Replacement of Australia's Collins Class Submarines

Archibald

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I hope they will reconsider a home grown product, it might save some pride, especially if they can drop the self interest aspects of this type of project and actually get what they need rather than what some people want. I would ask any board that decides this issue, "Which of these projects would you send your kids into harms way in"?

First and foremost, they have to balance their difficult requirements against cost and possible overruns.
Those two conflicting plagues are the ones that already ruined the Collins 20 years ago and are presently ruining their successor.

If they don't solve these two major issues, then whoever build more Collins, upgraded Collins or they successors; be it Australians themselves, Swedish, French, Germans, Martian or from Sirius, will fall the same way.
 

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The Soryus seemed like the best fit out of the box, though I assume a modified version was offered to meet RAN requirements. But they were already some of the larger, longer ranges D/Es in service outside Collins.
 

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Doesn’t matter what design they buy, no other option is going to be any faster.

What’s causing the delays isn’t the Barracuda sub, but Australia’s insistance on technology transfer and domestic build, plus integration of a US combat system. That’s an extremely complex endeavor. Contracting alone takes years, plus standing up Australian design teams, a brand new shipyard, partnering across three continents etc.

If they don’t like the wait, they could ask anytime for the French to just get along with it. That would mean less Aussie content and design/build the first sub in France without waiting for the Aussie industrial base to catch up.
 

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No idea if it is "only a stopgap" or "let's look for an alternative".

In the second case, I cannot help thinking that, after the Swedes on the Collins and the French now, it will be the Germans turn to take the blame... we will see.

Note that, as far as SSK major players are concerned, if the RAAN screws (or anger or reject, pick your choice) the Germans like the two others before them - they will be left only with Japan and The Netherlands.
And the Dutch are now off for a cooperation with the Swedes for their next sub iirc.
 

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the Japanese design did not meet RAN requirements and was in significant ways, inferior to the inservice Collins Class.
Japanese and German options were found not to meet the stated requirements, legacy design features in each (both were the result of continuous evolution over decades) made them less advanced in many ways than the existing Collins Class (which was a clean sheet design from the late 80s early 90s), and more importantly, than the French offering. The Barracuda was pretty much a clean sheet design, providing a hull of the required size, as well as all the associated auxiliary systems with the signature issues already sorted, it was the best of the short listed options.
Long story short, RAN and JMSDF have far different doctrines when it comes to submarine operations and therefore Soryu wasn't suitable for RAN. Most of them are nothing to do with being "less advanced" as you have put.

JMSDF submarine fleet's doctrine is to contain Chinese fleet and deter them from entering the pacific. Their operations mainly circles around ambushing around their own version of "island chain", basically a line that starts from Kyushu, continues across Okinawa and leads to Senkaku. This meant poor range, as opposed to Australian requirements. Also the output power of the propulsion system of Soryu is lower than that of Collins, meaning longer charge time for the batteries.

Also because of this doctrine, Soryu class subs are designed for deep sea operation, and by deep, I mean deeeeep (also the reason Li-ion batteries replaced sterling AIP in Ouryu and Touryu. Soryu's AIP is based on Swedish design, which could only operate above 250 m of depth. A huge drawback for the JMSDF). So the ballast of Soryu is quite huge. Coupled with Soryu's double hull and other structural characteristics that are result of the deep sea operations requirement, the actual internal displacement of the submarine wasn't really representative of Soryu's submerged displacement of more than 4,000 tons. Sacrifices were made on the crew compartment. Otoh that kind of submergible depth was an overkill for RAN requirements and RAN favored the exact opposite of Soryu, ie more space for the crew for longer operations.

There are indeed some stuff that Soryu actually is less advanced design-wise, such as the lack of automation, but like I've said, most of the points where Soryu fell short was more to do with the doctrine than the implemented technology.
 
