UDT - Vidar: Conventional submarine with a new twist | ADM Oct 08

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With SEA1000 beginning to take shape, the options for the Collins class replacement are being scoped and researched right now. The long lead time of the submarine building cycle demands it. BMT has just place another option on the radar.
Nathan Harding

BMT Defence Services Ltd is a leading independent centre of excellence in naval design and engineering as part of the BMT Group which has over 1000 professional engineers worldwide.

The company has just released the Vidar-36 submarine concept design. Vidar-36 is an extremely capable and flexible 3,600 tonne conventional (SSK) submarine aimed at meeting the challenges of ocean-spanning reach, multiple mission versatility, land-attack and anti-surface capabilities, silent and covert operation.

BMT’s naval architects and engineers have developed the whole platform concept design in-house based on proven military and commercial off the shelf technologies.

The various requirements of a ‘high capability’, non-nuclear submarine were initially identified as a baseline and these were subjected to rigorous trade-off analysis in order to establish upper and lower bounds of capability.

These included range, endurance, air independent propulsion (AIP), weapons rounds, sonar fit, communication and payloads, which in turn drive the pressure hull diameter, overall length, submerged displacement and complement of the vessel.

Six different design configurations were investigated and compared using BMT’s in-house tools. Options included single and double hull configurations with baseline, traded and advanced capabilities. In the end, the traded single hull option was selected.

“Each concept was assessed by weighted scores in the identified trade spaces including littoral capability and cost.

"Whilst the high capability options scored well in terms of performance and payload capacity, they scored poorly due to increased cost and size.

"The double hull options offered extended range and off-board systems options, but were also penalised for increases in overall size and cost,” said Simon Binns, Vidar project team leader.

Vidar-36 has a length of 79 metres and a maximum beam of 8.4 metres.

Other features include a long range of 9,000 nautical miles; a maximum operating depth of over 200 metres; an advanced combat system; six 21 inch torpedo tubes and space and delivery systems for a total of 18 torpedoes and missiles or up to 36 mines.

The submarine design also incorporates a full suite of sensors including active and passive cylindrical, flank and intercept sonar arrays, mine and obstacle avoidance sonar; satellite communications, radar and electronic warfare support measures; communications interoperability and net-centric warfare compatibility; superior standards of crew accommodation and facilitating extended patrols.

Vidar-36 can be tailored to meet a navy’s particular requirements.

“From the start, Vidar-36 has been designed for flexibility and adaptability; for example modular spaces on board include a payload bay, mast bays and a weapons stowage compartment,” said Binns.

Vidar-36 takes advantage of the reliability of the diesel-electric propulsion arrangement but also incorporates an air-independent propulsion plug.

While the choice of AIP system is open and can be tailored to meet customer requirements, the baseline plug has a fuel cell and reformed methanol configuration.

“This permits 14-21 days at four knots depending on domestic and combat loading,” explains Binns.

Other options available include extended-range capabilities, a dry/wet deck hangar, reelable high-frequency communication systems, reelable towed array and special operations mission packages.

As another option, Vidar-36 can launch, operate and recover autonomous underwater vehicles and tethered unmanned underwater vehicles.

BMT’s local subsidiary, BMT Defence Services (Australia) Pty Ltd, have been supporting the Defence Material Organisation (DMO) over the past few years through a number of independent assurance and design contracts.

This has included design support to the existing fleet; whole life cost estimating of a successor submarine programme; technical analysis; integrated logistic support; cost estimating and production risk evaluation for the Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) as part of project Sea 4000.

The company has also provided technical support and design assurance to the conversion of tanker MV Delos to HMAS Sirius.

Recently, the company has announced the award of an eight year System Safety Support contract with the DMO Amphibious Deployment and Sustainment (ADAS) Program.

This extends on design assessment and safety support work undertaken with ADAS, which has supported the development of the safety requirements and a Safety Management System and Program since early 2007.

In order to prepare the LHDs for Initial Operational Release (IOR) and for Operational Release (OR), the ADAS Project Office is responsible for production of a Whole of Ship Safety Case (WoSSC).

BMT Defence Services (Australia) was selected as an independent service provider due to both their sound understanding of the technical subject matter and their ability to advise on associated engineering and hazard aspects within the Defence context.

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