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South African Indigenous Naval Projects?

JFC Fuller

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I have been thinking about the South African Navy and it occurs to me that most of the ships in service (both Frigates and Submarines) at the end of the 1980s were approaching the end of their service lives. The country managed to construct the combat support ship SAS Drakensburg and I have often wondered whether she was intended as a precursor to wider South African shipbuilding programme in line with what was happening in the rest of the South African defence industry at the time.

Were there plans for other surface vessels, patrol ships? Frigates?
Was it always intended that the Drakensburg be the only ship of her class?

Thank you in advance, sealordlawrence
 

TinWing

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There were a number projects mooted during South Africa's long isolation, most specifically, between the French cancellation of the order for the A69 "avisos" and Agosta class submarines in the late 70s and the lifting of sanctions in the 90s.

1. It was was suggested that the two remaining "President Class" frigates would be extensively rebuilt, both before and after the missile boats were ordered from Israel. Accounts indicated that the ships would have been rebuilt from the main deck, with entirely new superstructures.

2. South Africa apparently purchased Type 209 plans from Germany in the late 1980s, although there was no apparent progress towards actual domestic construction.

3. There were accounts of domestic "corvettes" designs, displacing as much as 1,500 tons, although I've never seen any details.
 

TomS

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This article looks worthwhile: "Corvette projects of the South African navy and the printed media: different government, different debate," Strategic Review for Southern Africa, Nov, 2004 by Thean Potgieter

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb1402/is_2_26/ai_n29147990/pg_11/

In this context [increased operations in Angola in the early 1980s] naval expenditure was perceived to be less important and the local warship building capacity established at Sandock Austral and UEC was therefore threatened. In the light of the mandatory arms embargo and due the fact that South Africa urgently needed corvettes or frigates, this ship-building capacity was nevertheless seen as strategically important. It was thought that at least a nucleus capability should be maintained to fulfil the future vessel needs of the SAN. (66) The result was the so-called Survival Plan for the South African warship building industry, calling for a minimum effort to maintain the shipbuilding capacity. One more strike craft and a locally designed replenishment vessel (SAS Drakensberg) were built. Strike craft nine was launched on 27 March 1986, starting service with the Navy on 4 July 1986. SAS Drakensberg with a displacement of 12 500 ton, commissioned in November 1987, was the biggest naval vessel ever designed and built in South Africa. (67) The Beeld newspaper was elated about the news of the SAS Drakensberg and stated that the UN's nose was now "bloodied" and that this indicated that South Africa would not be incapacitated. But, it was added, in the national interest of South Africa, the country would have to locally build frigates or corvettes. (68)

As far as a local corvette programme was concerned, several feasibility studies were conducted from 1978 onwards and throughout the 1980s, (69) and the capacity to build and design warships came to be regarded as a key activity. By 1987 Armscor was positive that it had established a local capability, (70) to design and build four corvette-type vessels. A programme to this effect, Project Foreshore, was accordingly approved by the SADF and Armscor received the final go-ahead to proceed from the Minister of Defence in December 1990. After an evaluation of possible overseas partners to assist with the design and to provide technical support, and as the corvette was based on an altered Bazan type 590 design (1 800 ton), the Spanish yard Bazan was identified as the best option. (71) Although no official announcements were made to the press, it was noticeable at the stage that a number of articles supportive of the SAN started to appear in South African newspapers, advocating that the SAN should receive new equipment as it had been neglected for years. (72)
 

JFC Fuller

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Thanks everybody,

It looks like a number of projects were considered in this timeframe. I have found the following article which seems to reinforce what has been said above:

http://academic.sun.ac.za/mil/scientia_militaria/Internet%20Vol%2032(2)/05%20Potgieter.pdf

It seems that the corvettes and to a lesser extent the submarines were something of a constant feature of SAN planning. I would love to know the armaments details planned for these ships.
 

kaiserbill

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I imagine the armament would be a heavier edition of what was on the Strikecraft. 76mm Oto Melara, Skerpioen SSM (Gabriel) with a variety of smaller weapons. The SAN would have had plenty of other weaponry from the old destroyers and frigates at hand, for the interim at least. Triple mk32 torpedo tubes from at least 5 of these, as well as plenty of 40mm. If we look at the Rooikat 35mm SPAAG and the indigineous twin 35mm that uses the same ordinance currently equipping the current Valour Class, that would also have come into the equation at some stage.

