Replacement of Australia's Collins Class Submarines

Rickshaw

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I think the UK may yet spring a surprise and offer an Astute from the RN on permanent detachment/transfer to the RAN.
There are more than enough NATO assets to deal with Putin's still moth eaten fleet. A reduction in Astute numbers would be more than offset by the practical and political benefits.
My own theory is we hand one over and build two or more, likely PWR-3 based evolutions.
The whole build rate for SSNs in the UK is massively slowed down to keep it ticking over.
It would actually benefit designers and builders to evolve the design, learn lessons and gain more experience.

Though to be strict here, the Australians could see which way the wind was blowing decades ago and could, and should have jumped in on Astute or Virginia back then.
This whole avoidance of nuclear propulsion is a product of the triumph of domestic political beliefs over hard facts.
I think you'll find that it is exactly that. Domestic political concerns should always rule first and foremost. You are forgetting that Australia was once used for nuclear tests by the British empire without proper consultation with the people.
 

starviking

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Strategically it gives them a foil to chinese Naval expansion, i.e. Chinese carriers.
If the subs fly an australian flag, it removes the 'reasonable' chinese complaint that UK are US are sticking their nose in where they are not involved.
Do an additional 8 boats (eventually) really foil Chinese Naval expansion plans though, whatever those plans actually are?
China has a lot of constraints on unfettered travel outside of the South China Sea. Australia, the US, the UK, Singapore, and Japan can lock China’s fleets in the SCS, and make any runs around Taiwan and Japan costly.
 

Fluff

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Strategically it gives them a foil to chinese Naval expansion, i.e. Chinese carriers.
If the subs fly an australian flag, it removes the 'reasonable' chinese complaint that UK are US are sticking their nose in where they are not involved.
Do an additional 8 boats (eventually) really foil Chinese Naval expansion plans though, whatever those plans actually are?
China has a lot of constraints on unfettered travel outside of the South China Sea. Australia, the US, the UK, Singapore, and Japan can lock China’s fleets in the SCS, and make any runs around Taiwan and Japan costly.
Also you get a force multiplier, so if UK has 1 boat in the area, and the US maybe 5, by servicing them in Australia, rather than UK/US, you get more than this as a benefit. This also muddies the water for China, as any sub they locate, could be nuclear armed, could be US, or British, or Australian, and therefore complex politically to hassle or attack, thus making life unpredictable.
 

Fluff

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Though to be strict here, the Australians could see which way the wind was blowing decades ago and could, and should have jumped in on Astute or Virginia back then.
This whole avoidance of nuclear propulsion is a product of the triumph of domestic political beliefs over hard facts.
I think you'll find that it is exactly that. Domestic political concerns should always rule first and foremost. You are forgetting that Australia was once used for nuclear tests by the British empire without proper consultation with the people.
I think they went through the democratically-elected Australian Government…
We dont negotiate with convicts.....



...Joke, its a joke, you know, a joke.....
 

GTX

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zen

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Stay on topic is a good request.

Seems I've hit a nerve on nuclear propulsion for submarines.....that or given an opening for attempted thread hijack.
Apologies to the mods if this is the case, though it didn't seem so at the time.

The irony is, unlike certain foreigners who talk my country down and pronounce we cannot, should not, must not, do something or try to do something ourselves and that it's terrible if we did.

I have simply advocated Australia do something for itself, that it can, that it should and frankly it's been tardy getting there. As a 'foreigner' (to Australians) talking Australia up.

As it is that it is a good thing the US and UK, the premier military powers of the English Speaking States who have the requisite technology. Are willing and able to assist. Because it is in all our interests.

It's probably correct to say that sadly the French have been mucked about on this because of Australian domestic politics, as much as Naval Group have engaged in behaviour that ought bring down the wrath of the French Government (perhaps you should dust off the Guillotine?).

References to the past might help explain the domestic opposition to a domestic nuclear industry. But I suspect that has more to do with other factors than the UKs nuclear weapons effort from the 50's.

Anyway my only critic of Australia is merely that it has taken so long to arrive at the obvious decision. On this I am not alone. Voices have stated this outside and inside Australia for decades.

Over on the Fifth Column, we've run around this topic for the last 20 years or more. Mostly without reference to the 50's.
 

Hood

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The RAN has always needed an SSN given Australia's isolation.
Brisbane to the USA is 11,500km
South America is 13,000km
Perth to Africa is 8,000km
Sydney to Shanghai is 7,890km
Sydney to Guangzhou is 7,510km
Antarctica is 5,000km
Northern Australia to Hainan 4,000km
New Zealand is 2,000km

When you weigh the Attack-class's 33,000km range against those figures, its not hard to see why range is vital.
If China succeeded in closing the South China Sea then all that maritime traffic to South Korea and Japan and Australia would have to go around New Guinea via the Marshall Islands, a much longer route.
 

