Royal Australian Navy Discussions and Updates 2.0

ddxx

Well-Known Member
Does anyone else find it somewhat ridiculous that it has been years since an official update on Hunter’s specs and weapons fit?

Sure, there’s been dribs and drabs via Senate Estimates but nothing concrete, and certainly no wholistic update.

Compared to most nations, the lack of communication on Hunter is pretty bad. The Canadians seem to do an update on the CSC every few months or so.

The only logical reason I can think of for the radio silence is pretty substantial changes which are still being finalised?
 

WaveWalker

New Member
I suspect a lot has changed in the last couple of years in terms of weaponry, on top of the weight control
measures. Given a change of government happened as well, I reckon we won’t hear much for a while.
 

John Newman

The Bunker Group
Does anyone else find it somewhat ridiculous that it has been years since an official update on Hunter’s specs and weapons fit?

Sure, there’s been dribs and drabs via Senate Estimates but nothing concrete, and certainly no wholistic update.

Compared to most nations, the lack of communication on Hunter is pretty bad. The Canadians seem to do an update on the CSC every few months or so.

The only logical reason I can think of for the radio silence is pretty substantial changes which are still being finalised?
Hmmm...

Into conspiracy theories much?

Again, hmmm....
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Does anyone else find it somewhat ridiculous that it has been years since an official update on Hunter’s specs and weapons fit?

Sure, there’s been dribs and drabs via Senate Estimates but nothing concrete, and certainly no wholistic update.

Compared to most nations, the lack of communication on Hunter is pretty bad. The Canadians seem to do an update on the CSC every few months or so.

The only logical reason I can think of for the radio silence is pretty substantial changes which are still being finalised?
The Commonwealth of Australia is not obliged to provide weekly / monthly public reports on its defence acquisition programs. If you are so keen on knowing what's happening, you could always make enquires with the Office of the Minister of Defence. Unsubstantiated conspiracy theories are not welcome.
 

spoz

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Successful completion of the System Definition Review was announced in mid February this year. The next major stage in an Australian shipbuilding program is Preliminary Design Review which presumably will take place next year some time given the announced build schedule. There will be nothing really for the CoA to announce until then.

if you’ve been watching the trade press there have been a number of BAE announcements of sub contractor selections over the months such as this one: Contract awarded for Hunter-class frigate propeller prototypes. Those will continue, but the CoA is not required to give, or about to start giving, chapter and verse of the ship’s combat system beyond that already released, or deducible from looking at models, etc. Why should they?
 

Milne Bay

Active Member
Successful completion of the System Definition Review was announced in mid February this year. The next major stage in an Australian shipbuilding program is Preliminary Design Review which presumably will take place next year some time given the announced build schedule. There will be nothing really for the CoA to announce until then.

if you’ve been watching the trade press there have been a number of BAE announcements of sub contractor selections over the months such as this one: Contract awarded for Hunter-class frigate propeller prototypes. Those will continue, but the CoA is not required to give, or about to start giving, chapter and verse of the ship’s combat system beyond that already released, or deducible from looking at models, etc. Why should they?
Just to add a little more detail and timeframe - from the same link provided by Spoz:
Shipbuilders working on the Hunter program are currently manufacturing five prototype ship blocks to test and refine the processes, systems, tools, facilities and workforce skills ahead of construction of the first Hunter ship blocks in May 2023, which will become part of the first ship.
So... six months away
MB
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
The only logical reason I can think of for the radio silence is pretty substantial changes which are still being finalised?
Tut tut..

AusGov doesn't really give updates on any projects, even those that are going well or non-controversial.
Plus currently there is a defence review at the moment, I would imagine most projects are trying desperately to be not in the news in anyway.

To be fair, we do know quite a lot about Hunter specifications. Its not like we don't know what systems, what weapons, what design will look like etc.

I kind of expect more about CEAFAR2, given our interest in trying to sell it to other partners and its advantages of most other radars. But I guess until integration and weapons testing, its all specs and theoretical.
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
Does anyone else find it somewhat ridiculous that it has been years since an official update on Hunter’s specs and weapons fit?

Sure, there’s been dribs and drabs via Senate Estimates but nothing concrete, and certainly no wholistic update.

Compared to most nations, the lack of communication on Hunter is pretty bad. The Canadians seem to do an update on the CSC every few months or so.

The only logical reason I can think of for the radio silence is pretty substantial changes which are still being finalised?
Then again no news is good news. The media doesn't ever really bother to report good news stories. The headline "All is well with the Hunter program" won't generate as many clicks as " Hunter frigate, over weight, over budget, calls to cancel program".

