May 21, 2010

Future of the Danish Navy: Forget the Baltic Coastline's, look toward the high-sea !

Currently, the Danish Navy aligns +/-

5 “6000 tons StanFlex” Destroyers/Frigates
3 "Iver-Huitfeldt" class AAW Destroyers (Iver-Huitfeldt, Peter-Wilemoes, Niels-Juel), 6600 tons, to replace the 3 ageing 1450 tons corvettes of the Niels-Juel class (1980). Very efficient design, a single ship is capable of protecting the entire Danish airspace and even northern Germany ! And by reusing the basic hull design of the Absalon class, the Danish Navy have been able to construct the Ivear Huifeldt class considerably cheaper than comparable ships (€ 635 million for 3 ships, weapons excluding). Commissioned 2011/2013, with +/- 30 years service life, to be retired around 2042/2045.

2 "Absalon" class multi-purpose/flexible frigates (Absalon, Esbern-Snare). A very modular 6000 tons frigates (heavily armed: one 127mm gun, some SSM missiles, some AAW missiles, capable of delivering equipment, tanks, vehicles, small crafts, oriented on command & support roles)., and very cheap (269 $ million per ships) The major problem is has to want to be able to do everything…in the end these 2 ships are not a very good AAW platform, are not a very good ASW platform, are not a good amphibious platform and are not a very good mothers-ship. Commissioned 2004/2005, with +/- 30 years service life, to be retired around 2035.

It should be noted that these 5 vessels are designed on a common hull (only equipment, propulsion, armament, superstructure change according to the 2 different needs).

It seems that the purchase of these 5 large warships (Absalon, Ivar-Huitfedt class, equivalent in size to large French, Italian or british latest destroyers), is an enormous effort to the Danish navy. Made in these 5 big units show that the Danish navy to make new strategic choices (rather than used as a coastal navy during the 20th century, these new large ships will allow the Danish navy to go more often off the African , The Middle East, the Indian Ocean, the Caribbean, in Mediterranean ..)

6 “Artic-Capable StanFlex” Light-Frigates/Ocean Patrol Boats
4 "Thétis" class frigate (Thetis, Triton, Vaedderen, Hvidbornen), 3500 tons, commissioned 1991/1992, to be retired around 2022, and very likely to be replaced by 2/4 much bigger ships:
- maybe a much bigger/improved “Knud-Rasmussen” OPV design ? (+/- 3/4000 tons), with integrated mast (Thalès I-Mast Family ?).
- or a improved Absalon/Ivar-Huitfeldt hull design, probably with integrated mast (Thalès I-Mast Family ?)

2 "Knud-Rasmudsssen" class OPV (Knud-Rasmusssen, Elnar-Mikkelsen), 1700 tons. Intended to replace two of the three Agdlek class cutters (330 tons, 1974’s, the last remaining ship of this class, “Tulugaq”, as to be retired by 2012). Commissioned 2008/2009, to be retired around 2040.

0 Submarines:
This is the great sacrifice for the new strategic Danish vision. Unable to afford both coastal submarines and 6000 tons warships, the Danish had withdrawn all their submarines (Narhvalen/Tumleren class, retired 2000’s). But despite this, the Danish Navy maintains some underwater warfare capabilities (mine-warfare, frogmen, special forces…).

13 Fast Coastal-Modular-Combattant
+/- 13 "Flyvefisken" class fast coastal modular combatant ships, 450 tons, in 3 groups:
- Batch 1 (Flyvefisken, Hajen, Havkatten, Laxen, Makrelenn, Støren, Sværdfisken), all in MCM configuration.
- Batch 2, is not equipped with hydraulic propulsion, but instead has an additional auxiliary engine (Glenten, Ravnen, Skaden, Viben in combat configuration; and Gribben in surveillance configurations).
- Batch 3, has one further auxiliary engine: Søløven, in surveillance configuration.

This 13 ships, commissioned in 1989/1996, with +/- 25 years service life, were likely to be retired around 2020 and replaced by new bigger (and fewer) modular combatant ships, maybe 8/10 ships of +/- 900/2000 tons range.

6 Medium Shore-Patrol-vessel
6 "Diana"-class 250 tons patrol vessels (Diana, Freja, Havfruen, Najaden, Nymfen, Rota), commissioned 2007/2009, to be retired around 2035.

+/- 29 Small-Patrol-Poats (Medium shore patrol vessels, operated by Danish coats-guards)
11 "MHV900" class patrol-boats, 87 tons (Enø, Manø, Hjortø, Lyø, Askø, Fænø, Hvidsteen, Brigaden, Speditøren, Ringen, Bopa), commissioned 2003/2009, to be retired around 2025/2040.

18 "MHV800" class patrol-boats, 83 tons (Aldebaran, Carina, Aries, Andromeda, Gemini, Dubhe, Jupiter, Lyra, Antares, Luna, Apollo, Hercules, Baunen, Budstikken, Kureren, Patrioten, Partisan, Sabotøren), commissioned 1992-2001, to be retired around 2018/2025

1 "MHV90" class patrol boats, 85 tons (Holger-Danske), 1975, probably to be retired soon. He and 5 sisters ships (already retired), are replaced by some MHV800 patrol boats.

Being given that MHV900 and MHV800 class are nearly similar in size and follow in time. It is possible that in future, towards the end of the 2010’s/earlier 2030’s, these 29 vessels are gradually replaced by a single class of larger and fewer patrol boats (maybe 100+ tons, 18/24 vessels ?).

+/- 4 Transport-Vessels:
1 "Sleipner", in service since 1986, likely to be retired around 2020
3 RO-RO ships ("Tor-Dania", "Tor-Future", "Stena-Forwarder", 2004/2007), chartered by the danish navy, 2007.

6 Fast-Light-Modular-Landing-Caft (Storebro SB90E type):
4 LCP (LCP 1-4), Landing Craft Personnel; carried on board the Absalon-class
2 SAR1/2, Search and Rescue vessels, carried on board the Knud Rasmussen-class

+/- 7 Mine-Warfare (small craft, well advanced in unmanned warfare) :
2 Holm class multirole-boats, fitted for remote-controlled mine-sweeping, (Hirsholm, Saltholm), 2007/2008.
4 MSF-class drone minehunters (HDMS MSF1-4), 1998-1999.
1 MRD-class drone minehunters (HDMS MRD1-3, 5/6 laid up, MRD4 in service as a tender at Korsør).

5 Training/Prestige ships
2 Svanen-class sail training ships (Svanen, Thyra), commissioned 1960/1961
2 Holm class vessels (Ertholm, Alholm), commissioned 2006/2007
1 Royal Yacht: (Dannebrog), 1932.

