Not just a concept: SMX Ocean from DCNS

RSS

DCNS, the French naval systems group, revealed the SMX Ocean submarine derived from the Barracuda on the first day of the Euronaval show in the northern suburbs of Paris.

The SMX Ocean is the first of the SMX series to have a name rather than a number (this would be SMX 27 as it is the 27th concept vessel shown by DCNS that traditionally unveils at least one such vessel at every Euronaval exhibition) because it is more than just a concept.

Hervé Guillou, DCNS CEO, explained that SMX Ocean is basically the Barracuda submarine with conventional instead of nuclear propulsion. He said such a vessel could be of interest for Australia's future submarine requirement as it is a large submarine with a very long range of 18,000 nautical miles (33,336km) at 10 knots and has an autonomy of 90 days.

SMX Ocean not only incorporates all the newest technological bricks available, even if some of them are not fully mature, but the 4,700 ton, 100m long submarine could also stock five different types of weapons: torpedoes, anti-surface missiles, anti-air missiles, cruise missiles and mines for a total payload of 34 weapons.

The concept behind SMX Ocean is that it could have a very mixed navigation program: it could sail at an average speed of 14 knots one week, then spend a month on patrol with no snorting period (snorting is when a submarine rises close to the sea surface in order to raise a pipe through which it draws in the air necessary to run its diesel engines that in turn recharge the batteries that power the submarine when it is fully submerged; this process is also sometimes called snorkeling) and then spend another week sailing back to its harbour at 14 knots.

Ocean would have a maximum operating depth of up to 300m and maximum diving speed of up to 20 knots.

DCNS' concept vessels have not all been just fun and games for the engineers. One such concept quickly became the Adroit surface vessel. Another, the Andrasta submarine specially designed for littoral missions, has just been renamed Scorpene 1000 to more clearly indicate how close it is to the Scorpene 2000 which is the new designation for the historic Scorpene bought by Malaysia (2 at sea), Chile (2 at sea) India (6 under construction) and Brazil (four under construction).

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