The latest iteration of Lockheed Martin’s MK-48 heavyweight torpedo, the Mod 7 Common Broadband Advanced Sonar System (CBASS) is jointly developed with the Royal Australian Navy. It is optimised for both blue water and littoral operations and has advanced countermeasure capabilities. Key elements of the upgrade include a broadband analogue sonar receiver and an improved digital guidance and control system. The increased sonar bandwidth improves targeting and tracking capabilities against high-performance submarine and surface targets with low acoustic signatures. Australia is also boosting its submarine fleet with the six ‘Barracuda’ class submarines, based on the ‘Scorpene’ class, ordered from Naval Group in March 2016 under the programme SEA 1000. The first of class is scheduled for delivery by 2020, while the second, third and fourth are currently at different stages of construction and the fifth has been ordered. Under the SEA 5000 programme or Future Frigate programme, the Royal Australian Navy has selected BAE Systems to deliver nine Hunter-class multi-mission frigates for a total value of US$35 billion. Construction will commence in 2020 with the first ship to be commissioned by the late 2020s. The vessels will be based on a custom-designed, acoustically quiet hull and will feature open systems architecture with advanced sonar technology. They will be used to perform a range of operations and will have unmanned surface vessels, underwater vehicles and aerial systems that will be housed and deployed from the mission bay. It was announced in February that the DoD has released a limited request for tender to Raytheon Australia to provide Aegis combat system integration support for up to six years, which will supposedly be put onto t
Thales will replace two Dutch and two Belgian M-class frigates with an Above Water Warfare System which will be primarily anti-submarines and will also defend nearby air and surface threats. They are expected to be delivered by 2024.
Irving Shipbuilding and BAE Systems – Lockheed Martin have been awarded a contract by the Canadian government to build future surface combatants for the country’s Navy, in a contract valued at CA$56 billion (US$60 billion) as part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. These 15 new ships will replace the Iroquois and Halifax class warships and will provide wideair defence capability, anti-shipping capability and anti-submarine warfare capability.
An industrial team consisting of Naval Group, the OCCAR FREMM Programme Division, the French Navy and the French Procurement Agency have successfully trialled the newest ASW FREMM frigate Normandie earlier in the month. The vessel is expected to be delivered this summer. Five frigates of the type have already been delivered to the French Navy and the last two are scheduled to arrive in 2021 and 2022. The F21 Heavyweight Torpedo was launched last May by Naval Group in the frame of the Artémis programme managed by the French Defence Procurement Agency. Several tens of units will be received by the French Navy in 2019. 8
German firms Diehl Defence and Thyssen-Krupp Marine Systems (TKMS) are jointly developing the Interactive Defence and Attack System for Submarines (IDAS) for the German Navy. Conceived as a defensive weapon against ASW helicopters, the wire-guided IDAS missile is launched underwater through the torpedo tube.
In its 2024 Defence Strategic Plan, the Indonesian government indicated that the Indonesian Navy would be equipped with ten new submarines by 2024 to complement the two ‘Cakra’ class submarines built by German Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft and commissioned in 1981. In December 2011, The TNI AL signed a contract with Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) for the construction and delivery of three Type-209 ‘Nagapasa’ class diesel-electric attack submarines (SSK). The first was delivered in August 2017, while the last is scheduled for delivery by 2021. Currently, the TNI AL is considering different options for the next batch, including the Russian ‘Kilo’ class and Naval Group’s ‘Scorpene’ class.
Leonardo has developed the new generation BLACK SHARK Advanced torpedo for the Italian Navy, which has a 50 knot sprint speed and a range of 27 nautical miles. Ten FREMM frigates will be built by main contractor Fincantieri for the Italian Navy, four of which will be operated as ASW variants.
