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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 Volkodav ...issue the RAN has is its failure to retain senior technical sailors... Thanks Volkadov, This is ...


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Old November 13th, 2012   #9841
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...issue the RAN has is its failure to retain senior technical sailors...
Thanks Volkadov,

This is an extremely important issue.

I find it hard to believe that this is just about money.

I wonder if the RAN leadership is failing to clearly communicate to its senior technical sailors how highly they are valued and backing this up with actions that clearlry demonstrate the extent to which the same sailors are valued.

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Old November 13th, 2012   #9842
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However, this should not be the deciding factor. Appropriate recruitment and retention strategies would need to be put in place and while it may take some time, sufficient crews with appropriate skills could be recruited, trained and retained.
Itís very easy to write ďappropriateĒ but considering the current standard for such training requires 20 years in nuclear operations to produce the senior level where do we start? If Collins had been a nuclear program we would only now be developing a full national capability. We can crib off the allies but then itís not really an Australian capability. Might just be easier to give the USA X millions dollars a year for them to base six operational submarines in Australia.

And this is just one of 5-10 different huge obstacles to nuclear capability from public approval through to the NPT. And there is nothing wrong with the kind of fleet boat capability Australia has with conventional submarines via Collins and hopes to get via SEA 1000. It fits our need and despite the dominant ignorance based rhetoric is more than accessible.
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Old November 13th, 2012   #9843
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Itís very easy to write ďappropriateĒ but considering the current standard for such training requires 20 years in nuclear operations to produce the senior level where do we start?
It's also very easy to write "can't be done" Abe.

I am not in any way making an argument that the proposed SSN route is the correct one for Australia. I am simply making the point that crewing is not an insurmountable barrier.

The skills can be developed - over a long period of time admittedly - but they can be developed.

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Old November 13th, 2012   #9844
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... there is nothing wrong with the kind of fleet boat capability Australia has with conventional submarines via Collins and hopes to get via SEA 1000. It fits our need and .... is more than accessible.
Thanks Abe,

I agree.

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Old November 13th, 2012   #9845
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It's also very easy to write "can't be done" Abe.
Please point out where I have just written such before you put that in quotes in a sentence with my name in it in response to a post I have made. Otherwise you are just mudslinging.

I wrote:

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And this is just one of 5-10 different huge obstacles to nuclear capability from public approval through to the NPT.
Which is a hell of a lot more than just "can't be done". And over the last few years in this thread provided page after page of extrapolation as to the reasons why. The reasons against SSNs are many and none of them can be dismissed. Together they are overwhelming.

There is however a means to acquiring a SSN capability for the RAN but it certainly isnít the SEA 1000 project. Its things like a domestic uranium enrichment capability for commercial export. But that boat sailed a few years ago. If the govt. had committed to this and domestic power industry back in 2004-06 then SEA 1000 could be an SSN but they didnít so it canít. Bear in mind this would require 20 years of investment in nuclear technology and skills before the first SSN would be commissioned. You start that now and the Collins replacement submarine wonít be in service until the mid 2030s.
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Old November 14th, 2012   #9846
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I remember hearing how in the 70s and 80s Australia was the leading nation on nuclear research and development for everything but weaponery, so power and medical purpose. Then the government at the time slashed funding and we slid way down the ladder of knowledge.

The main obsticle for nuclear subs keeps coming back to being built in Australia. Why is this the constant problem that stops us from getting capability? When the US or UK for that matter build nukes like we build commodores, straight off a production line, then why would we try to start our own up? The knowledge can be brought across from the US, and upgrades/refits would have to be done where they were built. Having people capable and able to know a nuclear sub from front to back is possible, and contractoring a major US company that holds current work for the USN would alleviate any fear. how many times now do we still have to fly out a specialist for our surface fleet when it comes to missiles, radar, sonar, or hull issues. It beggers belief that one it comes to talking about this, that is the immediate reason for shutting down the conversation.
Im on the fence myself with this, there are massive strategic values for having a nuclear submarine Vs a Diesal electric, and the common response of "its louder then a diesal" really gives credit to someone who has no idea what they are talking about. Do we really think that for 40 years the USN has gone around the world making as much noise as possible letting everyone know where they are? Unless you have been out looking for a submarine at sea on full silent and can say 100% that a nuke is easy to find, dont bother using this line.
Good on Joel Fitzgibbon for at least bringing up the idea, but the excuses were poor and mis-informed. When the Government is willing to talk about the issue without influence from greens or unions demanding jobs, then we could have a discussion on the issue.

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Old November 14th, 2012   #9847
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While I agree nuclear is out of the question at the moment I wonder if Australia should institute a long term plan to move towards nuclear powered subs.