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Maro.Kyo

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The Soryus seemed like the best fit out of the box, though I assume a modified version was offered to meet RAN requirements. But they were already some of the larger, longer ranges D/Es in service outside Collins.
They did offer an enlarged Soryu, which was longer than 90 m in length. In comparison, the original Soryu is 84 m long. They've also offered to incorporate some technology that was meant for 29SS (now Taigei class) such as the Li-ion battery.

Even still, the sub would have been inferior to Ocean/Shortfin Barracuda in terms of meeting the RAN needs. The Japanese were very inexperienced in exporting military equipment, were very hesitant on technology transfers and wasn't really fond of local production in Australia.
 

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No idea if it is "only a stopgap" or "let's look for an alternative".

In the second case, I cannot help thinking that, after the Swedes on the Collins and the French now, it will be the Germans turn to take the blame... we will see.

Note that, as far as SSK major players are concerned, if the RAAN screws (or anger or reject, pick your choice) the Germans like the two others before them - they will be left only with Japan and The Netherlands.
And the Dutch are now off for a cooperation with the Swedes for their next sub iirc.
The Dutch haven't had the capability to build a sub on their own for a few decades now. Most of the knowledge regarding the internals is there, but they no longer have the capability to build pressure hulls.
In fact the partnership between Damen and Saab is centered around Saab building the pressure hull parts, and Damen and Saab outfitting and joining the parts in the Netherlands.
 

Grey Havoc

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were very hesitant on technology transfers and wasn't really fond of local production in Australia.
Though it would seem they were at least far more honest on those issues than the French representatives, if reports on current difficulties are any indication.
 

Volkodav

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Or Swedish :p
The Swedes were ruled out for political reasons, the same political reasons that saw the disbandment of the Australian design capability. Pre the (DFAT as opposed to defence driven) Japan option the preferred options were an indigenous design, an evolved Collins (with Kockums involvement) and an evolved overseas design (in reality a clean sheet option based on existing design features). The evolved overseas design was seen as the least desirable as it would incorporate compromises that would not be present in a clean sheet design, while also incorporating design risk that you wouldn't get in a true evolved design, i.e. effectively a repeat of the Collins decision.

There is an argument that an evolved Walrus or Upholder would have been less risky and offered near Collins level capability but it is also true the industrial, engineering, build strategy, quality and design advances that resulted from the Collins program would have been less significant, if they had occurred at all. The Kockums decision resulted in a green field site, new build strategy, and totally new production and design systems being introduced, it revolutionised engineering and manufacturing in Australia. Choosing an evolved design, likely built in an existing yard would have led to a less advanced and less capable design, one likely not able to be upgraded and life extended as the Collins is now, without many of the industrial and other benefits.

The biggest shame is that the skilled work force, the design capability and the supply chain grown to build Collins has been allowed to whither to the point that we have had to repeat the initial process instead of stepping up with our own design or at least an Evolved Collins.
 

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the Japanese design did not meet RAN requirements and was in significant ways, inferior to the inservice Collins Class.
Japanese and German options were found not to meet the stated requirements, legacy design features in each (both were the result of continuous evolution over decades) made them less advanced in many ways than the existing Collins Class (which was a clean sheet design from the late 80s early 90s), and more importantly, than the French offering. The Barracuda was pretty much a clean sheet design, providing a hull of the required size, as well as all the associated auxiliary systems with the signature issues already sorted, it was the best of the short listed options.
Long story short, RAN and JMSDF have far different doctrines when it comes to submarine operations and therefore Soryu wasn't suitable for RAN. Most of them are nothing to do with being "less advanced" as you have put.

JMSDF submarine fleet's doctrine is to contain Chinese fleet and deter them from entering the pacific. Their operations mainly circles around ambushing around their own version of "island chain", basically a line that starts from Kyushu, continues across Okinawa and leads to Senkaku. This meant poor range, as opposed to Australian requirements. Also the output power of the propulsion system of Soryu is lower than that of Collins, meaning longer charge time for the batteries.

