Jin-class SSBNs.
It was rumored that China has surpassed an earlier Japanese record for the world’s largest conventional submarine. Its submerged displacement was said to be 6,628 tons making the Qing-class the world’s largest diesel-electric submarine. In fact the double-hulled Qing-class SSK, with a submerged displacement close to 3,600 tonnes, bears a close resemblance to the Russian Type 636M SSK, and features hull-retractable foreplanes and hydrodynamically streamlined sail. It had a lot of lada/kilo influence and was launched in Wuchang shipyard back in 2010; and is set to conduct weapons tests later in 2013. At the time, we thought it might be a new conventional submarine class to replace Yuan. However, it turns out this is basically a one ship class that will be used to replace the old No. 200 Golf-class ballistic missile test bed. This will likely be used to test out ballistic missiles as well as new vertical launch system. Type 032 Qing-class is a lot of submarine to be carrying only three torpedo sized cruise missiles. Most reporting suggests that the PLAN is only buying one of this type as an SLBM test platform, and the reported three units is too many for test purposes but not enough for operational applications.
The Type 032 is a potential threat to the US because it can remain submerged for up to 30 days, giving it the potential to infiltrate Pacific waters close enough to the US to target it with JL-2A missiles which have a range of 4,500 miles.
(export variant is Pakistan's S-20 which costs around $500-$600 million)
The Type 41s appear larger than the 1,800 ton Type 39s. Both have with crews of 60-70 sailors and 6 torpedo tubes.
Since the late 1980s China has been designing and building a rapidly evolving collection of "Song" (Type 39) class diesel-electric submarines. The Chinese had built the original 039-type “Song” class submarines, this was the first time China teardrop-shaped case design is based on “Kilo” class before the “Romeo” class submarines built for the foundation. The submarine was not fully operational until 1999 due to serious design flaws, including unsatisfactory underwater performance and noise level. It was redesigned as a variant Type 039G (Song-II). The changes have been so great that the four Songs completed in 2013 were recognized as a new type and designated the Yuan class (Type 39A or 41).
The tear-drop shaped hull and large sail of the Yuan class again suggest heavy Kilo influence. The teardrop shape also suggests a pressurized double hull design inherited from the Kilo. A pair of foreplanes are positioned in the middle of the sail. The submarine is equipped with indigenously developed cabin-raft (shock absorbers) system that helped to reduce noise level by over 35dB. Additionally, the submarine is covered with rubber anti-sonar protection tiles to reduce the risk of detection. A new improved "A" variant was also launched. Type 041 submarine is considered to be “Song” class submarines improved version, but after careful observation, especially after the Russian side of the observation, it was found that the submarine like the “Kilo” class submarine clone. Overall, the Song class reveals a technological standard generally similar to that of Western submarines built during the 80s. China's Ming III class diesel/electric submarine is hull is from the Soviet Romeo class Type 033 submarines which is based on the Zulu & Whiskey class which is itself based on the German Type XXI submarine of World War II. Ming class subs stealth design is further enhanced by the use of similar to the Russian submarine Kilo class anechoic tiling. Romeo class submarines are considered obsolete, but still have some value as training and surveillance vessels. China currently has 13 “Song” class submarines, three “meta” class submarines and 25 “Romeo” class submarines.
Pakistan's S20 has cruising speed of 28 kms per hour and endurance of 60 days. The crew of 38 operates a highly automated sub that has six torpedo tubes and 16 torpedoes, cruise missiles or mines. 4 numbers of these will be built, with air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems, in China for Pakistani Navy and delivered by 2023; while at the same time Chinese personnel will assist Pakistan in building rest 4 in Pakistan by 2028.
The follow-on to the SONG is the Yuan-class SS, as many as four of which are already in service. This class was first launched at Wuhan Shipyard and is the successor of the Type 039. The Chinese type is 039A, based on the Type 039 (Song class) but ultimately having very little resemblance to it. So the western media call it Type 041 in early reports.
The first Chinese air-independent propulsion (AIP) had less power and reliability and does not appear to be nearly as capable as Russian or Western models. In part this was because that AIP sued lead-acid batteries. The Chinese kept improving on their AIP, and the last half dozen AIP systems were designed to use a more efficient lithium battery system. This AIP 2.0 has numerous other tweaks. Since the AIP systems onboard western submarines usually rate at 150 kW to 300 kW, so it is safe to assume that similar systems onboard Chinese submarines would also be consisted of at least two units just like its western counterpart.
