RAN Discussions on SSNs only

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OPSSG

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1. Thread closed, pending Mod Team discussions. If it reopens, there will no further warnings will be given for longer bans to be given out for any member who ignores these guidelines.

2. In addition, any party political posts will see sanction from the Moderators. On this particular thread, it will result in an immediate one month ban without any further warning.

3. Please note that there is substantial opposition by some long time members to keeping this last RAN ‘special interest’ thread open and giving it more leeway than usual.

4. I received some flack for trying to keep this discussion open, for so long. But even the greater leeway given is not enough for some — with some keen to re-litigate any minor point till it becomes an absurd conversation. If it’s a minor point and addressed, move on.


I’m not advocating for any particular platform, I’m just arguing that as none of us are privy to the details we really can’t rule out options based on assumptions.
5. ddx it is your fault for causing this thread to close by refusing to accept the applied logic to ground these SSN discussions. I note AUKUS can have regional blow back if it is misunderstood by the general public in multiple countries.

6. If there is any further attempt at speculation on Block V Virginia-class submarines (as this takes the thread into fantasy land); or actions that violate US laws, this thread will be closed for good. These conditions are non-negotiable and no further correspondence will be entered into.
 
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STURM

Well-Known Member

An interesting article on Indonesia and AUKUS. Amidst all the talk about AUKUS and what it's intended to achieve, it's easy to overlook the fact that ASEAN countries, which are much closer to China than any AUKUS member also have their legitimate concerns and although AUKUS - on paper - will contribute to regional stabilty, not eveything which serves the interests of its members will be in line with the interests of ASEAN countries.

Most ASEAN countries, despite sharing a common concern towards China, have different approaches in dealing with China. Malaysia which has intensive defence ties with the U. S. [unlike its other neighbours it downplays ties] and Australia, was labelled by some as being quick to appease China merely because it seeked China's views on AUKUS, yet it also was in contact with other countries on AUKUS. Like Malaysia, Indonesia has a tough balancing act to maintain, safeguarding its key interests, while also handling things with China and other countries. Both countries are also in no hurry to pick sides.

The article mentions and Indonesian official claiming that anti communist elements in the country were eager for it to be part of AUKUS. How much of how Indonesia views China is coloured by history is open to debate. At one point in the 1960's the Indonesian Communist Party [aligned with China] had a very huge following and attempted a coup. In the aftermath of Sukarno's ouster, the military went on a very bloody campaign throughout the archipelego to eliminate the Communist Party and its support base. Relations with China were severed.

One doesn’t have to swallow the line of some observers in Jakarta that Southeast Asians are universally upset by Australia’s ‘arrogant’ actions on the grounds that buying such boats will imperil the region’s aspirations to being a zone of peace.

They aren’t. Some have welcomed AUKUS and what it brings, including Australia’s boats. Their fears about China lie behind this.

Even many Indonesians are unconvinced that signing up to the ASEAN peace treaty guarantees either amity or cooperation when Beijing is busy enforcing its absurd nine-dash-line pretensions to ownership of the ‘North Natuna Sea".
 
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KrustyKoala

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An interesting article, i am confused on the author saying Australia shouldnt have informed Indonesia about AUKUS because we're "way too short of being truly strategic for that". But we should have done things differently and informed them. Indonesia was given the same heads up Japan, NZ, India etc. got before the AUKUS press conference.
 

OPSSG

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An interesting article, i am confused on the author saying Australia shouldnt have informed Indonesia about AUKUS because we're "way too short of being truly strategic for that". But we should have done things differently and informed them. Indonesia was given the same heads up Japan, NZ, India etc. got before the AUKUS press conference.
1. Rather than respond to a think tank article that way, which I think is less interesting, it may be more useful to see ADF-TNI and ADF-MAF communication as an ongoing active process.

2. Part of this process is sending senior ADF officers to address a forum for TNI officers, so that they can hear it from the horse’s mouth what AUKUS means for the ADF; and provide reassurance that Australia’s SSN plans are as stated and transparent (within the boundaries of permitted disclosures on nuclear matters). By now, I am sure all ADF chiefs of service have reached out to have a conversation with their counter parts in Malaysia and Indonesia — as part of the leg work necessary to keep the relationship cordial.

3. That is not to say there is no concern with AUKUS. The Indonesian parliament’s commission responsible for foreign and defence issues is used by Indonesian politicians as a bully pulpit to shape public opinion (often in the direction of nationalist populism). Given that Australia has often been a favourite target of this body’s more jingoistic members, and little could inspire them more than the prospect of their southern neighbour being up to its perceived usual tricks and treating Indonesia with contempt. The commission’s members have acted true to form, with some urging the administration to confront Australia for threatening the region’s peace.

