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Royal Australian Navy Discussions and Updates

This is a discussion on Royal Australian Navy Discussions and Updates within the Navy & Maritime forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by swerve And that reduces its value. It can't set off until a port has been secured, since ...


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Old August 12th, 2008   #1501
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And that reduces its value. It can't set off until a port has been secured, since it needs a port, & its cramped accommodation & limited "hotel" facilities means it can't loiter, & therefore doesn't have the option of going to the hot spot & waiting offshore until it's able to dock. This means it can't do rapid response, or anticipatory moves. Useful for delivering reinforcements - provided, of course, the first troops ashore have secured a port but not an airfield, since if they have an airfield then aircraft will deliver your troops much more quickly.


But it can't move until it knows that there'll be a port for it to land its troops and equipment. That's the value of a traditional, slow, ship. It can set off as soon as there's a hint of trouble, & if when it gets there no port is available, well, it has cranes, & Mexeflotes, lighters, or whatever. If the weather is too bad to unload onto them, or the assault force hasn't yet secured anywhere the lighters can unload onto shore, it waits. Bad weather isn't a show-stopper, range is much greater, carrying capacity is much greater.

A high-speed ferry is perfect for shuttling between two ports, not too far apart. But amphibious operations, as far as I can see, don't resemble that much. The occasions on which an HSV is useful (& I can imagine quite a few) probably don't justify the expense of buying & maintaining one. I agree with alexsa: charter one (or more) when wanted, if available. If not, it's not the end of the world. It's a "nice to have" thing, not an essential thing.
Wise words.

However let us not forget that (a) placing yourself at the mercy of private enterprise has not been kind, and (b) writing contracts hasn't been a Defence strong point recently

I'd personally prefer to see them built for the government, and leased out under contract, like a "Reserve Navy". Chances are that sort of thing would never happen.
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Old August 12th, 2008   #1502
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And that reduces its value. It can't set off until a port has been secured, since it needs a port, & its cramped accommodation & limited "hotel" facilities means it can't loiter, & therefore doesn't have the option of going to the hot spot & waiting offshore until it's able to dock. This means it can't do rapid response, or anticipatory moves. Useful for delivering reinforcements - provided, of course, the first troops ashore have secured a port but not an airfield, since if they have an airfield then aircraft will deliver your troops much more quickly.


But it can't move until it knows that there'll be a port for it to land its troops and equipment. That's the value of a traditional, slow, ship. It can set off as soon as there's a hint of trouble, & if when it gets there no port is available, well, it has cranes, & Mexeflotes, lighters, or whatever. If the weather is too bad to unload onto them, or the assault force hasn't yet secured anywhere the lighters can unload onto shore, it waits. Bad weather isn't a show-stopper, range is much greater, carrying capacity is much greater.

A high-speed ferry is perfect for shuttling between two ports, not too far apart. But amphibious operations, as far as I can see, don't resemble that much. The occasions on which an HSV is useful (& I can imagine quite a few) probably don't justify the expense of buying & maintaining one. I agree with alexsa: charter one (or more) when wanted, if available. If not, it's not the end of the world. It's a "nice to have" thing, not an essential thing.
I swear to god, the idea of a high speed cat is the only topic of discussion that irritates me more than the notion of exported F-22s. I wish people would get over it. They are simply too small, too light and too short legged. Maybe there is a place for them in other larger navies with less distances to travel, but not for the RAN.

Brett.
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Old August 12th, 2008   #1503
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High speed ferries are great for Cook Strait or Bass Strait passages, or to nearby East Timor from Darwin. But they aren't sufficient for an operation to Heard Island, or Singapore, or Fiji from Australia. I am not even sure they will be useful for military operations in New Zealand from Australia. Range is more important than speed, always have been.

If you are going to buy ferries, another Canterbury, or something similar, would be better for the stated reasons mentioned before this post. New Zealand chose well, Australia would do well to do the same, but will probably pick a better LPD/LSD design.

For the third amphibious ship, I would want nothing less than a Canterbury, preferably a larger one sized for a battalion instead of a company group. But I prefer a better ship, such as the British Bay class, a true LSD.
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Old August 12th, 2008   #1504
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High speed ferries are great for Cook Strait or Bass Strait passages, or to nearby East Timor from Darwin. But they aren't sufficient for an operation to Heard Island, or Singapore, or Fiji from Australia. I am not even sure they will be useful for military operations in New Zealand from Australia. Range is more important than speed, always have been.

If you are going to buy ferries, another Canterbury, or something similar, would be better for the stated reasons mentioned before this post. New Zealand chose well, Australia would do well to do the same, but will probably pick a better LPD/LSD design.

