RAN Discussions on SSNs only

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vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
I certainly hope they can spare some for us.

oldsig
Noit sure they would be able to spare them but if they go to their 3 boats a year production schedule should be 2040 get their numbers back to where they want them and potentially give them more leway in stationing boats in Australia and maybe mixed crews to give us some experience before our first boat hits the water.

Considering the timeframes involved what is the likelyhood of ASC getting some work on building sections for the US boats to maintain skills and build up a core knowledge base? Naturally would require us to give work to US on our boats but considering they will likely build our reactors, a lot of the different system hardware etc it might be possible.
 

oldsig127

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Noit sure they would be able to spare them but if they go to their 3 boats a year production schedule should be 2040 get their numbers back to where they want them and potentially give them more leway in stationing boats in Australia and maybe mixed crews to give us some experience before our first boat hits the water.

Considering the timeframes involved what is the likelyhood of ASC getting some work on building sections for the US boats to maintain skills and build up a core knowledge base? Naturally would require us to give work to US on our boats but considering they will likely build our reactors, a lot of the different system hardware etc it might be possible.
Errrm. I wasn't talking about submarines. Reread the quoted post and the emphasised typo.

I might also emphasise for completeness, that I can't take this thread even slightly seriously

oldsig
 

ddxx

Active Member
I might also emphasise for completeness, that I can't take this thread even slightly seriously

oldsig
Whilst I understand any potential frustration, it’s quite a blanket statement as it implies either the majority or the whole thread is full of nonsensical contributions. I feel that might be a little unfair to people who have genuinely put thought and effort into their posts, and/or, attempted to back up their posts with facts and sources.
 
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John Fedup

The Bunker Group
It seems to me that there is some urgency in getting vessels in the water for Australia for strategic and public support reasons. There is also the matter of potential delays with a new or modified design.

I’d be surprised if Australia does anything other than build the Astute class with a US combat system, or more likely, a block IV Virginia. As we’ve seen in articles posted here, there is some capacity and motivation for the US to increase Virginia production to 3 a year. Realistically the US yards could produce frames with the power plant and move Australians yards forward with a greater work share when they have the skills to do it.

Do the Americans want to build components of Australian subs? You bet they do, if they don’t have funding to increase their own fleet.
What you say about a block 4 Virginia with US and eventually significant Australian build content makes sense but it begs the question, what’s in it for the UK?
 

Gryphinator

Active Member
Quite frankly we should have others build them and concentrate on getting the Hunter Class up and running. Keep churning them out until we have some experience operating SSNs and then maybe we'll be ready to build some (next gen ones too)
 

aussienscale

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
What you say about a block 4 Virginia with US and eventually significant Australian build content makes sense but it begs the question, what’s in it for the UK?
But is AUKUS a trilateral security pact between the three nations or is it a commercial agreement for the US and UK to equally and equitably flog their respective Defence wares to Australia ?

The purpose of AUKUS is as a security pact for the Indo Pacific region, part of that, among other announcements when it was "launched" so to speak was the keystone piece of Australia obtaining the keys to the nuclear submarine club. And yep got no doubt lots has happened behind the scenes that we will never know and both the US and UK will expect their own fair share in the TOT to Australia.

But it must be remembered that the overall owner of the tech we are talking about is the US, the UK would not and can not give us anything without express US permission under ITARS and the US-UK MDA. Before any of this can happen there must be US Congressional approval to do so, and while I don't see that being an issue with the Biden admin and the current favourable state of the US Congress, plenty of powerful members in the US will be looking for their pound of flesh out of this for their support. The UK holds a little less in this equation.

Having said that, as stated by the Government, we have a 12-18 month process to work through what we will do and how we will do it :) Funny thing is a lot of this talk is about what boat, from who and where it will be built, and the biggest issue we have is who will crew it !!

I will put up again a paper that highlights some of the issues we will face in standing up and getting a SSN capability up and running in an Australian context


Sorry John, not all specifically at you, just trying to inject some reality into the fantasy. All good to throw out different ideas, but lets at least keep them in some actual form of what is actually possible :)

Just my two cents :)
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
But is AUKUS a trilateral security pact between the three nations or is it a commercial agreement for the US and UK to equally and equitably flog their respective Defence wares to Australia ?