Sensors: China was known to have imported the Thales TSM 2233 ELEDONE / DSUV-22 and Thales TSM 2255 / DUUX-5 from France during the 1980s and early 1990s. It also has access to a wide range of modern Russian sonar systems (MG-519 MOUSE ROAR, MGK-500 SHARK GILL) through its purchase of the Kilo Class. Comparable systems are expected to be installed for the Type 041. The Type 041 is likely to be fitted with a comparable surface/air search radar similar to the MRK-50 SNOOP TRAY, a commercial navigation radar like a Furuno unit observed on a number of SONG class and ESM system is comparable to the Type 921-A.
Project 677 Lada submarines are series of Russian diesel electric subs developed in the late 1990s. The project general designer is Yury Kormilitsyn. Unique feature of the project is combination of small size and low noise with powerful torpedo and missile armament; use of hydrogen-oxygen fuel cells generating electricity. The subs are designed for anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare, defense of naval bases, seashore and sea lanes, as well as for conducting reconnaissance. Mono-hull design was used during the sub's construction for the first time since 40s. Lada” class fast attack submarine is designed and reconnaissance craft, designed to perform anti-surface and anti-submarine and maritime reconnaissance missions. Allegedly, this submarine’s acoustic performance of “Kilo” class submarines and eight times. This is mainly due to the surface of the muffler coatings and submarines quieter propulsion. Moreover, the mechanical design of the submarine are all taken into account within the silencer elements. Including active and passive sonar submarine sonar, passive sonar, including drag. This acoustic performance is the ability of China to pursue, because diesel-electric submarines are the quietest submarines, even more than the AIP submarines still quiet.
A year after cancelling its Lada class diesel-electric submarines, Russia has revived the project as part of a joint development effort with an Italian firm (Fincantieri). This effort will build the S-1000 submarine, as well as revive other export versions of Lada. These were called the Amur class, and the S-1000 began as the Amur 950. This was what the export version of the Lada was to be called but working with an Italian shipbuilder the Amur 950 has been transformed into the cheaper (less than $200 million each) S-1000 class submarine.
However, these boats will not see action in either the Russian or the Italian navy. Instead, they will be sold exclusively to third-party countries. Lada was developed in the 1990s, as the successor to the Kilo class, but it was determined that there was not enough difference between the Lada and the improved Kilos being built.
Construction on the first Lada began in 1997, but money shortages delayed work for years. The first Lada boat was finally completed in 2005. A less complex version, called the Amur, was offered for export. There were no takers.
The Ladas are designed to be fast attack and scouting boats. They are intended for anti-surface and anti-submarine operations as well as naval reconnaissance. These boats are said to be eight times quieter than the Kilos. This was accomplished by using anechoic (sound absorbing) tile coatings on the exterior and a very quiet (skewed) propeller. All interior machinery was designed with silence in mind. The sensors include active and passive sonars, including towed passive sonar.
Construction on the first Lada began in 1997, but money shortages delayed work for years. The first Lada boat was finally completed in 2005. A less complex version, called the Amur, was offered for export. There were no takers.
While Fincantieri has never built subs (just destroyers, aircraft carriers, and patrol craft), it is one of the largest ship builders in Europe and has access to a lot of Western military technology.
However, these boats will not see action in either the Russian or the Italian navy. Instead, they will be sold exclusively to third-party countries. Lada was developed in the 1990s, as the successor to the Kilo class, but it was determined that there was not enough difference between the Lada and the improved Kilos being built.
35m Sang-O was introduced in the early 1990’s and represent the backbone of the submarine fleet. It has a range long enough to operate independently at a significant distance from base. However, weighing in at 275 to 340 tons surfaced depending on the variant it is far to small to be considered a full size Conventional Attack Submarine. The Submarine has been steadily replacing the antiquated WHISKEY and only sightly more viable ROMEO class submarines for a number of years with more than 40 Sang-O’s of all variants now in service according to KPA Journal. It is known that there is a recon/infiltration variant of SSC Sang-O I which has no torpedo tubes but instead posesses chambers to facilitate insertion of divers. (This allows the Sang-O to deploy maritime SOF while submerged)
China now has the world's second-largest defense budget after the United States and the fastest growing military market. Many of Europe's biggest defense contractors have been unable to resist its allure. Transfers of European technology to the Chinese military are crucial for the PLA as it builds the fire-power to enforce Beijing's claims over disputed maritime territory and challenge the naval dominance of the U.S. and its allies in Asia. However, the engines and technology the PLA is incorporating from Europe and Russia fall short of the latest equipment in service with the United States and its allies in Asia, including Japan, South Korea and Australia.
“Nobody sells entire weapons systems,” says Otfried Nassauer, director of the Berlin Information Center for Transatlantic Security and an expert on Germany's arms trade. “But components, especially pricey high tech components, that works OK.”
