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Spongebob
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Dodgy Submarines

The Royal Australian Navy has six Collins class submarines, the largest conventional diesel/electric subs afloat and these were built in Australia over the period 1990 to 2003.
Since launching they have been plagued by both technical and political problems including performance deficiencies and the RAN’s inability to retain sufficient trained crews to man them.
In 2008 only three could be crewed at a time and technical problems even limited that availability at times to the extent that there was a recent rumour that only one of the six was ready for deployment.
This is according to the recent press and there is no doubt more than a glimmer of truth to the news.

A day or so ago it was announced that a big expenditure was necessary to bring the vessels up to scratch- Re engining, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The engines are Swedish design “Hedemora” diesels which are said to have been unreliable and perhaps under powered since day one.

Now I don’t know much about submarines except for the time I worked on HMS Tactician ( My thread “Odours” 11/4/08) but I do appreciate that the hull is essentially a cylindrical vessel designed for external pressure loads. I have seen photos of the hull portions under manufacture at Babcock’s Renfrew works years ago.
My thoughts are “How are they going to get the old engines out and the new ones in”? The hole up through the conning tower is usually pretty small!
I presume that a new sub under construction would have all the large heavy componentry fitted before they weld on the domed or dished end plates so to do the reverse they might have to place the boat in dry dock, cut through the PV hull cir***ferentially and pull the sections apart to extract the old and install the new. The re welding would be a big job on a thick seam and no doubt requiring stress relieving.
Does anyone, Shipyard men, ex submariners or engineers, have any idea how this would be done?
Also those Hedemora engines, I have never heard of them, are they normally OK, is it a misapplication to have used them, perhaps it was “bargain” buy?

Bob
 

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I probably know less about submarines than you do Bob but I figure they would cut the hull into two sections and change the engines by pulling them out fore or aft. Just my guess which is probably worth zip. I recall seing some photos in the gallery about moving a U Boat somewhere in the UK by cutting it in sections so I cannot even take credit for having the original idea.

I know even less about Hedemora engines but coincidentally their name came across my desk just last week in relation to the much delayed Indian Navy sub building program.

From what you say, seems that your subs work as well as the four pieces of junk we bought from the UK. Another fine example of British engineering and technology.
 

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Hedemora engines were the standard generator engines, for Shell 'L' class vessels built at Lindo werft Odense Denmark. To change the crankshaft on those engines they have to be turned upside down. To get the engines out and in to the hull of the submarine, a hole will be cut in the hull and the bits dug out before the bed is re-aligned for the new engines. Not really an unusual operation, the building should have allowed for this sort of operation, so minimum pipework and cables will have to be moved. Not exactly a piece of cake bu definitely not difficult. Welders will be very high class for boxing up, the yard will (or should) start training welders for the job the day after the order is placed. If they want to get the job done properly and fairly cheaply.
 

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I have not heard of Hedemora Diesel before but a quick look at there web site shows a picture of a sub and some oil rigs. The company started out 1876 fabricating Agricultural Machinery and in 1903 built its first internal combustion engine. By 1946 it was a licensed builder of Pielsticks. In 1954 built its first engines for Swedish Submarines. I also learn that 2005 the company was purchased by a Australian Company Coote Industrial Group.

I have been on several ships that large holes had to be cut into the hull to remove engines and other large pieces of machinery. One ship there was not enough head room to change the pistons so a large hole was cut in the machine shop so the generator diesel could be dragged across the deck and out on the dock in order to overhaul the engine.

http://www.hedemoradiesel.se/Home/tabid/646/language/en-US/Default.aspx
 

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Spongebob
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Surfaceblow, the plot thickens, low and behold the "Weekend Australian" news paper contains a big supplement about Australia's Defense Force and their ongoing re equipment plans. A massive forward expenditure for fighter aircraft, Army support and ships including another batch of submarines to supplement the Collins class.
In it they point out that the existing subs were built by an Adelaide group, Australian Submarine and Ship building Company, a company that was formed for the purpose and which was taken over by the Government when it got into difficulties and remains a Federal asset today.
To hear that an Australian Company has taken over the Hedamora group adds fuel to the fire that this has been a venture into the unknown.
It appears that the Subs were of European design, Swedish I think,and fitted with US Navy armament and combat control systems but with RAN being obliged to isolate the European and American specialist knowledge from each other party. In other words it looks like the Government split the naval architecture, the construction and the armament and control systems three ways without any singular overall responsibility to get boats that were built by a committee.

This is typical of governments every where I think, the RNZN dropped a few clangers in this area, but political interference and expediency was usually the main problem.

"hundreds of millions" to re engine is likely to swell to that easier to understand figure of one billion.

