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Author Topic: Unbuilt Royal Navy submarines  (Read 10810 times)

Offline covert_shores

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Re: Unbuilt Royal Navy submarines
« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2016, 10:15:45 am »
Thanks aircondoc, very insightful.

The differences are fascinating but probably less than what would be a sub-variant in other classes.

Seems the opposite is true compared to SDVs. With SDVs whole new classes are denoted by a 'mod1' suffix on their predecessors in order to trick the accountants. Whereas in British SSNs follow-on variants are subject to a whole new class. ;)
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Offline Kadija_Man

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Re: Unbuilt Royal Navy submarines
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2016, 12:42:21 am »
Couple of additional snippets on Upholder.

Later subs in the class were to have increased bunk space, rotating conversion machinery with static inverters, increased fuel capacity by using spaces outside the pressure hull, and more long-term, experimental fuel cells to reduce snorting time.

When placed up for disposal the other nations besides Canada the government tried to interest were; Chile, Greece, Pakistan, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey.

I think you've forgotten Australia in that list...

Offline Hood

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Re: Unbuilt Royal Navy submarines
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2016, 02:47:54 am »
Australia was not on the list quoted, the source Hennesy/ Jinks used was David Peer, 'Some History of the Upholder-Class Submarines', Canadian Naval Review, May 2012

From what I've read, Australia was never interested in the Upholders due to their short-range, instead holding a competition for a new design to meet their requirements, which became the Collins.

Offline Abraham Gubler

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Re: Unbuilt Royal Navy submarines
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2016, 04:08:53 am »
Australia was not on the list quoted, the source Hennesy/ Jinks used was David Peer, 'Some History of the Upholder-Class Submarines', Canadian Naval Review, May 2012

From what I've read, Australia was never interested in the Upholders due to their short-range, instead holding a competition for a new design to meet their requirements, which became the Collins.

The Upholder was pitched to Australia as a supposed gap filler to cover the combat system problems the Collins class was having during its first 10 years. The Upholder was assessed by the DoD and RAN and was found to be far worse than the Collins at the height of its troubles. The last two Collins recieved a major patch on the CMS and the entire class refitted with the USN's BYG-2.

The Upholder offer was great for Australian morale as it put the problems of the Collins class into light. Unfortunately none of this was adequately communicated to the government elites and the perception that Australians can't build boats remain so now we have to Frankenstein some more overseas marque to meet Australian requirements rather than build our own, far superior design. You would think that after making this same mistake three times in a row* we would learn?

*:
1. Protector AOE vs Durance AOR
2. DDL vs FFG
3. Evolved AWD vs F100
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Unbuilt Royal Navy submarines
« Reply #19 on: March 07, 2016, 06:40:07 am »
Its called the cultural cringe the perpetrators of which are our political, media, financial, small business, primary producers and resources sectors, the section of the economy and society that are largely non-technical in nature and cannot comprehend that people they look down on, engineers, designers, technical officers, trades and even production workers might actually be good at what they do.  In fact if you look at it Australia has a tradition of exporting technical and scientific talent, people who are treated as incompetent rent seekers locally but excel on the global scene. 

It all comes down to who is making the decisions, their backgrounds and life experiences; unfortunately the size of someone's pay check also determines their perceived worth and technical and scientific roles don't pay anywhere near as well as financial services etc.  Sorry about the rant but it is a sore point, having worked R&D in Australia's automotive industry, then engineering and test in defence (subs, destroyers and PBs).

By the way the Upholders were an absolute mess, never a match for the Collins, especially after being laid up for so long before their sale to Canada.  On ex UK TO on AWD piped up that Australia would be much better off had they bough Upholder, poor bloke made the comment within ear shot of some who had first hand experience with Collins and was put straight very quickly.

Wasn't there a W Class SSN using the reactor of the Vanguards planned for the 90s but cancelled as part of the "peace dividend"?  I recall an ex UK colleague mentioning it at one point, he had cut his teeth on the Ts.

Offline Grey Havoc

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Re: Unbuilt Royal Navy submarines
« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2016, 01:10:30 am »
Wasn't there a W Class SSN using the reactor of the Vanguards planned for the 90s but cancelled as part of the "peace dividend"?  I recall an ex UK colleague mentioning it at one point, he had cut his teeth on the Ts.