The plan to build 12 subs doesn't necessarily mean they have to be of the same design. In fact the minister does mention that the subs will be built in batches which leaves the option open for an ongoing design process.
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Old November 14th, 2012   #9848
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I remember hearing how in the 70s and 80s Australia was the leading nation on nuclear research and development for everything but weaponery, so power and medical purpose. Then the government at the time slashed funding and we slid way down the ladder of knowledge.
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Seems improbable.

Australia has never built any nuclear power plants, while by the 1970s several countries had developed indigenous nuclear power plants. Canada was exporting its own designs for power generation in the 1960s, for example. As well as Canada, the USA, USSR, UK, France & Germany all had their own designs of power reactor in use by the 1960s.

As far as I can see, Australia had built two reactors by the beginning of the 1960s, one British (operating 1958) & one American-designed, for research & producing isotopes. Many other countries had done this by the 1970s. This puts it behind Argentina in terms of tools for research. Argentina's first foreign-designed research reactor was a year ahead, & it learned enough to build its own in the 1960s & export them by the 1980s, most recently to Australia.

Norway had an operational research reactor in 1951, built in co-operation with the Netherlands. Sweden was four years ahead of Australia in getting a research reactor up & running, its first research reactor was entirely indigenous as were the three others it built by 1963, & it had its own design power stations in the 1970s. Canada's abilities put Sweden's into the shade: it had the first reactor outside the USA (1945), & its first (Canada/UK/US design) non-weapons research reactor was running in 1947. It was one of the three leading (non-weapons) nuclear states in the 1950s. Canadians got Nobel prizes for work done then. It's been far ahead of Australia ever since. It was exporting research reactors before Australia started importing them, & had three different indigenous designs running by the beginning of the 1960s.

It's hard to see how Australia was ahead, given that.
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Old November 14th, 2012   #9849
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Seems improbable.
Australia pulled its own weight on the nuclear front up until the 60s despite an extreme geographical handicap. Particularly with the ANU Research School of Physical Sciences and the scientific leadership of Professor Mark Oliphant. Oliphant had been one of the key people at Cavendish during the 30s when and where the concept of nuclear energy and bombs were developed. Oliphants particular contribution was discovering nuclear fusion. The focus of the Oliphant School has been on particle accelerators where they were world leaders up until the 1970s.

But the reason Australia couldnít build a reactor in the 40s and 50s was the lack of an appropriate site that North America and the UK had in abundance. That is high volume, reliable flows of water for cooling (ie a big, fast, all year river). Australia had to build one. Which was called the Snowy Mountain Scheme. Despite the modern hagiography the Snowy Scheme was all about nuclear weapons. Providing the water and energy infrastructure to turn the Upper Murray into an Australian nuclear bomb production complex.

By the time the physical and intellectual infrastructure was in place the political dynamics had changed and the UK froze Australia out of joint nuclear development (via closer arrangement with the USA) and cost cutting by various Governments. Still there are some significant areas in which Australia provides technology leadership. Like SILEX and laser enrichment of Uranium. Though of course this has had to be exported for realisationÖ
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Old November 14th, 2012   #9850
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The main obsticle for nuclear subs keeps coming back to being built in Australia. Why is this the constant problem that stops us from getting capability? When the US or UK for that matter build nukes like we build commodores, straight off a production line, then why would we try to start our own up? The knowledge can be brought across from the US, and upgrades/refits would have to be done where they were built. Having people capable and able to know a nuclear sub from front to back is possible, and contractoring a major US company that holds current work for the USN would alleviate any fear. how many times now do we still have to fly out a specialist for our surface fleet when it comes to missiles, radar, sonar, or hull issues. It beggers belief that one it comes to talking about this, that is the immediate reason for shutting down the conversation.
Itís not as simple as that. Because nuclear reactors arenít diesel engines (or any other system) that can just be shut down and forgotten for a couple of weeks, years, etc. They need a constant watch and watchkeepers need a huge basis of training and experience. Also there is a whole set of new facilities and the like that are needed to maintain them even if there is no refuelling done in Australia.

If all of this is to be provided by another nation then we donít have anything remotely like a domestic capability. Would you call them ships of the RAN if every frigate and patrol boat had an all American or German engineering department because thatís where we brought the engines from? Like I said earlier if we were going to completely rely on the USA to provide all engineering services to a fleet of Australian nuclear submarines it would just be easier to contract them to provide USN submarines in Australia under RAN operational control. Just like we had before the RAN acquired the Oberon submarines with the British T class submarine flotilla based in Sydney.