Bob
 

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Hedemora engines were the standard generator engines, for Shell 'L' class vessels built at Lindo werft Odense Denmark. To change the crankshaft on those engines they have to be turned upside down. To get the engines out and in to the hull of the submarine, a hole will be cut in the hull and the bits dug out before the bed is re-aligned for the new engines. Not really an unusual operation, the building should have allowed for this sort of operation, so minimum pipework and cables will have to be moved. Not exactly a piece of cake bu definitely not difficult. Welders will be very high class for boxing up, the yard will (or should) start training welders for the job the day after the order is placed. If they want to get the job done properly and fairly cheaply.
beat me to it BB - Hedemora- they were also fitted to the living hell that were the H&W built L class. Not my diesel of choice - but not as bad as Piel.......piel -can't bring myself to say the word but you know who I mean. Replacement as you say long winded but pretty standard procedure.
 

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Well it's nice to hear that Britain isn't the only country that screws up military procurement.
 

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Well it's nice to hear that Britain isn't the only country that screws up military procurement.
Every country does all the time - it is completely normal, a lot of people make money banking on it. works like this

Military want Gucci kit that no one can afford

Government want supply 'best value for money' kit - not the same as bad kit

They have a compromise with everyone and i mean everyone putting in their ideas - result is worse than the bad kit

Lots of sub contractors make a mint getting kit working by which time it has cost even more than the gucci kit

thing is once you have spent a certain amount it is very hard to go back.


For the record - a lot of the time the best value for money kit is actually a lot more reliable and suitable than the gucci kit.
 

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I probably know less about submarines than you do Bob but I figure they would cut the hull into two sections and change the engines by pulling them out fore or aft. Just my guess which is probably worth zip. I recall seing some photos in the gallery about moving a U Boat somewhere in the UK by cutting it in sections so I cannot even take credit for having the original idea.


The U Boat to which you refer was part of the Historic Warships exhibition in Birkenhead, and was cut into five seperate sections by a new technique similar to cutting cheese with a wire.
The story with plenty of photos is at this link;
http://www.flickr.com/photos/georgeborrow/sets/72157603925834173/
 

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TSR2 v Phantom.

Every country does all the time - it is completely normal, a lot of people make money banking on it. works like this

Military want Gucci kit that no one can afford

Government want supply 'best value for money' kit - not the same as bad kit

They have a compromise with everyone and i mean everyone putting in their ideas - result is worse than the bad kit

Lots of sub contractors make a mint getting kit working by which time it has cost even more than the gucci kit

thing is once you have spent a certain amount it is very hard to go back.


For the record - a lot of the time the best value for money kit is actually a lot more reliable and suitable than the gucci kit.
A classic example of politicians getting involved with stuff they know eff-all about was when Dennis Healey decided that Britain couldn't afford to carry-on with the TSR2 ( a superb a/c well ahead of its time) and to "plug the gap" following the retirement of the Canberra (which TSR2 was supposed to replace) decided, initially, to buy F.111's which never happened due to all kinds of problems (both technical and financial) so cancelled THAT order (at huge cost in cancellation fee's!) and to get F.4 Phantom's from the U.S.

(At the same time of cancellation of this extraordinary airplane, and in a spiteful act of breathtaking malevolence, Healey also ordered the destruction of all jigs, drawings etc. appertaining to TSR2 so that it could NEVER be resurrected by any future Government, although a subsequent Tory Govt. did look briefly into it).

As a sop to BAC Healey announced that the Phantom's would have British avionics and be re-engined with RR Spey's (an engine which was NOT thought to be a good fighter-type engine).

An RAF friend of mine, an ex-Wing Commander (E), was involved in the procurement programme and a massive hurdle that had to be overcome (so he told me) was that the air-intakes for the Spey had to be completely re-designed as the characteristics of the Spey were markedly different to the General Electric J.79. The rear-fuselage had to be heavily modified too, to accomodate the more powerful and heavier Spey.

So what with the cancellation of the F.111's, at huge cost, and the massive amount of work to modify the Phantom's it would have (probably) made sense to carry-on with TSR2 in the long run!!!

The Phantom was a very good a/c but it wasn't until Tornado came along that you got a similar a/c to TSR2. Salaams, Phil(Hippy)
 

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Anyone who purchased a class of submarines that included Hedemora engines obviously knew nothing about engines. If you say that Australia continued, over the long building time of the class, putting these engines in the new ones I would have to think that someone made a whole lot of money. I wonder who could be persuaded to buy the engine let alone the company!

To understand these things you have to have been in an engine room with four of these engines trying to run during a one hour test and the Hedemora engineer sitting in amongst them with his head in his hands almost crying. He couldnt get them to work so I doubted if we ever could. Fortunately I didnt stay very long and never ever went back.

Don
 

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Subs up!

To understand these things you have to have been in an engine room with four of these engines trying to run during a one hour test and the Hedemora engineer sitting in amongst them with his head in his hands almost crying. He couldnt get them to work so I doubted if we ever could. Fortunately I didnt stay very long and never ever went back.