Interestingly, the 1400ton Baptista de Andrade class currently operated by Portugal were the ships ordered by South Africa in the early 1970's. They are a Blohm&Voss design, with word being that after the 4 that were built at Bazan were delivered, another 2 would have been constructed in South Africa, most likely by Sandock Austral.

Does anyone have any info on this Bazan type 590 design? Is it similar to the Argentine navy Meko 140, which has a common ancestor to the de Andrade class in the Joao Coutinho class?
 

kaiserbill

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Further about the looked at radical construction of the two Modified Type 12 conversions. The book South Africa's Fighting Ships basically says that this entailed replacing the turbines with high speed diesels, Skerpioen missiles abaft the funnel, replacement of the twin Mk6 114mm gun with two 76mm cannon either side of the bridge structure, the complete reconstruction of the bridge deck right aft to include a landing deck for 2 Pumas with below deck hangars, as well as a host of other modifications.

Regarding the submarine project, South Africa very certainly was moving in that direction. It was stated that after the SAS Drakensberg, the submarine and corvette programmes were the priority. It was proven during German criminal proceedings that SA had indeed obtained the Type-209 Blueprints from Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft for around $57 million, together with electronic equipment for them from the US company Litton Industries. The investigation had started in 1985 and got the politicians Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Franz-Josef Strauss in a spot of bother.

SA's Fighting Ships also says that steel was just about to be cut on the South African corvette's when it was cancelled. (in 1990/91?) Also, this was known as Project Falcon, not Project Foreshore as far as I can ascertain.

As this implies a definite design, was this the Bazan 590? Can anybody point me to some info on this design?
 

TinWing

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kaiserbill said:
Further about the looked at radical construction of the two Modified Type 12 conversions. The book South Africa's Fighting Ships basically says that this entailed replacing the turbines with high speed diesels, Skerpioen missiles abaft the funnel, replacement of the twin Mk6 114mm gun with two 76mm cannon either side of the bridge structure, the complete reconstruction of the bridge deck right aft to include a landing deck for 2 Pumas with below deck hangars, as well as a host of other modifications.
This isn't the first time I've read about the very elaborate plan for rebuilding the surviving two President class frigates. I'm particularly puzzled by the reference to a below deck hangar and the 76mm guns on "either side of the bridge structure," although I do remember being utterly puzzled by the reported rebuild plans.

Does the 1992 book "South Africa's Fighting Ships" have an illustration, photos or drawings? Does the more recent book, "Those Who Had The Power," have any naval related material of interest?

kaiserbill said:
Regarding the submarine project, South Africa very certainly was moving in that direction. It was stated that after the SAS Drakensberg, the submarine and corvette programmes were the priority. It was proven during German criminal proceedings that SA had indeed obtained the Type-209 Blueprints from Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft for around $57 million, together with electronic equipment for them from the US company Litton Industries. The investigation had started in 1985 and got the politicians Chancellor Helmut Kohl and Franz-Josef Strauss in a spot of bother.
Thanks for reaffirming my memory. As I recollect, selling blueprints wouldn't have violated any embargo, although it would still have been a major challenger for South Africa to have developed the infrastructure to have actually built a complete submarine, even assuming that critical components could have been imported.



kaiserbill said:
SA's Fighting Ships also says that steel was just about to be cut on the South African corvette's when it was cancelled. (in 1990/91?) Also, this was known as Project Falcon, not Project Foreshore as far as I can ascertain.

As this implies a definite design, was this the Bazan 590? Can anybody point me to some info on this design?
The only info that I've found on the F590 Corvette pertains to the post-Apartheid competitive bidding process that lead to the Meko order. Of coure, the 590 designation might have been reused on different projects, although my personal opinion is that there is a direct lineage between this proposal and the more recent AFCON corvette.
 

TinWing

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kaiserbill said:
I imagine the armament would be a heavier edition of what was on the Strikecraft. 76mm Oto Melara, Skerpioen SSM (Gabriel) with a variety of smaller weapons. The SAN would have had plenty of other weaponry from the old destroyers and frigates at hand, for the interim at least. Triple mk32 torpedo tubes from at least 5 of these, as well as plenty of 40mm. If we look at the Rooikat 35mm SPAAG and the indigineous twin 35mm that uses the same ordinance currently equipping the current Valour Class, that would also have come into the equation at some stage.