What we know of the project is that the first prototype sections have been built, construction will start next year and the first ship is scheduled to enter service in 2031. When you really analyse the "bad news" press releases, much of it is simply a beat up

Take the overweight and overbudget claims for example. Most engineers and designers look at capability first. Just tell them what you want. They then go away, crunch some numbers and come back with information as to how much it will cost and how big it would have to be. Everybody has a good laugh and then they get down to the serious business of working out what trade-offs would need to be made.
 

DDG38

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
HMAS Choules is officially out of her refit :
"On 23rd November 2022, HMAS Choules completed her most significant maintenance period since she was acquisitioned in 2011. Over 80 engineering configuration changes were completed in the update package ‘SEA3030’, as well as an extensive sustainment package of planned and corrective maintenance." Image Source : ADF Image Library
20221027ran8582987_0028.jpg
 

Stampede

Well-Known Member
HMAS Choules is officially out of her refit :
"On 23rd November 2022, HMAS Choules completed her most significant maintenance period since she was acquisitioned in 2011. Over 80 engineering configuration changes were completed in the update package ‘SEA3030’, as well as an extensive sustainment package of planned and corrective maintenance." Image Source : ADF Image Library
View attachment 49903
Interesting Pic

Really shows the size of Phalanx compared to the crew in front.
A big beast

Stealing DDG38's research, I'll add the other pic of HMAS Choules looking forward.

1669413967460.png

Cheers S
 

Depot Dog

Active Member

First thing Mods I understand your objections to the endless speculation about the nuclear subs. With respect this is a fresh idea and I think it deserves discussion.

"Multiple defence sources have suggested the government’s nuclear submarine taskforce is coalescing around a two-step approach, with at least two US Virginia class nuclear submarines to be home-ported in Perth in the short-to-medium term until the Australian navy begins to receive its own submarines.

Home-porting would involve US submariners and their families moving to Perth and infrastructure being put in place to help maintain the boats, as well as allowing a sizeable cohort of Australians to co-crew the submarines and undertake training. "


This idea makes practical sense. Whilst in WA Australians can co crew and undertake training. This is crawl, walk, run philosophy. Getting the subs is not the only problem. We need nuclear regulations, sailor/officer training and submarines to grow together.

Further reading the piece agrees with commentators on this forum. The Navy has ruled out a stop gap sub. After the 7th Astute the production line is closing. The Americans have no room to accommodate our submarine order.

The next part is speculation about the type of sub we may choose

"Both the US and UK have started separate design processes for successors to these submarines, but there is growing momentum for the three navies to work together on a common design.

While such a move would allow Australia to be incorporated into the program, sources said it would also suit the Americans because it reduced the risk of technical problems with British submarines that US experts often have to provide assistance on.

It is likely the US, as the parent navy for nuclear propulsion, would have the whip hand in designing the new submarine, pushing costs to the upper end of the spectrum.

On the politically sensitive issue of shipbuilding jobs in South Australia, one option being canvassed was having the Osborne shipyard build sections of the hull that could be used by all three navies.

But the complex task of marrying the back part of the boat which contains the nuclear reactor with the front hull section could be done at US shipyards, instead of transporting the sealed reactor containing highly enriched uranium to Adelaide for integration."


Thinking about it, Australia defence procurement usually looks for the best modern solution. eg. F35 , Hunter etc. We will usually wait whilst knowing the outcome is worth it. This aligns with the idea we shoot for the next gen sub. The only thing against is if the politicians or Navy want them sooner not later.

This is a fresh take and I not advocating it. Roll on March when we get the final decision.

Regards
DD
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer

First thing Mods I understand your objections to the endless speculation about the nuclear subs. With respect this is a fresh idea and I think it deserves discussion.

"Multiple defence sources have suggested the government’s nuclear submarine taskforce is coalescing around a two-step approach, with at least two US Virginia class nuclear submarines to be home-ported in Perth in the short-to-medium term until the Australian navy begins to receive its own submarines.

Home-porting would involve US submariners and their families moving to Perth and infrastructure being put in place to help maintain the boats, as well as allowing a sizeable cohort of Australians to co-crew the submarines and undertake training. "


This idea makes practical sense. Whilst in WA Australians can co crew and undertake training. This is crawl, walk, run philosophy. Getting the subs is not the only problem. We need nuclear regulations, sailor/officer training and submarines to grow together.

Further reading the piece agrees with commentators on this forum. The Navy has ruled out a stop gap sub. After the 7th Astute the production line is closing. The Americans have no room to accommodate our submarine order.