Don
I have to agree Don, I was involved with the cargo valves on the Odense "L"s right from the start in '76. The other problems were the tank cleaning machines and the Hedemoras. A Super once told me that if those problems could be fixed as fast as the problem I was fixing, then life would be a doddle! Just about every excuse in the book was tossed in on the Diesel problem from scantlings to propeller blades(number of). I just put it out of my head until I saw Bob's post this morning. (Thumb)

Holland have a good class of submarine for sale, the, "Swordfish", class, works perfect, no problems been running trouble free for the last 30+ years, anyone interested drop me an e-mail and I'll pass it on.(Smoke)
 

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My experience of Hedemoras was on the Texaco Copenhagen. We had one TA and the Hed. Only fired it up when the IG was topped up, it never failed us.
The 2nd asked me to check out the spare cylinder heads and frankly they were a disgrace. Valve guide clearances could be measured by the skip of yer bunnet. All the valves had be renewed but the old guides & seats left in. No lapping in had been done.
A few years later I came very close to getting a job selling them. Maybe a blessing in disguise. I'd have missed all the fun on NSea supply boats and rigs!

Enjoyed the TSR2 post.
In a brief attempt at a career change I worked at Brooklands for BAC, trying to retrain as an aircraft design draughtsman. The old hands could get really upset when they recalled the debacle of the scrapping. The plane was so far ahead of the competition. The demise of the UK aircraft industry can be laid fair and square on the politicians. All of us doing this training were laid off with thousands of other employees when the government refused to support BAC's Airbus (311), already designed and at the metal ordering stage. In view of the success of the BAC 111 it could have been another Viscount. But the EU beckoned and we don't build large civil planes any more.
 

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Many years back I was sent as 4th Engineer to a Norwegian-built Ro/Ro vessel, my first posting as 4th. Three Hedemora generator sets were my responsibility. Don't remember too much in the way of details, except that they seemed a bit "automotive", ie, high speed, too many hoses, etc.
They seemed pretty heavy on oil consumption too, but were not too bad to work on as the 90 degree vee configuration, and the small component size made things comparatively easy. A good point in their design was that the fuel injectors were mounted through the valve rocker cover, so injectors could be pulled without disturbing anything else mounted on the head.

I also remember when first seeing the proposed specs for the Collins class submarine thinking that getting Hedemora's as a main engine might be a mistake.
 

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In Canada two incidents come to mind, scrapping the Avro Arrow, easily worthy today with improved electronics (1.8 mach in the late fiftys) and the Seaking debaucle when our prime minister cancelled new helicopters just because the opposing party (in power at the time) had ordered new helicopters and Mr. Cretien cancelled the order with millions spent in cancellation fees equal to at least three aircraft.

Cheers, Dumah
Halifax, NS
 

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Engine acces on subs.

When I did my eng. app. at Scotts' of Greenock we refurbished a number of S and T class subs. I recall the S class had a large bolted/rivetted plate in the top of the hull over the engine room and the engines could be lifted out whole.
PS
perhaps better if the Aussie navy had carried on with the Scotts' built Oberon class!
 

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Thanks, Billieboy, you've made my day! I didn't know that the Shell L class had Hedemoras.

After the abuse I took from every engineer that ever had to do with CNCo's first VLCC, "Eriskay" (ex "Jagarda" ex "Harry Borthen", but spent almost all her working life as the "Eee- Risky"!) your news that the mighty Shell empire was guilty of such a blunder in the wonderful "L" class cheers me up no end!

They were a sort of Swedish Paxman, intended as a railway engine and misguidedly supplied to steam ships because "Why would a steamer need a diesel alternator apart from the emergency one?"

The answer in our case was " if you spend seven years in lay up, you do need a diesel generator or two!"

Anyone who specified them for a conventional submarine must be the biggest rogue un-hung! ;)
 

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Thanks, Billieboy, you've made my day! I didn't know that the Shell L class had Hedemoras.

After the abuse I took from every engineer that ever had to do with CNCo's first VLCC, "Eriskay" (ex "Jagarda" ex "Harry Borthen", but spent almost all her working life as the "Eee- Risky"!) your news that the mighty Shell empire was guilty of such a blunder in the wonderful "L" class cheers me up no end!

They were a sort of Swedish Paxman, intended as a railway engine and misguidedly supplied to steam ships because "Why would a steamer need a diesel alternator apart from the emergency one?"

The answer in our case was " if you spend seven years in lay up, you do need a diesel generator or two!"

Anyone who specified them for a conventional submarine must be the biggest rogue un-hung! ;)
There's the other thing about Hedemora diesels that isn't too well known; if the crankshaft needs to be replaced, the engine needs to be turned upside down! Not an easy job on an L class, let alone in a submarine!
 

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Thank you Sponge(senior) The Collins clas subs are total distaster , apart from engine troubles they could not submerge due to internal piping not being tested to the external pressures for operation levels. one ship was nearly lost due to a flexible connection failing, very close to a complete sinking off West Australia coast about two years ago. This was reported in" The Australian" in full detail
 
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