3 Icebreaker
2 Danbjørn-class icebreakers (Danbjørn, Isbjørn), commissioned 1996.
1 Thorbjørn-class icebreaker (Thorbjørn), commissioned 1996.

6 Surveying Vessels
2 Holm class multirole boats, fitted for cartography (Birkholm, Fyrholm), 2006.
2 Cartography vessels of the SKA-class (SKA-12, 6), all converted for Frogmans corps, 1981/1985.
2 Cartography vessels of the O-class (O-1, 2), 1998.

+/- 5 Support vessels
1 tending vessel « ex Barsø-class patrol vessels » (Læsø).
2 SKA-class (SKA 12, 16), converted to be used by the Frogman Corps.
2 VTS-class fast response vessels (VTS-1, 4).

7 Environmental protection vessel
2 "Sea-Supply" class environmental protection vessels (Gunnar-Thorson, 1981/1996; Gunnar-Seidenfaden, 1996).
2 "Sea-Truck" class environmental protection vessels (Mette-Miljø, Marie-Miljø, 1996).
2 "Miljø" class environmental protection vessels (“Miljø” 101-102), 1996.
1 "Lægtvand" class environmental protection vessels (“Miljø 103”), 2008.

4 Harbor tugs
2 Arvak class tugs (Arvak, Alsin), 2002.
2 Balder class tugs (Balder, Hermod), 1983.

Naval Aviation, 8 helico’s:
8 Lynx, progressively upgraded to Super Lynx Mk.90B standard (with a new airframe and exising equipment reinstalled. With only seven left operational, a damaged airframe in storage will be included in the upgrade).

It may be that in my opinion, I forgot programs? (or made few mistakes ?), then said it! Feel free to comment and give your opinion !

In all cases, it is clear that
- Will future threats, the Danish Fleet is facing the open sea and forward deployements
- The Purchase of large vessels will seriously reduce the size of the Danish Navy.

May 12, 2010

Future of the French Navy: through the storm, but whitout glory

3,427 km (metropolitan), 378 km (French Guiana), 306 km (Guadeloupe), 350 km (Martinique), 207 km (Réunion); France possesses the second-largest EEZ in the world, covering 11,035,000 km2 (4,260,000 mi2), The EEZ of France covers approximately 8% of the total surface of all the EEZs of the world.

Personnal Strength:
2011: 41 500 + 2900 civilians. Figure expected to down around 
37 000 by 2015.

Naval Bases: 
Toulon, Brest, Cherbourg, Bayonne, Fort de France, Dégrad des Cannes, Port des Galets, Papeete, Nouméa, Abu Dhabi (auxiliary overseas base), Dakar, Libreville, Djibouti, Mayotte.

Aicraft-Carriers: only 1 !
1 Charles de Gaulle
(Charles de Gaulle). 37 000/42 000 tons, 261 meters. Designed by 1981/1986, built by 1987/2001, commissioned by 2011 after more than a dozen of years of work (mainly due due budgetary cuts). This famous & effective carrier have some weakness (underpowered, limited-size), with multiple problems (short-flight-deck, loss-of-propellers, mechanical-problems). It undergoes a nuclear refueling every 7 years. After modernization in 2008/2009, it must be refuelled again in 2015/2016 and in +/- 2023/2024, then +/- 2030, then to +/- 2037. With a expected service life of +/- 35/40 years, so it should be retired from service around 2037 (or at worst to 2043).

The PA02 (hypocrisy and chimera for the second French aircraft-carrier):
The French-Navy has been calling since some years (1980/1990's) the construction of a second aircraft-carrier (ideally a nuclear sister-ship of “Charles-de-Gaulle”). In 2004, with the choice of collaboration with the British, the French have chosen to use the British conventional design (CVF) for the French PA02 (CVF-FR). After 3-4 years of collaboration, the French decided to suspend the PA02 (ended cooperation with the English) and wait until 2011 (just before the presidential elections…). It now seems that a nuclear version were re-examined. Personally, I do not believe in the PA02 because: - The French navy can not afford to have simultaneously 2 aircraft-carriers with 60 Rafale.
- Either it will be built to save the STX shipyard (political/social-choices, to give 4/5 years of workloads to the fragile shipyards)
- Either it will be delayed again and again and will-end by actually replacing the "Charles-de-Gaulle", at the earliest around 2023/2024 (in case of early disarmament of the "Charles-de-Gaulle").

Naval Airwing (+/- 40 Rafale...very slowly...)

58 Rafale are planned to become the main fighter of the French Navy (48 have already been ordered).

- 1st batch of 10 Rafale F1 (M1-M10), in service by 1999-2003, will be modernized to standard F3 (18 months of work/per aircraft, 300 € million for the modernisation of these 10 planes) from 2014 to 2017.

- 2nd batch of 16 Rafale F2 (delivered by 2004/2008).
- 3rd batch of 12 Rafale F3 (delivered by 2009/2014).
- The 10 planes of the Batch 4 will be delivered by 2015/2019.
- The last batch of 12 aircrafts (5th batch, to be delivered by 2015/2020) is, currently, highly dubious, mainly due to budgetary pressure.

The +/- 20 remaining ageing SEM Super-Etandard will all be decommissioned by 2015. (With the possible sale of some aircrafts to Argentina or Brasil ?).

Naval Aviation:
- NH90 Naval: 27 planned to replace all Lynx and Super-Frelon helico. The first NH90 be delivered in 2011 and the last in 2022.
- Breguet-Atlantic 2, in service since1989-1997 (Flotille 21F, 23F). Actually 27 planes in frontlines (14 operational). 22 aircraft will be upgraded to last until 2030 (The remaining 5 aircraft be used as spare parts).
- Flottille 35F: 3 "Dauphin pedro"+ 8 "Dauphin" in SAR use.
- Flotille 24F: 8 Falcon SURMAR (4 planes were a former government aircraft) + few Xingu
- A expected 18 new maritime patrol aircraft (of the AVISMAR program) to replace all N262, FALCON and Guardian patrol aircraft)
- Flotille 4F: 3 Hawkey E2C
- Flotille 36F: 15 Panther

- + few Caracal helico, for SAR missions.

4 AAW Destroyers ... the strict minimum !
2 Horizon/Forbin

(Forbin, Chevalier-Paul). 5600/7000 tons, 152 meters, commissioned by 2010/2011 (with probably 30/35 years of service expected), should be retired by early 2040's.

2 F 70AA/Jean-Bart
(Jean-Bart, Cassard). 4200/5000 tons, 139 meters, commissioned by 1988/1991, are ageing (they SM-1 missile are now fully obsolete) and suffered from design flaw (overloaded, hull fatigue). With a 30/33 years service life hoped, they must be replaced in early 2020's by 2 new AAW FREMM ships (to last until 2050's).