Also because of this doctrine, Soryu class subs are designed for deep sea operation, and by deep, I mean deeeeep (also the reason Li-ion batteries replaced sterling AIP in Ouryu and Touryu. Soryu's AIP is based on Swedish design, which could only operate above 250 m of depth. A huge drawback for the JMSDF). So the ballast of Soryu is quite huge. Coupled with Soryu's double hull and other structural characteristics that are result of the deep sea operations requirement, the actual internal displacement of the submarine wasn't really representative of Soryu's submerged displacement of more than 4,000 tons. Sacrifices were made on the crew compartment. Otoh that kind of submergible depth was an overkill for RAN requirements and RAN favored the exact opposite of Soryu, ie more space for the crew for longer operations.

There are indeed some stuff that Soryu actually is less advanced design-wise, such as the lack of automation, but like I've said, most of the points where Soryu fell short was more to do with the doctrine than the implemented technology.
I am very familiar with Collins, not at all with Soryu. My knowledge of the Soryu comes from former (and likely to soon be again) colleagues who were involved the the tenders and the assessments. They wouldn't go into detail obviously, but did make it very clear there were some surprising legacy features still present in one of the designs, features that the Swedes had moved away from prior to Collins with some very neat bespoke engineering solutions. There were some very elegant design features on the Collins that proved not to be worth the effort as well, i.e. it was found while the extra effort was worth it in some ways, it complicated things on the sustainment side down the track.

While both ultimately derived from the USN Barbel design of the late 50s (as was the Dutch Walrus) the Swedish and Japanese designs evolved quite differently over the different generations. I have been told on good authority that the Soryu shares more structural design DNA with the Barbel than the Nacken and Vastergotland classes of the 70s and 80s, let alone the Collins and Gotland classes. I suppose it may have been a case of "if its not broke..." i.e. the differing operating environments meant features related to simplicity of structure to facilitate deep diving were more important that features relating to silence in shallow waters.

To be honest I would just be guessing on the whys but I do trust the source on the info ref "less advanced features". To be honest, if I one day know half of what this individual knows, I would be able to call myself a leader in my field as opposed to my current status as competent and experienced.
 

Grey Havoc

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I am very familiar with Collins, not at all with Soryu. My knowledge of the Soryu comes from former (and likely to soon be again) colleagues who were involved the the tenders and the assessments. They wouldn't go into detail obviously, but did make it very clear there were some surprising legacy features still present in one of the designs, features that the Swedes had moved away from prior to Collins with some very neat bespoke engineering solutions. There were some very elegant design features on the Collins that proved not to be worth the effort as well, i.e. it was found while the extra effort was worth it in some ways, it complicated things on the sustainment side down the track.

While both ultimately derived from the USN Barbel design of the late 50s (as was the Dutch Walrus) the Swedish and Japanese designs evolved quite differently over the different generations. I have been told on good authority that the Soryu shares more structural design DNA with the Barbel than the Nacken and Vastergotland classes of the 70s and 80s, let alone the Collins and Gotland classes. I suppose it may have been a case of "if its not broke..." i.e. the differing operating environments meant features related to simplicity of structure to facilitate deep diving were more important that features relating to silence in shallow waters.

To be honest I would just be guessing on the whys but I do trust the source on the info ref "less advanced features". To be honest, if I one day know half of what this individual knows, I would be able to call myself a leader in my field as opposed to my current status as competent and experienced.
Interference from the Japanese Ministry of Finance also likely played a role in the Soryu's design evolution. For example, I believe that originally the Soryu was intended to have much more automation but that was nixed by the ministry, much to the annoyance of the MSDF and industry. The ministry, along with its oft partner in crime the Foreign ministry, have a quite poor & well deserved reputation for interfering in the country's defence procurements over the years, usually with dire results.
 

