• Hi Guest! Forum rules have been updated. All users please read here.

Replacement of Australia's Collins Class Submarines

Rickshaw

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
2,068
Reaction score
162
Perhaps with Johnston's demotion from cabinet we might see some sense coming out about this project.
 

AlexJ

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Jan 16, 2015
Messages
1
Reaction score
0
On the surface it does not make sense to rule out nuclear powered submarines as an option to be evaluated.
Why do some articles state that we need a nuclear industry to operate nuclear powered boats when we know that some, like the Virginia class do not need refuelling for some 33 years? In this sense, what is meant by "nuclear industry"? In any case we might have a "nuclear industry" by the time the new boats hit the water.
The only off-the-shelf boats that meet our requirements in terms of capability are all nuclear powered.
Based on the most recent order placed by the USN, the fixed price was $17.6Bn for 10, so presumably if we tack our order onto the end of that one, we will get the same unit price. That price, say $1,8Bn per boat is comparable to the non-nuclear options but we get a great deal more capability and we can get it sooner so we can take the Collins class out of service sooner and save heaps of money.
We cannot build our own nuclear powered submarines so if that is a mandatory primary consideration they would need to be excluded, but if the requirement is for a proven design (as stated by the Prime Minister), the best boat (Prime Minister again) and we will consider buying rather than building (as stated by our Government), then we should not exclude nuclear powered options, especially the Virginia class which would require the least modifications and has systems that presumably are compatible with our Air Warfare Destroyers (AWD) and F-35 JSF.
Are we (Australia) embarking on another great big mistake with our submarine choice because we are excluding the "best" options from our evaluation?
 

Rickshaw

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
2,068
Reaction score
162
As far as Australia is concerned, nuclear options are pretty much off the table. Resistance to nuclear industries, power and naval ships is still pretty high in the Australian community and as Sir Humphrey used to say, "That would be a very brave decision, Minister," if any Australian defence minister was to put forward a nuclear powered option as a Collins class replacement.

If he did, there would be no domestic manufacture of such a boat downunder. We don't have the skill set or the experience or the nuclear industry to support such an undertaking and creating it would more than likely double the cost of such a project. It would also take decades to acquire it. Any attempt to do so would bring out domestic opposition groups in force and split the electorate like no other issue has for decades.

Buying such boats from overseas means we would be heavily dependent on whom ever supplies them for training and expertise in operating and as previous experience such as in the case of the L35a1 Carl Gustaf's use in Vietnam showed, it's not a situation we would want to repeat. We could never be 100% sure that we would not find ourselves with expensive boats we couldn't use or maintain at a crucial time if we disagreed with the politics of the suppliers.

I've often wondered why so much emphasis is placed on the technology when the real determinant on whether or not we can operate any sort of submarine has and remains manpower. This is the elephant in the room that few want to recognise or talk about, instead preferring to vent their anger at the Collins class for it's perceived short-comings. ::)
 

covert_shores

Research + illustration
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2014
Messages
704
Reaction score
170
Website
www.hisutton.com
It's a crying shame that Australia didn't join the SSN club in the 1970s. I know it was never on the table (?) but I think NATO/Aus should have developed an SSN for Australia and Canada. Approximately equivalent to Rubis but American technology based.

I know it's too much to hope for but maybe they could lease a Los Angeles class like India does an Akula? Way too much to ask.
 

Rickshaw

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
2,068
Reaction score
162
covert_shores said:
It's a crying shame that Australia didn't join the SSN club in the 1970s. I know it was never on the table (?) but I think NATO/Aus should have developed an SSN for Australia and Canada. Approximately equivalent to Rubis but American technology based.

I know it's too much to hope for but maybe they could lease a Los Angeles class like India does an Akula? Way too much to ask.

I am unsure what the US Government's view on this but I suspect it would be rather like the F-22 Raptor - "NOT FOR SALE" or in this case, lease. Nuclear technology is extremely sensitive. The US has jealously guarded it's nuclear technology since it's inception. I can't see the US just handing the keys to a SSN like that.
 

Abraham Gubler

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
3,555
Reaction score
230
Kadija_Man said:
Buying such boats from overseas means we would be heavily dependent on whom ever supplies them for training and expertise in operating and as previous experience such as in the case of the L35a1 Carl Gustaf's use in Vietnam showed, it's not a situation we would want to repeat.

The biggest problem with buying from overseas is the additional costs that do not appear in the nice and easy sticker price form of accounting. Costs like the total flow of all money overseas unlike domestic spends which see returns to Government through taxation and offsets of social security costs due to increased employment. Also the much higher cost of sustainment due to the need to spend additional dollars on capabilities that comes as part and parcel of a local build.