+/- 8 ASW Destroyers... slowly replaced, in a one by one basis...
Up to 8 FREMM/Aquitaine ASW Frigates
(Aquitaine, Normandie, Provence, Languedoc, Auvergne, Alsace, Bretagne, Lorraine, the 9th ship is not yet named). 4500/6000 tons, 142 meters, commissioned by 2013/2022, with probably +/- 30/33 years of service expected, must be retired by 2043/2055. 

The remaining 6 ASW frigates of the F70/Georges Leygues class (Dupleix, Montcalm, Jean de Vienne, Primauguet, La Motte Picquet, Latouche Treville, 3800/4900 tons, 139 meters, commissioned by 1981/1990), will be progressively retired upon the commissioning of the FREMM/Aquitaine frigate's in the coming year's.

5 Frigates (medium-end ships)
5 La Fayette

(La fayette, Surcouf, Courbet, Aconite, Guépratte), 3200/3600 tons, 125 meters, commissioned by 1996/2001. Being among the first stealth ships in the world, was once considered to be replaced their conventional Crotales launchers by more modern VLS, but this was deemed too expensive and the ships (very modern in appearance), will never receive the VLS. With probably +/- 30 years of service expected, to be replaced around 2026/2032 by (at the best...) 4 or 5 newers warships (FXXXXIn service since 1996/2001, must be removed by 2026/2031. And maybe (at the best) replaced by 5 ships of the "NCF: Navires de combat du futur = Future combatant ships) project, the alternatives are currently :

6 Light-Frigates (low-end ships)
6 Floréal

(Floreal Prairal, Nivose, Ventose, Vendémiaire, Germinal). 2600/2900 tons, 93+ meters, commissioned by 1992/1994. Highly effective "overseas/cheap" light frigate/ocean patrol vessel, built on civilian standards. Originally with 20 years of life (now extended to 25+, even 30 years) expected. To be retired during the 2020's and replaced by ...

they have +/- 25 years services-life. In service since 1992/1994, must be removed by +/- 2020/2022. The French navy, to reduce costs, want to replace them with a cheaper and similar vessels. Existing designs for such replacements are:
- DCNS "FM400", a 4000 tons, 126 meters Frigates (a dubious solution, relatively expensive)
- DCN "Gowind Action/Presence": a +/- 2000 tons, +/- 100 meters OPV (maybe possible)
- CMN "Combattante-CL78": a simple and cheaper light-corvette/OPV design, 1300 tons, 78 meters.
- CNIM "MPV Multi-purpose vessel": a very flexible innovative catamaran design Warships, 2000 tons, 90 meters. (maybe possible, but a innovative = expensive solution)
But with the economic condition of France in the next 5/8year, it is possible that the French Navy is obliged to replace the 5 Courbet and 6 Floreal by a single class. In this case, the French navy could be tempted to retain in services the Floreal class few more years for permit replacement of 11 vessels by a single new class.

4 SSBN (a great cost...) 
4 Le Triomphant
(Le Triomphant, Le Téméraire, Le Vigilant, Le Térrible). 12 600/14 100 tons, 138 meters, designed by late 1980's, commissioned by 1997/2010. The last ship received the newer M51 missile from the beginning, the three "older" SSBN's will be progressively "missile-upgraded" during 2010-2015. With +/- 30 years of life expected, to be (progressively...and slowly...) replaced around 2027/2040 by a new generation of french SSBN (currently under initial studies).

6 SSN 
Up to 6 Suffren/Barracuda
(Suffren, Duguay-Trouin, Dupetit-Thouars, Duquesne, Tourville, De-Grasse), 4600/5100 tons, 99+ meters. Designed during early 2000's (improved and scaled-down version of the Triomphant's), to be progressively...and slowly...commissioned by 2017/2027. With probably +/- 35 years of life expected, to be retired by early 2050's/early 2060's. 
The 6 ageing (and small/cramped) SSN's of the “Rubis” class (Rubis, Saphir, Casabianca, Emeraude, Amethyste, Perle : 2300/2600 tons, 73+ meters, designed during 1970's, commissioned by 1983/1993, originally with +/- 25 years of life, now extended to 33+...), should be gradually retired and replaced (1 for 1 basis) by 2017/2027.
11 Mine-Hunters (toward 4 to 6 "mother-ships", for a full unmanned  warfare !)
4 to 6 newer 2000/3000 tons catamaran Mother-ships/Mine-Hunters ships

Currently under advanced studies (project SLAMF: "système de lutte anti-mines futur"), a 2000/3000 tons, 100 meters, catamaran mother-ship design, each able to carry 2 unmanned 20/30 tons, 15/18 meters SUV/MCM stealth-crafts. Due to budgetary constraints, very likely only 4 ships (6 is dubious...) to be ordered by late 2010's and to be commissioned during 2020-2025 timeframe.

The remaining 11 MCM of the "Tripartite/Eridan" class 
(Eridan, Cassiopée, Andromède, Pegase, Orion, croix du sud, Aigle, Lyre, Sagittaire, Cephée, Capricorne : 540/615 tons, 51+ meters, designed during 1970's, commissioned by 1984/1996), are to be retired by late 2010's/mid 2020's and replaced by fewer mother-ships...

- 4 Mine-Clearance-Support-Tender of the “Vulcain” class (M611: Vulcain, M613 Acheron, M614 Styx, M622 Pluton), commissioned 1986-1987, maybe partially/indirectly replaced by new modular mine-hunter "mother-ships".
- 3 Mine-Survey-Craft of the “Antarès” class (M770-772: Antares, Altair, Aldebaran, commissioned 1993-1995), to be retired around 2023/2025.
- 1 Thétis mine contermeasures experimental ship (A785 Thétis), 1988. Maybe partially/indirectly replaced by new modular mine-hunter "mother-ships"

Avisos/Ocean Patrol Vessels (the "swiss army knife"/"workhorse" of the French fleet for they very large "overseas" territories !!!!!!!!!!!!) 
1 L'adroit

(L'adroit). 1100/1500 tons, 87 meters. Commissioned by 2012. This OPV is the lightest design of the current Gowind OPV design family from the french shipbuilder DCNS. Intended to be a very "cheap" ship

9 Type A-69
(Lieutenant-de-vaisseau-Le-Hénaff,Lieutenant-de-vaisseau-Lavallée, Commandant-l'Herminier, Premier-maître-l'Her, Commandant-Blaison, Enseigne-de-vaisseau-Jacoubet, Commandant-Ducuing, Commandant-Birot, Commandant-Bouan). 1100/1300 tons, 80+ meters, 1970's designed french off-shore ASW avisos, commissioned by 1980/1986. Originally expected to be used for 25 years, but now converted into OPV use to last even 35+ years of service ! To be progressively retired during 2014-2019 and "partially" replaced by late 2010's by a dozens of newer french OPV (project BATISMAR:

4 Type P 400
(La-Capricieuse, La-Glorieuse, La-Gracieuse, La-Moqueuse). 375/480 tons, 54+ meters. Designed by early 1980's, commissioned by 1987. These remaining 4 ships will be retired by 2014/2017 and +/- partially/slowly replaced by few newer french OPV of the BATSIMAR program.