Malaysia’s ability to develop its submarine fleet has been hampered by constant reductions in its military budget. As such, while the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) has been arguing the case for a strong submarine fleet, this has yet to materialise. Currently, the RMN operates a fleet of two ‘Perdana Menteri’ (‘Scorpene’) class diesel-electric submarines that were procured in 2002 and were delivered in 2009. Over the past decade, talks have been ongoing with the government to fund a project to acquire an additional two submarines, the plan being to get a first submarine between 2031 and 2035 and another between 2036 and 2040.
Currently, Pakistan operates three ‘Agosta 90B’ and two ‘Agosta 70’ submarines, the former currently being upgraded by Turkish STM to include entirely new sonar suite, periscope systems, command and control system, radar and electronic support systems. The first submarine is scheduled for delivery in 2020. Local sources also indicate that Pakistan is expected to procure an undisclosed number of Type 041 ‘Yuan’ class submarines from China.
Russia’s new FUZIK-2 or FUTLYAR homing torpedo has a reported range of 30 NM and a top speed between 50 and 60 knots. Russia also boasts the world’s fastest torpedo, the supercavitating SHKVAL-2 which can achieve 200 knot speed. In 2015 Moscow leaked information about the developmental “Status 6” or KANYON class nuclear payload torpedo (or more accurately, submarine-launched drone) with an alleged range of 6,000 miles and an operational depth of 1,000 metres. Under Project 22350, Russia is developing a modernised frigate capable of carrying 48 Kalibr cruise missiles, used among others are anti-submarine missiles.
Singapore already has a strong submarine fleet, with two ‘Archer’ class and four ‘Challenger’ class diesel-electric submarines. Nevertheless, Singapore announced in May 2017 that it would acquire another two Type 218SG attack submarines from ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS). The two new vessels are scheduled for delivery starting in 2024, while the first two, currently at different stages of construction, are set to be delivered to the Singapore Navy in 2021 and 2022.
South Korea is to develop KDDX destroyers by the late 2020s under a budget of around KRW1.8 trillion (US$1.59 billion). Six of these vessels will be deployed by the mid or late 2030s and will feature air defence, anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare capabilities.
Sweden and Finland will jointly procure New Lightweight Torpedo, produced by Saab Dynamics, opening up potential further cooperation within anti-submarine warfare.
All four HeybeliadaClass Corvettes, built through the MILGEM Project are to be delivered by 2020 to increase the nation’s sea power. The vessels are designed for search and rescue, patrol and anti-submarine warfare operations. 12
BAE is currently working on a major SPEARFISH upgrade set to enter service in 2020 in the Royal Navy. Improvements will include a new insensitive munitions warhead, a higherbandwidth fibre optic network cable link between the submarine and the torpedo, and safety improvements to the fuel system. Eight of the Royal Navy’s Type 23s will be replaced by Type 26 anti-submarine warfare frigates. The first vessel is under construction by BAE and should be delivered in 2025.
The newest Virginia-class submarine, USS South Dakota, will feature new large vertical sonar arrays on each flank. Modern periscopes are equipped with high-definition cameras which can automatically switch to infrared or low-light mode as needed. A prime example is the Series 20 Attack Periscope produced by Safran. Despite the designation, it can also be used for ISR and navigation. The next evolution in optical sensors is the photonic (alternately: optronic) mast. The Virginia-class was the first class to replace periscopes completely with photonic masts. The US Navy has received Raytheon’s dual-mode array transmitter mission system and antisubmarine warfare mission package. It will enable the seamen to conduct active manoeuvre and passive sonars, which will boost ASW capabilities of the Navy. The US Navy is planning to finalise the design selection phase of its Naval Sea Systems Command’s FFG(X) programme in FY2020. It was announced last August that Lockheed Martin will upgrade the Navy’s AN/BLQ-10 electronic warfare system for the service’s Virginia-, Los Angeles- and Seawolf-class fastattack submarines under a US$47 million deal. The electronic warfare system enables the service to avoid counter-detection and collision, locate targets and provide ISR capabilities to the fleet.