The next part is speculation about the type of sub we may choose

"Both the US and UK have started separate design processes for successors to these submarines, but there is growing momentum for the three navies to work together on a common design.

While such a move would allow Australia to be incorporated into the program, sources said it would also suit the Americans because it reduced the risk of technical problems with British submarines that US experts often have to provide assistance on.

It is likely the US, as the parent navy for nuclear propulsion, would have the whip hand in designing the new submarine, pushing costs to the upper end of the spectrum.

On the politically sensitive issue of shipbuilding jobs in South Australia, one option being canvassed was having the Osborne shipyard build sections of the hull that could be used by all three navies.

But the complex task of marrying the back part of the boat which contains the nuclear reactor with the front hull section could be done at US shipyards, instead of transporting the sealed reactor containing highly enriched uranium to Adelaide for integration."


Thinking about it, Australia defence procurement usually looks for the best modern solution. eg. F35 , Hunter etc. We will usually wait whilst knowing the outcome is worth it. This aligns with the idea we shoot for the next gen sub. The only thing against is if the politicians or Navy want them sooner not later.

This is a fresh take and I not advocating it. Roll on March when we get the final decision.

Regards
DD
The article linked is paywalled, so I have not been able to read it in it's entirety. However, several things struck me sufficiently to look into the apparent writer and it appears that they are an Australian political commentator who writes on politics, foreign affairs, as well as defence and security issues. Given some of what appears to have been quoted from the article... I do not think all that much of it, since it appears to not take into consideration a number of areas that would be of concern to Americans, whilst also having apparent expectations on what or how Americans would do certain things. Where this becomes problematic from my POV is that the US would be acting in it's own interests by and large, and some of what seems to be suggested as possible ideas do not really seem reasonable for the Americans to do.

A prime example of what I mean is suggesting a multi-national build of future sub modules for USN subs... There is only one reason why that might be accepted IMO, and that is if the US needs to ramp up sub production beyond what is possible with existing US personnel and facilities, in order to expand/replace the USN sub fleet, and incorporating modules built overseas into subs intended for the USN would enable orders for the USN to be fulfilled more rapidly. I otherwise see no reason why either the US Congress or general public would not raise significant issues with incorporating modules produced in Australia, the UK, or anywhere else for that matter.

The situation would of course be different if the receiving navy was other than the USN, so that Australia could potentially build a few modules intended for future RAN subs, to be incorporated into a sub under construction in Norfolk or Groton in the US.

Also, I would expect that there would need to be some significant training occurring, before a RAN submariner could serve aboard a USN SSN. This would likely take place in New London, with at least some of the courses consisting of material which the RAN would need to incorporate into future RAN sub training. I do not think it likely (or safe for that matter) that a partial USN SSN crew could cross-train a significant number of RAN conventional sub personnel so that the RAN personnel could safely and effectively serve aboard the USN SSN
 

WaveWalker

New Member


On the politically sensitive issue of shipbuilding jobs in South Australia, one option being canvassed was having the Osborne shipyard build sections of the hull that could be used by all three navies.

But the complex task of marrying the back part of the boat which contains the nuclear reactor with the front hull section could be done at US shipyards, instead of transporting the sealed reactor containing highly enriched uranium to Adelaide for integration."
There is no way in this world that the US would accept any part of their subs being built in a foreign country.
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
Could the US base a submarine or submarines out of Perth? Yes. It has happened before (WWII), they have submarine bases in Bahrain and Naples, and Perth is ~15,000 km from Hawaii, so even for a Nuclear submarine, that is a long way, and the Indian ocean is the hardest ocean for the US to project power into. Being able to rearm, refuel and having crews based out of Perth seems completely reasonable. Having a nuclear sub would be fantastic for Strait closure. They get regular visits,

The US and UK both seem interested in Australia having nuclear submarine construction, repair and sustainment capabilities. There is basically zero margin for expansion anywhere, and an accident or fire could severely impact build and sustainment capability. The US also already has a backlog of work. A base located between Indian and Pacific oceans would be useful long term anyway. In a war type scenario, routine maintenance, damage repair would significant upset the new build program.

I don't believe anyone else is going to build modules for US subs, not Australia, not anyone that isn't American, that is not going to happen for a whole bunch of reasons. So that undermines everything else in the story. He might as well said the Thor of the Asgardians and Alf from Melnac would personally work together to build subs for the Americans, its that jarring.

