Chesterfield’s Cathelco supply anti-fouling systems for Barracuda Class submarines

Published 11th December 2012 at 9:43am

Cathelco are supplying seawater pipework anti-fouling systems for the new generation of Barracuda Class submarines which are being built by DCNS for the French Defense Procurement Agency (DGA, Direction générale de l’armement) – on behalf of the French Navy.

The nuclear propelled submarines are designed to replace the Rubis Class and will become a key component of the French Navy’s force projection assets.  With a length of 99 metres and diameter of almost 9 metres, the submarines will have a diving depth of over 350 metres and a top speed of over 25 knots.

The first submarine, scheduled to enter service in 2017, is currently under construction at the DCNS group yard in Cherbourg and will be followed by five others in the period up to 2028. Cathelco have worked closely with DCNS to produce a seawater pipework anti-fouling system which meets the stringent requirements of the new class of vessel.

They will be protecting two seawater inlets against bio-fouling caused by barnacles and mussels which can block vital pipework systems. To achieve this, Cathelco have produced anodes which are specially designed to fit within the small strainers.

Particular attention has focussed on the integrity of the anode mountings to provide full protection against water ingress. This has involved a rigorous pressure test programme and the development of a special ‘O’ ring assembly which ensures that leaks will not occur, even if the anodes are fully consumed.

Cathelco have also produced a prototype control panel built to military specifications. This includes the option of manual, automatic or remote control and incorporates a number of alarm features.

In operation, the copper anodes are supplied with a current from the control panel and produce ions which are carried throughout the pipework system creating an environment where barnacles and mussels do not settle or breed. This avoids the risk of blockages in pipework which are difficult and time consuming to remove and could ultimately affect the operational capability of the vessel.

“We have worked closely with DCNS over a period of years to provide a system which will be effective and reliable on the Barracuda class submarines, meeting their stringent military requirements”, said Peter Smith, sales director at Cathelco.

Cathelco are world leaders in the manufacture of seawater pipework systems for both commercial and military vessels. Their equipment is supplied to 40 navies for surface craft and submarines.

Numerous classes of submarines have been supplied with anti-fouling systems including the Type 209 built by HDW and the Australian Navy’s Dolphin Class vessels.

www.cathelco.com