The problem is big delay in the BATSIMAR program (“Batiment de surveillance maritime et de réponse”= “Survey & response warships”, a expected new 1000 tons OPV). It should replace 9 A-69 aviso, 10 P-400 patrlo boats, 3 BATRAL amphibious ships, and very probably the 4 Auxiliary-Patrol-Boats ("Albatross", to be retired around 2015, “Arago”, “Sterne”, “Fulmar”). But at best, the first BATISMAR ship will arrive in 2017. In fact, it is clear that a total of +/- 17/18 BATISMAR new OPV must replace a total of +/- 26 ships.
It is likely that the new design of OPV chooses either one of the Gowing family (likely the "Gowing Control": 80/90 meters, 1000 tons). Don't forget that actually DCNS started to build (on own budget) the "Hermes", the demonstrator ships of the Gowing family. It is very likely that this vessel will be leased to the french navy for trials/evaluations in 2012/2015...

Amphibious Ships
3 Mistral (LHD/BPC)
(Mistral, Tonnerre, Dixmude). 16 500/21 500 tons, 199 meters, designed by late 1990's/early 2000's. Highly successfull & cheap french LHD design (built to civilian standards). Commissioned by 2006/2012, with probably up to 30 years of service expected, to be retired by late 2030's/early 2040's.

Due to any foreseable economic/budgetary constraints, a option for a 4th ship by 2020 is currently very unlikely (and almost officially abandonned in the french "defense white paper").

1 Siroco (LSD/TCD)
(Siroco). 8100/12 000 tons, 168 meters. French LSD designed during 1980's (Foudre). Siroco commissioned by 1998, with a probable +/- 30 years of life expected, but due to current (and foreseable..) budgetary constraints, it is very likely that this ship will be prematurely retired from service in the following year's, and maybe sold to the Chilean Navy ? (this navy was already buy the former Foudre TCD...).

3 Amphibious LST
- 3 BATRAL (Jacques-Cartier, Dumont-d'Urville, La-Grandière), commissioned 1974-1987. These three ships will be promptly removed from service by 2015, and partially replaced by new OPV of the BATISMAR program.

Amphibious Crafts
(9092, 9093, 9094, 9095). 200/300 tons, 30 meters, commissioned by 2011/2012. Highly successfull french amphibious catamaran design, derived from the L-CAT/CNIM design. With probably 25 to 30 years of service expected, to be retired by late 2030's/early 2040's.

A option for 2 (or 4 ?) further crafts is now (due to fiscal constraints) very unlikley.

(Hallebarde), 340/750 tons, commissioned by 1989. Spécially designed to be used with the "Foudre/Sirocco" LSD/TCD design. Likely to remain in french service until the retirement of the "Sirocco" in the following year's.


(Gapeau). 560/1000 tons, large french utilitary coastal LCU design. Commissioned by 1987. Likely to remain in service until late 2010's/early 2020's.

15 to 17 CTM (LCM)
(13-17, 20-23, 25-31). 60/150 tons, 23+ meters. French LCM design, commissioned by 1982/1992.
These landing crafts will be replaced in the next decade by the EDA project (Engin de débarquement amphibie)

Auxiliary Patrol-Boats (9, some are ex-trawlers)
- 1 Albatros class (P681 Albatross), to be retired by 2015.
- 1 Lapérouse a class (converted, P675 Arago)
- 1 Fulmar class (converted, P740 Fulmar)
- 3 Flamant class (P676, 678 Flamant, Cormoran, Pluvier)
- 1 Grèbe class (type Espadon 50, P679 Grebe), fragile vessel, dating from 1991, the Navy expect to retire this ship, maybe in the coming years. -
2 Athos Class (A712-713 Athos, Aramis)

Maritime Force (28, operated by the Maritime Force)
- 2 Patrol boats of the Geranium class (P720, 722: Geranium, Violette)
- 2 Patrol boats of the Jonquille class (P721, 723: Jonquille, Jasmin)
- 24 Patrol boats of the Elorn Class (P601-624: Elorn, Verdon, Adour, Scarpe, Vertonne, Dumbéa, Yser, Argens, Hérault, Gravona, Odet, Mahury, Organabo, Maury, Charente, Tech, Penfeld, Trieux, Vésubie, Escaut, Huveaune, Sèvre, Aber Wrac'h, Esteron)

Support ships (6)
- 4 "Durance" class replenishment tanker, (A607-608, 630-631: Meuse, Var, Marne, Somme). Commissioned 1980-1990, must be replaced by 4 new ships. The study designs are already under way. At best, construction would begin around 2012. But most probably around 2015-2020; We talk about ship of 40000 tons with containers capacity.
- "Le-Malin" swimmer support vessel (Le Malin A616, ex captured trawler, 1997)
- A diving support vessel of the Alizé class (A645 Alize, commissioned 2005)

Trial, experimentation and intelligence ships (3)
- 1 Monge class missile range tracking ship (A601 Monge), commissioned 1992, to be retired around 2025/2030.
- 1 Denti ASW weapon support tender (A743 Denti), commissioned 1976, ageing, any replacement expected ?
- 1 Dupuy-de-Lôme intelligence collection ship (A759 Dupuy-de-Lôme ), commissioned 2006, very recent.

Hydrography and Oceanography (4.5, more and more leased ships)
- 1 "Beautemps-Beaupré" class oceanographic and hydrographic research ship (A758 Beautemps-Beaupré), commissioned 2003. At 95% owned by french navy, and 5% owned by IFREMER.
- 1 "Pourquoi-pas ?" class oceanographic research ship, shared with IFREMER, Pourquoi-pas ? , commissioned 2005, 55% owned by IFREMER and 45% owned by the french navy.
- 3 "Lapérouse" class hydrographic survey ships (A791-793: Lapérouse, Laplace, Borda), commissioned 1988-1991.

Océanic assistance & salvage tugs (4, leased, but very efficient ships !)
- 2 "Abeille-Bourbon" class (Abeille-Bourbon, Abeille-Liberté), leased by the french navy.
- 2 "Abeille-Flandre" class (Abeille-Frandre, Abeille-Languedoc), leased by the french navy.

