Sea Platforms

Euronaval 2018: Naval Group looks to the future with radical SMX 31 future submarine concept

26 October 2018

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 SMX-31 submarine concept foregoes the sail to reduce target echo strength. (IHS Markit/Alex Pape)The SMX-31 submarine concept foregoes the sail to reduce target echo strength. (IHS Markit/Alex Pape)

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.

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