Volkodav

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I am very familiar with Collins, not at all with Soryu. My knowledge of the Soryu comes from former (and likely to soon be again) colleagues who were involved the the tenders and the assessments. They wouldn't go into detail obviously, but did make it very clear there were some surprising legacy features still present in one of the designs, features that the Swedes had moved away from prior to Collins with some very neat bespoke engineering solutions. There were some very elegant design features on the Collins that proved not to be worth the effort as well, i.e. it was found while the extra effort was worth it in some ways, it complicated things on the sustainment side down the track.

While both ultimately derived from the USN Barbel design of the late 50s (as was the Dutch Walrus) the Swedish and Japanese designs evolved quite differently over the different generations. I have been told on good authority that the Soryu shares more structural design DNA with the Barbel than the Nacken and Vastergotland classes of the 70s and 80s, let alone the Collins and Gotland classes. I suppose it may have been a case of "if its not broke..." i.e. the differing operating environments meant features related to simplicity of structure to facilitate deep diving were more important that features relating to silence in shallow waters.

To be honest I would just be guessing on the whys but I do trust the source on the info ref "less advanced features". To be honest, if I one day know half of what this individual knows, I would be able to call myself a leader in my field as opposed to my current status as competent and experienced.
Interference from the Japanese Ministry of Finance also likely played a role in the Soryu's design evolution. For example, I believe that originally the Soryu was intended to have much more automation but that was nixed by the ministry, much to the annoyance of the MSDF and industry. The ministry, along with its oft partner in crime the Foreign ministry, have a quite poor & well deserved reputation for interfering in the country's defence procurements over the years, usually with dire results.
Of the two Japanese yards building subs, one is apparently on a par with the Australian Osborne facility, better in some ways, not as good in others, while the other is decades behind Australia.
 

aonestudio

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jeffb

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The biggest shame is that the skilled work force, the design capability and the supply chain grown to build Collins has been allowed to whither to the point that we have had to repeat the initial process instead of stepping up with our own design or at least an Evolved Collins.

This. Really should have started the evolution with HMAS Sheean and HMAS Rankin.
 
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Volkodav

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The biggest shame is that the skilled work force, the design capability and the supply chain grown to build Collins has been allowed to whither to the point that we have had to repeat the initial process instead of stepping up with our own design or at least an Evolved Collins.

This. Really should have started the evolution with HMAS Sheean and HMAS Rankin.
Dechaineux and Sheean were twins. Their build was delayed to incorporate "Fast Track" upgrades that were trialled on Waller.

Rankin was built with all Fast Track incorporated and would have been the ideal start point for a new batch, i.e. the planned but never built seventh and eighth boats.

Interestingly Farncomb was the first completed to the original intended baseline and performed very well in exercises despite the bad press the class received. Collins was pretty much a prototype and wasn't brought fully inline with the rest of the class until her Second FCD. Waller also had some developmental upgrades from her trials with Fast Track changes that weren't exactly the same as the rest until caught up in MCDs and the second FCD.

Several years later on another project we had an alleged CM manager walk us through the CM systems, the first question we had was "you only have one ship showing, how do we see the others?" he responded that all ships of the class would be identical so they only need to develop one design and as built baseline. He looked offended when we couldn't stop laughing, he didn't last too long either as I remember.
 

TomS

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CM here is Configuration Management, yes?
 

Archibald

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The forum alert system has gone bonkers. It keeps telling me people are quoting my posts (@jeffb and @Volkodav). Must be an effect of bashing those poor Collins.
 

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The forum alert system has gone bonkers. It keeps telling me people are quoting my posts (@jeffb and @Volkodav). Must be an effect of bashing those poor Collins.
Ah no, that was me. I created a reply to Volkodav that included a quote from you. I tried to remove that quote and obviously failed. Is there a way to see the full comment with all the tags? If so I'll go back and fix it.


Edit: Never mind, think I fixed it. Sorry about that.
 

jeffb

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The biggest shame is that the skilled work force, the design capability and the supply chain grown to build Collins has been allowed to whither to the point that we have had to repeat the initial process instead of stepping up with our own design or at least an Evolved Collins.