Most of China's advanced surface warships are powered by German and French-designed diesel engines. Chinese destroyers have French sonar, anti-submarine-warfare helicopters and surface-to-air missiles. BA spokesman for Man Diesel & Turbo said about 250 of its engines had been made under license in China and supplied to the Chinese navy. But perhaps the most strategic item obtained by China on its European shopping spree is below the waterline: the German-engineered diesels inside its submarines.
China is building a powerful submarine fleet, including domestically built Song and Yuan-class boats. The beating hearts of these subs are state-of-the-art diesel engines designed by MTU Friedrichshafen GmbH of Friedrichshafen, Germany. Submarine diesel technology is hardly new, but these engines are built to exacting standards to ensure reliability under extreme conditions. MTU has been building them for more than 50 years. Alongside 12 advanced Kilo-class submarines imported from Russia, these 21 German-powered boats are the workhorses of China's modern conventional submarine force. The engine delivered to China for the Song and Yuan classes, the MTU 396 SE84 series, is one of the world's most widely used submarine power plants. Some have also been fitted to nuclear submarines as back-up power plants,
In 2006, a Song class submarine shocked the U.S. Navy when it surfaced about five miles from the U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk, well within torpedo range, in waters off the Japanese island of Okinawa. The Chinese boat had been undetected while it was apparently shadowing the U.S. carrier and its escorts
China was known to have imported the Thales TSM 2233 ELEDONE / DSUV-22 and Thales TSM 2255 / DUUX-5 from France during the 1980s and early 1990s. It also has access to a wide range of modern Russian sonar systems (MG-519 MOUSE ROAR, MGK-500 SHARK GILL) through its purchase of the Kilo Class. Comparable systems are expected to be installed for the Type 041. The Type 041 is likely to be fitted with a comparable surface/air search radar similar to the MRK-50 SNOOP TRAY, a commercial navigation radar like a Furuno unit observed on a number of SONG class and ESM system is comparable to the Type 921-A.
In the last 10 years, it received 10 submarines and four modern destroyers, and several naval defense systems, all from Russia. Future plans include building aircraft carriers and matching fighter aircraft. Additional modernization includes landing ships and nuclear powered submarines, and long-term plans include building a navy capable of sailing long distances. The new naval base on Hainan Island is a challenge to the U.S. 7th Fleet. The latest Pentagon report on the modernization of Chinese military warns India about the rapid advances Beijing is making in improving infrastructure near the border areas with India and in strengthening its deterrence posture by replacing liquid-fueled nuclear capable CSS-2 IRBMs with more advanced and survivable solid-fueled CSS-5 MRBM systems. The PLA navy will be building several additional aircraft carriers to enhance its naval fleet in addition to the Kuznetsov-class carrier (Varyag). It is likely that Beijing will have its first indigenous carrier achieving "operational capability" as early as 2015. The United States has also suggested that China's aircraft-carrier-killing ballistic missile, the DF-21D, has reached initial operational capability. The import of AWACS from Israel would have changed the ball game. However, timely U.S. intervention prevented the technology transfer.
Eighty percent of China-bound oil and liquid natural gas passes through the Indian Ocean. Therefore China is attaching special importance to building strategic naval assets in the Indian Ocean. The building of the Gwadar port in Pakistan was part of this plan. Its naval listening facility in Myanmar is also augmenting China's blue water capabilities. Standing in the way of Chinese mastery of Indian Ocean shipping lanes is the Indian naval facility in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal, opposite the Malacca Straits. In addition, India's modernization of its navy and its proposed acquisition of nuclear submarines and aircraft carriers are not sitting well with the Chinese. From these small islands, India can interdict most of China's energy imports. Conversely, China could stage a Pearl Harbor-style attack on these islands and start a war. This explains why China is maintaining an uncompromising posture in its claim over areas of Arunachal Pradesh in northeast India. China's oil and gas import needs are immense. The bulk of these supplies must pass through the Indian Ocean. In the last five years, China has been building up its naval fleet to safeguard its supply route.
The Strait of Malacca is where the Pacific Ocean meets the Indian Ocean. It is the route that China-bound oil shipments take. All India must do to prevent a Chinese invasion of its northeast or Kashmir is to block this route. India has U.S.-made submarine hunter-killer planes – Boeing P-8s equipped with Harpoon missiles – one Russian and one Indian-made aircraft carrier, French Scorpene attack submarines and an Indian-built nuclear submarine with missiles reaching hundreds of miles. It can arm its Russian and Indian-made destroyers and frigates with Brahmos sea-denial missiles, and has shore-based naval attack capability. The Chinese could not cope with this formidable force. Add to this India’s growing network-centric capability and the Chinese are completely outmaneuvered. If China put together a large force to neutralize India at the western end of the Strait of Malacca, it would weaken its home naval defenses in the South China Sea.
