Updated. Originally posted 31st Oct 2018
SMX-31 future submarine concept: 'The Electric'
Naval Group traditionally unveils ambitious concept submarines at the bi-annual Euronaval exhibition in Paris. This year they revealed the SMX-31.
The most obvious feature is the elimination of the sail (‘kiosk’ in French parlance) although there is a slight turtle-back covering the escape capsule. The pressure hull is buried within a lighter outer hull with the overall form influenced by the Sperm Whale. The design is reminiscent of the similarly exotic SMX-26 design shown in 2012.
Although the boat retains mast-mounted sensors, it incorporates a number of less typical features to increase situational awareness and Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance features. An unmanned air vehicle (UAV) buoy can be deployed from up to 100 meters depth. The skin incorporates sensors and there is a large unmanned underwater vehicle (UUV) hangar at the stern with spacious UUV (/AUV) maintenance space inboard.
The combat load of up to 46 heavyweight weapons (torpedoes / cruise missiles) is much more than other submarines of this displacement. Most of the weapons are carried externally to the pressure hull but there is a conventional internal torpedo room in the aft-most compartment. The flank weapons module can be replaced with a Special Forces chamber with lock-out trunk. In the Special Forces configuration multiple Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (SDVs) can be carried in the outer hull.
The all-electric boat uses advanced batteries powering two rim-drive propulsors (pump jets) mounted in streamlined casings. This arrangement leaves the stern area free for a rear-facing torpedo room and hangar space.
Screen captures from Youtube (Navy Recognition channel)
Displacemet: 3,400 tons submerged
Beam: 13.8m overall
Operating Depth: >250m
Speed: 20 kt
Endurance: 30-45 days
Propulsion: TBC, all-electric
Armament: 16 - 46 x 533mm (21") launch tubes in both horizontal and vertical configurations.
Stand-off sensors: Wire connected small ROVs, torpedo-shaped UUVs/ROVs and buoy-launched UAVs
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