Interestingly, the 1400ton Baptista de Andrade class currently operated by Portugal were the ships ordered by South Africa in the early 1970's. They are a Blohm&Voss design, with word being that after the 4 that were built at Bazan were delivered, another 2 would have been constructed in South Africa, most likely by Sandock Austral.

Does anyone have any info on this Bazan type 590 design? Is it similar to the Argentine navy Meko 140, which has a common ancestor to the de Andrade class in the Joao Coutinho class?
Well, the first two A69 Aviso in service with Argentina were built for South Africa, but redirected after the embargo. As far as the Baptista de Andrade class, which in turn was based on the João Coutinho, seems to be very close in design to the French A69 Avisos, and obviously, Portugal was on very friendly terms with South Africa before the 1975 coup. Even more confusing are claims that the Meko 140 was indeed based on the hull form of the João Coutinho, although the actually construction process and layout must share very little with the Portuguese vessels. So, I guess the question is whether the was a deal to buy Bazan built, B&V designed frigates through Portugal that fell through before the later French A69 order, which also fell through? Does this design have anything to do with the late Apartheid era plan to build a class of corvettes domestically? If I'm not confused now, I guess I never will be?

In any case, here's a link to a few posts by Santi. I'm still not clear as to the chronology of the F590A, F590B and the F592, and perhaps none of the design illustrated in these links predate the end of Apartheid?

F590a and F590B?

http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showpost.php?p=1207717&postcount=2

F592?

http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showpost.php?p=1208011&postcount=7

Here's the whole thread:

http://forum.keypublishing.co.uk/showthread.php?t=77827
 

kaiserbill

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Tinwing, to briefly answer some of your questions....

Unfortunately there is no illustration of the proposed reworked President Class Frigates in SA's Fighting Ships. I will have a look over the weekend and see if there was any further elaboration, but I suspect that the description above is what is in the book. I do know that the plan was to ensure a viable ASW presence and ensure vital ASW skills built up over the decades working with the Royal Navy weren't lost until the indigineous corvette programme came on line.

Those Who Had the Power has a small naval section, much of what appears to be speculation. I do know that the book was vetted before publishing and had to be considerably revised as a result. Due to various sanction busting activities, and various 20 year secrecy clauses, that is obviously the way it has to be for the time being. Nevertheless there are some interesting cases in the book that are plausable, such as the fact that certain very capable, powerful, and modern conventional subs were offered under the counter to South Africa during the 1980's due to the original customer being unable to afford them, or no longer being interested in them. I will have a look through it this weekend and post anything of interest on Monday if you like.

The Baptista de Andrade were very definitely ordered by South Africa. The electronics and equipment fitted should also point to this fact. Portugal acted as the intermediatary with Bazan being the constructor of 4, with probable local production in South Africa of 2 more also being stated. The coup in Portugal ended this, forcing the Portuguese navy to assume ownership, and the South Africans to look at the French A69. This saga is dealt with in SA's Fighting Ships, as well as some of the links posted above by other forum members.

Thanks for the links btw, the first one in particular showing a likely armament for a late 1980's early 1990's South African vessel, even if that design appears (if I'm correct) to be somewhat later than the indigineous programme.
 

JFC Fuller

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kaiserbill said:
Tinwing, to briefly answer some of your questions....

Unfortunately there is no illustration of the proposed reworked President Class Frigates in SA's Fighting Ships. I will have a look over the weekend and see if there was any further elaboration, but I suspect that the description above is what is in the book. I do know that the plan was to ensure a viable ASW presence and ensure vital ASW skills built up over the decades working with the Royal Navy weren't lost until the indigineous corvette programme came on line.

Those Who Had the Power has a small naval section, much of what appears to be speculation. I do know that the book was vetted before publishing and had to be considerably revised as a result. Due to various sanction busting activities, and various 20 year secrecy clauses, that is obviously the way it has to be for the time being. Nevertheless there are some interesting cases in the book that are plausable, such as the fact that certain very capable, powerful, and modern conventional subs were offered under the counter to South Africa during the 1980's due to the original customer being unable to afford them, or no longer being interested in them. I will have a look through it this weekend and post anything of interest on Monday if you like.

