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5 things that make building submarines complex

Discussion in 'Indian Navy' started by lca-fan, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. lca-fan

    lca-fan Captain FULL MEMBER

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    Navy set to induct Kalvari: 5 things that make building submarines complex
    INDIA Updated: Mar 09, 2017 14:26 IST
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    Rahul Singh
    Hidnustan Times, New Delhi
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    The floating out ceremony of the first Scorpene-class submarine, Kalvari, in Mumbai.(HT File Photo)


    The Scorpene project, plagued by cost overruns and missed deadlines, is important as the navy’s underwater attack capabilities have blunted over time. India operates 13 ageing conventional submarines and an Akula-II nuclear-powered attack boat leased from Russia.

    All six submarines are expected to join the Indian fleet over the next three years, with a third boat, Vela, likely to be launched in the coming months.

    As India gets ready to expand its underwater fleet, HT gives you the lowdown on why building submarines is extremely complex using data accessed from the navy:

    NUMBER OF MANHOURS TO ASSEMBLE:

    Submarine: 2,500,000

    Frigate: 1,200,000

    Boeing 777: 50,000

    Tank: 5,500

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    Khanderi, the second of Indian Navy’s Scorpene class stealth submarine, was launched in January. (HT file photo)
    ASSEMBLY PARTS:

    Submarine: 500,000

    Frigate: 170,000

    Boeing 777: 100,000


    Tank: 14,000

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    INS Betwa, the frontline Brahmaputra-class frigate, will be operational again by September 2018. (HT file photo)
    NUMBER OF SUPPLIERS:

    Submarine: 1,600

    Frigate: 600

    Boeing 777: 550

    Tank: 600

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    There are 100,000 assembly parts in a Boeing 777. (Livemint file photo)
    NUMBER OF SYSTEMS:

    Submarine: 108

    Frigate: 60

    Boeing 777: 40

    Tank: 25

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    It takes 5,500 manhours to assemble a tank. (HT file photo)
    CONSTRUCTION TIME (in months):

    Submarine: 60

    Frigate: 22

    Boeing 777: 14

    Tank: 7
    http://www.hindustantimes.com/india...nes-complex/story-ijLDj9o0j5Bw53lZ7AnLLM.html
     
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  2. SvenSvensonov

    SvenSvensonov MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Yeah... that's an issue. Inexperienced construction workers, too many suppliers, shifting deadlines or program requirements, there's a lot that can contribute to a 60 month construction time. But that's still a somewhat normal schedule.

    Block I Virginia class submarine took 84 months to construct, roughly seven years, being built and constructed in ten modular sections.
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    Block II and Block III Virginia Class Submarines take just 15 months to construct from four modular units.
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    Block IV Virginia Class submarines are expected to further tighten the construction schedule with the last of the 10 boat subclass being expected for delivery around 2023 and the first three units under construction.

    Block V Virginia Class submarines are expected to take longer since they'll be incorporating newer technologies and will be able to swing-roles between SSGN and SSBN, replacing the Ohio SSGN conversions. Total construction time is not expected to exceed two years.

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    As shipyards, designers and brass get more experienced with construction methods, they'll be able to shift to alternate building methods which drastically reduce the building schedule. Limiting the number of suppliers helps too, especially if one's behind on their work. For the USN shifting program requirements tends to be the biggest roadblock in construction.
     
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  3. PARIKRAMA

    PARIKRAMA Angel or Devil? Staff Member ADMINISTRATOR

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    In your opinion.as we have building scorpenes in Mazgaon docks, how do you see going fwd

    1. we can make modular construction faster..?

    2. For us scorpene project started much earlier.. so if suppose we order say 3 more with newer tech upgrade (some more custom edition stuff and metallurgy upgrades), how we can still quicken the whole construction pace

    3. How can we preserve what we have learnt by making such boats over time? The skill set learned in sub construction?
     
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  4. SvenSvensonov

    SvenSvensonov MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    Can you make it faster? Sure. We shortened the construction time on an 8,000 ton boat from 7 years to a little over 1 year using extensive modular construction and modular architecture for internal components. The Virginia Class Submarines are somewhat like Lego bricks. Take a piece out and snap a new one on and get back to work.

    We found a method that works for us, building modular decks and inserting them into the pressure hull, rather then building the unit as a singular piece which requires extensive work to mate the parts together. You can make the construction of submarines faster, and make modular construction faster, but it's up to Indian ship builders to explore those methods for themselves. We've shown it can be done though.