The purpose of AUKUS is as a security pact for the Indo Pacific region, part of that, among other announcements when it was "launched" so to speak was the keystone piece of Australia obtaining the keys to the nuclear submarine club. And yep got no doubt lots has happened behind the scenes that we will never know and both the US and UK will expect their own fair share in the TOT to Australia.

But it must be remembered that the overall owner of the tech we are talking about is the US, the UK would not and can not give us anything without express US permission under ITARS and the US-UK MDA. Before any of this can happen there must be US Congressional approval to do so, and while I don't see that being an issue with the Biden admin and the current favourable state of the US Congress, plenty of powerful members in the US will be looking for their pound of flesh out of this for their support. The UK holds a little less in this equation.

Having said that, as stated by the Government, we have a 12-18 month process to work through what we will do and how we will do it :) Funny thing is a lot of this talk is about what boat, from who and where it will be built, and the biggest issue we have is who will crew it !!

I will put up again a paper that highlights some of the issues we will face in standing up and getting a SSN capability up and running in an Australian context


Sorry John, not all specifically at you, just trying to inject some reality into the fantasy. All good to throw out different ideas, but lets at least keep them in some actual form of what is actually possible :)

Just my two cents :)
Yes, I agree there is much about AUKUS that won’t ever be made public and would likely clarify how much commercial and security pack content the agreement actually contains. WRT the nuclear stuff, absolutely the technology is US IP and they will call the shots. As for what’s in it for the UK, assuming a Virginia acquisition, perhaps the secret stuff in the AUKUS explains some of the commercial advantages for the UK. Wouldn’t want to predict anything WRT Congressional approval especially considering the the polarization between Democrats and the GOP. Internal divisions within the Democratic Party can also be problematic. Will read the link later.

Cheers

JF
 

ManteoRed

New Member
I dont see why both a local build and a relatively quick introduction into service isnt technically achievable. If they're going to setup a 3rd Virginia per year, there are startup costs that go into that, if the US Government can offset some of those costs by selling off the 1st and possibly 2nd production slot to the RAN they're getting the benefit of the increased production while offsetting some of those upfront costs.

When it comes to staffing, it also works out similarly. The guys who build the infrastructure and the guys who build the boat arent usually the same people. You begin work on the infrastructure in SA, meanwhile the program managers and a few dozen(or etc) of the actual workers are transferred into the US to work with GD on building those first one or two vessels, they're hands on in the process which can then bring that process and experience back to SA when the on the ground infrastructure is up and ready in a few years.

Sort of reminds me of Project Seedcorn the Brits used before they had ordered the P-8. You now have potentially two boats in the water relatively quickly, and by the time that second boat is in transit back to Aus, those guys have already moved back to SA and are ready to hit the ground running with a locally built boat(minus the reactor section)

Its possible the same could be done for Astute, though Im concerned about potential re-work that would be required if they dont have the reactor capacity.
 

aussienscale

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Wouldn’t want to predict anything WRT Congressional approval especially considering the the polarization between Democrats and the GOP. Internal divisions within the Democratic Party can also be problematic.
Cheers

JF
Actually that's a really good point, looks like some very interesting times in the US, Biden's key policy almost looks sunk with some major pushback from within the party.

Did anyone see, sorry if I missed, was there any form of timeline given or indicated when the approval process for the approval for Australian access was to be ? May not be as simple or quick as some may think, certainly not a done deal as yet.

The Canadian's would know from previous experience that there is a difference between a US President supporting the access and Congress actually approving and giving it :( Hope we don't go down the same path !!

Cheers
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Actually that's a really good point, looks like some very interesting times in the US, Biden's key policy almost looks sunk with some major pushback from within the party.

Did anyone see, sorry if I missed, was there any form of timeline given or indicated when the approval process for the approval for Australian access was to be ? May not be as simple or quick as some may think, certainly not a done deal as yet.

The Canadian's would know from previous experience that there is a difference between a US President supporting the access and Congress actually approving and giving it :( Hope we don't go down the same path !!

Cheers
I haven’t seen any timeline for Congressional approval (certainly could have missed the announcement). As for the various differences between the US branches of government on a range of issues, Canada has experienced disappointments because of this. WRT trade issues, we also have to contend with pressure being applied by states and lobbyists. This can be a positive or negative however.
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
Actually that's a really good point, looks like some very interesting times in the US, Biden's key policy almost looks sunk with some major pushback from within the party.