The Baptista de Andrade were very definitely ordered by South Africa. The electronics and equipment fitted should also point to this fact. Portugal acted as the intermediatary with Bazan being the constructor of 4, with probable local production in South Africa of 2 more also being stated. The coup in Portugal ended this, forcing the Portuguese navy to assume ownership, and the South Africans to look at the French A69. This saga is dealt with in SA's Fighting Ships, as well as some of the links posted above by other forum members.

Thanks for the links btw, the first one in particular showing a likely armament for a late 1980's early 1990's South African vessel, even if that design appears (if I'm correct) to be somewhat later than the indigineous programme.
I understand that project foreshore refers to the original programme to buy Portuguese designed ships, however this was cancelled due to rising costs and the embargo. Project Falcon probably refers to the later indigenous project.

Argentina is a possible candidate for submarines, they built up a submarine building capability in the late 70s/early 80s then lost the ability to buy them. I know most of the components were robbed out to keep the existing ships going but for a very long time the yard had incomplete hulls just laying around the building sheds and they were type 209 variants.
 

kaiserbill

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sealordlawrence said:
I understand that project foreshore refers to the original programme to buy Portuguese designed ships, however this was cancelled due to rising costs and the embargo. Project Falcon probably refers to the later indigenous project.

Argentina is a possible candidate for submarines, they built up a submarine building capability in the late 70s/early 80s then lost the ability to buy them. I know most of the components were robbed out to keep the existing ships going but for a very long time the yard had incomplete hulls just laying around the building sheds and they were type 209 variants.
Ok, that would make sense re the project names Sealord.

Well done on the second one! I was waiting for somebody to mention the Upholder class. ;)
The TR1700 though is not as far as I know a Type 209 variant, but a completely different design. It was the largest conventional submarine ever built in Germany up to that stage, and may very well still be. A basic perusal of one of my Janes editions in the late 1980's shows some very very impressive performance figures. I will have to check at home through Those Who Had the Power, but it appears these 4 subs, originally destined for Argentina, were the ones offered, probably at around the same time the wheeling and dealing over the Type 209 blueprints was going on.
 

JFC Fuller

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Kaiser,

They probably have some 209 lineage but you are likely right that they are quite heavily evolved.

What could have been South Africa's: http://www.taringa.net/posts/imagenes/84080/Submarinos-argentinos-en-construcci%C3%B3n_.html

Interestingly in the early 90s/late 80s there was an effort by a group in Argentina to turn the country into a major submarine construction and maintenance centre for the South American region so a sale to SA would have been right up their street.
 

kaiserbill

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Great link Sealord! I notice an incomplete Type 209 there as well.
 

JFC Fuller

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I dont think that 209 is incomplete but rather the second of the Salta class that is being 'preserved'/ robbed for parts to keep the first of class in service.
 

kaiserbill

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Ok. Those TR1700's are fine looking boats and very advanced looking for a 30 year old boat. Would I be almost right in saying they were probably the fastest conventional boats to see service?
 

TinWing

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sealordlawrence said:
Kaiser,

They probably have some 209 lineage but you are likely right that they are quite heavily evolved.
Actually, the TR1700 (and unbuilt TR1400 variant) had very little connection with the more familiar Type 209 family - despite what it says in the Forecast International report on the subject.

http://www.forecastinternational.com/archive/ws/ws5290.htm

In fact, Thyssen was entirely separate from IKL and HDW and a further stretched TR1700 was bid against the IKL/HDW Type 2000 in the Australian submarine competition. As I recollect, the Thyssen design was praised for its range but there was some criticism of the relative inexperience of the company in modern submarine design - which seems ironic given all the troubles suffered by the final Kockums design and the decades of service the TR1700 has seen in Argentina, with very little funding in the past quarter century. So the TR1700 has absolutely nothing to do with any variant of the Type 209, including the fairly unique Type 209-1500 that was only sold to Europe.