Tugs, Salvage & Assistance ships (From 10 to 8, and nearly half private owned...)
- 3 Regional-Assistance-ships of "Chamois" class (A668, 674, 675: Elan, Chevreuil, Gazelle), commissioned 1978.
- 2 Alcyon class assistance-salvage-tugs (UT711 design, Alcyon, Ailette), leased by the french navy.
- 1 Jason class assistance-salvage tugs (Jason), leased by the french navy.
- 2 Malabar class (A664, 669 : Malabar, Tenace), commissioned 1972-1976.
- 1 Rari class (A635 Revi), commissioned1985
- 1 Argonaute, leased since 2004.

These 10 auxiliary vessels are to be replaced under the BSAH program (Batiment de soutien d'assistance hauturière = offshore support and assistance vessels) by 8 Future AHTS (Anchor Handling Tug Supply) type vessels of 70/80 meters, 2/3000 tons, with 08/12000 HP engines towards 2014/2015. In this new program, 4 ships will be operated by the French navy and the other 4 by private operators (the contract must be signed by 2012).

Training Ships (smaller & fewer...)
- The training Cruiser "Jeanne-d'Arc", commissioned 1964, to be retired in 2010 and indirectly/partially replaced by a amphibious BPC.
- 8 Navigationnal Training crafts of "Leopard" class (A748-755 : Léopard, Panthère, Jaguar, Lynx, Guépard, Chacal, Tigre, Lyon), commissioned 1982-1983. To be retired through the 2010's decade, but actually any replacement Expected ?
- 2 Navigationnal Training craft of the "Glycine" Class (A770-771: Glycine, Eglantine), 1992
- 2 Sail Training Barkentine of the "Etoile" class (A649-650: Etoile, Belle-Poule), 1932 - A yawl Sail Training of the Mutin class (A652: Mutin) , 1927
- A ketch Sail Training Of The "La-Grande-Hermine" class (A653, La Grande-Hermine, 1932
- 2 Manoeuvers training and Instruction craft, the 2 older "Chimère","Farfadet", commissioned 1970/1971, will be replaced by 2 newly built craft of the BIM program (Batiment d'instruction et de manoeuvres= Instruction and manoeuvers vessels) by end 2010/early 2011. Built by the SOBEC, this new craft have a length of 24m and 86 tones and carry 3 crew and 10 naval student.

- 10 new small maneuvers and education crafts. Very small vessels of 8 meters and 4.6 tons, they will serve 6 naval students and will be delivered from mid 2010 to mid 2011.


3 Mid Shore Patrol Vessels
1 Type Vigilante 400 CL 52
(Thémis). 400 tons, 52+ meters, commissioned by 2004. Dérived from the P400 (1980's) french patrol ship. To remain in service until early 2030's.

1 Iris
(Iris). 210/230 tons, 47 meters, late 1980's built. Commissioned by 1996.

1 Osiris
(Osiris). 53 meters (former late 1960's trawler captured). Commissioned by 2003.

3 Mid Shore Patrol Crafts
1 Gabian
(Gabian). 76 tons, 32+ meters, commissioned by 1986.

1 Armoise
(Armoise). 73/93 tons, 32+ meters, commissioned by 1995.

1 Mauve
(Mauve). 62+ tons, 30+ meters, commissioned by 1984. 

In Shore Patrol Crafts
1 Pétrel
(Pétrel). 26 tons, 17+ meters, commissioned by 1985.

1 Eider
(Eider). 28 tons, 16+ meters, commissioned by 1988.

1 Arcor 56
(Cap d'Ailly). 25 tons, 17+ meters, commissioned by 1991.

4 FPB 50 Mk 2
(Callisto, Deimos, Telesto, Phobos). 23 tons, 16+ meters, commissioned by 2001.

A dozen of others small patrol boats
(Telemos: 13 tons, 1983;  Pointe du Hoc/Arundel/An Alre/Ile Dumet/La Varde: 10 tons, 1994; Sarriette: 9 tons, 1988; Cap d'Azur: 8 tons, 1990; Girondine: 7 tons, 1988; An Oriant: 2 tons, 1991; Auzance/Mor Braz/Lou Labech: 2 tons, 1981; Men Goe: 1 tons, 1991)

and few dozens of very small 5/7 meters crafts

2 Off Shore Patrol Vessels
(Jacques Oudart Fourmentin, Kermovan). 400+ tons, 43+ meters, commissioned by 2007/2008.

Mid Shore Patrol Crafts
1 Arafenua
(Arafuena). 100+ tons, 32+ meters, commissioned by 1992.

1 Esterel 30
(Suroit). 67 tons, 30+ meters, commissioned by 1988.

8 Couach 28
(Pitera, Kan Avel, Nordet, Haize Hegoa, Rakawa, Sirocco, Avel Sterenn, Lissero). 64+ tons, 28+ meters, commissioned by 1990/2001.

1 Vent d'Amont
(Vent d'Amont). 61+ tons, 28+ meters, commissioned by 1983.

4 Couach 23
(Cers, Sua Luiga, Marinada, Orsuro). 41+ tons, 23+ meters, commissioned by 1990/1998.

4 Plascoa 21
(U'marinu, Muntese, Alizé, Libecciu). 35+ tons, 21+ meters. Commissioned by 1988/1991.

And more than a dozen of 8-13+ meters small patrol crafts.

It is possible that I forgot programs or made a few mistakes ?


May 7, 2010

Future of U.S.Submarines Fleet : “Doing as much work, but with fewer sub’s”

US SSN sub’s (Wanting 48 at the minimum when now they have money for 30...)

Currently, the U.S. Navy aligns +/- nearly fifty nuclear submarines, which may have split into several class/sub-class :

- 11 “Los-Angeles Flight-I”, without VLS (among the SSN688-718, are still in service: Philadelphia, Memphis, Bremerton, Jacksonville, Dallas, La-Jolla, City-of-Corpus Christi , Albuquerque, San-Francisco, Houston, Norfolk, Buffalo, Olympia). In service since 1976/1985, all will be retired by 2017, (Philadelphia first in june 2010) and +/- partially replaced by the last 4 “Virginia Block-II”.

17 others olders sub’s (USS Los-Angeles, Baton Rouge, Omaha, Cincinnati, Groton, Birmingham, New-York-City, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Boston, Baltimore, Portsmouth, Minneapolis-Saint-Paul, Atlanta, Salt-Lake-City, Honolulu) have already been retired since 1995, some are already scrapping, others are awaiting scrapping. And 2 others are in reserve, probably not meet again the high-seas and will be disarmed as soon as possible: (USS Hyman-G.-Rickover, Augusta).

