Fantasy RAN thread (Surface Ships & LHDs only)

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vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
@Gryphinator I do understand this is a fantasy fleet though on a personnel level I do think it needs to be set to some form of reality in regards to resources and manpower. Thats just my personnal opinion, Its not intended to take a dig at anyone in particular but rather provide a rough insight in to what might be required for such.

At the end of the day it isnt the the RAN that could use more assets and capabilities but so to the Army and the RAAF. Between personnel, assets etc one could easily justify each branch expanding its budget and personnel by 33% minimum.

We do have the potential to do a lot more no one can deny that but it all comes down to what cost and for that it starts with the civil population and politicians. Take the tax intake, Which is roughly 25% of the GDP (think its slightly higher but not sure), 80% of that goes to the federal coffers while 20% of that is split amongst the states. New Zealand on the otherhand takes in roughly 33-35% of the GDP in taxes and most European countries with economies and social views similiar to our own take in 30-40% or more in taxes. For all the crying (Which I only ever hear from those well off) that our taxes are too high and its hurting business the amount of tax we take in compareable to other nations is tiny. If the politicians and population as a whole could increase the tax intake to say 30% then that is potentially a 20% increase in funding for the ADF.

Im all for fantasy fleets, Done it for years but I have grown into basing a fantasy fleet around current resources rather then wished for but thats my choice and in no way intended to cause any angst in the community.

My personnel view is if we want a larger force (Which we can fully justify) we need to do 2 things first and that is to 1. Fix the taxes 2. Think a bigger Australia. Fix 1 and you could potentially increase the force and assets by 20% off the bat, Do number 2 such as aiming for an annual 3% population growth rate and by 2030 we could have a population of about 34 million fielding an active force of 100,000 or so personnel. Do that and your looking combined a 60% or more increase in personnel and assets over current numbers and that makes your fantasy fleets a reality.

I am sorry if I did cause any angst, I just like to look at the entire picture from the smallest to the biggest thing. It was also a great way to distract the teachers in class and waste it talking about random crap ;)
 

ddxx

Active Member
Fleet size all comes back to the strategic objectives set out in the 2020 Defence Strategic Update. The question is, does a fleet of 12 major surface combatants provide the Joint Force and in turn the Government with the ability to meet and execute the objectives set out in the update? To shape our strategic environment, to deter actions against our interests, and to respond with credible military force when required?

Numerous articles on ASPI regarding force structure have highlighted the disparity between the objectives set out in the 2020 Strategic Update and the contents of the 2020 Force Structure Plan. Here's one of the more recent pieces: Setting clear priorities for the ADF requires ruthless decisions on the force we build

Defence's Naval Shipbuilding plan is still set for an update this year: Naval Shipbuilding Plan
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
@vonnoobie Are you sure about the NZ tax take? We don't have stamp duties, or capital gains taxes. Our business tax rate is reasonably low and our income tax rates are graduated with the lowest rate at 10.5c in the dollar and the highest back up to 39 cents in the dollar. IIRC you have to be on $80K a year to hit that. Our GST is 15% and that's on everything with no exemptions. Mind you the government has a plethora of taxes and levies on petrol and you pay GST on those taxes and levies as well. Mongrels.
 

Gryphinator

Active Member
Hey Vonnoobie, I have no idea why you replied to my post. I havnt put up a fantasy idea on this thread at all. Anyway enjoy your day...
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
@vonnoobie Are you sure about the NZ tax take? We don't have stamp duties, or capital gains taxes. Our business tax rate is reasonably low and our income tax rates are graduated with the lowest rate at 10.5c in the dollar and the highest back up to 39 cents in the dollar. IIRC you have to be on $80K a year to hit that. Our GST is 15% and that's on everything with no exemptions. Mind you the government has a plethora of taxes and levies on petrol and you pay GST on those taxes and levies as well. Mongrels.
Canada has GST on taxes/levies as well. We now have HST in some provinces where GST is combined with provincial sales taxes. We have capital gains taxes, airport security tax (added to airline ticket cost) and in Ontario, some road tolls. Despite all these revenues, Canada is well below 2% GDP on defence spending. Revenue intake can only improve defence spending if the political will to do so exists.
 

vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
@vonnoobie Are you sure about the NZ tax take? We don't have stamp duties, or capital gains taxes. Our business tax rate is reasonably low and our income tax rates are graduated with the lowest rate at 10.5c in the dollar and the highest back up to 39 cents in the dollar. IIRC you have to be on $80K a year to hit that. Our GST is 15% and that's on everything with no exemptions. Mind you the government has a plethora of taxes and levies on petrol and you pay GST on those taxes and levies as well. Mongrels.
I was a little off on NZ taxes and buggered up Australia's.

https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DataSetCode=REVNZL

If you want to have a look at where money comes from this is a good linkfrom the OECD,

https://www.oecd.org/tax/revenue-statistics-new-zealand.pdf

NZ tax to GDP was 32.3% in 2019 and 32.9% in 2018.

https://www.oecd.org/tax/tax-policy/revenue-statistics-asia-and-pacific-australia.pdf
https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/economy/government/taxation-revenue-australia/2018-19

I had buggered up Australia's, It was 28.7% in 2018. The ABS link gives a good idea of where money comes from.

Was off in my numbers so apologise for that but NZ still collecting about 12.5% more in taxes as a portion of the GDP. Hyperthetically that sort of amount added to current ADF budget would push the $44.6 billion to over $50 billion.
 

MickB

Active Member
A question on RAN deployment in event of conflict.
How much of the fleet will be forward deployed with task groups. ARG etc and how much will be retained to defend home waters?
As in ASW patrols off main ports. shipping lanes etc.
Could a well armed but shorter ranged vessel such as a ASW corvette be used in this role?
 

Anthony_B_78

Active Member
So if this is now a fantasy thread, I might throw mine out there for discussion and/or ridicule.

Assuming all current plans as a base (and the two joint support ships, one of which replaces the Choules, are official?), my first priority would be to add integrated air power to the fleet. Yep, an aircraft carrier. I'd suggest a carrier of a size somewhat equivalent to the Italian Cavour (244-metres, 25,000-tonnes), if not a little larger to accommodate a slightly bigger air group, when needed.

Cavour's air group is said to be 10 F-35Bs and 12 helicopters. Make that the standard, with 9 ASW helicopters and 3 for AEW. RAAF to stand up two small squadrons with the F-35B, so that one can embarked routinely and the other can - if needed - reinforce it or provide a flight to operate from a Canberra or from land. Figure a buy of maybe 36 -Bs and 24 helicopters of whatever is the most suitable type.

Next priority would be three more Hunters. Perhaps build them in two classes of six. Base half on each side of the continent. Follow those, eventually, with four new DDGs to replace the Hobarts.

Next, well, a second carrier. Add another squadron of -Bs, gets them up to, say, 54, and another dozen helicopters. Gives you one available at any given point in time. You won't need to do any work to the Canberras so they can operate the fast jets.
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
So if this is now a fantasy thread, I might throw mine out there for discussion and/or ridicule.

Assuming all current plans as a base (and the two joint support ships, one of which replaces the Choules, are official?), my first priority would be to add integrated air power to the fleet. Yep, an aircraft carrier. I'd suggest a carrier of a size somewhat equivalent to the Italian Cavour (244-metres, 25,000-tonnes), if not a little larger to accommodate a slightly bigger air group, when needed.

Cavour's air group is said to be 10 F-35Bs and 12 helicopters. Make that the standard, with 9 ASW helicopters and 3 for AEW. RAAF to stand up two small squadrons with the F-35B, so that one can embarked routinely and the other can - if needed - reinforce it or provide a flight to operate from a Canberra or from land. Figure a buy of maybe 36 -Bs and 24 helicopters of whatever is the most suitable type.