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    One thing the USN uses to speed up the construction of its boats in terms of internal systems, not hulls where it uses modular construction, is to make use of civilian systems, which often advance faster then military designs and are tested more rigorously in real-world environments, though also tend to have more vulnerabilities which the military addresses, and to make extensive use of open-architecture software. This allows a pre-commission unit to be trained on while the boat is still under construction and allows for greater flexibility when upgrading or completing the boat's software load out. It can work with an existing design too. Switching to a modular construction method, inserting civilian technologies or architectures, it'll depend on how confident you are in the systems and their viability, but the blueprint has already been successfully employed with the Virginia Class submarines where each subsequent block not only shortens the construction time, but incorporates newer technologies like electronic drive systems, water backed sonars and other systems not found on previous models.

    Metallurgy, hardware, designs, these can't really be sped up without a good R&D apparatus or partnership. Experience, ironing out the supply-side process and maintaining proper project management and oversight helps to ensure the program progresses at a good pace.

    Really the only way to preserve what you've learned is to keep building. Extensive record keeping, advanced simulations, and technical schemes only go so far. The US hasn't had a conventional attack submarine since USS Blueback was retired 30 years ago.

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    While the US retains conventional submarine designs and offers technical support to allied nations, including consultative work on program design and construction, and frequently updates its own designs incase the USN's philosophy suddenly mandates SSK or SSC type submarines, no one actually has any experience with building conventional designs at this point and our shipyards are not suited to build them, not to mention dockyard workers simply aren't trained in the proper best practices needed to work with conventional versus nuclear designs. These are perishable skills.

    Building design philosophies too. As technologies advance - computer-aided design, metallurgy, propulsion, construction methods - one needs to keep up to date with them or fall behind. Modularity is today's go-to option, but perhaps tomorrow it'll be robotic construction. To maintain the skills needed combine book keeping with experience.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017
  5. PARIKRAMA

    PARIKRAMA Angel or Devil? Staff Member ADMINISTRATOR

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    Can we see in near future a fully AI running a submarine, sending AUVs itself , retrieving it and engaging in patrols?

    Do you see such auto subs to be huge in size or say limited in size.. and tonnage?

    Can defensive patrols be run by such AI subs?
     
  6. PARIKRAMA

    PARIKRAMA Angel or Devil? Staff Member ADMINISTRATOR

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    One.more things.. a trivia question tbh @SvenSvensonov

    Long back in young days I saw a cartoon Centurions and it had a character Max Ray

    See he used the following assault weapon packs

    Max_ray_-_tidal_blast_-_1.jpg Max_ray_-_depth_charger_-_1.jpg Max_ray_-_depth_charger_-_2.jpg Max_ray_-_depth_charger_-_3.jpg

    There are more like that..

    Now how much of such tech is possible to see in near future?
     
  7. SvenSvensonov

    SvenSvensonov MILITARY STRATEGIST

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    We actually already see this on a smaller scale with AUVs. Proteus is an optionally manned SDV, designed to deliver special operatives, but it features an autonomous processing capability allowing to make attack runs or engage in patrols within a pre-determined corridor. Proteus can be armed with external stores including unwater rockets, torpedoes and AUVs of its own, though its ability to retrieve them is still limited.

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    The Mk.IX could be armed too, but it wasn't autonomous like Proteus.

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    Can we see AI running submarines in the near future? Yes, and in many respects underwater naval warfare is trending in that direction, even on larger boats.

    For us the criteria has always been confidence. How confident are we in our software and the reliability of our machinery? Ultimately that'll determine the viability of operational, large, unmanned submarines.

    However, the US already creates unmanned models for testing new technologies or designs. Scaling up from here is a matter of some clever mathematics.

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    As autonomous technologies gain in their reliability and sophistication I'd expect to see optionally-manned submarines of all classes, if we already don't. Traversing underwater is more difficult then the current rounds of testing with autonomous vehicles on land however.

    Easier then offensive patrols. Set the submarine to patrol a designated area, afford it the capability to discriminate between friendly and hostile shipping - already capable as system like the MK60 CAPTOR shows - and let it do its thing. Again, the issue is reasonable confidence in the system's ability to identify, classify and determine the necessity or usefulness of an attack.

    Well we kind of already see this with SDVs and special forces are often outfitted with gear that comes close, including underwater rocket launchers, swimmer propulsion systems and the like.

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    In many respects platforms like that already, and have existed for some time. Don't be fooled, this is a fully submergible vessel.

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    We're still some ways off from transformable platforms though.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017
  8. Aquiluzy

    Aquiluzy IDF NewBie

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