Just before we hit the Euronaval trade show which begins in Paris next Monday, here are a few short items on submarines:
Russia and Italy had announced at the last Euronaval show in 2006 that they were to build a diesel-electric submarine of slightly more than 1,000 tons. Ivan Goncharenko, the deputy director of Rosoboronexport (Russia's state-held defense exports' company) recently told journalists in Moscow that this project was still in the cards. “Russia and Italy are fulfilling their engagements with the view of building a small submarine, but construction will not begin immediately even if specialists from both countries have already determined that its diving displacement will be more than 1,000 tons,” he said.
We'll see if they reveal more next week.
Goncharenko did warn that he was not expecting to sign any contracts during the show and said that only nine Russian companies would be present on the Rosoboronexport stand at the show. He said this relatively “low-profile” was due to greater domestic activity. “The fight for military equipment orders has lost its sharpness and shipyards don't want to spend money to take part in exhibitions right now,” he said.
Russian companies will be showing mostly models (obviously, it's a little difficult showing ships at Le Bourget, the venue for Euronaval, which is not even that close to a river!) of the Gepard-class frigates, Talwar-class destroyer project 11356 and the Steregushchy-class corvette. They will also show the Zubr and Murena air cushioned landing craft, while the submarine builders will show project 636 Varshavyanka and the Amur-class.
Project 636. Illustration by Rubin
In Spain, the navy has spent eight months negotiating with Navantia over costs of the major overhaul for the Galerna submarine which has been tied up at dock in Cartagena, waiting for the defense ministry to give the go-ahead. According to a union member at Navantia quoted by Spanish radio station Cope, initial work has begun but that is all.
The Galerna visiting Stockholm in 2005. Photo: Wikipedia Commons
And sticking with the Spanish-speaking world, work to upgrade the first of two Ecuadorian submarines has begun at the Talcahuano naval base in Chile which won the $120 million modernisation contract.
The BAE Shyri (SS-101) arrived at the Chilean port in early September and should be able to sail home in May 2011, while the BAE Huancavilca (SS-102) will arrive in December 2010 and should be fully upgraded by 2012.
BAE Shyri. Photo: Chilean Navy
The two submarines were built in 1978. Their combat systems, sonars, periscopes and weapons will all be upgraded, giving them another 20 years of operational life.