Next priority would be three more Hunters. Perhaps build them in two classes of six. Base half on each side of the continent. Follow those, eventually, with four new DDGs to replace the Hobarts.

Next, well, a second carrier. Add another squadron of -Bs, gets them up to, say, 54, and another dozen helicopters. Gives you one available at any given point in time. You won't need to do any work to the Canberras so they can operate the fast jets.
Where is the funding coming from? We know where it will be coming from for the SSNs, out of the Sea 1000 budget.
 

Anthony_B_78

Active Member
Where is the funding coming from? We know where it will be coming from for the SSNs, out of the Sea 1000 budget.
Well it’s a fantasy so … In all seriousness, this country could spend much more on defence. If we don’t want to cut the exorbitant amount we spend on social welfare, we could always raise GST to reduce funding to the states from other sources.
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
Well it’s a fantasy so … In all seriousness, this country could spend much more on defence. If we don’t want to cut the exorbitant amount we spend on social welfare, we could always raise GST to reduce funding to the states from other sources.
Personally I try to keep my Fantasy fleets within reasonable parameters. I think we need to be looking at 3 Destroyers with 64-72 VLS Cells minimum delivered in the mid to late 30s even if we have to sell off the Hobarts to help fund them. 2 More AORs and 2 LPDs instead of the JSS.
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
A question on RAN deployment in event of conflict.
How much of the fleet will be forward deployed with task groups. ARG etc and how much will be retained to defend home waters?
As in ASW patrols off main ports. shipping lanes etc.
Could a well armed but shorter ranged vessel such as a ASW corvette be used in this role?
I think in part it comes down to timing. Right at this very moment I don't believe we need ASW Corvettes. The Chinese only have 9 nuclear Attack subs that have the persistence to operate for extended periods in our part of the world. They have a few remaining Han class, which are old and by all reports not particularly good and 6 Shang class, which are newer and better, but still quite noisy compared to modern western Nukes. There is a third generation nuclear submarine under development but who knows when they are likely to enter service or how long it will take to build up a decent number of these vessels.

Certainly something to start thinking about but given that the local shipbuilding industry is already working on OPVs, frigates and have a number of large support ships in the pipeline it is a capability that could be pushed back for a few more years.
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
I think in part it comes down to timing. Right at this very moment I don't believe we need ASW Corvettes. The Chinese only have 9 nuclear Attack subs that have the persistence to operate for extended periods in our part of the world. They have a few remaining Han class, which are old and by all reports not particularly good and 6 Shang class, which are newer and better, but still quite noisy compared to modern western Nukes. There is a third generation nuclear submarine under development but who knows when they are likely to enter service or how long it will take to build up a decent number of these vessels.

Certainly something to start thinking about but given that the local shipbuilding industry is already working on OPVs, frigates and have a number of large support ships in the pipeline it is a capability that could be pushed back for a few more years.
I think the most important thing we are doing right now is getting the Shipbuilding plan up and running, we will be in a far better position to build Corvettes by the mid 30s then we are now
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I think in part it comes down to timing. Right at this very moment I don't believe we need ASW Corvettes. The Chinese only have 9 nuclear Attack subs that have the persistence to operate for extended periods in our part of the world. They have a few remaining Han class, which are old and by all reports not particularly good and 6 Shang class, which are newer and better, but still quite noisy compared to modern western Nukes. There is a third generation nuclear submarine under development but who knows when they are likely to enter service or how long it will take to build up a decent number of these vessels.

Certainly something to start thinking about but given that the local shipbuilding industry is already working on OPVs, frigates and have a number of large support ships in the pipeline it is a capability that could be pushed back for a few more years.
They may only have nine now. How many will they have in 10 years time? They're building naval vessels as quickly as they can, so don't underestimate those nine to become many more. So don't presume that numbers will remain static or increase slowly. Don't forget that they also have a sizeable SSK fleet as well and if the RAN can operate in their backyard, it stands to reason that some of their SSK fleet are capable of returning the favour.