4. In 2008, on a bilateral basis, Singapore and the US have managed a small trace leak from a US Navy nuclear vessel into a non-issue while complying with our laws and addressing the need for parliamentary oversight.
(a) On 1 Aug 2008, the media reported that the US nuclear-powered submarine USS Houston had been found to be leaking trace amounts of radioactive water. The leak had been discovered by the United States Navy during a routine dry dock maintenance of the submarine at Pearl Harbour Naval Shipyard in July 2008. The media noted that the US had informed Japan of the leak, as the United States Navy's investigations had determined that the USS Houston could have been leaking when the USS Houston made its port call in Sasebo, Japan in Mar 2008.​
(b) Nevertheless, as a precautionary measure, Singapore asked the US on 4 Aug 2008 for information about the leak. The USS Houston had last called at Singapore nearly two years ago from 22 to 26 Sep 2006. Singapore also went through our own monitoring records for the period when the USS Houston was berthed in Singapore at Changi Naval Base. On 7 Aug 2008, the US informed MINDEF that the USS Houston had been leaking trace amounts of radioactive water since Jun 2006. This suggested that the USS Houston could have been leaking during her port call at Changi Naval Base in Sep 2006.​
(c) The US has assessed that the cumulative amount of radioactivity that could have been leaked in Changi Naval Base was approximately 0.095 micro curies. To put things into perspective, the US indicated that this was less than the amount of radioactivity found in a common smoke detector, and would not have any adverse effect on human health, marine life or the environment.​
(d) Apart from the information provided to Singapore by the US, MINDEF has its own independent monitoring system. Since Feb 2003, MINDEF has put in place a round-the-clock Integrated Environment Monitoring System (IEMS) at Changi Naval Base. The IEMS takes readings of air quality, and water and sea-bed samples to determine the normal background environmental radiation level, and to detect whether there has been any abnormal level of radiation which may be of safety concern. The safety limits are set by our National Environment Agency's Centre of Radiation Protection and Nuclear Science.​
(e) The then defence minister reported to parliament that:​
“With the assurances from the US, verification from the data collected from our monitoring system and our own experts' assessments, I am confident that there was no adverse impact on public health, marine life or the environment as a result of the USS Houston's port call in Singapore in September 2006, and that the safety of Singaporeans was not compromised by the reported leak.”​

5. AUKUS is a non-issue for Singapore and it is very likely that there is quiet support for our Aussie mates behind the scenes — to ensure we sing from the same song sheet. With the assurance provided by IEMS, Changi Naval base will continue to host USN, RN and RAN submarines, LHDs and carriers, be it nuclear or otherwise.
 
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STURM

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KrustyKoala,

Indeed, it was given the same heads up. In addition to making a phone call to several ASEAN heads of states, the Austalian PM also despatched a special envoy. In Malaysia's case a RAN Admiral met the Defence Minister.

The article addresses the key fact that whilst some ASEAN countries in private welcome AUKUS, they also have their own concerns about being caught in the middle of big power rivalries/competition and have their own issues to deal with. It's easy to get caught up with the larger issues at play regarding AUKUS members and China, whilst overlooking the fact that AUKUS also has wide implications for ASEAN members and that what's good for AUKUS doesn't or isn't necessarily good for ASEAN.
 

Massive

Active Member
A couple of articles from The Strategist on the SSNs:

The first, from Marcus Hellyer, suggests that second-hand SSNs from the UK at least are off the table for a number of reasons (a follow-on email on the US second-hand SSN option is planned).


The second proposes that US subs should be purchased and that they should be fully built offshore. Not sure that this is viable under current policy settings but I guess the RAN will be getting SSNs so this may indeed be an option.


Regards,

Massive
 

OPSSG

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Let’s keep it real guys

1. While it is entertaining to read Marcus Hellyer, I can’t take this defence economist seriously at this time. He has just plucked a couple of ‘reasonable’ sounding numbers (which are actually blind assumptions). The Australian Government needs time to gather input from the British and Americans to decide on the next steps forward.

2. As I see it, the British have sized their SSN fleet at 7, because this is what they can afford. Given the right incentives, I suspect that parts of the British industry will want to build 8 SSN reactors for the RAN, as a hull section to be inserted into a hull being built by ASC. These are critical path items that will most likely not be built in Australia, I suspect (without evidence or basis).

