Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR July-August 2015 Contents Asia Pacific Defence Reporter JULY-AUG 2015 45
working on fuel cell developments? They told APDR
“Given the sensitivity of this technology, we are unable
to comment on this.”
SYNCHRONOUS MOTORS (PMSM)
All three CEP contenders will be offering designs
with Alternating Current PMSM. This is because they
are used in existing in-service modern submarines
and offer significant advantages over traditional DC
motors. Specifically they can deliver high torque at
low speeds, without the use of gearboxes and other
APDR had the opportunity to observe a very large
PMSM in the Siemens Dynamowerk test bay in Berlin.
After a tour of the factory seeing the precision of work
being undertaken there in assembly of PMSMs, APDR
saw a huge motor which was halfway through its six
month continuous test run. Nothing is left to chance.
Development work is underway to produce a 6.5MW
PMSM for HDW’s 4000 tonne Australian reference
Some of the motors seen by APDR being
constructed were destined for TKMS submarines,
such as are being offered in the CEP to Australia,
as well as for industrial purposes. Siemens provided
APDR with a reference list of 33 submarines already
equipped with their PERMASYN drives, or planned to
be: Germany (6), Italy (4), Greece (4), South Korea (9),
Portugal (2), Turkey (6) and Singapore (2).
Although Toshiba produce PMSM for railway
applications, APDR has no information on whether or
not they provide them for Soryu submarines.
JEUMONT Electric, based in northern France near
the Belgian border, an experienced manufacturer of
PMSM for naval applications, is supplying propulsion
and power generation systems to Brazil and India for
their Scorpene submarines. Although DCNS declined
to comment on the source of their propulsion motors
for the CEP design, it seems highly likely that they will
come from JEUMONT Electric.
DOES AUSTRALIA NEED SUBMARINE
An ex-Collins Class submarine commander pointed
out to APDR recently that the tyranny of distance
really applies to Australian submarine operations. He
pointed out that a transit from Garden Island, WA
to Sydney takes 11 days, to Adelaide 7 days and to
Darwin 7 days.
Australia’s potential areas of submarine operations,
as opposed to training and exercises, are likely to be
in the north-west approaches; the Malacca, Singapore,
Sunda and Lombok Straits; and the South China Sea.
Transits to those areas could require 10 days, with
any missions in the Straits or the South China Sea
requiring the submarine to approach undetected i.e.
underwater using AIP.
The Chinese have sought to reduce passage time
of vital fuel and raw mineral supplies from Africa and
the Middle East by developing the 2,900 km China–
Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). This $US 46
billion CPEC project involves the construction of
roads, railroads and power plants over a 15-year
period. Key entry point is the Pakistani port of Gwadar
on the Indian Ocean, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.
This might mean the future area of Australian
submarine operations could extend to the Persian Gulf.
The point was made to APDR by the submarine
commander that endurance is often dependent on
the capability of the crew, not just fuel and supplies.
Therefore if, say, 20 days of a mission are taken up
with transits, how much endurance is left for the actual
This then raises the question of when and where to
do crew changeovers, resupply of fuel and supplies,
together with recharge of the LOx storage tanks. Does
this have to be back at HMAS Stirling, at Garden
Island in Western Australia? Could a case be made for
floating submarine tender capability which could affect
these services in some secure location? Not a lot of
point in suggesting Darwin, as this fixed location is
vulnerable to attacks from aircraft or ballistic missiles.
APDR does not have the answer on the issue of
resupply, only it seems fit to ask the question about
required capabilities as a means of increasing effective
DECISION ANY TIME SOON?
An expert panel of four, headed by Professor Donald
Winter, has been appointed to monitor the competitive
evaluation process. Collectively, these advisers share
experience in complex military acquisition programs,
legal and probity matters, and major projects.
Defence Minister Kevin Andrews has said “The
Expert Advisory Panel will assure the Government
that the competitive evaluation process remains
sound, is conducted in accordance with probity and
accountability principles, and that participants have
been treated fairly and equitably.
“The Panel will report back at the conclusion of the
process but in the meantime they will provide interim
reports to me. They will also be available to Defence if
they wish to ask questions of them to ensure that the
process is undertaken in a proper way.”
When the Minister was asked about the likely
decision date at the end of the competitive evaluation
process he said “Well the panel will be in place
immediately and this competitive evaluation process
is due to have the bids finalised by the three potential
partners – Germany, France and Japan – by the end of
the year. In the first part of next year we expect to make
a decision about the preferred international partner.” ¢
(APDR travelled to HDW in Kiel and Siemens in
Berlin as a guest of ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems.
DCNS Australia provided written answers to APDR’s
questions. No meaningful contact could be established
by APDR with the Japanese representatives.
2/07/2015 3:34 pm
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