WRT ASW corvettes, there's no reason why something like that couldn't be a follow on to the Arafura build project. Find a suitable design and as soon as the Arafura build is finished begin the corvette build. That keeps the yards in production.
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
I think the most important thing we are doing right now is getting the Shipbuilding plan up and running, we will be in a far better position to build Corvettes by the mid 30s then we are now
Yeah, kind of what I am thinking. When work on the Ararfura class starts to wind down sometime in the 2030s then maybe a class of corvettes or light frigates could be considered as a follow on.
 

ddxx

Active Member
my first priority would be to add integrated air power to the fleet. Yep, an aircraft carrier.
In the context of the 2020 Strategic Update and its objectives, such an investment might be less fantasy than it appears.

The question is, does our existing air capability allow the ADF to "shape our region" and "project military power and deter actions against us"? (direct quotes from the update).

Considering this, and the update as a whole, it's difficult to see how the strategic objectives can be met without a carrier capability in whatever form that takes.

Current Air Combat Radius vs Primary Operational Environment:



 
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StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
This is getting pretty ambitious. To the point of being non-sensical.

We can't just start operating multiple carriers overnight. No one does that.
Huge inflations of the surface fleet are impossible, even given unlimited money.

Lets discuss some of the issues carriers would have before we put forward proposals.

Even assuming unlimited budgets and willingness and solving all the joint ADF concerns. Carriers require sailors. Cavour is around 500 sailors + embarked airwing and any embarked forces. It is not just 500 extra people, that would be a whole new pipeline and would need significant help from elsewhere.

Also IMO Cavour does not offer a convincing carrier solution, for Australia. It is both manpower intensive, expensive, yet has significant limitations. It is designed around Italy needs and the Mediterranean. We also don't have a strong connection to the Italian navy nor does Italy have territory in the Pacific. While offering undoubtedly more carrier capability than our LHD's, it requires another level of investment. It fits with Italy, just fine, Im not convinced for Australia.

Any carrier/big ship acquisitions (If, big if) would have to run the gauntlet of:

Being any more efficient than our LHD's. A third LHD would require ~290 sailors. They are crew efficient ships. However, the pipeline and training for the LHD's is already in place, crewing 3 x LHD efficiencies could be found, there are ex-Canberra class people around the place now. We could bring such capability up quite quickly, through widening the pipeline and retention. Spain operates a similar type with harriers. Between this there could be opportunities for the US to embark F-35b's and develop doctrine and assess capability and transfer this to the RAN fairly quickly. If we are only interested in light carrier capability embarking perhaps 6-8 F-35B max, this might be adequate. The RAAF would not be particularly worried about such capability. Its main focus might be as a ASW carrier that is able to embark some F-35b's from time. 12 x F-35B airframes could be acquired for this purpose. While costing billions, man power wise, it conceivable, and in a relevant timeframe. Experience can be incorporated from Italy, Japan, UK, Spain in this, but the RAN would already be in a good position.

But its limited.. 4-8 embarked is realistic. Less if you want strong ASW capability. The LHD isn't an ideal ASW platform or carrier platform. Its not particularly fast (although the RAN has made her faster, with 4 bladed props). It isn't configured as a carrier/ASW platform. No large bow mounted sonar. Any existing ships would need significant reworking to fill that role. But this is a less unknown than what it was say 3-5 years ago.

or

Going all out with the QE. Requiring about ~670 RAN crew. However, the UK operates two of these type and the RAN/RN have close links as do the AU/UK. This is only conceivable if perhaps the RN and the UK were help with heavy lifting. That is conceivable. The RN could reorganize, offer a UK sailor pipeline into such a project, almost a joint manning arrangement. RAN staff could be seconded to the RN enmass to assist. To make good use of the ship, you need squadrons of F-35b's. RAAF would also have to be seconded to the RN and the USMC. Budget and manpower for say two squadrons (48) would require easily hundreds of extra full time positions at various levels, probably near equal to the RAN ship requirement both in ship based and land based positions. This project would be big enough to warp the RAN and the RAAF for decades. IMO this would only be considered if the RN was looking at losing a carrier, then relocating ~several hundred otherwise unemployed RN sailors to Australia and basing it out of here, could, in theory be considered. Perhaps if the UK was to break up as an entity and have a much smaller defence budget? Or perhaps the UK could base a carrier our of Australia for a period of say 5 years, and in that time Australia had a plan to build up its carrier force.