Indeed, the W-Class, also known as the SSN20 project.
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Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Unbuilt Royal Navy submarines
« Reply #21 on: February 21, 2017, 04:44:22 am »
Couple of additional snippets on Upholder.

Later subs in the class were to have increased bunk space, rotating conversion machinery with static inverters, increased fuel capacity by using spaces outside the pressure hull, and more long-term, experimental fuel cells to reduce snorting time.

When placed up for disposal the other nations besides Canada the government tried to interest were; Chile, Greece, Pakistan, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey.

The second Batch of Upholders are mysterious animals. In 1985 it was reported that the UK had told the Australians that the UK would order the Type 2400A version (lengthened for Australia with a third diesel engine) if they ordered it for what became the Collins class. Ferranti Thomson was developing Sonar 2075 for the second batch of Upholders and they would apparently have been fitted with SMCS as well.

What is difficult to decipher is numbers. The Nott review took the fleet/patrol submarine force down to 28 boats which was to remain "generally constant" and the fact sheet that accompanied options for change stated that the RN had 27 attack submarines. The Nott review had been aiming for 17 SSNs by 1990 and that was achieved with the commissioning of HMS Talent in May that year, HMS Triumph's commissioning would have got the fleet to 18 in 1991 had it not been for Options for Change. Things get complicated because the second batch of Upholders would have been ordered around the same time as the W-Class SSNs. Jane's reported that five additional Upholders were planned and seven W-Class boats which gets to a total fleet (including Swiftsure's and younger) of 29 boats which to my mind makes one or both of those numbers unlikely. Ministers seem to have been very coy about giving numbers for the second Upholder batch too. 
« Last Edit: February 21, 2017, 09:46:17 am by JFC Fuller »

Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Unbuilt Royal Navy submarines
« Reply #22 on: March 11, 2017, 08:31:06 am »
Another one though its dubious as an unbuilt: Vanguard Class Boat 5

Right at the beginning of the Trident programme (1979) consideration was given as to whether the trident force should be four or five boats (with obvious parallels to the Polaris programme in the 1960s. In July 1980 the then Defence Minister (and direct predecessor to John Nott) Francis Pym said the following to the House of Commons: 

Quote
The agreement that we have reached is on the same lines as the 1962 Nassau agreement, under which we acquired Polaris. We shall design and build our own submarines and nuclear warheads here in the United Kingdom, and buy the Trident missile system, complete with its MIRV capability, from the United States. Once bought, it will be entirely in our ownership and operational control, but we shall commit the whole force to NATO in the same way as the Polaris force is committed today. The new force will enter service in the early 1990s and will comprise four or five boats. We need not decide about a fifth boat for another two or three years, and we are leaving the option open meanwhile.

The decision against a fifth boat seems to have been made sometime in early 1982 with John Nott making the following remarks in the house of Commons in March 1982:

Quote
Because of the extended length of the refits—seven years—four Trident submarines are equivalent to at least five Polaris submarines. We do not now need to contemplate five submarines. Four Trident D5s, with a much longer refit interval and the in-tube life of seven years, plus the missile, are equivalent to more than five Polaris submarines. We shall have three in the operational cycle for a large proportion of the time.

Purely hypothetical but I quite like HMS Vindictive as a name for this contemplated fifth boat.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 05:58:14 pm by JFC Fuller »

Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Unbuilt Royal Navy submarines
« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2017, 12:50:14 pm »
Whilst I am at it: unbuilt Vanguard/Trident support infrastructure that explains the giant hole visible next to Rosyth Dockyard that Babcock is attempting to turn into a container port. This was the RD57 proposal that was abandoned in favour of concentrating nuclear submarine refits and refuelling at Devonport after the end of the Cold War:

Quote
Of the available documents for the RD57 project, two dry docks, workshops, offices and support facilities on a site at the west end of the Base are mentioned. Under RD57 one dry dock was designed to measure 190 metres in length by thirty metres in width, and the other to be 150 metres in length by twenty-eight metres in width. The main dock cover was also designed to be an estimated fifty metres wide, forty metres high at the highest point and a maximum of 200 metres long. This structure would not only protect against weather but would support the overhead travelling cranes necessary to perform various tasks. Furthermore, the two dock covers were to be linked to support facilities located both between and at the west end of the docks. Initial plans dictated that the complex was to be enclosed by security fences, with road and rail accesses and carparks provided. This project was thought to require fifteen hectares for the development, five hectares of which was existing Ministry of Defence land. Support services to the complex under RD57 were also intended to involve substations, stand-by power generating facilities, a compressor house, plant rooms, a materials storage area, external plant areas and demineralised water facilities, with design and construction of the facility subject to a quality assurance programme addressing safety and reliability in all matters relating to nuclear safety.