It does seem likely that Argentina might have offered the incomplete TR 1700s to South Africa at some point, although the same might have been said of Taiwan, although I am certain that the Thyssen bid to Australia didn't involve the incomplete hulls in question. However, there were some overwhelming labor issues in Argentina, and I somehow doubt that the Germans were anxious to see Argentina re-exporting German submarines to embargoed third party countries. It also gives rise to the issue of competition with IKL/HDW. In the end, $57 million for the plans of the Type 209 is not an inconsiderable sum, as it amounted to pure profit.
 

JFC Fuller

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The Argentine boats were probably offered to both Taiwan and South Africa, however the window for their sale was probably fairly short as the enterprise building lost capability and components were removed to sustain the first two boats.

Using the TR1700 to bash the Collins class is ridiculous. The Argentine boats have a fraction of the annual sea days of the Collins class, are nowhere near as advanced in terms of combat systems, have had no meaningful upgrade throughout there entire careers and have mostly been sustained by ripping components out of the 4 incomplete hulls.
 

kaiserbill

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TinWing said:
and I somehow doubt that the Germans were anxious to see Argentina re-exporting German submarines to embargoed third party countries. It also gives rise to the issue of competition with IKL/HDW. In the end, $57 million for the plans of the Type 209 is not an inconsiderable sum, as it amounted to pure profit.
From the two books I had a look through this weekend, Armscor by James P McWilliams, and Those Who had the Power by Badenhorst and Victor, some interesting points emerge.

South Africa was close to directly purchasing actual Type 209's in the early 1980's from HDW but the final purchase was scuttled due to the foreign minister Hans Dietrich Genscher requesting that the various departments and manufacturers adhere to the arms embargo. On his June 1984 visit to the FRG, President PW Botha apparently requested Helmet Kohl to approve the sale of submarine plans to South Africa.

Of the money paid by South Africa, HDW in Kiel returned R21 Million, whilst IKL in Lubeck retained R10,5 million. The second book speculated that South Africa's submarine programme "might" have been called "Project Thoroughbred". The variant the South Africans were interested in was a Type 209 class "1650", based apparently on the Type 209 1500 SSK's built for India.

When the blueprint sale broke in Germany, it caused a political furore which implicated HDW, IKL, Helmut Kohl, as well as Franz Josef Struass, who had previously attempted to get HDW to build up to 8 SSK's for diect sale to South Africa.

In November 1987, South Africa's Defence Minister Magnus Malan indicated that a project was already underway to build submarines locally, with 4 boats to be built by Sandock Austral for delivery from/or by 1992. Clearly this was in the early phases and was probably cancelled along with many other programmes in the dramatic 1989 slashing of the defence budget.

Regarding the Argentina subs, the second book only states that apparently, a West German intermediary offered brand new submarines built for/or by Argentina, but which it no longer wanted. These boats and components would be delivered as is to Durban or Cape Town for fitting out. Defence Minister Malan turned this down as he found certain conditions unnacceptable, much to President PW Botha's dismay when he found out later. These can only be the incompleted TR1700's IMHO.
 

kaiserbill

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TinWing said:
This isn't the first time I've read about the very elaborate plan for rebuilding the surviving two President class frigates. I'm particularly puzzled by the reference to a below deck hangar and the 76mm guns on "either side of the bridge structure," although I do remember being utterly puzzled by the reported rebuild plans.
This is what is written in SA's Fighting Ships, by Allan du Toit:

" Plans were subsequently drawn up during the mid 1980's to modernise completely the two remaining President class frigates. The purpose of this was to keep alive the necessary anti-submarine talents in the Navy until replacement corvettes could be procured. The frigates were also needed because they had greater range than the strike craft and were considerably larger and thus better equipped to deal with the notoriously rough seas encountered off the South African coast.

This proposal involved stripping both ships down to their bare hulls and virtually rebuilding them, incorporating the latest in weapon and sensor developments. These plans made provision for the replacement of the steam turbines and boilers with a diesel propulsion arrangement, extending the bridge-deck right aft to provide a large flight deck and below-deck hangar for two Puma helicopters, and the complete reconstruction of the superstructure, masts, and funnel. Planned armament included two single 76mm guns in super-imposed positions forward of the new bridge structure and fixed Skerpioen surface-to-surface missile launchers abreast the funnels, together with close-in weapons and two triple-barrelled Mk 32 torpedo tubes. Whilst this project remained under scutiny, a continued lack of funds consistently precluded its realisation, and both ships remained laid up in Simonstown."
 