The example of Sweden and the Carl Gustav is made much of by people who don’t bother with the details. Sweden was more than happy to sell Australia the 84 for use anywhere we wanted but the Australian purchaser selected the contract option for home use only. The Swedes were well within their rights to say excuse me we sold these weapons only for home defence. You need to select the other option to use them in Vietnam if you want.

Kadija_Man said:
I've often wondered why so much emphasis is placed on the technology when the real determinant on whether or not we can operate any sort of submarine has and remains manpower.

One of the main influences in the lack of qualified submariners for the Collins class is their poor mechanical availability. The Navy can recruit plenty of sailors who want to be submariners but an operational crew requires extensive training. This combined with the high turnover problem of the early and mid 2000s experienced across the ADF is the cause of the shortfall in operational crews. Working submarine, plus functional ADF culture minus booming civilian technical workforce means no problems for the RAN to have adequate submarine crewing.

covert_shores said:
It's a crying shame that Australia didn't join the SSN club in the 1970s. I know it was never on the table (?) but I think NATO/Aus should have developed an SSN for Australia and Canada. Approximately equivalent to Rubis but American technology based.

Well neither country needs a nuclear submarine. A conventional diesel boat with adequate capability for long range patrols is more than effective in providing the kind of operational submarine capability for intelligence gathering and ASW by interdiction that both navies need. Since neither Navy has a high speed aircraft carrier battle group requiring nuclear submarines for ASW escort or an enemy merchant fleet to interdict there is little need for a nuclear boat.

The argument that Canada needs nuclear boats for sovereignty under ice is particularly ridiculous. The Russians can occupy all of Canada’s under ice waters and it wouldn’t harm anyone, except the Russian submariners, who would no doubt die in large numbers thanks to their boat’s poor safety standards.
 

Abraham Gubler

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
3,555
Reaction score
230
Kadija_Man said:
The US has jealously guarded it's nuclear technology since it's inception. I can't see the US just handing the keys to a SSN like that.


They transferred nuclear reactor designs to both the UK and France. They have made it clear they would consider selling SSNs to Australia. The biggest problem of such a transfer is that modern reactors use such high enriched uranium it could be classified as fissile material under the NPT. But of course if we enriched out own uranium to fuel such boats it wouldn't be in breech of the NPT. Even though the NPT is quite specific about not interfering with export of nuclear power for military means. Its one of those issues that you just don't want to have to go down and lawyer up if you can avoid it.
 

covert_shores

Research + illustration
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2014
Messages
704
Reaction score
170
Website
www.hisutton.com
[quote author=Abraham Gubler]

Well neither country needs a nuclear submarine. A conventional diesel boat with adequate capability for long range patrols is more than effective in providing the kind of operational submarine capability for intelligence gathering and ASW by interdiction that both navies need. Since neither Navy has a high speed aircraft carrier battle group requiring nuclear submarines for ASW escort or an enemy merchant fleet to interdict there is little need for a nuclear boat.
[/quote]what are the submarine requirements of Australia a)official and b) in your opinion?

I would include nosing around Russian, Chinese and North Korean waters in support of American spying efforts and launching of token quantities of cruise missiles in support of 'coalition' actions in far off places. That's my list not the official list obviously.
 

Abraham Gubler

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
3,555
Reaction score
230
a) secret (ADF restricts far more stuff than US forces)
b) covert intelligence gathering, interdiction of enemy submarine transit lanes (ASW), escort of amphibious task forces (ASW), attack against airfields to shape enemy anti-ship missile aircraft (the draft requirement for land attack missiles) for fleet defence, deployment of special forces for strategic raiding

The requirement for 12 submarines is something that came from industry and the political element. The RAN has never asked for more than eight submarines. And eight was seen as the right number to meet Australian needs and six settled on for cost reasons. Both with the acquisition of the Oberon and the Collins boats. The idea that 12 submarines will give Australia strategic weight is a political fantasy thought up to justify the minimum number required to sustain a long term submarine production capability in Australia. ASC originally suggested 12 without midlife refits. That is building one submarine every 18 months and writing them off after 18 years (or similar numbers, I’d have to look it up to be precise). Their trawling worked and they hooked former PM Kevin Rudd and he threw it into his Government’s White Paper. The terrible irony is that the number 12 has become quite concrete despite having little operational justification and the submarines may be built overseas! A sucker’s born every minute they say.
 