- 8 “Los-Angeles Flight-II” (SSN 719-725, 750: Providence, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Key-West, Oklahoma-City, Louisville, Helena, Newport-News), with VLS and upgraded reactor core which does not require refueling, +/- 30/33 years service life expected. Commissioned from 1985-1989, to be retired around 2018-2021 and +/- replaced by 7 Virginia Block-III.

- 23 « Los-Angeles Flight-III », (SSN 751-773: San-Juan, Pasadena, Albany, Topeka, Miami, Scranton, Alexandria, Asheville, Jefferson-City, Annapolis, Springfield, Columbus, Santa-Fe, Boise, Montpelier, Charlotte, Hampton, Hartford, Toledo, Tucson, Columbia, Greeneville, Cheyenne). Much quieter, VLS, with more advanced sonar, forward diving planes moved into the sail structure, and sail strengthened for Ice operation. With a lightly more longer expected service life, 33 full years. Commissioned 1988-1996, to be retired 2021-2029, and partially replaced by +/- 15 Virginia Block-IV/V.

- 3 “Seawolf” (SSN21-23: Seawolf, Connecticut, Jimmy-Carter). These submarines, extremely expensive, were the culmination of "high-tech-ships strategy” (the sub counterpart for the recent DDG-1000 Zumwalt program), but the U.S. Navy realized after the Cold War, that she could no longer afford it in large number. With a probably 33 years service-life, commissioned 1997-2005, to be retired around 2030/2038. Will be replaced or not by the first SSN (X), it will depend on the state of the SSN (X) program.

…In the next 19 years, more than 40 SSN will be decommissioned (of wich, the remain of the entire Los-Angeles class) !

- 4 “Virginia Block-I” (SSN 774-776: Virginia, Texas, Hawaii, North-Carolina). This new class was intended to replace the Los-Angeles class (but not 1 for 1 basis; 62 Los-Angeles replaced by +/- 30 Virginia’s), and as cheaper ($ 1,8 vs $ 2,8 billion, 1990’s estimates) alternative to the very expensive Seawolf class. To reduce cost, the Virginia’s uses many “commercial off the shelf” components (especially in their computer, data networks). But infortunatly, the first four ships reached 2.5/2.8 $ billion without difficulties. Probably 33 years service life. Commissioned 2004/2008, to be retired around 2037/2041.

- 6 “Virginia Block-II (SSN 778-783: New-Hampshire, New-Mexico, Missouri, California, Mississippi, Minnesota). This new “Block” has several enhancements : Electronics, sensors, building process: (Ships built in 4 sections, compared to the 10 sections for the Block I, this enables a cost saving of +/- $300 million per boat). But with inflation and rising cost of construction in the US Shipbuilding industry, these economy attempts, have, ultimately, not really lowered the coast of the submarine, but probably just slowed the continual increase of the cost. (actually 2,2/2,5 $ billion). Commissioned 2008/2014, to be retired around 2041/2047.

And the US Navy has currently planned to build :

- 7 “Virginia Block-III” (SSN784-791: North-Dakota, John-Warner, others not yet named...). This Block-III will feature a revised subs bow, including some technology from Ohio SSGN class. The FY 2010 budget estimates the total procurement cost for the 12th Virginia-class boat (USS John Warner, Block-III) at $ 2,75 billion. Commissioned 2015/2019, to be retired around 2048/2052.

The last 15 Virginia are “expected on paper”, but not precisely defined:

- 9 “Virginia Block-IV”. The shipbuilder (Electric Boat) expected (as of late 2007) the RFP for Block-IV to be released in 2012 with an award in 2014. Design changes might include new sensors, a new sail design, capabilities for communications at higher speed and greater depth, (electric drive, externally mounted weapons, maybe unlikely with this “Block”). Commissioned 2019/2023, to be retired around 2052/2056.

- 4 “Virginia block-V”. The shipbuilder (Electric Boat) expected (as of late 2007) the RFP for Block V to be released in 2017 with an award in 2019. This timing is a bit puzzling, since it would appear that only four boats would remain in a 30 boat program. Design changes might include new sensors, a new sail design, capabilities for communications at higher speed and greater depth, electric drive [first brooded in Bundle 2, once slated for the 2010 timeframe], and externally mounted weapons, if these are not introduced in Block IV. Commissioned 2024/2025, to be retired around 2057/2058.

In fact, it seems that when the latest Los-Angeles Flight-III, the USS Cheyenne, to be retired +/- around 2029, it will be replaced by one of the last (or THE last ?) Virginia Block IV/V submarine or the first (or one of the first) sub of the new SSN (X). That means that around 2030, the U.S. fleet will consist of approximately +/- 35 submarines, and this because the older submarines will not be replaced 1 for 1 basis. The U.S. Navy, to avoid a heavy fall in submarine number, is trying to:
- Desperately accelerated construction of Virginia’s submarine (2 sub’s per year from FY 2011).
- Reducing Virginia-class shipyard construction time to 60 months (since Block-II).
- Navy also lengthens the service lives of 16 existing SSNs by periods ranging from 3 months to 24 months (many 9/15 months), this would reduce the fall number of the SSN force by a few more boats (but partially and for a short period).

This dramatic reduction in the number of submarines, may seem brutal,
but in reality, it is quite normal, because:
- The U.S. submarine fleet was +/- still current format of the Cold war (+/- 80/90 during the 1980’s, now +/- 50 sub’s)
- But the Cold War is over, his huge military budgets too, and new submarines is much more expensive (+/- 2,5 $ billion for a Virginia), the us navy is therefore obliged to reduce its Sub’s fleet size.

In fact, the big problem is the obstinacy almost obsessive of the American high-command to have a minimum of 48 submarines (they say it is the minimum needed for decent patrolling all around the world). Wanting 48 submarines that can not finance 30, it necessarily will there be a small problem…a foolish obstinacy…

Toward the future, after the Virginia? (2020's-2030's…) : First Steps…Tango-Bravo

Because of the slow rate of Virginia production, the Navy entered into a program with DARPA to overcome Technology Barriers (TB or Tango Bravo) to lower the cost of attack submarines so that more could be built to keep up the size of the fleet. These include:
- Propulsion concepts not constrained by a centerline shaft.
- Externally stowed and launched weapons (especially torpedoes).
- Conformal alternatives to the existing spherical sonar array.
- Technologies that eliminate or substantially simplify existing submarine hull, mechanical and electrical systems.
- Automation to reduce crew workload for standard tasks.
All these innovations are probably in advanced studies or in experimental test aboard a handful of Los-Angeles/Virginia sub’s, and some of these innovations (probably the less radical) are likely to incorporate the Virginia Block-III/IV/V.

