Kockums Submarines: replacement proposals

Grey Havoc

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The Collins class replacement development effort now seems to be under the SEA 1000 program:

Phase 1 Future Submarine – Design
Phase 2 Future Submarine – Acquisition
Phase 3 Future Submarine – Weapons
Phase 4 Future Submarine – Maritime Based Strategic Strike

http://www.defence.gov.au/dmo/id/dcp/html_dec10/sea/Sea1000.html


Another interesting Collins related program is SEA 1439:

Phase 3.1 Collins Obsolescence Management
Phase 5B.2 Collins Communications and Electronic Warfare Improvement Program
Phase 6 Collins Sonar Replacement

Background

Earlier phases of this project are:
Phases 1 and 2 – the conduct of studies into modifications and improvements required to bring the COLLINS class to full capability. The recommendations from those studies and the deliberations of the Submarine Capability Team were implemented in later phases.
Phase 3 – Sustainability and Reliability Enhancements (Approved),
Phase 4A – Replacement Combat System (Approved),
Phase 4B – Weapon and Sensor Enhancements (Approved), and
Phase 5B.1 – Communications Mast and Antenna Replacement Class Fit (Approved).

The currently unapproved Phases 3.1, 5B.2 and 6 will address the requirements to update COLLINS class ship control, communications, electronic warfare and sonar systems.

http://www.defence.gov.au/dmo/id/dcp/html_dec10/sea/Sea1439.html
 
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1st503rdSGT

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The Aussies are gonna have one hell of a time trying to build a Collins replacement. Australia has a unique combination of challenges that make this project extremely difficult. These include:

-Twelve boats proposed? They can't even find crews for the 6 they have right now.

-Long operating distances that, on an SSK, put great strain on boat and crew alike (may explain why they're short on volunteers).

-Warm waters, a problem because most SSK designs originate in nations of cooler climes.

-A media culture inclined to set mercilessly on any development issues that are sure to arise (another possible reason for weak recruitment).

These factors combined indicate that the Collins replacements will be the largest, most-expensive SSKs on the planet, perhaps approaching the costs of SSNs. Nuclear power has been ruled out for infrastructure and political reasons, but given the above mentioned problems, it makes better sense to me if they go with a smaller number of nuclear boats.

My recommendation is that the Australians look into purchasing/building 4-6 of the upcoming Barracuda-class subs from France. This will not solve the infrastructure issue overnight, but the French have often proven more willing than most to share sensitive technology; so there's still the possibility that much of the work can be done in Australia, even if major overhauls have to be done elsewhere. As SSNs go, the Barracuda is rather small with crew requirements similar to the Collins; which combined with the extended endurance of SSNs, may reduce requirements in the numbers of both platforms and personnel.

If nuclear power proves absolutely impossible, my second choice would be the Sōryū class from Japan as it more closely matches Australian operating parmiters than the European boats (though Japan is twitchy about selling such things).
 

kaiserbill

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Not being a naval man, I might have the wrong end of the stick here..... but what exactly does a Collins type sub offer over an SSk like the German Type 214?

The Type 214 has a very similar surface range, and indeed, appears to have a better sub-surface range. It carries the same amount of torpedo's, and is designed to have a patrol endurance of the same length of time as the Collins class.

And it does this with half the crew complement, meaning that Australia could actually man the subs it operates.

Granted, the Collins replacement will probably have a land-attack missile of some description, but I've always been confused as to the apparent huge expense and problems with the Collins class when an off-the-shelf sub with half the crew requirement was available.

I understand there were labour issues about needing to build and design certain of the components, but surely a licence production agreement could have been worked out for the Type 214, and been better for Australia?

Or am I missing something?
 

TomS

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Depending on who you ask, Whiskey's are SSKs.

It's just a definitional problem -- SSK meaning a dedicated ASW submarine has been displaced with SSK meaning any conventional submersible not intended to live primarily on the surface. And thanks to reliable snorkel technology, that's pretty much every conventional sub these days.
 