Moose

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2010
Messages
1,415
Reaction score
412
Kadija_Man said:
covert_shores said:
It's a crying shame that Australia didn't join the SSN club in the 1970s. I know it was never on the table (?) but I think NATO/Aus should have developed an SSN for Australia and Canada. Approximately equivalent to Rubis but American technology based.

I know it's too much to hope for but maybe they could lease a Los Angeles class like India does an Akula? Way too much to ask.

I am unsure what the US Government's view on this but I suspect it would be rather like the F-22 Raptor - "NOT FOR SALE" or in this case, lease. Nuclear technology is extremely sensitive. The US has jealously guarded it's nuclear technology since it's inception. I can't see the US just handing the keys to a SSN like that.
The US has let it be known they would be willing to lease Virginia class subs to Australia.
 

Hot Breath

I really should change my personal text
Joined
Mar 12, 2014
Messages
196
Reaction score
1
Moose said:
Kadija_Man said:
covert_shores said:
It's a crying shame that Australia didn't join the SSN club in the 1970s. I know it was never on the table (?) but I think NATO/Aus should have developed an SSN for Australia and Canada. Approximately equivalent to Rubis but American technology based.

I know it's too much to hope for but maybe they could lease a Los Angeles class like India does an Akula? Way too much to ask.

I am unsure what the US Government's view on this but I suspect it would be rather like the F-22 Raptor - "NOT FOR SALE" or in this case, lease. Nuclear technology is extremely sensitive. The US has jealously guarded it's nuclear technology since it's inception. I can't see the US just handing the keys to a SSN like that.
The US has let it be known they would be willing to lease Virginia class subs to Australia.

The US Ambassador in Canberra as made one, off-the-cuff, remark suggesting it was willing to do so. There has been no formal letter of offer.
 

covert_shores

Research + illustration
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2014
Messages
704
Reaction score
170
Website
www.hisutton.com
A two-year lease of HMS Torbay starting 2017 would be nice, 50-50 RAN/RN crew. Demonstrate advantages of SSNs to the politicians and RAN admirals. Combine it with officer and ratings exchanges with RN Astute class and the seeds could be sown
 

Rickshaw

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2011
Messages
2,068
Reaction score
162
I don't doubt that the RAN's officers are well aware of the advantages. However, the political disadvantages are also very well known to them and the government.
 

fightingirish

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jun 3, 2006
Messages
2,478
Reaction score
993
The German magazine 'DER SPIEGEL' reports in its latest issue this weekend:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel fights for one of the largest arms export business of German history. It involves the sale of up to twelve submarines of the class 216 from Australia. The deal could bring an order value of 14 billion euros of German industry and is in government circles as "outstanding", as the submarine industry would benefit for decades. Germany is competing with the Japanese. Back in November, during G-20 summit in Brisbane , Merkel lobbied to the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott for the German offer. Merkel argued here that Germany could act politically neutral, while Japan was suffering from tensions with China.
"On that point you're right," Abbott said.
Submarines of the class, there are only 216 in the draft. They are considered the most advanced conventional submarines in the world. They are about 90 meters long, have a fuel cell drive and can dive up to four weeks at a time. A preliminary decision to drop the middle of this year.

Link (German): http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/spiegel-exklusiv-merkel-will-u-boot-deal-mit-australien-a-1014664.html

Edit: Google Translate
 

Moose

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2010
Messages
1,415
Reaction score
412
Hot Breath said:
Moose said:
Kadija_Man said:
covert_shores said:
It's a crying shame that Australia didn't join the SSN club in the 1970s. I know it was never on the table (?) but I think NATO/Aus should have developed an SSN for Australia and Canada. Approximately equivalent to Rubis but American technology based.

I know it's too much to hope for but maybe they could lease a Los Angeles class like India does an Akula? Way too much to ask.

I am unsure what the US Government's view on this but I suspect it would be rather like the F-22 Raptor - "NOT FOR SALE" or in this case, lease. Nuclear technology is extremely sensitive. The US has jealously guarded it's nuclear technology since it's inception. I can't see the US just handing the keys to a SSN like that.
The US has let it be known they would be willing to lease Virginia class subs to Australia.

The US Ambassador in Canberra as made one, off-the-cuff, remark suggesting it was willing to do so. There has been no formal letter of offer.
That is not the only conversation that has happened. But you are correct no formal offer has been made, it's a very sensitive issue on a number of levels. No offer will be formally made unless/until it was already informally agreed to, and in some detail, by both parties.
 