With aircraft carriers, Scorpene submarines, Brahmos missiles and nuclear submarines, India’s naval punch is far superior to China’s. They can easily handle the Chinese if they cross the Strait of Malacca. China’s base in Hainan Island would be 13 days away, while India’s land bases would be only a day or two away. Besides, India’s land-based planes could keep the Chinese flotilla within its gun sights at all times. Currently India has the edge in terms of maritime capabilities but China is catching up rapidly. China's focus is pre-occupied on acquiring dominance in the Yellow Sea, the Taiwan Straits, the East China Sea, and the South China Sea. The Indian Ocean falls second in the present order of priority.
It is no coincidence that multinational forces with shared interests have this year been involved in the largest ever mine countermeasure (MCM) and related operations exercise in the Strait of Hormuz, a choke-point span of water that strategists believe Iran could try to cut off if beginning hostilities in an attempt to starve oil reserves, of which it has already threatened.
The simplest and economical way to incapacitate ships and submarines is to damage their underwater hull by use of explosives so that the hull gets flooded with seawater and it sinks. Two types of weapons can damage the underwater hull of a ship — torpedoes and mines. Torpedoes can be fired from ships and submarines or dropped from aircraft. Mines can either be moored at varying depths or laid on the seabed. To ensure that the explosion occurs as close to the hull as possible, torpedoes and mines have mechanisms that avail of the natural characteristics of ships and submarines. For example, ship and submarine hulls are made of steel and steel has a magnetic field. In addition, ships’ propellers make noise.
Mines are basically of two types. Their explosion can be initiated by a ship’s magnetism or by a ship’s acoustic noise or a combination of both. Countermeasures against such serious damage comprise electric cables in the ship that carry exactly the right amount of electric current to minimise its unique magnetic signature. Similarly, if the source of ship noise can be accurately pin-pointed, action can be taken to mitigate that source. When at sea during war, acoustic noisemakers can be used to trigger mines from a distance and avoid damage to the ship.
Underwater ranges therefore meet two basic requirements:
- De-Gaussing Ranges (DG Ranges). These are required for degaussing ships, i.e. demagnetising their hulls to reduce their magnetic signature and thereby minimise the chances of activating magnetic mines. Since magnetic field varies with distance, DG Ranges are of two types — for shallow draught ships and for deep draught ships.
- Acoustic Ranges. They are required for noise ranging ships and submarines so as to record their unique noise signature and thereby:-
- Reduce their vulnerability to acoustic mines and acoustic homing torpedoes.
- Minimise the range at which their machinery noise can be heard by the passive sonars of adversary submarines.
The submarine-launched CJ-10K LACM has been developed by the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp's (CASIC) Hubei-based Ninth Academy (also known as the Sanjiang Aerospace Group, or 066 Base) on cooperation with the Third Academy's Beijing-based Xinghang Electromechanical Equipment Factory (159 Factory). Final assembly of the CJ-10K is undertaken by the Beijing-based Hangxing Machine Building Factory (239 Factory). The CJ-10K features an imaging infra-red optronic system for terminal homing, and it makes use of a ring laser gyro-based inertial navigation system combined with a GPS receiver to receive navigational updates from China's 'Beidou' constellation of GPS navigation satellites.
China unabashedly showed off its naval might in April this year with 25 vessels, two of which were nuclear submarines. It has built a large naval base at the southern tip of Hainan Island, with the capability to hide multiple nuclear submarines. Interestingly, concurrent to their naval display, China spread false rumors that a Chinese naval ship had forced an Indian submarine to surface off Somalia’s coast during pirate patrol duty. China later denied the incident, which is an indication of how seriously they view India’s naval developments.
In the East, the fast growing Chinese Navy, guided by late Deng Xiaoping’s directions to it, has been cautious to first concentrate and build nuclear and conventional submarine forces to thwart the US Navy aircraft carriers coming to the aid of Taiwan, and surface fleet to safeguard its claims over the Takashima, Kurile, Senkaku, Sprately and Parcel islands before frittering away resources on aircraft carriers. In the interim, the Chinese have acquired the decommissioned HMAS Melbourne from Australia, and later the Minsk and Variag from Russia to imbibe carrier building and design technology, which is special as aircraft carriers have large bridge super structures on the starboard side which poses centre of gravity challenges. Presently the Variag is being made a sea training platform to fly Su-33s in preparation for the Chinese navy (called People’s Liberation Army-Navy or PLA-N) own home-built aircraft carrier project.