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Similarly, the book also states that:

" Whilst the SAN had hoped to supplement and eventually replace their Daphne class submarines with locally constructed boats based on the German Type 209 design during the early 1990's. this project was indefinitely shelved in 1988 mainly for budgetary reasons.
Similarly, attempts to build four corvettes in Durban to replace the four oldest strike craft were shattered in August 1991 - as steel for the first vessel was about to be cut - due to government funding cuts."

That means a concrete design had been chosen.

Interestingly, the navy was always the poor cousin of the army and airforce. The corvette project was obviously the more essential programme, hence the decision to delay the submarine programme. Interestingly, and supportive of this, was the deep overhaul and modernisation of the Daphne class carried out from 1988 through to 1992.
 

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So I guess we are no closer to solving the mystery of the indigineous South African light frigate design of which work was about to commence on in 1991?
 

JFC Fuller

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kaiserbill said:
So I guess we are no closer to solving the mystery of the indigineous South African light frigate design of which work was about to commence on in 1991?
No, unfortunately we seem to have hit a brick wall regarding that one: not dissimilar to Project Cava!
 

kaiserbill

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sealordlawrence said:
No, unfortunately we seem to have hit a brick wall regarding that one: not dissimilar to Project Cava!
Frustrating, isn't it?
Surely, even approaching 20 years and one Cold War ending later, they cannot bring themselves to declassify these projects. Only brief glimpses have been leaked.....
 

Abraham Gubler

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Here is a quick to scale mock up of what the rebuilt President class (Rothesay) could have looked like.
 

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kaiserbill

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Nice one AG, that's pretty much the way I imagined it too, sans some of the smaller details of course.

Did you do it yourself?

In the context of this thread, I was chatting to my brother, and he suggested I try the Naval Museum in Simonstown, or the SA Maritime Museum in Cape Town with some of the questions in this thread.
A long shot perhaps, but maybe worth the effort.
 

Abraham Gubler

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kaiserbill said:
Did you do it yourself?
Yep.

kaiserbill said:
Nice one AG, that's pretty much the way I imagined it too, sans some of the smaller details of course.
The smaller details are just stock items! All I did was take a line drawing of a Rothesay class on Google images and place it into a scale (1/432 in 72dpi or 2 pixels per foot) and draw a line for the extended bridge deck to the stern. I found some 76mm Otogun mounts from a Vickers ship and stuck them into place. The bridge, mast and stack are all from a Leander class.

The only real work was the elevator and hangar bay. Originally I had the hangar aft and the elevator forward. But that would have placed the weight of the hangar, the reinforced flight deck (above it) and two Puma helicopters right over the stern of the Rothesay. Rothesays have a cutback superstructure above the stern and therefore very little weight there. So I swapped the order placing the heavy hangar and flight deck where the Limbo mortars and magazines are on a Rothesay. While the elevator wouldn’t be light it can be very narrow so keeping the weight over the stern on the centreline to help for stability and minimising structural reinforcement.
 

JFC Fuller

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kaiserbill said:
Ok. Those TR1700's are fine looking boats and very advanced looking for a 30 year old boat. Would I be almost right in saying they were probably the fastest conventional boats to see service?
I have a sneaking suspicion that the TR1700 may have been designed from the outset with a nuclear power plant in mind. Argentina reportedly ordered the development of the Carem reactor to begin in 1984 with the TR1700 design in mind specifically, and there is reported to have been work carried out in the area of nuclear propulsion prior to this in the 1970s. The contract for the TR1700 design being signed in 1977. I suspect that the idea was to acquire a diesel electric submarine already designed for deep diving and high underwater speed and then insert a small reactor into that design as it became available. It would also explain the trouble that Argentina went to in developing a submarine building capability. They have recently brought this idea back to life with some intention of pursuing it.

I would love to know if there was ever any South African / Argentinian nuclear cooperation?
 

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Was reading a book yesterday written by an admiral in the SAN who stated that the SAN submarine project had already ordered long lead items when it was cancelled. He also mentioned the programme names concerning the upgrade of the Daphne electronics, as well as the electronics to be fitted into the new build subs. I'll post the brief sentence or two mentioning these here tomorrow.
 

