Defence Fair MADEX 2021

Isa Khan

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Update:

The Lockheed Martin stand at MADEX 2021 features a KDX-II scale model with a new mast showing 4 SPY-1 radar arrays. This is a proposal for KDX-II destroyer upgrade.


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HDM-4000 or Nampo-class minelayer and KSS-III submarine.

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MADEX 2021: Hanwha Systems Unveils New Combat System For FFX Batch III​

At MADEX 2021, the naval defense show held last week in South KAt MADEX 2021, the naval defense show held last week in South Korea, Hanwha Systems unveiled its planned Integrated Combat System for the FFX Batch-III (also known as FFX III or Ulsan-class) frigates.​

Daehan Lee 15 Jun 2021

FFX Batch-III is a follow-up frigate acquisition project after Daegu-class FFX Batch-II. It is expected that it will be 129 meters long with a light displacement of 3,600 tons, which is respectively 7 meters longer and 800 tons larger compared to Batch-II frigates.

The target information analyzed by the EOTS (Electro Optical Tracking System) and radar will assist crews to order the weapons system to engage in anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare by providing them with optimal means of attack and defense in real-time. For this, the four-sided fixed multi-functional phased array radar (MFR, designed by Hanwha Systems) that would enable Batch-III frigates to detect and track targets in 360-degree will be installed on an integrated sensor mast. This will ensure improved survivability, detection and tracking capabilities to respond immediately in anti-air and anti-submarine warfare, according to the explanation of Hanwha Systems.

During an interview with Naval News at MADEX 2021, the Junior Engineer of Hanwha Systems told that the new system will integrate detection and weapons systems into one console, also adding that information gathered from radar, sonars, and electric warfare equipment on board can be displayed on the three screens. He emphasized the improved tactical responsiveness that Hanwha achieved by unifying operational action processes under one console for functions that were previously controlled by different consoles.

The operator would thus be able to check the general status of weapons and overall maritime situations around the Batch-III frigate, based on general information provided by installed systems on the ship, enabling a quicker countermeasure against enemy actions or potential threats. Also, the engineer confirmed that the combat system console’s user interface has been improved significantly with three screens unlike the previous one that had only two screens available.

The company observed that this integrated system will be possibly applied to other future ships as part of Baselines, a technical basis of the combat system. Baselines effectively help operators compare functions and performance of each.

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Meanwhile, Hanwha Systems flatly refused to provide Naval News with specific explanation about the purpose and details of each three screen, cautiously requesting us not to film details shown on screens to prevent any possible information leakage.

A total of six FFX Batch-III is scheduled to be constructed from 2016 to 2027 by spending 2.8 trillion KRW, and the first Batch-III frigate will be delivered to the Republic of Korea Navy in 2024. As Naval News reported, Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) won a Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) contract for the detailed design and construction of the first in class ship in Mid-march 2020:


 

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MADEX 2021: DSME Sheds Light On Submarine Offer To India For P-75I​

At MADEX 2021, the naval defense exhibition held in Busan last week, local shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) was pitching its 3,300 ton (surface displacement) submarine, dubbed the DSME 3000, to India for the country’s Project 75I-class (P75I) programme.​

Juho Lee 16 Jun 2021

South Korea's proposal for the Indian Navy's P-75I is based on the Republic of Korea Navy KSS III design

The DSME3000 has a length of 83.5 meters, a beam of 9.7 meters, a draft of 14.7 meters, and a maximum submerged speed of 20 knots per hour. It is based on the Dosan Ahn Changho-class of the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) which is being jointly produced by DSME and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) as part of the KSS III program. The class are the largest submarines ever operated by the ROKN. It is armed with six 533 millimeter torpedo tubes and six vertical launch system (VLS) cells.

It also has better living quarters and amenities for seamen compared to other ROKN submarines. DSME produced the first two ships of the KSS III Batch 1 which were launched in 2018 and 2020 respectively, while construction on the third ship, by HHI, is ongoing. A total of nine vessels are planned: Three in a “Batch 2” configuration and three more in a “Batch 3”. The local content and capabilities are improved in each batch. For example, KSS III Batch 2 submarines will feature Lithium Ion batteries.

The variant being offered to India will not have the VLS cells that are standard on the Dosan Ahn Changho-class.
We haven’t finalized the exact design for India, but the removal of the VLS cells behind the sail of the submarine will allow for greater flexibility. We will be able to add new features to meet the Indian Navy’s needs. Moreover, there is a possibility that we will offer submarine rescue vessels alongside our subs as part of a large ‘package’ deal.

According to the representative, of the five companies shortlisted for the P75I competition, TKMS and DSME are the only contenders that have already designed and produced working fuel cell-based AIP submarines.
The Dosan Ahn Changho-class uses fuel-cell AIP technology. We believe this will give us the edge,”
Fuel-cell based AIP technology allows non-nuclear submarines to stay submerged for a significant amount of time. The system does not need a battery. As long as it receives a continuous source of fuel, such as hydrogen and oxygen which can be obtained from the ocean, it can continue to operate for an extended period of time. The representative continued, “The exact time period during which the DSME3000 can remain submerged is classified. However I can tell you that it is one of the most capable submarines in this regard.