It is very likely that a new generation of nuclear submarines appear in the late 2020s, to ensure the following of Virginia SSN. But the military budgets are tight, and the US Navy is at this point in the SSBN (X) program, it is clear that the US Navy will not have the financial means to build (in mass) along the SSBN and SSN.
For this it is possible that after the “Mass built of the Virginia’s” (FY 2011 through 2010’s decade, 2 boat/year), the constructions of Virginia are slowing (1 boat/year) around 2020 so that sufficient resources are put on future SSBNs (8/12 to be built around 2020/2035). Around 2024/2026, the Virginia program is +/- completed and the purchase of future SSNX happen.

Future trends of the “Virginia Successor”: the SSN (X):
- Cheaper nuclear submarines (very unlikely).
- Modular Submarines (external armament, modular and external payloads, modular compartments)
- Submarines without a main “centerline-Shaft”, but with propulsors pods, to dramatically improve its maneuverability. The removal of the main central shaft will be extraordinarily change the appearance of submarines of the future (less elongated, less “torpedo-shaped” form, but much more shaped drop of water, more compact).
- A more automated submarines, with far fewer crew (Actually “Los-Angeles”: 127; “Seawolf”: 133; “Virginia”: 134 sailors). The ultimate aim is likely to fall below 100 or ideally even 80 sailors per SSN, to reduce the operational cost. Don’t forget than some latest models of foreign nuclear sub’s (British “Astute”: 98/109; Russian “Akula”: 73; Russian “Graney”: 50; Chinese type 93: +/- 100; Future French “Suffren”: 60/70); or conventional submarines (German “214 type”: 27, Swedish “Gotland”: 33, French “Scorpene”: 31, Russian “Lada”: 34/38) all have much less crew, a giant operational cost savings !
- A smaller submarines than the actual Virginia’s (7900 tons, 115x10), with a X-shaped stern planes (or any stern planes if pods ?), more maneuverable than a bigger similar sub (for more coastal capabilities…).

Some “pro-conventionnal” (or anti-nuclear) fan’s campaigning for U.S. conventional submarines, but this is a big mistake, because:
- In all cases, a nuclear submarine has a much longer endurance than a conventional submarine (even with an excellent AIP system)
- Lobbying from US nuclear-industry will do everything to prevent a breach is made in their monopolies/business…

SSBN "Forget the 12, be happy if you have 10, do not cry if you have only 8”

Currently, the U.S. Navy align 18 large “Ohio” SSBN/SSGN submarines:

- The 4 oldest (SSBN 726-729: Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Georgia), entered service in 1981-1984, have been converted to SSGN between 2002-2007 during their mid-life refits. The Navy estimates the total cost for refueling and converting four Tridents (including R & D, procurement costs…) at about $4.0 billion, or $1 billion per boat. ($2.4 billion in 1999-2000 estimation……). Refueling and converting four Tridents avoids a near-term expenditure of about $440 million to inactivate and dismantle them......Their 24 Trident nuclear missiles had been replaced by equipment for 66 special forces and 98 to 154 Tomahawk cruise missiles. Well suited for deal with rogue state (but not in coastal area, because the very big size of these SSGN’s), this 4 ships to be retired without being replaced around 2022/2027.

- The 14 other “Ohio” (SSBN 730-743: Henry-M. Jackson, Alabama, Alaska, Nevada, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, West-Virginia, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, Rhode-Island, Maine, Wyoming, Louisiana), embark 24 Trident missiles each (each with up to 12 nuclear warheads). Entered into service between 1984-1997, they have a expected service life of 42 years (40 years of operation, 2 years of mid-life overhaul) and must be retired from service around 2026-2039. Except that with the recent new requirement for the US Navy (from 14 to 12 SSBNs) could mean that on the 14 Ohio’s, probably ??? the two older (USS Henry M. Jackson, Alabama), could have been prematurely disarmed in the second half of the 2010’s decade…The remaining 12 was to be replaced by a new class, the project SSBN (X). But as it takes time to develop these new submarines (13/16 years, from initial choice to first sea trials), the choice must be made now !

Factors to consider for future SSBN (X):
- The issue of nuclear disarmament is becoming more important (A world without nuclear weapons). With the actual and future disarmament treaties, there will be fewer and fewer nuclear warheads loaded on SSBN.
- The latest official documents show that the US Navy wants to replace the actual 14 Ohio’s by 12 new SSBN (X).
- Such as the Ohio’s, future SSBN (X) will probably have a long expected service life (around 40 years). This means that these future ships, to enter service around 2026/2039, will remain in service until +/- 2070, and, if trends in international politics in terms of nuclear weapons is moving in the right direction (nuclear disarmament), it is very likely that the SSBN (X) would be the last U.S. SSBNs !
- Actually, the U.S. Navy is working with Britain on the future generation of missile-compartments.
- Advance in sub’s technologies (Externally weapons, radical alternative to the existing spherical sonar array, propulsion concepts not constrained by a centerline shaft (ie…pods), much bigger automation (ie. Great crew reduction), Technologies that eliminate or substantially simplify existing submarine hull, mechanical and electrical systems.
- Americans want to maintain nuclear deterrence on 2 oceans (on Pacific, with the strategic base of Bangor, and on the Atlantic, with the strategic base of Kings-Bay), which means a strict minimal requirement of 8 future SSBN (X). Although with the rising tensions with China, it is likely that two-thirds of the ships will be based in the Pacific…at Bangor
- The first cost studies of future SSBN (X) suggest an ASTRONOMICAL cost (80/100 $ billion for the whole program and 5/7 $ billion per unit !!!). With a annual "buying" budget of +/- 15 $ billion for the US Navy, this program may use a substantial portion of the budget (and severely interfere with other programs : CVN, DDG, LCS, LPD, F-35…). Moreover, the situation is so serious that some have proposed to draw a portion of the money in other U.S. departments (transport, energy) or slow the program…