Rickshaw

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Range from Australia to anywhere is a long way. In particular it is a long way from the PRC to Australia. A long way. Which is why China is less of a danger to Australia. The PRC needs Australia for iron ore, aluminium, beef, you name it. It would hurt China if these supplies were cut off. It would also hurt Australia if they were cut, Australia need not interfere in China's affairs and China need not interfere in Australia's affairs. We do not need nuclear submarines. Our only point of conflict with China is what we create.
 

Volkodav

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Range from Australia to anywhere is a long way. In particular it is a long way from the PRC to Australia. A long way. Which is why China is less of a danger to Australia. The PRC needs Australia for iron ore, aluminium, beef, you name it. It would hurt China if these supplies were cut off. It would also hurt Australia if they were cut, Australia need not interfere in China's affairs and China need not interfere in Australia's affairs. We do not need nuclear submarines. Our only point of conflict with China is what we create.
Considering the economic and social pain China has recently chosen to inflict upon themselves to "punish" Australia it is clear the conflict creation is pretty one sided at the moment.
 

Foo Fighter

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"Our only point of conflict with China is what we create".

Sounds a lot like "Better red than dead". The PRC will do whatever, whenever they want and while Oz may not be the first target right now, they will get to you in time. Would you rather it be alone or with friends?
 

zen

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It risks veering from the topic to delve into pronouncements of what look suspiciously like something the CCP would approve of and frankly reeks of something disturbingly familiar.
Great distance is not invulnerability in this day and age.
And resources are best administered within an Empire, than without......especially if the host population is small.....

The submarine, especially a nuclear powered version, is an unseen terror. One that can pounce upon it's victim without warning. It's threat is far in excess of it's actual capacity to bring destruction. But it cannot be ignored, or wished away.
Once you are out on the seas far from land, this threat is ever present.

It will bring to Australia an instrument of Offence that serves as a Defence far greater than it's cost. Australia's security will be greatly enhanced, and it's power and influence far exceed what it has been before.
 

Archibald

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"Our only point of conflict with China is what we create".

Sounds a lot like "Better red than dead". The PRC will do whatever, whenever they want and while Oz may not be the first target right now, they will get to you in time. Would you rather it be alone or with friends?

The threat is no longer military and thus related to distance. Nowadays the threat is economics first, and there is no protection through distance, as the entire planet is inter-connected...
 

Foo Fighter

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At this time, the threat to Oz is not military, the PRC are too busy dealing with their near neighbours. For how long will THAT be the case?
 

zen

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What happens to Taiwan or the Philippines or Korea and Vietnam may seem of no relevance to Australia now, but the idea troubles will remain far away is an assumption not born out by experience.
Where does Australia draw the line, where is your Poland? Where is your Belgium?

The SSK delivers little tangible assistance of any worthwhile duration, but the very idea of the SSN exerts a permanent and unignorable assistance.
Just an offhand remark of an SSN in the South Atlantic struck terror into the Argentinian Navy and their willingness to risk taking the Falklands in the 70's evaporated in the presence of the idea of such a threat.
The sinking of one warship, revealing the presence of an SSN, herded their fleet back into port with uncommon haste.
 

GTX

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Folks, at this stage the AUKUS treaty and in regard to this thread, the RAN's acquisition of SSNs, is essentially a done deal. Both the LNP Govt and the ALP opposition have stated that they endorse the plan so any political angle is largely a moot point. Questions as to CONOPS, reasons for acquisition, perceived need etc are irrelevant subjective speculation and unless someone here wants to enter Australian politics to change/influence the decision, you are not going to do anything but ruffle feathers.

As already stated numerous times there is a 18mth (well less now) study underway investigating options. Until that is complete virtually all commentary is speculation. If you have facts then by all means post them. If not, consider carefully what you post lest it be moderated accordingly.
 

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In the future it is planned for the RAN submarine fleet to make extensive use of UUVs, having a nuclear reactor that can be used to charge the batteries on these UUVs makes the entire package much more effective. Even the conventional Attack Class were seen as UUV and special forces motherships, SSNs will do this so much more easily and more effectively.
 

Archibald

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Vive la France ! More seriously: this is no superfluous luxury, not with a crew trapped onboard and inside a blind and noisy steel tube for weeks of time... you need some minimum comfort and good food to keep them into a single - mental - piece (and not end with a HMS Bounty style rebellion onboard... or worse, Crimson tide, cough)

Go re-read "Hunt for Red october" and the description of Soviet boomers and attack subs crew "accomodations" (and rather more flattering US ones).

Crews of boomers (and even more cramped SSNs) need steel nerves and big balls (or reverse) to endure their mission. Even astronauts are pussies in comparison (except perhaps the Apollo ones).
 

Archibald

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Go re-read "Hunt for Red october" and the description of Soviet boomers and attack subs crew "accomodations" (and rather more flattering US ones).

The Typhoons even include a sauna and a swimming pool.

I wonder whether this is a serious or tongue-in-cheek... then again, there was a lot of room in that hull...
 