Another potential rubric for the P75I competition is the quality of the battery that will equip the submarine. Even if a submarine uses AIP technology, solely relying on it would be inefficient and risky. Therefore, AIP submarines still need batteries to further augment their endurance. These batteries need to be charged while the submarine surfaced or at periscope depth. Traditionally, submarines have used lead acid batteries. However, Japan became the first country to operate submarines equipped with lithium-based batteries when it commissioned the JS Oryu and JS Toryu, the last two Soryu-class submarines, in 2020 and 2021. However Japan is not part of the P-75I competition.

The DSME representative told Naval News at MADEX 2021 that the DSME3000 will also utilize lithium-ion battery technology. “We are the most advanced in this regard amongst our competitors. We created a replica of the submarine’s battery system and completed quality control tests already. We plan on integrating the system into the second batch of Dosan Ahn Changho class submarines as well.” He continued:

Our lithium batteries are far more efficient than traditional lead-acid ones. This means they don’t have to be charged as often, allowing the submarine to stay submerged for longer. Moreover, they can be charged twice as often before they have to be replaced.

 

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MADEX 2021: Safran Signs MOU With DSME To Strengthen Cooperation In Naval Sector​

At MADEX 2021, the naval defense exhibition held in Busan last week, French defense company Safran Electronics & Defense and local shipbuilder Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).​

Xavier Vavasseur 16 Jun 2021

The MOU was signed on 9 June during MADEX by the senior VP sales & Marketing of Safran Electronics & Defense , Jean Christophe MUGLER (Frank BONNY was present on MUGLER’s behalf) and the VP naval & special ship design of DSME, Yongtaek JOO.

The objective of the MOU is to strengthen, promote and develop cooperation and mutual assistance between both DSME and Safran Electronics & Defense on the ongoing and future naval projects such as next generation submarine & aircraft carrier, for both domestic markets (ROK Navy) as well as export.

Safran Electronics & Defense designs and supplies Optronic Mast Systems, Inertial Navigation Systems and Decoy Launching Systems.

 

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South Korea’s KSS-III Batch 2 Submarine To Feature Both AIP And Li-Ion Batteries​

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) is currently building the third submarine of the KSS-III Batch 2 project in partnership with Daewoo Shipbuilding Maritime Engineering (DSME) Naval News learned at MADEX 2021 in Busan, South Korea.​

Daehan Lee 18 Jun 2021

Daehan Lee story with additional reporting by Xavier Vavasseur

Submerged speed and snorkel speed can reportedly reach 20 knots and 12 knots respectively, and Batch-1 submarines have six Vertical Launching System (VLS) cells for submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBM) and six torpedoes, an engineer from HHI explained. He told Naval News that Batch-1 adopted air-independent propulsion (AIP) system, also mentioning that designs of the three Batch-1 submarines by HHI and DSME are identical.

We learned during an interview with HHI at MADEX 2021 on June 10th, 2021, that the three submarines have been built by both shipbuilding companies in turn. DSME was in charge of the detailed design of the class and construction of the first and second submarines. The engineer confirmed that the second one from DSME was launched in November 2020, and it will be delivered to the Republic of Korea Navy (ROKN) by 2022.

The third and final submarine of the first batch is still under construction at the HHI shipyard in Ulsan. Steel cutting took place in 2017, keel laying on 11 April 2019. The launch is expected to take place by year-end. Meanwhile, the first submarine of the class, ROKS Dosan Ahn Chang-ho, continues sea trials.

When the engineer was asked about the next-generation submarines, also known as Batch-2 and Batch-3, he rejected to comment on further technical improvement and the possibility of loading SLBMs, by flatly observing that “nothing has been decided“. Korea defense journalist Yong-won Yoo of the well-known Korean daily media, Chosun Ilbo, previously reported that Korean SLBMs will be based on Hyunmoo-2B ballistic missiles (500 km range). According to the same source, KSS-III Batch-1 Dosan Ahn Changho-class submarines will have 6 VLS, wile Batch-2 and Batch-3 submarines will feature 10 VLS. He also quoted a military source who said:

“A submerged launch test will be conducted in 2021 [from Dosan Ahn Changho] and the specific date for it remains undecided, but the day after North Korea launches its SLBM would be highly likely”.