JFC Fuller

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kaiserbill said:
Was reading a book yesterday written by an admiral in the SAN who stated that the SAN submarine project had already ordered long lead items when it was cancelled. He also mentioned the programme names concerning the upgrade of the Daphne electronics, as well as the electronics to be fitted into the new build subs. I'll post the brief sentence or two mentioning these here tomorrow.
Kaiser,

Thats fascinating, I look forward to reading it!
 

kaiserbill

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In the 1980's, another attempt was made to expand the submarine force when a programme was initiated to build submarines in South Africa. The required infrastructure and technology was established at the same shipbuilding yard in Durban that had built the strike craft and the stage had been reached where orders had been placed for some of the long-lead equipment and systems, when the project was cancelled on political grounds by the State President in February 1990.

In the 1980's South Africa's political isolation made the aquisition of spare parts for the command and control and weapon systems increasingly difficult. In addition, these systems were becoming outdated and there was absolutely no hope of getting any improved replacement systems from any foreign supplier. The Navy therefore initiated a programme, known as Project RAKA, aimed at developing an indigenous upgrade of the electronic systems of the Daphne submarines. After completion of this project a second project, known as Project NICKLES, was initiated to further develop these improvements and provide the basis for the systems to be built and fitted in the local build submarine programme. After the cancellation of the submarine build programme, NICKLES provided an upgraded system to be fitted as part of the modernisation programme of the three Daphne submarines.
Pg 107, South Africa's Navy by R Adm C H Bennet SAN (Retired) & R Adm A G Soderlund SAN (Reserve)
2008.

The above was written toward the end of the section in the book dealing with the Daphne class and cancelled sale of the Agostas.
 

JFC Fuller

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There is clearly a much larger story there, if long lead items were ordered the largest part of the design work must have been complete. I wonder how many they were planning on building and what displacement they would have had? ???
 

kaiserbill

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sealordlawrence said:
There is clearly a much larger story there, if long lead items were ordered the largest part of the design work must have been complete. I wonder how many they were planning on building and what displacement they would have had? ???
I would think the design would have been on the Type 209 basis? I'm not sure which model though, if this was the case. Certainly, the 3 Daphnes were to be complemented by 2 Agostas, which the arrival of sanctions thwarted. So there are 5 boats. I seem to recall reading that a 6 plus boat fleet was the requirement, and that they would initially supplement, and then replace the Daphne's.

It is clear that there were concrete, completed designs for both the indigenous submarine and light frigate.
 

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kaiserbill said:
sealordlawrence said:
There is clearly a much larger story there, if long lead items were ordered the largest part of the design work must have been complete. I wonder how many they were planning on building and what displacement they would have had? ???
I would think the design would have been on the Type 209 basis? I'm not sure which model though, if this was the case. Certainly, the 3 Daphnes were to be complemented by 2 Agostas, which the arrival of sanctions thwarted. So there are 5 boats. I seem to recall reading that a 6 plus boat fleet was the requirement, and that they would initially supplement, and then replace the Daphne's.

It is clear that there were concrete, completed designs for both the indigenous submarine and light frigate.
Absolutely, it looks like the aspirations were for 6 submarines and 6 light frigates probably supplemented by the remaining strike craft and Drakensburg.
 

kaiserbill

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Having another look at the whole thread, the interesting thing for me appears to be the design of the light frigate. Clearly, a concrete design was in place, as steel was about to be cut. I wonder how close that first picture in the link Tinwing posted in reply 7 is to the real thing? The timeline seems to be before the end of sanctions.

I'm in Cape Town for 3 weeks, and seeing as I've never been, I think I'm going to go down to the Naval Museum in Simonstown and see if perhaps anybody there knows anything. It's probably a long shot though....
 

JFC Fuller

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Best of luck with your trip, you never know when someone might say more than they realise they should...
 