Hood

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I wonder whether this is a serious or tongue-in-cheek... then again, there was a lot of room in that hull...
It's no myth.
They had small two-foot-deep swimming pools, a sauna, a lounge area with rocking chairs(!) and televisions throughout the submarine for entertainment.
Shame the wife and kids were shut up in a leaky concrete block of flats far above the arctic circle behind bared wire and checkpoints with little ability to travel but at least with some priority for consumer goods and food.

The thing that I've never worked out is that the whole idea of the Soviet SSBN fleet by the time of the Typhoons was to operate in local bastions under the Arctic Ice. They were probably never very far from even if on deployment for a long time. Were Typhoon deployments actually any longer than, say, the older Deltas and Yankees that still needed to partially cross the Atlantic?
 

GTX

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uk 75

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I agree with GTX that until more information becomes available we have exhausted our various speculations as to how AUKUS will work out.
Perhaps GTX can prune any comments that don't add to what has been discussed already at length.
 

zen

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Maybe what is really needed is a thread where strategic, political and other issues can be safely aired?
 

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No, UK75's right, GTX should just prune unrelated stuff away.

It is a little restrictive though because AUKUS, Taiwan, the South China Sea, "The Quad" and the Australian SSN acquisition are all intimately related and we don't have any dedicated thread to discuss those issues.

Maybe a "South China Sea Matters" or "Western Pacific general discussion" thread?
 

GTX

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GTX
So you want this a news only thread?
Not necessarily. That said, argument s against SSNs are a moot point now as I have already indicated. Likewise going off on tangents about Russian or French subs with no reference back to Australia's requirement is off topic. Similarly, carrying on about French reactions to the Attack Class/SSN decision is now old news and should be moved on from.
 

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That said, arguments against SSNs are a moot point now as I have already indicated.

Well no, not until the results of the 18 month review are completed. Also, there's an Australian Federal election coming in the new year as well, and a change of government may upend the whole AUKUS arrangement and the decision to go nuclear.
 

uk 75

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The 2022 elections could produce a result similar to Australian Defence cuts in the 70s.
It will be interesting to see how the debate develops in the coming months.
 

GTX

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Well no, not until the results of the 18 month review are completed. Also, there's an Australian Federal election coming in the new year as well, and a change of government may upend the whole AUKUS arrangement and the decision to go nuclear.
The purpose of the Nuclear-Powered Submarine Task Force (i.e. the 18mth review) is not to determine if SSNs will be acquired but rather how they will be acquired and what else is needed. Also don't think that work has not already been done on this front - it's not like the Chief of Navy woke up one morning thinking "I want SSNs" and then rang the PM who said in response "Sounds cool, let's do it."

Re the election, the current ALP opposition have already come out in support of both AUKUS and SSNs - they were also briefed before the announcements. Moreover polling since the announcement has consistently shown the population decidedly in favour of both. I therefore don't see this being an election issue at all apart from a minority who will try to raise it, usually referencing nuclear weapons or war is evil in general...
 
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GTX

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The 2022 elections could produce a result similar to Australian Defence cuts in the 70s.
It will be interesting to see how the debate develops in the coming months.
Straying close to off topic but I am curious why you think that would be the case - support for Defence has a lot of support on both sides of politics in Australia these days.
 

uk 75

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GTX Sorry. Scratch my comment. Australia today diff from 70s.
 

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The purpose of the Nuclear-Powered Submarine Task Force (i.e. the 18mth review) is not to determine if SSNs will be acquired but rather how they will be acquired and what else is needed.

The purpose of the task force is to facilitate the desires of the current government in regards to Australian SSNs. If there's a change of government those desires may change.
 

GTX

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And I say yet again, the ALP opposition has expressed support for the buy (while still allowing the necessary politics) - for example, from a speech from Anthony Albanese, Leader of the ALP:

Labor has three conditions for the support of nuclear-powered submarines, which we have sought assurance on. Firstly, that there be no requirement of a domestic civil nuclear industry. Secondly, that there be no acquisition of nuclear weapons. And, thirdly, that this agreement would be compatible with the non-proliferation treaty. All of those conditions, I believe, can be met. It's very clear that the next-generation technology, in terms of nuclear-powered submarines, has very clear advantages over the submarines that were commissioned by this Coalition Government and that so much money has been spent on. There are advantages for capacity in terms of depth and length of staying under sea. There are advantages in terms of speed. But importantly as well, there are advantages in terms of stealth that helps to improve the national security outcomes of the purchase of such a submarine capacity.

 

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Archibald

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Similarly, carrying on about French reactions to the Attack Class/SSN decision is now old news and should be moved on from.
Election is also coming in France so Macron should be busy elsewhere - although so far polls told us he will be comfortably re-elected, since he faces only nuts (far-right nuts and far-left nuts) or zombie old parties, fractured (zombie left, post Hollande and zombie right, post Sarkozy).
 

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