But Australia and UK could certainly have some work share, between them. But I don't expect this to be the bread and butter of the deal. The reactor is likely to come from the Americans, because the Americans have the fuel and the tech, its not certain, but its most likely. Again the US doesn't really want to mess up their yards with other countries build needs. But Australia could be called on to do some inspection and scrape and a lick of paint, freeing up their yards to more intensive work. They can't outsource sub work to other yards internationally, because of obvious reasons. With high tempo, platforms get warn out, with increasing tensions, missions become more daring and risky. So as speculation you could see how that would hang together.

So some basic ideas, combined with crazy, combined with Marcus Hellyer claiming everything is too expensive. In other words, nothing of substance.

Really we just have to wait this one out. We will be told next year.
 

Bob53

Active Member
There is no way in this world that the US would accept any part of their subs being built in a foreign country.
Not so sure about that now. It’s been said here in the past..just after comments we would never get nuclear and the americans would not share their technology. One of the previous posts …putting all politics aside ….. makes the most sense. Have all 3 countries produce the same subs gives an increase in production capability..assuming an Australian yard gets added to the mix, commonality of parts, systems and support across the continents. How different is the operational requirement between US and British subs…I don’t know… it has to be more efficient for one yard to be producing 20-30-40 of the same section …1-2-3-4 a year rather than a batch of 6 over 15 years or more.
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
Not so sure about that now. It’s been said here in the past..just after comments we would never get nuclear and the americans would not share their technology. One of the previous posts …putting all politics aside ….. makes the most sense. Have all 3 countries produce the same subs gives an increase in production capability..assuming an Australian yard gets added to the mix, commonality of parts, systems and support across the continents. How different is the operational requirement between US and British subs…I don’t know… it has to be more efficient for one yard to be producing 20-30-40 of the same section …1-2-3-4 a year rather than a batch of 6 over 15 years or more.
What the suggestion keeps ignoring is US laws and politics regarding defence procurement. The US Congress controls the purse strings and there would be very little incentive for a Representative or Senator to have the US spend defence dollars procuring something made in Australia, that could also be made in the US, preferably in the district or state which the member of Congress providing the funding in the budget bill is from.
 

Milne Bay

Active Member
What the suggestion keeps ignoring is US laws and politics regarding defence procurement. The US Congress controls the purse strings and there would be very little incentive for a Representative or Senator to have the US spend defence dollars procuring something made in Australia, that could also be made in the US, preferably in the district or state which the member of Congress providing the funding in the budget bill is from.
Well there is
U.S. Code § 8679 - Construction of vessels in foreign shipyards: prohibition
Which states:

(a)Prohibition.—
Except as provided in subsection (b), no vessel to be constructed for any of the armed forces, and no major component of the hull or superstructure of any such vessel, may be constructed in a foreign shipyard.
(b)Presidential Waiver for National Security Interest.—
(1)
The President may authorize exceptions to the prohibition in subsection (a) when the President determines that it is in the national security interest of the United States to do so.
(2)
The President shall transmit notice to Congress of any such determination, and no contract may be made pursuant to the exception authorized until the end of the 30-day period beginning on the date on which the notice of the determination is received by Congress.


This may complicate things
MB
 

Depot Dog

Active Member

Regardless of March report. Every indicator is we have to get nuclear stewardship, training and facilities up to standard. Only then we will get a sub.

Rep. Rob Wittman, (R-Va.) said recently to USNI "
"Wittman dismissed the idea that Canberra could simply buy a Virginia-class submarine and go from there, as Australia is halfway through the 18-month period in which priorities are to be set on Australia’s building of a nuclear submarine and exchanging other high-technology innovations with the United States and United Kingdom.

“It doesn’t work that way,” he said."


This project is going to make Snowy Hydro look easy. Time to train is massive, if I recall 6 years+ enlisted and 10years + for officers. It is probably the same for civilians. Politicians will have to pass regulation legislation.

Given the time involved to get ready the next gen submarines will probably be here. I agree with the comments that it would be a miracle for the USA to accept Aussie made modules. Until we see the March report any discussion on how or who or what the discussion is pure speculation.

The AFR articles said in the mean time 2 US subs could be based in WA. That to me is a sensible practical idea. I understand the nuclear training is broken up between class time and sea time. Depending on the USN that sea training could be done on one of the subs in WA. If it happens.

Having subs based in WA is more doable that reopening the Astute production line or push into the US production line. This is the only part of the article is worthy noting

Regards
DD
 

Mark_Evans

Member
There is no way in this world that the US would accept any part of their subs being built in a foreign country.
But would they accept them being maintained in another country? It would give South and West Australia some work and help drive down the US maintenance backlog. And next time I will read the rest of the posts before commenting. My bad but believe this should be on the AUKUS table
 
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