DCNS F-21: Safest and Modern 21st Century Torpedo for Indian Navy

Discussion in 'Indian Navy' started by WolfPack86, Aug 6, 2016.

  1. WolfPack86

    WolfPack86 Senior Member Senior Member

    Oct 20, 2015
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    With the procurement of Black Shark being cancelled, does DCNS have an alternative solution for the P75 submarines?

    Yes. We have proposed the F-21 torpedo developed by DCNS. This is a modern 21st century torpedo specifically developed for the French Navy’s new generation of SSN Barracuda class submarines.

    What are its main features compared to the competition?

    Besides unmatched performances, on which I will come back later, one of the important comparative advantages lies with its exclusive safety level.

    French Navy decided to fund the development of a totally new Heavy Weight Torpedo, rather than procuring an upgraded version of its already inducted torpedoes, in order to match the operational requirement to operate a torpedo having unparalleled performances while fulfilling the latest safety rules and standards.

    Since there was no available electric torpedo in the market fulfilling French Navy’s various requirements, developing a new torpedo was the only way to ensure that it matched the enhanced level of safety requirements necessary for riskless induction in its new generation nuclear submarines.

    Indeed, the level of safety for weapons to be inducted in nuclear submarines is much higher than that for any conventional submarine due to the enormous consequential damages an on-board explosion could trigger.

    Thanks to its advanced design and development, F-21 won’t explode in any circumstances on-board the submarine. It will never explode in case of fire on-board, or if the torpedo is dropped or fired accidentally. Only torpedo manufacturers having a long experience in nuclear submarine building and operations can understand the level of safety required. This led to designing a torpedo with accident-proof subsystems with the necessary appropriate technologies and government funding.

    There are only three countries in the Western world (France, the UK and US) who have financed the development of a completely new safe torpedo with unmatched performances. Developing a wholly new torpedo with advanced features using 21st century technologies requires a large funding which only a government can afford. Indeed, the budget necessary to develop a new torpedo is close to 10 times the one required to upgrade an existing torpedo based on the Eighties technologies whose growth or upgrade potential has reached its limitation due to the original base technology used at the time of development.

    Another unique feature of the F-21 is its battery. DCNS is the only manufacturer in the world who has safely mastered the Aluminium Silver Oxide technology for Light Weight and Heavy Weight torpedoes. Most competitors use silver zinc for their batteries. Aluminium silver oxide batteries have three times the power available for the same volume. This allows the F-21 to have a much higher range and maximum speed available, making it a much more lethal weapon than any of its competitors. This can’t be disputed as the laws of physics apply for everyone. In order to achieve the same range as F-21, competitors are obliged to significantly enlarge the size of their batteries, thus making them impossible to integrate in submarines’ tubes. Silver zinc technology torpedoes for submarines will never reach the max speed and range of F-21, thus denying any superiority at sea for the navies.

    Being developed for French nuclear submarines, is the F-21 compatible and easily integrated in Scorpene submarines?

    Integrating a Heavy Weight Torpedo to any submarine is a complex and price intensive process. The weapon efficiency drastically depends on the technical quality of the integration. Besides the adaptation of mechanical interfaces, software of the CMS must be updated to fully communicate with the torpedo in all tactical circumstances.

    Such genuine seamless integrations have been made before on other submarines with other torpedoes and a market price, as practiced by other suppliers for integration of a new torpedo, is known to competent authorities. It does cost tens of millions of Euros.

    However, as far as integration to the P75 combat system is concerned, F-21 is seamlessly integrated with the Subtics CMS family of the Scorpene Subs and mechanically there is no difficulty to integrate F-21 in the P75 submarines, on the contrary, F-21 is shorter and lighter that other alternatives.

    Has F-21 been sold to other countries?

    Yes. Besides French Navy, F-21 has been ordered by the Brazilian Navy for its Scorpene submarines. Many international navies have shown deep interest in F-21 which is the sole modern electric torpedo available in the market.

    What are your plans for indigenisation of F-21, can it be locally produced?

    Some components of the F-21 are already available in India. Indeed, we have initiated five years ago a certification process for the thermal battery of F-21. The thermal battery is the battery used to safely push out the torpedo outside the submarine. This is to ensure that the torpedo remains totally safe inside the submarine and becomes active only when it is outside and away from the submarine.

    We have on-going discussions with various MSMEs, as well as Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), to enlarge the scope of indigenisation of this modern torpedo. As you know DCNS is keen to grow its industrial footprint in India through local partners. We have successfully conducted an extensive indigenisation programme for the P75 submarine project. We are aware and share the philosophy of Indian Navy in becoming totally self-reliant. The torpedo being the main weapon of an SSK submarine, we are looking at ways to have it manufactured and maintained in India.
    prateikf likes this.
  3. prateikf

    prateikf Regular Member

    Jul 14, 2009
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    Who is providing the above answers ? Is it an DCNS or MOD official or Parrikar himself? Last heard that DCNS has offered the F-21 only for French submarines or those built with French assistance. Would we still buy it then ?

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