How many carriers do we need? Its not ad Infinium.
How big do we need them? At some point we warp the entire RAN and all its functions just to crew a single carrier. At the moment our largest crewing ship is ~290 sailors.
What mission do we need to do with them? The more focused the carrier, the more limited capability in other missions. RAN doesn't operate every type of ship.
Do we expect them to operate outside of land base long range cover?
Can we afford to operate such a carrier in peace and war?
How are you going to support the airwing?
Whats the Doctrine and the CONOPs?

The RAAF wanted 4 squadrons so one could be rotated through Butterworth. IMO a split squadron of 12 x F-35B's 12 x F-35A's still gives them that option. 4-8 could be rotated through on a RAN LHD, while the RAAF could re-structure to have 21 F-35B in a squadron and rotate 21 F-35A's through butterworth. The idea may be to grow the RAAF in time back up to 24 unit squadrons. Or embed 3-4 drones into each squadron or have a squadrons of 3-4 drones. Or/And if the carrier power proves worthy and cost effective, enlarge the purchase of F-35b's. I think the RAAF could live with this.

Examples of instantly getting multiple squadrons of F-35b's would require genies and magicians.

I imagine any RAN carrier the idea would be to support and operate around the Malacca straits (or Sunda and simular), under some aircover (p8's, E7's) from Butterworth/Singapore/ Christmas Island. We won't be sailing her between Taiwan and the mainland. But she could travel where and when the RAN needed her as part of a wider taskgroup, infrequently/adhoc. Escorting a TG to Japan for example.

In this case, embarking 4-8 F-35B's may be entirely sufficient. Able deter small attacks from long range bombers or drones, while performing a ASW mission. The embarked aircraft would then be quickly reinforced by land based aircraft supported by refuelling assets if required and the naval task group could move closer to land based elements if the pressure heats up until other allied resources could be reallocated. While the F-35B has limited naval strike capability, the P8's could carry LRASM giving an instant strike capability, even at significant distances. In most cases the F-35B could focus on being a forward deployed stealthy sensor platform and air control.

The other consideration is when you would have any F-35B's delivered.

Singapore is getting theirs in 2026, quick considering their order date.. Then you have to bring that capability up to speed. The window on Australia getting any F-35B's is closing IMO. If you wanted to have something, even something small scale, operational by 2030.

Any significantly new capability will definitely be a stretch.

We could squeeze our surface combatants to say 14-15 over time. Crew and build possible. Expensive and difficult though.
We could squeeze to crew perhaps 1 big or 2 fairly big ships. Big being perhaps 300 crew in total.
We already have ambitious targets regarding submarines.
Refitting older existing vessels often takes up large amounts of money and time. Particularly to add many new weapons or better new systems.
The Navy doesn't run the ADF. More and more naval assets doesn't always work for the ADF as a whole.
 

76mmGuns

Active Member
I never knew this thread existed before today! Excellent, excellent....

For the last 1-2 years, I've thought that the RAN could go the RN route, and have ASW and AAW frigate/destroyers, rather than a gold plated do it all Hunter that we'll be getting. As for numbers, perhaps 9 AAW, 12 ASW.

The ASW version will be really specialised for ASW. x2 helos, much smaller above water sensor suite, electronics, which means much less weight, longer range/endurance (useful for sub hunting), AND lower cost eg Sea Giraffe vs CEAFAR. Can have x1 30mm cannon above hanger, rather than the x2 the Hunter has, which impedes hanger space. reduce VLS to 16-24, for ASROC and a couple of ESSM's. The Multimission hanger can fit RHIB's, other unmanned vehicles.