This. Really should have started the evolution with HMAS Sheean and HMAS Rankin.
Dechaineux and Sheean were twins. Their build was delayed to incorporate "Fast Track" upgrades that were trialled on Waller.

Rankin was built with all Fast Track incorporated and would have been the ideal start point for a new batch, i.e. the planned but never built seventh and eighth boats.

Interestingly Farncomb was the first completed to the original intended baseline and performed very well in exercises despite the bad press the class received. Collins was pretty much a prototype and wasn't brought fully inline with the rest of the class until her Second FCD. Waller also had some developmental upgrades from her trials with Fast Track changes that weren't exactly the same as the rest until caught up in MCDs and the second FCD.

Several years later on another project we had an alleged CM manager walk us through the CM systems, the first question we had was "you only have one ship showing, how do we see the others?" he responded that all ships of the class would be identical so they only need to develop one design and as built baseline. He looked offended when we couldn't stop laughing, he didn't last too long either as I remember.

It's just a tragedy (of a typically Australian type).
 

Archibald

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The forum alert system has gone bonkers. It keeps telling me people are quoting my posts (@jeffb and @Volkodav). Must be an effect of bashing those poor Collins.
Ah no, that was me. I created a reply to Volkodav that included a quote from you. I tried to remove that quote and obviously failed. Is there a way to see the full comment with all the tags? If so I'll go back and fix it.


Edit: Never mind, think I fixed it. Sorry about that.

Not a big issue, really. It amuses me, when software goes crazy like this. Sometimes software is just plain stupid.
 
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Josh_TN

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The forum alert system has gone bonkers. It keeps telling me people are quoting my posts (@jeffb and @Volkodav). Must be an effect of bashing those poor Collins.
Ah no, that was me. I created a reply to Volkodav that included a quote from you. I tried to remove that quote and obviously failed. Is there a way to see the full comment with all the tags? If so I'll go back and fix it.


Edit: Never mind, think I fixed it. Sorry about that.

Not a big issue, really. It amused me, when software goes crazy like this. Sometimes software is just plain stupid.

There is no stupid software, only stupid programmers. :)
 

jeffb

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The forum alert system has gone bonkers. It keeps telling me people are quoting my posts (@jeffb and @Volkodav). Must be an effect of bashing those poor Collins.
Ah no, that was me. I created a reply to Volkodav that included a quote from you. I tried to remove that quote and obviously failed. Is there a way to see the full comment with all the tags? If so I'll go back and fix it.


Edit: Never mind, think I fixed it. Sorry about that.

Not a big issue, really. It amused me, when software goes crazy like this. Sometimes software is just plain stupid.

There is no stupid software, only stupid programmers. :)
*cough* ...and users *cough*
 

helmutkohl

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skimming through this thread, it seems that theres no submarine options that could satisfy the RAN needs
 

Archibald

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Perhaps it is a little more subtle (or perverse, pick you word) than that.

The requirement may be well defined (related to the PRC, Pacific Ocean, Australia itself: its size, resources) - the hardest part is to implement it - politically, financially - over many years if not decades.

In the case of the Collins it took a decade or more.

Those military mega-contracts are often troubled - there is so much money at stake, and submarines are not easy.
 

jeffb

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skimming through this thread, it seems that there's no submarine options that could satisfy the RAN needs

There's no existing designs really, no. It's a difficult ask. Australia wants nuclear boat capabilities...without having nuclear boats. The total lack of technological capability aside, the Australian public finds nuclear anything simply unacceptable politically so any solution has to be conventionally powered, hence the Collins and now the Attack class design which is a conventionally powered Barracuda class nuclear boat.

The RAN submarine's mission and operating environment make finding a COTS solution particularly difficult. The majority of diesel boats designed and built elsewhere are usually designed around a quite different set of requirements, typically much shorter range, littoral protection type missions.
 