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We just have to be patient gents. Most of the Non Disclosure Agreements signed by former Armscor employees would start expiring around now.
 

kaiserbill

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compton_effect said:
We just have to be patient gents. Most of the Non Disclosure Agreements signed by former Armscor employees would start expiring around now.
Actually, you are 100% correct. There was a poster on another forum who stated that his fathers friend was working on the South African submarine project, and that when he asked him about the project, this person stated he would be respecting the non disclosure agreement he signed until he was released from it, which should be between rfrom sometime now until a couple of years time. This should also hopefully apply to other interesting projects such as the Carver. There was a gentleman who had seen many of the engineering drawings re Carver over on AFM who said he would enquire whether further info could be released into the public domain about that project. He went silent after that, so I assume that means 'no'!

Apologies Sealord, but I unfortunately never managed to get to the Naval Museum in Simonstown on my recent trip. I have told the wife that when we are in Cape Town next year, the trip to the museum, with or without her, is a non-negotiable!
 

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sealordlawrence said:
kaiserbill said:
Ok. Those TR1700's are fine looking boats and very advanced looking for a 30 year old boat. Would I be almost right in saying they were probably the fastest conventional boats to see service?
I have a sneaking suspicion that the TR1700 may have been designed from the outset with a nuclear power plant in mind. Argentina reportedly ordered the development of the Carem reactor to begin in 1984 with the TR1700 design in mind specifically, and there is reported to have been work carried out in the area of nuclear propulsion prior to this in the 1970s. The contract for the TR1700 design being signed in 1977. I suspect that the idea was to acquire a diesel electric submarine already designed for deep diving and high underwater speed and then insert a small reactor into that design as it became available. It would also explain the trouble that Argentina went to in developing a submarine building capability. They have recently brought this idea back to life with some intention of pursuing it.
Slightly off topic, the TR1700 is a fascinating sub. It's delivery voyage from Germany to the Argentine revealed some very impressive performance stats, according to Janes. Is there a reason it didn't sell better? It was a relatively big boat, was highly automated for it's day, with the type of complement only recently achieved by its rivals. It also boasted a long range and high underwater speed. Was it too costly? Perhaps Sealord may be on the right path with regards to his post above as well?
 

TinWing

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kaiserbill said:
sealordlawrence said:
kaiserbill said:
Ok. Those TR1700's are fine looking boats and very advanced looking for a 30 year old boat. Would I be almost right in saying they were probably the fastest conventional boats to see service?
I have a sneaking suspicion that the TR1700 may have been designed from the outset with a nuclear power plant in mind. Argentina reportedly ordered the development of the Carem reactor to begin in 1984 with the TR1700 design in mind specifically, and there is reported to have been work carried out in the area of nuclear propulsion prior to this in the 1970s. The contract for the TR1700 design being signed in 1977. I suspect that the idea was to acquire a diesel electric submarine already designed for deep diving and high underwater speed and then insert a small reactor into that design as it became available. It would also explain the trouble that Argentina went to in developing a submarine building capability. They have recently brought this idea back to life with some intention of pursuing it.
Slightly off topic, the TR1700 is a fascinating sub. It's delivery voyage from Germany to the Argentine revealed some very impressive performance stats, according to Janes. Is there a reason it didn't sell better? It was a relatively big boat, was highly automated for it's day, with the type of complement only recently achieved by its rivals. It also boasted a long range and high underwater speed. Was it too costly? Perhaps Sealord may be on the right path with regards to his post above as well?
I'm sure the military junta in Argentina had a number of altogether unrealistic plans. Keep in mind that the TR1700 was a stretched design, with twice the battery capacity and twice the number of generators as the unbuilt baseline. This also explains why it looks rather long behind the sail. It's a big conventional submarine, but entirely unrelated to the other German export submarines of the era. Obviously, it had tremendous range, and impressive performance, but it wasn't nearly as sophisticated as the Type 2000 that the Germans offered to the USN and then to Australia.
 

Sea Skimmer

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I’ve heard the TR1700 got its massive range by packing the hull with irregularly shaped fuel tanks, which were also all ballast tanks. The result was endless fuel contamination problems and fuel tanks which could not be cleaned since no one could fit inside them to do the job, leading to fouling of the engines. If ture this would provide a perfect reason why no one else bought the design.

I also suspect most typical German customers simply had no need for such long range diesel submarines and preferred smaller submarines which are more agile and better suited to shallow water. Nations don’t buy products based purely on getting the most capability. They buy the capability that they need.
 
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