3. How much that an Australian built Astute class costs, I don’t know and don’t want to know. As a outsider, I also don’t want to gauge the technical and financial risk of up sizing and up-scaling the British SSN reactors industry to make that happen — as all realistic estimates will be classified. What little we know has been discussed, as points 1 to 3 below, in DT for years. To help new members understand, please read points 1 to 5 below:
One, the RAN needs at least 8 submarines for long patrols that rival nuke endurance (and this was the notional number discussed until the magic 12 number appeared). This was to ensure 2 on patrol, 1 more on work-up to start its patrol.​
Two, the French offer was interesting (but there was an obviously weak attempt at bringing work to Australia). In prior clear and concise posts, DT members have said that picking the Naval Group was deemed the most risky option for the Commonwealth. But the GOTD decided against Japanese or German submarines and bought into a French design that in part all smoke and mirrors.​
Three, during the systems requirement review the French team seem to miss the scheduled date of Mar 2019 (and only completing this in Oct 2019); and at the preliminary design review stage completed in Jan 2021 (instead of Mar 2020), promised that the program will cost more than initially estimated. Given that the program cost will be like that of a nuke program, it makes sense for the GOTD to use the off ramp to terminate and also put on their thinking caps on how to develop an alternative solution.​
Four, as part of the analysis of alternatives, the Australian Navy Chief sounded out his British counterpart and kick started this process that led to the announcement. It is obvious that the British are wanting to sell a solution, but needed American approval to transfer some tech. They got Joe Biden’s approval, kick starting the process.​
Five, I don’t know how realistic the British are or are they just blowing smoke up the GOTD’s ass. But I do know, they hold the ball to make this work. The Americans just got out of the way and rubber stamped their approvals needed for the British to make this offer.​

5. I don’t think Biden signed off on a Virginia class sale to Australia. What he signed off on was a British plan to supply SSNs to Australia. There is no implied term to say that the Americans have to sell SSNs, should plan A with the British fail. Like Marcus Hellyer, I think there is significant risk. His discussion of build in America, a Virginia class, is plan B (in case plan A fails, yet again) — but how likely is that? It would mean that all the planning would have failed again.

6. Having said that — basically, Marcus Hellyer, has written 2 doom and gloom articles. Unless he is given classified access, he is giving broad estimates without real insight of the art of the possible. It does not educate nor does it inform the public on the nature of the real decisions to be made by the RAN team and the Defence Minister — in response to British offers and SSN build proposals. The plus side of this is the British have a working SSN, with its main issues worked out. The issue is how much of the industrial base of BAE Systems Submarines at Barrow-in-Furness is to transfer, as the Astute class build in the UK begins to wind down, in the next few years.
 
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OPSSG

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Following the last few relevant posts that are copied or moved into this thread, I am pleased to announce the decision to close this thread for good.

If need be, the Moderators will keep parking fanboy discussions of SSNs here without warning.


Hopefully, over time more details on AUKUS and RAN’s move towards a SSN fleet will not only materialise but there will be sufficient official channel communications on the matter, to avoid any regional misunderstanding on the intent.

Thank you for all your participation.
 
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Massive

Active Member
Marcus Hellyer on the US second-hand SSN option.

Suggests acquiring a retired Los Angeles class as a "Moored Training Ship" to start training.


Regards,

Massive
 
AUKUS and the Nuclear Option: the Life and Death of the Attack Class Submarine - YouTube

This was upload to youbute yesterday. Its an interesting piece. I was shocked at how the Attack class contract was structured and how the French don't have a leg to stand on contractually.

hypohystericalhistory has done some other excellent documentaries as well. Well worth a look if you haven't already done so.

I thought the group would find it interesting
 

Redlands18

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Marcus Hellyer on the US second-hand SSN option.

Suggests acquiring a retired Los Angeles class as a "Moored Training Ship" to start training.


Regards,

Massive
What Trg is it going to provide? how to operate a 40yo obsolete Reactor that would have to be refuelled at great expense first? Other then the Reactor what Trg can we get out of a Submarine that would be significantly different then the one we are going to be operating. Wouldn't we be better off opening a Trg centre in the Country of origin? And send our people to train on the systems they would actually be using?
 

John Newman

The Bunker Group
What Trg is it going to provide? how to operate a 40yo obsolete Reactor that would have to be refuelled at great expense first? Other then the Reactor what Trg can we get out of a Submarine that would be significantly different then the one we are going to be operating. Wouldn't we be better off opening a Trg centre in the Country of origin? And send our people to train on the systems they would actually be using?
I think we would be better off following a similar path that is planned for the new Hunter class FFGs, a ‘ship zero’ land based training facility.

Once a design has been chosen, build a land based facility, ‘boat zero’, that can ‘replicate’ specific sections of the SSN, a replication of the reactor room for example (not a real fuelled reactor obviously).

Would be far better than an old SSN tied up to a dock somewhere.

Land based training and simulation is the way to go.

Cheers,
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Superb video that is a very fair assessment of how Australia arrived at its current situation wrt submarines.
 

Stampede

Well-Known Member
This guy never fails to make great videos. This is a really well put together video that explains the process which led to the selection of the French Attack program and why we jumped ship to nuclear subs. Also a logical justification as to why we need build domestically.
He puts a lot of home work into his video's.
An excellent overview of our submarine history and the decisions made for the situation we are in to day for our submarine service.
As to the future time will tell.

Aspirations don't always equal reality.

This project could still go many ways in the decades to come.

Regards S
 
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