For the third amphibious ship, I would want nothing less than a Canterbury, preferably a larger one sized for a battalion instead of a company group. But I prefer a better ship, such as the British Bay class, a true LSD.
As I have said before, it is my firm belief that the RAN currently agrees with you.

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Old August 12th, 2008   #1505
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sea toby are you a submariner???
Coast Guard retired. Spent a few years on the old Mackinaw on the Great Lakes, transferred to Galveston and spent a lot of time on a medium endurance cutter and a lot of time on a coastal buoy tender. The cutter is still in service, but the buoy tender has been replaced with a new vessel. It won't be long before the cutter is replaced by a new medium endurance cutter.

When the Coast Guard was in the Transportation Dept. we got screwed. A lot of congressional highway projects were more important. Now that the Coast Guard is under Homeland Security Dept., the Coast Guard is finally getting new cutters.
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Old August 12th, 2008   #1506
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Coast Guard retired. Spent a few years on the old Mackinaw on the Great Lakes, transferred to Galveston and spent a lot of time on a medium endurance cutter and a lot of time on a coastal buoy tender. The cutter is still in service, but the buoy tender has been replaced with a new vessel. It won't be long before the cutter is replaced by a new medium endurance cutter.

When the Coast Guard was in the Transportation Dept. we got screwed. A lot of congressional highway projects were more important. Now that the Coast Guard is under Homeland Security Dept., the Coast Guard is finally getting new cutters.
You can't complain that much

The USCG has a larger budget then most navies, including the RAN.
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Old August 12th, 2008   #1507
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You can't complain that much

The USCG has a larger budget then most navies, including the RAN.
The USCG has a far larger job than most navies. Most USCG ships are old and do need replacement, but this is not the thread to discuss this.
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Old August 12th, 2008   #1508
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Airport? I was under the impression that if you had a nice flat spot and a bulldozer you could probably just "build" an airport for a C-130 or C-17
Maybe for a C-130 - but first you need the nice flat spot, and the bulldozer, & the time & opportunity* to use the latter on the former.

*Taking into account the likelihood that someone will probably be trying to deny you that opportunity.
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Old August 13th, 2008   #1509
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Does the current arrangement enable ease of use for CH-47s? (saw a pic on one or more of the forums that had side sponsons attached - those were cool)

Brett.
Spotted this post; yes they are supposed to be able to embark, operate and stow CH-47s on the lower decks.

Whether this is common practise depends on when we get them; they may survey the available clearances and decide they don't want to risk it, but generally (as far as I'm aware) they make decisions based off the plans before they buy (and selection of the vessel is based on this criteria) and the survey is only a double-check.

The really tough part is having them rated for deck landings, pilots trained to do so, and the shoalings worked out for the aircraft. Once you can get them on the deck, that's the easy part. However, I expect this would be done as excluding CH-47's from this vessel would be a pretty daft thing to do, unless there was another reason they couldn't use the airframe.

However, as a side note (and slightly off-topic) on the uses of CH-47 Chinooks:
This video I have seen specifying the airframe as either a CH-47 or a CH-46, but the point is moot - both of the airframes can do a "water landing"


Those with a penchant to downloading can find it here.

I have seen a Chinook perform a water landing, so it could be either airframe. Authorising such a practise is something else, I am sure!

--

Back to the discussion at hand:

The next decision the RAN need to make is whether to continue with acquiring the MH-90. When these ships come online they will need to have a solid airframe serviceability record which they simply just don't have. Part of that is a requirement for more maintainers, the other part is they need more airframes, and they need a new and common airframe. The ships will need regular aircraft operations to keep them up to speed, and this means both Army and Navy.

They are going to run behind time, and now is a perfect time to allow the entire fleet of the Eurocopter aircraft to be handed over to the Army, and look to a fast, off-the-shelf replacement (of which there is at least one perfect candidate available at short notice).

Waiting for the Eurocopters isn't going to help, and bringing on a new airframe would allow the majority of the systems to be removed from the current fleet of Seahawks and allow them to return to duty as transport aircraft, with newer acquisitions becoming the front-line ASW and combat airframes.

Unfortunately now is the time that the decision needs to be made - and this one can't be left up to "someone else". If nothing is done, we will see potentially see a protracted wait for an airframe where an excellent opportunity exists now.
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Old August 13th, 2008   #1510
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Back to the discussion at hand:

The next decision the RAN need to make is whether to continue with acquiring the MH-90. When these ships come online they will need to have a solid airframe serviceability record which they simply just don't have. Part of that is a requirement for more maintainers, the other part is they need more airframes, and they need a new and common airframe. The ships will need regular aircraft operations to keep them up to speed, and this means both Army and Navy.