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1st503rdSGT

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kaiserbill said:
Not being a naval man, I might have the wrong end of the stick here..... but what exactly does a Collins type sub offer over an SSk like the German Type 214?

The Type 214 has a very similar surface range, and indeed, appears to have a better sub-surface range. It carries the same amount of torpedo's, and is designed to have a patrol endurance of the same length of time as the Collins class.

And it does this with half the crew complement, meaning that Australia could actually man the subs it operates.

Granted, the Collins replacement will probably have a land-attack missile of some description, but I've always been confused as to the apparent huge expense and problems with the Collins class when an off-the-shelf sub with half the crew requirement was available.

I understand there were labour issues about needing to build and design certain of the components, but surely a licence production agreement could have been worked out for the Type 214, and been better for Australia?

Or am I missing something?

I'm not a Navy-guy either, but I don't think you're missing anything; the issue is just foggy. I can't really speak for the exact limitations of the 214, but it does seem to have been designed with short-range coastal defense in mind (never mind the paper stats from Janes) and not the sort of distance work that Oz routinely needs out of its submarines. However, I think the program's main problem is that Oz is still intent on sending SSKs out to do an SSN's job. Not that practical operational requirements will ever take precedence over Oz's political/cultural phobia of all things nuclear, but I think they're asking way too much from conventionally powered technology.
 

Rickshaw

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SSNs are not going to get a look in. They are extraordinarily expensive. Australia has no nuclear industry to speak of and lacks the required infrastructure and personnel to maintain and fuel SSNs. It would take about 15 years to build such an infrastructure and would essentially suck the air from virtually all other defence projects. Money on a vast scale would be required to train and build the infrastructure required to support this number of boats.

We could purchase from overseas and pay others to maintain their nuclear systems but again, that is not a good idea with an essential deterrence element in a national strategy.

The Collins are the largest conventional boats afloat today. They need to be big for extended, long range operations far from base. Their biggest problem is manning. With a massive mining boom in progress, heavy machinery matelots can earn the same amount of money on a fly-in, fly-out basis on remote mine sites, without all the hassles and problems of going to sea. So, they leave the senior service as fast as the Navy trains them.
 

kaiserbill

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Kadija man, could you perhaps explain to me why the Collins size is important for extended, long range missions?

As I said earlier in the thread, the Type 14 has the same range, the same design patrol endurance, the same amount of torpedo's, with half the crew.

About the only thing I can think of where the size of the Collins may be a factor is land attack missiles, and transporting special forces.

Surely a Type 14 with a hull plug could have achieved the same? Manufactured in Australia, this would have been more affordable and easier to man, instead of reinventing the wheel?

Again, not being a naval man, am I missing something here, and not seeing the whole picture?
 

Rickshaw

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kaiserbill said:
Kadija man, could you perhaps explain to me why the Collins size is important for extended, long range missions?

As I said earlier in the thread, the Type 14 has the same range, the same design patrol endurance, the same amount of torpedo's, with half the crew.

About the only thing I can think of where the size of the Collins may be a factor is land attack missiles, and transporting special forces.

Surely a Type 14 with a hull plug could have achieved the same? Manufactured in Australia, this would have been more affordable and easier to man, instead of reinventing the wheel?

Again, not being a naval man, am I missing something here, and not seeing the whole picture?

You are not seeing the whole picture. How Kockums was Selected for the Collins Class Submarine - A report by the Australian Federal Parliamentary Library. Essentially the Germans were difficult to work with, the Swedes weren't. So the Swedes got the guernsey.
 

kaiserbill

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Kadija_Man said:
kaiserbill said:
Kadija man, could you perhaps explain to me why the Collins size is important for extended, long range missions?

As I said earlier in the thread, the Type 14 has the same range, the same design patrol endurance, the same amount of torpedo's, with half the crew.

