With its latest SMX 31 submarine concept design, unveiled at the Euronaval 2018 exhibition in Paris, Naval Group is offering a glimpse at what a submarine required to operate in waterspace controlled by hostile forces may look like in the future.
The shape and hull coating of the 3,400-tonne displacement concept boat are designed with reducing target echo strength in mind, and includes a removal of the sail.
The SMX 31 retains mast-hoisted sensors; however, it would usually remain at depth and deploy a buoy to the surface from depths up to 100 m. Maximum diving depth is greater than 250 m.
The propulsion concept marks a further departure from current submarines. The SMX 31 is equipped with a high-capacity battery, providing power to two electric rim drive propulsors mounted on both sides of the hull near the stern, offering a maximum speed of around 20 kt.
The propulsion arrangement maximises internal space, and provides space in the stern for weapon launch tubes and lock out tube for unmanned (and autonomous) underwater vehicles (UUV/AUVs). Another set of weapon launch tubes is located in the forward section of the boat. Total weapon load, depending on configuration could range up to 46 heavyweight weapons, or a mix of weapons and UUVs and AUVs. The unmanned vehicles are expected to become part of the sensor suite of the submarine.
Want to read more? For analysis on this article and access to all our insight content, please enquire about our subscription options at ihsmarkit.com/janes