Pioneer

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The biggest shame is that the skilled work force, the design capability and the supply chain grown to build Collins has been allowed to whither to the point that we have had to repeat the initial process instead of stepping up with our own design or at least an Evolved Collins.

This. Really should have started the evolution with HMAS Sheean and HMAS Rankin.
Dechaineux and Sheean were twins. Their build was delayed to incorporate "Fast Track" upgrades that were trialled on Waller.

Rankin was built with all Fast Track incorporated and would have been the ideal start point for a new batch, i.e. the planned but never built seventh and eighth boats.

Interestingly Farncomb was the first completed to the original intended baseline and performed very well in exercises despite the bad press the class received. Collins was pretty much a prototype and wasn't brought fully inline with the rest of the class until her Second FCD. Waller also had some developmental upgrades from her trials with Fast Track changes that weren't exactly the same as the rest until caught up in MCDs and the second FCD.

Several years later on another project we had an alleged CM manager walk us through the CM systems, the first question we had was "you only have one ship showing, how do we see the others?" he responded that all ships of the class would be identical so they only need to develop one design and as built baseline. He looked offended when we couldn't stop laughing, he didn't last too long either as I remember.

It's just a tragedy (of a typically Australian type).
Sadly, I concur.

Regards
Pioneer
 

Pioneer

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The biggest shame is that the skilled work force, the design capability and the supply chain grown to build Collins has been allowed to whither to the point that we have had to repeat the initial process instead of stepping up with our own design or at least an Evolved Collins.
 

Pioneer

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"The biggest shame is that the skilled work force, the design capability and the supply chain grown to build Collins has been allowed to whither to the point that we have had to repeat the initial process instead of stepping up with our own design or at least an Evolved Collins."

-Volkadav

I couldn't agree more, the 'money' and 'deals' formulated by this concurrent LNP government (be it Abbott, Turnbull and now Morrison) is so blatant, the ADF as a whole is going to suffer.

I've personally come to the conclusion some time a go that the RAN's wet dream of requirements need to be given back to it, with the specific instruction - come back with what you specifically and realistically need, as opposed to what you'd like!

I'm adimit we're never going to see twelve submarines of this class in RAN service.

Regards
Pioneer
 
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Josh_TN

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The forum alert system has gone bonkers. It keeps telling me people are quoting my posts (@jeffb and @Volkodav). Must be an effect of bashing those poor Collins.
Ah no, that was me. I created a reply to Volkodav that included a quote from you. I tried to remove that quote and obviously failed. Is there a way to see the full comment with all the tags? If so I'll go back and fix it.


Edit: Never mind, think I fixed it. Sorry about that.

Not a big issue, really. It amused me, when software goes crazy like this. Sometimes software is just plain stupid.

There is no stupid software, only stupid programmers. :)
*cough* ...and users *cough*
Touche!
 

Fluff

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skimming through this thread, it seems that there's no submarine options that could satisfy the RAN needs

There's no existing designs really, no. It's a difficult ask. Australia wants nuclear boat capabilities...without having nuclear boats. The total lack of technological capability aside, the Australian public finds nuclear anything simply unacceptable politically so any solution has to be conventionally powered, hence the Collins and now the Attack class design which is a conventionally powered Barracuda class nuclear boat.

The RAN submarine's mission and operating environment make finding a COTS solution particularly difficult. The majority of diesel boats designed and built elsewhere are usually designed around a quite different set of requirements, typically much shorter range, littoral protection type missions.
Thanks for the explanation, I thought it was strange, to want a non-nuke, but go and talk to nuke boat builders.....

Doesnt uranium come from Australia - seems a bit of logic needed.
 

Archibald

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skimming through this thread, it seems that theres no submarine options that could satisfy the RAN needs
What the RAN really wants is a nuke boat. But for political reasons, they can't get one or even come out and say it.
The irony is, the presently much maligned french offer comes quite close: a non-nuclear Barracuda !
 