Abraham Gubler

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
3,555
Reaction score
230
fightingirish said:
The German magazine 'DER SPIEGEL' reports in its latest issue this weekend:


The T216 has been judged by Australian submariners as in severely lacking in the kind of endurance we need. It also comes with a German combat system, whereas the RAN will very much prefer to stay with American combat systems. Of course politicians and the Finance Department are involved in this decision to a greater degree than the RAN so anything is possible.
 

covert_shores

Research + illustration
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2014
Messages
704
Reaction score
170
Website
www.hisutton.com
Always suspicious at those sorts of news stories, leads with shock horror but really doesn't amount to anything unsurprising. Like the JMSDF would have already revealed their biggest technological secret at this point in the game.

Thx for posting though.
 

covert_shores

Research + illustration
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2014
Messages
704
Reaction score
170
Website
www.hisutton.com
Re the Soryu class, does anyone know why the japanese went from the USN style of having the whole bow section as a sonar array with the torpedo tubes on the sides, to having the torpedo tubes in the nose above a smaller sonar array?
 

Moose

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Jul 4, 2010
Messages
1,415
Reaction score
412
covert_shores said:
Re the Soryu class, does anyone know why the japanese went from the USN style of having the whole bow section as a sonar array with the torpedo tubes on the sides, to having the torpedo tubes in the nose above a smaller sonar array?
They have larger conformal arrays on the submarine's sides, so they can reduce the size of the bow array which makes packaging a bit easier for them.
 

Abraham Gubler

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
3,555
Reaction score
230
Moose said:
They have larger conformal arrays on the submarine's sides, so they can reduce the size of the bow array which makes packaging a bit easier for them.

Nope. The Soryu bow array is still as big as it would be with side positioned angled tubes. The reason the torpedo room is in the bow and the tubes go straight forward is to balance the ship thanks to the weight of having two generator systems (Diesel and Stirling). In so doing the Japanese sacrifice the tactical speed of the ship because the bow can’t be shaped to preserve laminarisation of water flow at higher speeds so lowering indiscretion. Plus better performance from the bow array. But the priority for the Japanese thanks to their geostrategic derived tactical situation requires the ability to operate under hold down more than the ability to operate at higher speeds. So air independent propulsion is fitted at the cost of the ship’s hydrodynamics and sonar performance.

All of the above are good operational reasons for why Australia should NOT buy the Japanese submarine. But since that thought bubble is being driven by the politicians and the Finance Department things like naval operations really don’t come into consideration.
 

Grey Havoc

The path not taken.
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
14,557
Reaction score
4,288
Abraham Gubler said:
...But since that thought bubble is being driven by the politicians and the Finance Department things like naval operations really don’t come into consideration.

Ever was it thus, or so it sometimes seems.
 

TomS

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
4,688
Reaction score
1,900
The JMSDF's submarine configuration changed from the teardrop hull to a cigar/cylindrical shape with the Oyashio class, which doesn't have Stirling, so it's not strictly a balance issue. The shift to that shape was driven in significant part by the desire for a parallel center section to accomodate the wide-apperture arrays as well as the simplified construction process. But it was also done with an eye toward future AIP designs, since it's easier to add a stretch or plug to a constant diameter hull than to a teardrop. The move of the torpedo tubes pretty much follows logically -- since the diameter stays wider near the bow, there's room for both the cylindrical sonar array and the torpedo tubes in the same nose section, where the teardrop didn't have room for both.
 

GTX

All hail the God of Frustration!!!
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
3,199
Reaction score
910
Website
beyondthesprues.com

JohnR

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
790
Reaction score
237
Abraham Gubler said:
Moose said:
They have larger conformal arrays on the submarine's sides, so they can reduce the size of the bow array which makes packaging a bit easier for them.

Nope. The Soryu bow array is still as big as it would be with side positioned angled tubes. The reason the torpedo room is in the bow and the tubes go straight forward is to balance the ship thanks to the weight of having two generator systems (Diesel and Stirling). In so doing the Japanese sacrifice the tactical speed of the ship because the bow can’t be shaped to preserve laminarisation of water flow at higher speeds so lowering indiscretion. Plus better performance from the bow array. But the priority for the Japanese thanks to their geostrategic derived tactical situation requires the ability to operate under hold down more than the ability to operate at higher speeds. So air independent propulsion is fitted at the cost of the ship’s hydrodynamics and sonar performance.

All of the above are good operational reasons for why Australia should NOT buy the Japanese submarine. But since that thought bubble is being driven by the politicians and the Finance Department things like naval operations really don’t come into consideration.