The AAW is focused on anti air, and is essentially a Guided Missile Destroyer. So 48-56 VLS fore, and the multi mission bay is converted to an open area with cannistered missiles for ease of conversion/placement of missiles vs MK 41 VLS; with angled walls for stealth, like this Tuo Chiang Corvette arrangement. Should get at least another 28 missiles, if it's only like the Tuo Chiang. But if we can have VLS in the bay, that'd be awesome. Eyeballing it, you'd get another 48 there.


Yes, I know crewing and berthing are issues. But this is the sort of fleet numbers I'd like to see.
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
I never knew this thread existed before today! Excellent, excellent....

For the last 1-2 years, I've thought that the RAN could go the RN route, and have ASW and AAW frigate/destroyers, rather than a gold plated do it all Hunter that we'll be getting. As for numbers, perhaps 9 AAW, 12 ASW.

The ASW version will be really specialised for ASW. x2 helos, much smaller above water sensor suite, electronics, which means much less weight, longer range/endurance (useful for sub hunting), AND lower cost eg Sea Giraffe vs CEAFAR. Can have x1 30mm cannon above hanger, rather than the x2 the Hunter has, which impedes hanger space. reduce VLS to 16-24, for ASROC and a couple of ESSM's. The Multimission hanger can fit RHIB's, other unmanned vehicles.

The AAW is focused on anti air, and is essentially a Guided Missile Destroyer. So 48-56 VLS fore, and the multi mission bay is converted to an open area with cannistered missiles for ease of conversion/placement of missiles vs MK 41 VLS; with angled walls for stealth, like this Tuo Chiang Corvette arrangement. Should get at least another 28 missiles, if it's only like the Tuo Chiang. But if we can have VLS in the bay, that'd be awesome. Eyeballing it, you'd get another 48 there.


Yes, I know crewing and berthing are issues. But this is the sort of fleet numbers I'd like to see.
Crewing 21+ major warships would IMO be a major issue and stretch for the RAN outside of a major conflict with national mobilization. One needs to remember that a fleet this size would have nearly double the number of escorts that the RAN currently possesses. Either there is a massive increase in recruitment and training to meet essentially double the escort crew requirements (a task which would likely take a decade or more) or existing RAN personnel would need to be drawn away from current or planned vessel assignments like patrol assets, and posted to major warships instead. Basically robbing Peter to pay Paul.

Not to mention how realistic would it be for Australia to be able to construct 21 frigate or destroyer-sized vessels before it becomes time for some of the earlier builds to get either SLEP'd or decommissioned. AFAIK the planned drumbeat for ship construction was ~2 years per frigate, which could possibly get accelerated which could permit either a gradual increase in the size of the fleet, or possibly enable earlier entry into service for whatever ends up being the replacement for the Hobart-class DDG.

One final note. IIRC one of the lessons that the RN learned following the Falklands War was that vessels could built too specifically for a role, with a number of RN vessels having little in the way of air self-defence apart from obsolete gun or missile systems due to a greater emphasis on other roles. The reality is that the RAN, like the RN found itself, will need to respond to an incident or crisis with what vessels are available from the fleet. If those vessels are overly specialized to the point where they cannot serve in GP roles, then they could be little more than targets if operating outside of their designed roles.
 

ddxx

Active Member
AFAIK the planned drumbeat for ship construction was ~2 years per frigate, which could possibly get accelerated which could permit either a gradual increase in the size of the fleet, or possibly enable earlier entry into service for whatever ends up being the replacement for the Hobart-class DDG.
Interesting to note is that the 18 month delay in the program commencing construction is set to be recovered by ship four, indicating the plan for a 24 month drumbeat has already been changed to a higher tempo. An updated National Shipbuilding plan is due for release this year.

Building more ships is the only way to maintain continuous shipbuilding with a faster production rate. Therefore, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Hunter program increased to 12.

A total planned major surface combatant fleet of 15 to 18 ships would make a heck of a lot more sense alongside the strategic update and its objectives.

 
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