Josh_TN

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skimming through this thread, it seems that theres no submarine options that could satisfy the RAN needs
What the RAN really wants is a nuke boat. But for political reasons, they can't get one or even come out and say it.
The irony is, the presently much maligned french offer comes quite close: a non-nuclear Barracuda !
There were some people who thought that was actually perhaps the end run goal. Don't think I believe that myself, but as opposed to USN/RN boats, the French designs use a much lower level of enriched U238. The stuff that goes into a Virginia is generally thought to be bomb grade in open source, with some chemicals added to quench the reaction at the high enrichment level that ultimately get burned off as purity falls, to maintain a steady output for the life of the core (along with other physical means of course).

Not sure where that would fall in the NPT but it would be a lot more palatable than a weapons grade core.
 

H_K

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the French designs use a much lower level of enriched U238.
Not to mention the French have experience reprocessing used nuclear fuels from other countries (eg: Japan) so the disposal problem would be easier for Australia… they could just ship the fuel rods back!

Still leaves the decontamination problem for the sub itself… generally speaking the policy is to seal the nuclear reactor tranche (once emptied of the fuel rods) and keep it afloat or ashore for decades until the radiation levels have died down… plenty of space in Australia for that.
 

Volkodav

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Interestingly, while I am sure there must be some Australian submariners who want nuclear boats I have never come across one. I should add the RAN submariners I know include ex RN SSN/SSBN MEOs, i.e. nuclear engineers. Also a former head of ASC Steve Ludlum, was also the former head of RR nuclear reactors, his Engineering Director was another RR nuclear Engineer, Alex Walsh, if anyone would have been pushing the RAN nuclear option it would have been then and to my knowledge neither of them did.

I like SSNs, I believe they would have been a good fit for the RAN and I believe it should have been done in the 60s or 70s along with a proper nuclear industry being stood up in the 50s. The thing is, it didn't happen and to talk SSNs as an alternative to the current SEA 1000 program is a fantasy. Maybe with the right infrastructure and political support the replacements for the Attacks could be nuclear powered but at this point I can't see it happening.

Anyone who believes SSNs are a viable alternative to the current program needs to understand that the level of funding, infrastructure and workforce development required to support even an over seas built fleet is infinitely more expensive and risky than the current troubled program. At this point, even going for a completely MOTS solution for a SSK would introduce further risk and delay, and that includes over seas build options.

Personally I suspect there are political elements that are pushing for German and Japanese options but this has more to do with pork barrelling in certain electorates than capability or schedule. The reality is these boats would offer little if anything over the planned Collins upgrade and be inferior to the Attacks, while arriving not much, if any earlier.

Do naval group need a good slapping, probably, is there a realistic alternative, probably not.
 

H_K

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Anyone who believes SSNs are a viable alternative to the current program needs to understand that the level of funding, infrastructure and workforce development required to support even an over seas built fleet is infinitely more expensive and risky than the current troubled program.

I hear you but there’s also timing/design risk in the current approach (potentially more so).

Whereas the French could build & deliver a nuclear boat by ~2030 and then continue building the reactor tranches of subsequent subs for hull assembly in Australia. That would leave the initial fueling of non irradiated rods, which is not that complicated, and the first refueling 10 years later, which is more complicated but there would be more time to stand up the workforce and infrastructure for that.

Given 10 years one should be able to train the crew and shore engineering manpower for the nuke areas.

I admit the above may be oversimplifying, but it doesn’t sound much worse than the current approach/timeline.
 

Josh_TN

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It definitely isn't politically or economically feasible for Australia to start a nuclear industry now, especially for the small fleet it would ever own. Pure fantasy. But the RAN sub requirements are a better fit for a nuke boat than a D/E, which is one of the problems they have with regards to building boats to fill their needs. No one else in the world needs a SSK with the kind of range and rate of advance that they are looking for; it is a bespoke solution to a unique requirement.
 

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