French-based shipbuilders Naval Group have engineered a new high-performance and high-security lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery system to improve the capabilities of its conventional attack submarine fleet.
Known as LIBRT, the technology was developed in conjunction with Naval Group, CEA Tech, and EDF R&D. CEA Tech provided chemical and electronics R&D support, with EDF R&D lending its testing facilities for energy production systems.
“LIBRT increases significantly the submarines’ submerged endurance and improves its stealth, while guaranteeing better security conditions,” states a Naval Group press release.
“This cutting-edge technology offers twice more available energy while reducing significantly the reloading time.”
Naval Group also boasts that submarines fitted with LIBRT will gain advantages over the enemy such as an increased submerged operating range, greater stealth capabilities, and enhanced security over the embedded system compared with previous technologies. Naval Group said it used the same methods and security requirements for nuclear-powered submarines.
The Australian Government has taken an interest in the technology, selecting Naval Group as its preferred international partner for the design and build of 12 Future Submarines for the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in the SEA 1000 Future Submarine Program.
According to Manufacturer’s Monthly, a spokesperson for the Naval Group said they will present the Australian Government with an option to integrate LIBRT into the second batch of Australia’s Future Submarines. The decision is currently pending.
The new subs will be based on the design of the French Barracuda class, with modifications as desired by the RAN.
The French Barracuda class, designed by Naval Group (formerly DCNS), are set to replace the aging Rubis class subs. Construction commenced on this class in 2007, with the first commissioned sub to go online this year.
Barracudas use pump-jet propulsion, producing one one-thousandth of detectable noise over previous classes, and ten times more sensitive in detecting enemy vessels, the Naval Group said. Their missions will include anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, land attack, intelligence gathering, crisis management and special operations. Their missions will include anti-surface and anti-submarine warfare, land attack, intelligence gathering, crisis management and special operations. It can also house a commando detachment of 12, with their special operations equipment stored in a mobile pod aft of the sail.
In addition to Australia, the Royal Canadian Navy has also ordered Barracuda class submarines for an estimated deployment date of 2030.
Alain Guillou, Senior Executive Vice-President of Naval Group said “the successful development of the LIBRT Li-ion batteries systems is a huge technological stride for the new generation of submarines developed by Naval Group. It provides utmost security guarantees as well as operational and technological superiority to all our clients worldwide.”