by Ganesh Sahathevan
It has been previously reported on this blog:
Indian Scorpene designs leaked,Australia's Barracuda compromised for good-DCNS has said so
While it is expected that the leaked Indian Scorpene plans are already being used at defence research centres to model DCNS variants , including Australia's "best in the world" , "state of the art" Barracuda Block A1, this writer is interested to determine if and how the open source community might use what we already know about DCNS submarines from open source documents, including now those for the leaked Indian Scorpene , to crowdsource the same.
Given that the Australian Barracuda Block A1 is supposed to become the most advanced conventional submarine in the world (Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull said so) , we might as well start by looking at how the leaked Scorpene plans might be used to design something like the 1A.
We already know from DCNS:
A common misunderstanding about the conventionally powered Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A is that is somehow “converted” from the nuclear powered French Barracuda. This characterisation is inaccurate. In fact the conventional ship uses the nuclear ship as its design reference.
The data that enabled the selection of the Barracuda as the Australian design reference included such things hull diameter, length and steel, existing hydrodynamic studies of manoeuvrability, drag and acoustic performances and the suitability of main systems including, ship control, electrical, hydraulic, sonar, sensors, habitability, weapons storage, cooling, and ancillary platform systems. In each of these major systems the existing system design of the French Barracuda is used for the Shortfin Barracuda and from these known references an interpolation is performed for the new system design.
Where the nuclear design’s systems are not transferable the next most applicable systems are chosen. The main area where Barracuda design references were not used was in the area of the electrical system (batteries and voltage), power generation (induction and diesel generators) and propulsion (main electric motor). In these systems the design reference comes from the Scorpene class of diesel electric submarines, or from an existing submarine technology within DCNS. Existing technologies are re-used in all systems in the Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A. System by system, the whole ship performance is validated and the design loop closed.
The selection of the nuclear Barracuda as the design reference for the Shortfin also enabled DCNS to meet requirements in addition to range and endurance. The Australian requirements for warm water operations and very low acoustic signatures are good examples. As the nuclear Barracuda is designed to operate globally, shares the same hull form as the Shortfin Barracuda and is also compliant with nuclear safety standards, it is very suitable for the Australian requirement. This avoids many years of design studies for validation of equipment such as pumps and hoses, and allows the designer to take margins for higher performances elsewhere in the ship.