Source: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/6551/1/2004JamisonPhd.pdf

Whats curious is that this was built to west of the existing dockyard. As built a large area of land was drained/cleared/reclaimed to the east of the yard to provide for future expansion, for some reason this appears not to have been used for the RD57 facility.

Edit: Examining the RD57 site on google earth it looks like the foundations of the two dry docks were built- there are two long concrete structures in the hole that match the lengths described above. Based on their location it would seem that the entrances to the dry-docks would be directly from the non-tidal basin which would explain the decision to build the facility to the west of the existing dockyard rather than the east.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 06:00:37 pm by JFC Fuller »

Offline Tzoli

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Re: Unbuilt Royal Navy submarines
« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2017, 08:34:58 am »
Does anybody in a slight chance have sketch drawings of the HMS Dreadnought SSN Preliminaries? I've been intrigued by the 4 shaft design described having one propeller in each quadrant!

Offline Grey Havoc

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Offline RLBH

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Re: Unbuilt Royal Navy submarines
« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2017, 02:54:15 am »
More information here:
http://www.uknest.org/naval-programmes/concept-fleet/nautilus/

Two of my colleagues were involved in the workshop; the terms of reference were basically to come up with as many potential applications for new technologies in submarine warfare as they could, regardless of technical feasibility.

Offline JFC Fuller

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Re: Unbuilt Royal Navy submarines
« Reply #27 on: November 18, 2017, 11:09:50 am »
A document from 1981 confirms that the force goal of 20 SSNs was changed in 1980 by the inclusion of the Trident boats into the Long Term Costings (LTC) for the first time. This introduced a break in the SSN build programme after SSN19 (HMS Triumph) which put downward pressure on the maximum number of SSNs that could be kept in service so the fleet would peak at 18 units in 1991 then decline to 15 by the mid-1990s where it would remain well into the 2000s.

My own view, though as yet I have no evidence, is that the number may have crept back up to 18 (or more); that would explain the decline in planned SSK numbers versus the overall submarine force goal. This probably being achieved by life extensions to existing boats.

This has also solved another little mystery. All the files labelled SSNOZ date to the 1970s despite the fact the programme appears much later. It transpires that the reason for this was that SSNOZ was originally planned to follow SSN19 in production but this couldn't happen because of the Trident programme so the designation and project were put on the back burner. Thus SSNOZ actually has two lives- one in the 1970s and then another in the late 1980s.

Offline covert_shores

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Re: Unbuilt Royal Navy submarines
« Reply #28 on: November 22, 2017, 12:02:47 pm »
Australia was not on the list quoted, the source Hennesy/ Jinks used was David Peer, 'Some History of the Upholder-Class Submarines', Canadian Naval Review, May 2012

From what I've read, Australia was never interested in the Upholders due to their short-range, instead holding a competition for a new design to meet their requirements, which became the Collins.

The Upholder was pitched to Australia as a supposed gap filler to cover the combat system problems the Collins class was having during its first 10 years. The Upholder was assessed by the DoD and RAN and was found to be far worse than the Collins at the height of its troubles. The last two Collins recieved a major patch on the CMS and the entire class refitted with the USN's BYG-2.

The Upholder offer was great for Australian morale as it put the problems of the Collins class into light. Unfortunately none of this was adequately communicated to the government elites and the perception that Australians can't build boats remain so now we have to Frankenstein some more overseas marque to meet Australian requirements rather than build our own, far superior design. You would think that after making this same mistake three times in a row* we would learn?

*:
1. Protector AOE vs Durance AOR
2. DDL vs FFG
3. Evolved AWD vs F100
sorry for the late reply. Was the initial combat system, which was so troublesome, Swedish?

Reason I ask is because i hear impressive things re the Swedish systems from people with first hand experience, but not Australian. Record for most wire guided torpedoes 'in flight' is Swedish?
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