They are going to run behind time, and now is a perfect time to allow the entire fleet of the Eurocopter aircraft to be handed over to the Army, and look to a fast, off-the-shelf replacement (of which there is at least one perfect candidate available at short notice).

Waiting for the Eurocopters isn't going to help, and bringing on a new airframe would allow the majority of the systems to be removed from the current fleet of Seahawks and allow them to return to duty as transport aircraft, with newer acquisitions becoming the front-line ASW and combat airframes.

Unfortunately now is the time that the decision needs to be made - and this one can't be left up to "someone else". If nothing is done, we will see potentially see a protracted wait for an airframe where an excellent opportunity exists now.

The RAN needs new (and proven) helos now for ASW and ASuW. Whilst the concept of one airframe to meet naval and army needs sounds good in theory it could seriously delay the acquisition of the extra helos the navy urgently requires to replace the cancelled Seasprites. The purchase of new Seahawks for combat roles with the earlier units being retasked for utility work would seem a common sense answer to the RAN's dilemma.

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Old August 13th, 2008   #1511
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The RAN needs new (and proven) helos now for ASW and ASuW. Whilst the concept of one airframe to meet naval and army needs sounds good in theory it could seriously delay the acquisition of the extra helos the navy urgently requires to replace the cancelled Seasprites. The purchase of new Seahawks for combat roles with the earlier units being retasked for utility work would seem a common sense answer to the RAN's dilemma.

Tas
I see the point but the NH90 offers a new airframe design and a lot of capability (at a bit more risk) as well as commonality. Given it does not need bear trap for smalelr vessles it also offers greater platform flexibilbity when conditiosn are less than ideal.

Despite the risk I am in favour of the the NH90 option.
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Old August 13th, 2008   #1512
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I see the point but the NH90 offers a new airframe design and a lot of capability (at a bit more risk) as well as commonality. Given it does not need bear trap for smalelr vessles it also offers greater platform flexibilbity when conditiosn are less than ideal.

Despite the risk I am in favour of the the NH90 option.
Good point re the ability of the NH-90 to operate from small vessels without the need of a bear trap. I have no argument about the NH-90 being an excellent solution in the future but my concern is about the next 5 - 10 years or so when there is likely to be a critical shortage of helicopters to support the RAN's frigates. Not long ago it was rare to see an FFG or FFH in Hobart without a helo onboard. Now it is the norm.

If the RAN (or in reality the government) is prepared to take a risk with a naval helo shortfall during the next decade then the NH-90 is probably the best solution. I just don't like the idea of taking such a risk.

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Old August 13th, 2008   #1513
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The RAN needs new (and proven) helos now for ASW and ASuW. Whilst the concept of one airframe to meet naval and army needs sounds good in theory it could seriously delay the acquisition of the extra helos the navy urgently requires to replace the cancelled Seasprites. The purchase of new Seahawks for combat roles with the earlier units being retasked for utility work would seem a common sense answer to the RAN's dilemma.

Tas
Order the Transport version of Merlin for the Army since it will be operating off the Canberra class, switch the order from MRH 90's to NFH 90's, possibly with a reduced order to have choppers for the frigates.
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Old August 14th, 2008   #1514
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Order the Transport version of Merlin for the Army since it will be operating off the Canberra class, switch the order from MRH 90's to NFH 90's, possibly with a reduced order to have choppers for the frigates.
Given the MRH is starting to be delivered I suspect this is not something that is even a very remote possiblity particualry as the EH101 is not a type we operate (don't get me wrong I like the Merlin). The NFH-90 is only just approaching delivery stage which is why this option has risk, however, given the current order we would be a major operator of the type of the NFH-90 is slected and the majority would be built here which is very attractive.

For the current fleet support role the MRH allocated to the Navy will not be as capable (sensor wise) as the Seahawk but they could certainly fulfill the support role for the frigates in the gulf.

As I siad I wouel prefer AIR9000 sticks to its guns and we go down the NH-90 track.
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Old August 14th, 2008   #1515
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You didn't expect cruise ship accommodations, did you? You're lucky you had your own bunk. There aren't any large barracks in the navy onboard a ship. Aboard submarines, many times we hot bunk, two share the same bunk.
I was a submariner for 13 years and only had to hot bunk as a trainee submariner in the very beginning on O boats.
Onboard Collins Class submarines no one hot bunks.
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