For me, the future American SSBN (X) have the following characteristics
- They are less numerous (currently 12 planned, but really probably only enough money for 8/10 will eventually be built).
- They embark fewer missiles than the Ohio, probably 16 instead of 24. Because Americans are studying in common with the UK's next generation of missile compartment (and is very doubtful that the UK ensure more than 16 missiles per SSBNs). And with actual and future treaties in nuclear weapons, useless to have 24 missiles per submarine. For me, It is clear that future Americans SSBN (X) will embark 16 missiles each.
- Each missile will carry fewer warheads. Currently, the Trident-II missile carries 8 to 12 nuclear warheads. In the future, with treaties reductions, it is very likely that these missiles no longer carries more than 4/6 warheads.
- With fewer missiles, these SSBN X will be smaller and more maneuverable than the Ohio’s (16760 tons surfaced/18750+ tons submerged, 171x13m). And do not forget the only others Trident SSBN is the British “Vanguard” (15680/17560 tons, 150x12,8m). For this, It is very likely that these future US SSBNX will be around 15750/17750 tons, 150/155x13m ). Being given that the missiles compartments will be identical for future U.S and British SSBNs.
- It could be, as worries of economy, these two countries jointly develop the same class, a UK/US SSBN (X). But this must wait future british choices British (general elections, 2010 defence review…). At best, this hypothetical collaboration could be announced in 2011/2012. But this possibility will be primarily a political/budgetary choices. This potential joint-project (3/4 British SSBN(X) and 8/12 U.S SSBN(X)) would ultimately build 11/16 identical (or almost identical) new SSBNs and would make huge savings in research and development.
- But this possibility of a joint British-American SSBN class still quite difficult. Because Americans have their nuclear reactors, the British have a different model. And each country will want to work on his own industry (for preserving expertise). The next 24 months will be decisive for a hypothetical future joint british/american SSBN (X)’s. But it is not impossible that finally the new US and UK submarines are meant to share much of the same technology, including their Trident missile compartments, navigation systems and fire controls. The countries have also been working closely together to develop the kind of nuclear reactors that will power the submarines.
- They should have the latest model of nuclear reactor, maybe the new “A1B” nuclear reactor (the same as the future aircraft-carrier “Gerald.R.Ford” class) or probably a improved version or a new one (in collaboration with the British) ?. In all case, this new reactor did not need refueling after 20 years of use. This means that future SSBN (X) will not need to make a very expensive mid-life nuclear refueling.
- Boasting the most modern technologies of 2010’s-2020’s, the future SSBNX should receive a high degree of automation and a strong crew reduction, with far fewer crew (Actually on “Ohio’s”: 155). The ultimate aim is likely to fall around 100 sailors per SSBN, to reduce the operational cost. Don’t forget than some latest models of foreign SSBN submarines have smaller crews (British “Vanguard”: 135; French “Triomphant”: 110; Russian “Borei”: 107; Russian “Delta IV”: +/- 135).
- The ability to be even much more easily converted into SSGN than the Ohio SSGN conversion. Yes, because with possible international developpements in the next 40 years (nuclear disarmament, treaties), it is possible that these future SSBN, during their careers, are transformed into SSGN. To do this, it appears certain that the missile compartment can be easily reconfigured in order to carry cruise missiles, commandos, UUV, and even anti aircraft missile, ect ...
- Maybe ? a SSBN Submarines without a main “centreline Shaft”, but with propulsors pods, to dramatically improve its maneuverability. The removal of the main centreline shaft will be extraordinarily change the appearance of submarines of the future (less elongated, less “torpedo-shaped” form, but much more shaped drop of water, more compact). But I'm not sure the Americans adopt this very innovative solution for the future SSBNs, because the cost of the submarines would explode again (maybe 8/10 billions per copy !)

Or a third solution ? Toward a radical revolution: See further toward a hybrid SSN/SSGN/SSBN to meet the New Wars !

With the Virginia Block-III, the American incorporate some SSGN/SSBN technologies (replace the 12 VLS by 2 “Multiple-All-Up-round-Canister” similar to the strategic-missile-launcher-tube of the SSBN). This allows a considerable much more flexibility and a more modular design. Simply because with the older VLS concept, 12 VLS can carry only 12 cruiser-missiles. This new missile tubes are based on the 7-foot diameter D-5 Trident-ballistic-missile-tubes, but the tubes, wich will be newly built and somewhat shorter than the Ohio’s tubes. With this new “Multiple-All-Up-Round-Canister”, each tube can carry 6 tomahawk cruise-missile or the missile canister will be removable from the tube, allowing flexibility to fit different weapons or underwater vehicles (UUV) or special-forces. The Virginia’s installation omits the 7th missile in the center, leaving room for an access tube. At the final, the new tubes +/- double the payload space compared with the older VLS installation (from 1200 cubit feet to 2300).

In the future, it is understandable why the four big Ohio’s SSGN will not be replaced by other very large SSGN. In fact, they will be indirectly by more modular and flexible Virginia Block III/IV/V !. It is therefore clear that the SSGN/SSN concept will merge in the US Navy.

The next step would be to enlarge slightly the canister to allow them to receive Trident Strategic Missiles, and the revolution begin !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With predictable reductions in nuclear weapons and very Tightened budgets:
- Why do you want a new series (10/12) of very expensive (5/7 $ billion per copy) SSBN’s with very likely 16 missiles-tubes.
- Why do you want 30/48 SSN/SSGN (2,5/3 $ billion per copy), with 2 tubes.

When we could merge the SSN/SSGN/SSBN concepts by a single class:
- +/- 30/45 Hybrids-submarines, with 6/8 tubes (2 forward, at the bow, and 4/6 after the sail). Slightly larger than Virginia, but much smaller than the hypothetical future SSBN’s.

This would be:
- Either a Pure Attack-Submarine (2 canister carrying UUV, 4/6 others carrying missiles or mines or maybe vertically launched torpedoes or anti-aircraft missiles, vertically launched Unmanned Aerial Vehicle…)
- Either a Pure Special-Force-Reco-Submarine (4 canister for Special-Force, 2 canister for UUV or 12 Cruise-Missiles)
- Either a Pure Strike-Submarine (all canister carrying cruise-missile: 6x 6/8 = 36/48 cruiser-missiles)
- Either a Pure Strategic-Deterrence-Submarine (with 6/8 Trident missiles, each with 4/6 warheads, for a total of 24/48 nuclear warheads)

Obviously with such a modular, mix and combinations are possible ! the tremendous advantage of this principle is that you can easily ajust/modify a sub’s fleet (in the case of tension, slip SSBNs from 8 to 14, or SSN from 22 to 34, in just a few days or week, by replacing weapons modules). This principle of submarines hybrid (modular), would:
- To make huge economies in R & D
- Standardizing maintenance, reduce operational costs

The Indians themselves are beginning to apply this same principle with their new and first nuclear submarines: the INS Arihant, which is SSN/SSGN see even strategic submarines with nuclear missiles capable......

And don’t forget the Logistic, the submarine tender !
- The 2 submarine tender of the “Emory-S-Land class”, commissioned 1979 (from very old 1940-1950’s vintage design) were now nearly worn-out. Any expected replacement ?

It may be that in my opinion, I forgot programs, details or made few mistakes ?, then said it ! Feel free to comment and give your opinion !
In all cases, it is clear that :
- US SSN submarines pass under the 40 (and this, whatever tips or tricks of the us navy to avoid this)
- The SSBNs could reach 10 Have as many missions (on as oceans), but with fewer submarines, it will require U.S.:
- Either to reduce their number of missions
- Or to use faster the new submarine

Next episode: "Future of the French Navy"