There is no easy way to acquire nuclear submarines. Adding nuclear propulsion to the RAN is a bigger step than adding submarines or carrier aviation. It would also have to include a national uranium enrichment capability for either LEU (French Barracuda submarines) or HEU (US or UK submarines) so we could supply fuel for the boats.
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Old November 14th, 2012   #9851
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[QUOTE=

There is no easy way to acquire nuclear submarines. Adding nuclear propulsion to the RAN is a bigger step than adding submarines or carrier aviation. It would also have to include a national uranium enrichment capability for either LEU (French Barracuda submarines) or HEU (US or UK submarines) so we could supply fuel for the boats.[/QUOTE]

True there is no easy way, but if India can do it, i would guess we could too if there was enough commitment.

With India and China deploying or about to deploy nuclear subs , imho we need to look into the possibilities of what we could do and in what time frame. Say after the first 6 Collins replacements. If we dont see some new oil refineries in Australia we are going to be very susseptible to a blockade of Singapore refineries tht Coles and Woolies use.

On the question of the surface ships, surely a modular fleet oiler or 2 being constructed between the 3rd AWD and the ANZAC replacements would keep everybody in business and the flow of suitable steel plate in train.

I am old enough to remember seeing from our unit in Drummoyne the Success launched!
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Old November 14th, 2012   #9852
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Why.

I think nuclear makes sense for power generation for Australia. But not for submarines.

We would spend all this time and money, so much money, we could spend else where on submarines (or surface, or airforce or army), on a different type of submarines so we can do what UK, US and France already do and replicating their capabilities.

We want and need for many things, but, I'm not convinced on nuclear submarines for Australia as there are many other areas we can throw money into.

Japan, who has an extensive nuclear capability, has not gone down that road, and now probably will not go down that road. Canada who has the most need for nuclear, also hasn't gone down that road. I would imagine Australia and Japan have a mutual interest in developing highly advanced conventional submarines with extremely modern power generation and battery systems light years ahead of current European stuff, but in a larger, near nuclear sized shell.

I don't think we should be copying what China and India do in procurement, just to keep up with them. I think that would be a nasty slope to be, where we can't compete.
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Old November 14th, 2012   #9853
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Can we just get back to the facts here? Nuclear subs arenít on the cards for this government; they arenít for the opposition (despite what some people think). They arenít on the cards for the Navy. Navy has said directly and openly it isnít looking at nuclear subs.

Weíve got a lot of armchair generals thinking how awesome it would be to have them and thatís it.
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Old November 15th, 2012   #9854
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Can we just get back to the facts here? Nuclear subs arenít on the cards for this government; they arenít for the opposition (despite what some people think). They arenít on the cards for the Navy. Navy has said directly and openly it isnít looking at nuclear subs.

Weíve got a lot of armchair generals thinking how awesome it would be to have them and thatís it.
Yes but the facts are not as straight forward as they appear on the surface, nuclear propulsion under a Labour government no, Liberal I am not so sure they have some pollies have advocated for them in the past GF would be in a position if he can tell once the next election is done and dusted if we have reached the point of no return in regards to propulsion systems. RAN is toeing the government line and looking at system which reflects that position.

Given our needs for the ADF to cover vast distances not only on home soil but regionally, Australia should abandon the DOA concept and focus on forward defence, with a lot of the recent purchases it has to a degree. If we can secure our allied nations to our north we effectively have secured the DOA. Whilst I agree with what Stingray Oz has written we have not got an unlimited bucket of money to throw at the problem, while I can see advantages in both forms of propulsion nuclear will give us an enormous endurance and power capability but comes at a price of other systems to the ADF just as vital in securing our regional allies defence thus our own defence.

The UK nearly found out the hard with Falkland war that cutting back to far can leave you exposed when losses occur, the government has to find the balance between strategic balance of subsurface platforms with surface platforms(we donít have enough) plus the needs of the Army and Air force. Building the submarines ourselves from a technical standing point we can build the hull from local resources, but we will still import a majority of the internals systems and whether they are conventionally or nuclear powered we will still rely heavily on overseas interests.

I am of the opinion if we build a submarine from scratch to replace Collins and it takes X amount of dollars and it exceeds all of the RAN requirements then thatís is a worth will investment, but if it is only on par with an expanded Collins using the existing hull and we can save X amount of dollars and it should not be at the expense of other equipment for the ADF.

I for one am sitting on the fence between them; I am for what is best for the ADF.
Coming up for Air: Making Sense of the Australian
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Old November 15th, 2012   #9855
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It was good to see HMAS Success visit Hobart for Remembrance Day celebrations.
I was wondering if Success is now regarded as a fully operational unit or whether she is still limited in capability?
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I was in town and saw her, very high in the water and does not seem to be carrying much deliverable fuel.
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