I understand most of what you say but don't understand the term "lowering indiscretion" could you explain please?

Regards.
 

TomS

ACCESS: Top Secret
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 16, 2008
Messages
4,688
Reaction score
1,900
"Indiscretion" is sub speak for "making noise.". The indiscretion rate usually applies to the percentage of time the diesels are running.
 

GTX

All hail the God of Frustration!!!
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
3,199
Reaction score
910
Website
beyondthesprues.com
Far, far too much politics involved in this to get any sense from any reporting unfortunately.
 

GTX

All hail the God of Frustration!!!
Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2006
Messages
3,199
Reaction score
910
Website
beyondthesprues.com
Minister for Defence – Strategic direction of the Future Submarine Program
20 February 2015

Today the Government announces the acquisition strategy for the Future Submarine Program. This announcement sets out further details of the competitive evaluation process that will be undertaken by the Department of Defence.

Submarines are an essential component of Australia’s naval capability and the Government will ensure that the future submarine provides the best possible capability and value for money for Australian taxpayers while maximising the involvement of Australian industry.

Submarines are the most complex, sensitive and expensive Defence capability acquisition a Government can make.

Australia’s national security and $1.6 trillion economy depend on secure sea lanes. We need the best possible submarine to protect our trade and support our maritime security.

It must be delivered in time to avoid a capability gap in the mid-2020s when the Collins Class submarine is scheduled to be retired from service. The decisions we make on the Future Submarine Program will determine what kind of capability we have to defend Australia and Australian interests into the 2040s and beyond.

The process outlined by the Government today provides a pathway for Australian industry to maximise its involvement in the program, whilst not compromising capability, cost, program schedule or risk.

The Government expects that significant work will be undertaken in Australia during the build phase of the future submarine including combat system integration, design assurance and land based testing. This will result in the creation at least 500 new high-skill jobs in Australia, the majority of which will be based in South Australia.

The Future Submarine Program is the largest Defence procurement program in Australia’s history and represents an investment in the order of $50 billion in Australia’s security. These costs will be subject to refinement through the competitive evaluation process. A significant proportion of this investment will be spent in Australia during the lifetime of the future submarine.

Successive governments have used various kinds of competitive evaluation processes for major Defence capability procurements.

As part of this competitive evaluation process, the Department of Defence will seek proposals from potential partners for:

a) Pre-concept designs based on meeting Australian capability criteria;

b) Options for design and build overseas, in Australia, and/or a hybrid approach;

c) Rough order of magnitude (ROM) costs and schedule for each option; and

d) Positions on key commercial issues, for example intellectual property rights and the ability to use and disclose technical data.

In addition to this – and on the advice of Defence – the Government has endorsed a set of key strategic requirements for our future submarines:

a) Range and endurance similar to the Collins Class submarine;

b) Sensor performance and stealth characteristics that are superior to the Collins Class submarine; and

c) The combat system and heavyweight torpedo jointly developed between the United States and Australia as the preferred combat system and main armament.

Defence advises that for Australian industry to have the best opportunity to maximise their involvement in the Future Submarine Program, it needs to work with an international partner.

Based on work completed by Defence, France, Germany, and Japan have emerged as potential international partners. All three countries have proven submarine design and build capabilities and are currently producing submarines.

France, Germany and Japan will be invited to participate in this competitive evaluation process that will assess their ability to partner with Australia to develop a Future Submarine that meets our capability requirements.

The Department of Defence will invite potential international partners to seek opportunities for Australian industry participation in the Future Submarine Program.

The competitive evaluation process will help the Government balance important considerations including capability, cost, schedule, and risk. Interoperability with our alliance partner, the United States, will also be a fundamental consideration.

The competitive evaluation process will take around ten months, after which an international partner will be selected for Australia’s Future Submarine Program. Further details about Australian industry involvement are also expected to be known at that point.

The competitive evaluation process will ensure that capability, cost, schedule, and key strategic considerations, along with Australian industry involvement, are carefully and methodically considered, and avoid unnecessary delays to the Future Submarine Program.

The Department of Defence will soon be holding industry briefings to inform Australian industry about the process and how they can engage with potential international partners.

An expert advisory panel will also be appointed to oversee the competitive evaluation process. Further details about this will be announced once individual appointments are confirmed.
 

Grey Havoc

The path not taken.
Senior Member
Joined
Oct 9, 2009
Messages
14,557
Reaction score
4,288
On a tangent: http://www.pressreader.com/australia/the-advertiser/20150514/283008283346993/TextView
 

Similar threads

Top