Avoiding any confirmation about project details, HHI stressed, “Information about surface ships tend to be more public. We are very cautious when it comes to secret projects like next-generation submarines and believe that it is strategically appropriate not to disclose facts about military possessions or development. Shipbuilding companies’ manpower related to submarine planning and construction are separately classified and managed. They are very reluctant to openly discuss ongoing submarine acquisitions even among employees, except with those in charge”. Nonetheless, an HHI booth guide tipped off to Naval News that other propulsion systems and tonnage increase might be considered in next Batches, showing hope that the next acquisition priority after CVX (light aircraft carriers) would be submarines due to its importance.

AIP system and Li-Ion batteries​

In 2019, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) decided to choose Hanwha Defense as a supplier of lithium-ion battery for KSS-III Batch-2 submarines. During an interview with the Chief Research Engineer of Hanwha Defense, Moon-hee Jang, at MADEX 2021, he confirmed the project was on schedule and that the company will start test readiness review of lithium-ion battery this month, preparing for land-based tests by 2022. He indicated that it will be installed on the first ship of KSS III Batch-2 in 2027.

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Jang emphasized significantly improved energy efficiency that will come from the battery’s longer life cycle, by quoting a graph showing that lithium-ion will last 300% longer in full speed, and 160% longer in a cruising mode.

“Batch-2 submarines will have both AIP propulsion systems and lithium-ion batteries, which will increase the submerged endurance to more than 20 days at sea.”


Moon-hee Jang, Hanwha Defense
Charging cycle is secret and the ROKN has not given any information about it.

According to him, lithium-ion battery passed rigorous tests under extreme conditions of fire, salt water, short circuit, shock, and heat. Hanwha also cooperated with KERI (Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute), ADD (Agency for Defense Development), and DTaQ (Defense Acquisition Technology and Quality) to analyze fire accident datum and reflected research outcomes in planning the battery.

Chief Research Engineer Jang concluded his remark showing pride:

“Stability and reliability are our main interests. We can confidently say that it will be the safest battery in the world, which is expected to be the world’s second deployment after Japan. Hanwha has expanded to commercial sectors by applying this advanced technology and acquiring price competitiveness. We already won four contracts from the Korean government”.

The lithium-ion battery system for the KSS III Batch-2 submarines is composed of the following:

  • 24 cells per tray
  • 8 trays per modules
  • X (undisclosed number of) modules per strings
  • X (undisclosed number of) strings
  • The strings are split in two battery groups: About 100 strings located forward and another 100 strings placed aft, at the bottom of the submarine hull.
Cells come from Samsung SDI and are based on COTS (commercial-off-the-shelf) technology, similar to cell phone batteries. As the Chief Research Engineer explained, this solution is likely to be more affordable compared to those of competitors, Japan and Europe.


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MADEX 2021: KAI Showcased Its Night Intruder NI600VT VTOL UAV​

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Korean Aerospace Industries (KAI) displayed its prototype of the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), Night Intruder 600VT, at MADEX 2021 in Busan, South Korea.​

Daehan Lee 28 Jun 2021

The Night Intruder 600VT is a VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) for reconnaissance missions. Its width is 2m and length is 9m with 2.5m height. Maximum takeoff weight reaches up to 600kg, but KAI noted more than 750kg would also be possible. Duration of flight is reportedly 6 hours. KAI’s handout did not show the range of operation, but a company representative told Naval News that it would be around 180km.

The UAV pamphlet distributed by KAI summarized the aerial vehicle’s main functions as the following: land, ship-based automatic VTOL system, localized key flight control program, capabilities of loading various mission equipment (EO, IR, SAR, etc) and overcoming GPS jamming or disturbance with a patented software, multiple key flight equipment and dual communication based on C-Band and UHF.

A well-informed person from KAI at its booth at MADEX said in an interview with Naval News that KAI began to plan the UAV in 2017 and developed the unmanned system in 2019. According to him, significant advancement in relevant technology will be completed by the end of 2021.

The unmanned reconnaissance helicopter originally had two seats, but KAI changed the plan to render UAVs. Space for piloting seats of the prototype were mainly substituted by jamming equipment, flight control components, and an antenna communicator, etc. The aerial vehicle will be operated by the Ground Control System (GCS) with two screens, and two pilot-based and observer-based ground communication components will connect the UAV and its GCS. This integration will enable both manual and automatic takeoff or landing or flight, he explained.

When Naval News asked about the possibility of deploying UAVs on ships, KAI indicated that automatic VTOL technology for naval vessels is also in progress, but the Night Intruder 600VT prototype has not been produced yet. He implied, “The modification of its VTOL system to fit well with a flight deck will require some significant time for technical reasons”.

According to the interview with KAI, the Night Intruder 600VT has only 2 rotor blades for the purpose of noise reduction, instead of 3 or 4 blades that are commonly adopted by other helicopters. KAI noted that, however, the number of rotor blades can be added if necessary, because changing a design of the unmanned helicopter is not technically difficult.

The guide briefly explained about the Next Corps Surveillance UAV known as Multirole Tactical UAV for the ROK Army, and the K-UCAV (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle) which is currently only in the phase of conceptual design.

 

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