Did anyone see, sorry if I missed, was there any form of timeline given or indicated when the approval process for the approval for Australian access was to be ? May not be as simple or quick as some may think, certainly not a done deal as yet.

The Canadian's would know from previous experience that there is a difference between a US President supporting the access and Congress actually approving and giving it :( Hope we don't go down the same path !!

Cheers
That may not happen until after this TF hands down its recommendation. Does anyone think that the TF may come back with a negative, its not doable?
 

aussienscale

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
That may not happen until after this TF hands down its recommendation. Does anyone think that the TF may come back with a negative, its not doable?
Biting my tongue :) can we afford for the answer to be a negatory ? The stretch we are now asking of the Collins fleet and the possible timelines, do we have any wriggle room ? is there a plan C :oops: I think we are on a path where we can't afford to fail or have a no !! Certainly can't go back to France and tell them we changed our minds !!

What is it they say ? Too big to fail !! I have my concerns and think we have possibly gone about this the wrong way, gotta walk before you can run !!
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Of course when you are looking at potential candidates for an SSN for the Australian navy I wouldn't overlook the possibility of a unique design. The US are very proficient at designing nuclear submarines. What was actually said by the leaders when they announced the forming of AUKUS was that they would support Australia's efforts to acquire nuclear powered submarines. I imagine something smaller, cheaper, and less manpower intensive than the Virginia block V or the SSN(X) could be more suited to Australia.

Anyone involved in the selection process who suggests a bespoke design should immediately be handed a service revolver and be told to remove themselves to the drawing room to "do the proper thing" I feel.

This *has* to be as MOTS as possible or it should be cancelled immediately.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Pretty much the case but cancellation, then what??
Just buy MOTS is my theme.

I suspect some key points to get this to work out.

Turn key reactor core - Australia does not have a nuclear industry and I genuinely think that this deal will be written around the reactors being supplied built and returned to the manufacturer at end of life.

Existing design with serialised production and a hot line.


Lead class built in the manufacturers country. Remaining boats built in Australia, with the reactor compartment mated to locally built sections.

Local content will likely look more like assembly than manufacturer in my opinion.

Those principles might see this thing coming in on time and on budget.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
MOTS, really can’t see any other alternative if a rapid delivery capability is the driving force here (IMHO, it is). As for first build in the source country, absolutely. However, 100% Australian construction (excluding reactor section) for subsequent boats, a real stretch. Assuming a 4-6 year build time for an Astute choice, is that really enough time to train a workforce for follow on boats in Australia? Just asking, I have no idea. Given the timeline for creating a nuclear capable crewing capability, don’t think the manufacturing capability will be much faster. Certainly US and/or UK recruitment of talent would help but grabbing will be problematic once past a certain threshold.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
The nearest equivalent in terms of scope and reach would be the UK's HMS Dreadnought - the nuclear agreement was signed off in 58 and Dreadnought laid down in 1959, launched in 1960 and her reactor embarked in 1962, then commissioned in 1963.

That's with a "survival of the nation" level of funding, a yard already familiar with submarine construction for diesel boats and a large pool of skilled workers with good institutional understanding of the general field.

They were also building less complex boats.

I think if you multiply those times by about four to give you a twelve year til first local boat built, that might give you a rough idea - maybe the the first two boats end up built in the OEM yard with a third laid down in Australia in parallel with the second boat ?
 

Goknub

Active Member
I take it back to what I see are the 3 core reasons for building in Australia in the first place.

1. No one else built diesel subs that big
2. Sovereign build capability
3. Support local shipbuilding industry

To which I now see:

1. Other nations do build large SSNs.
2. We will never build nuclear reactors so a true "sovereign build" is never going to be an option and just becomes an empty slogan.
3. There are more effective ways of supporting a local shipbuilding industry than trying to replicate the vast military-industrial complex that goes into building an SSN. There are too many other areas that need funding, both within Defence and outside.

Being able to support the subs post-build is a goal I believe is attainable but I don't see the reasoning for a local build stacking up now that we've moved to a SSN.
 
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