About the only thing I can think of where the size of the Collins may be a factor is land attack missiles, and transporting special forces.

Surely a Type 14 with a hull plug could have achieved the same? Manufactured in Australia, this would have been more affordable and easier to man, instead of reinventing the wheel?

Again, not being a naval man, am I missing something here, and not seeing the whole picture?

You are not seeing the whole picture. How Kockums was Selected for the Collins Class Submarine - A report by the Australian Federal Parliamentary Library. Essentially the Germans were difficult to work with, the Swedes weren't. So the Swedes got the guernsey.

Thanks KM, I'll have a look at that link.
 

Grey Havoc

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Spotted this over on MilitaryPhotos.net (h/t trikora88).
There has been talk about this for some time now:

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/behind_news/AJ201301280004 (Subscription may be required)

Japan's Defense Ministry is weighing whether to share submarine technology developed by a contractor for the Maritime Self-Defense Force with the Royal Australian Navy, sources said.

Given that submarine technology is highly classified, doing so would signal strengthened cooperation among friendly nations in the Asia-Pacific region where the Chinese Navy has demonstrated a growing presence.

The sharing of military technology was made possible with the relaxation in 2011 of the three principles Japan had adhered to with regard to weapons exports. However, Japan has until now not shared such technology with any nation other than the United States.

According to high-ranking Defense Ministry officials, Australia sounded out Japan about getting submarine propulsion technology. Officials in Tokyo are now trying to determine what level of information to provide.

The request came on the heels of a visit in May 2012 to the MSDF Kure Base in Hiroshima Prefecture by a senior Australian official who inspected an advanced Soryu-class submarine.
 

kaiserbill

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Makes perfect sense.

One could argue that the Japanese submarine requirements are very similiar to Australia's.
And instead of taking a small SSK and doubling the size, the Japanese SSK's are already in rougly the same size class as the Collins.
However, I think the large Japanese subs have a higher crew complement tha the Collins?
 

Rickshaw

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The RAN for the aforementioned reasons is looking to substantially decrease its crewing requirements on the replacement submarines. Anything that needs more, not less crew isn't going to get much of a look in IMO. While the Japanese may be keen to sell the boats, one wonders whether the RAN would be that interested in a design which while longer and beamier is of a smaller displacement and has substantially less range. I wonder if the Soryo class are built for Western stature sailors?
 

GTX

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Which way? For Norway to join in on the Australian program or for Australia to piggy back on the Norwegian program?
 

GTX

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Interesting - if the specs etc could match up it would certainly make the Australian program more palatable.
 

kaiserbill

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Hasn't Norway always operated coastal submarines though?

Postwar, they operated the Kobben class, which was the small German Type 205 coastal sub of about 480 tons.

These were replaced from the late 1980's by the Ula class, which is the German Type 210 class.
It's quite a bit bigger at 1200 tons, but still operated as a coastal type, although in fairness they have been deployed around the coast of Europe into the Med.

I would almost bet my house that Norway will replace this with either another German type, or the Kockums (now German owned) A26 on order or Sweden, and that it will be a coastal type again, considering what the geography of the Norwegian coast looks like, and what their maritime doctrine is aimed towards.

I can't see a tie up between Australia and Norway due to the huge difference in how they propose to use their prospective submarines.
 

Grey Havoc

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Grey Havoc said:
The Collins class replacement development effort now seems to be under the SEA 1000 program:

Phase 1 Future Submarine – Design
Phase 2 Future Submarine – Acquisition
Phase 3 Future Submarine – Weapons
Phase 4 Future Submarine – Maritime Based Strategic Strike

http://www.defence.gov.au/dmo/id/dcp/html_dec10/sea/Sea1000.html

The above link is now dead, replaced in part by this rather more vague page:

http://www.defence.gov.au/dmo/equippingdefence/sea1000ph1a-future%20sub
 

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