Royal Australian Navy Discussions and Updates 2.0

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
There’s been lots of discussion re TLAM on the MFUs however IIRC the DWP stated that the RAN’s strike capacity is slated for our submarines and this makes sense. Surely the stealth of the launch platform for strike Ops is paramount.
The RAN does not have the capacity to have multiple options in all fleet units.
ADMk2 in the ADF threads had this on the TLAM capability.
1626919077313.png

So it appears TLAM for the AWD is a possible. Personally I think that is, fine, 48 tubes, could always mix TLAM in for a long range antisurface weapon.

But the critical platforms are the subs. For both land and maritime strike capability.

The issue is I am not sure which platform is driving the acquisition, the subs or the awds.

The original announcement back in JAN was a bit ambiguous..
urity

With ranges in excess of 370 kilometres for anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles, and 1,500 kilometres for maritime land strike missiles, these new weapons will enhance the protection of our maritime resources and borders, and hold adversaries at risk at much greater distances.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said new investments would be made across the current and future submarine and surface combatant fleets, to provide the Australian Defence Force with more options to protect Australia’s interests.

 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
ADMk2 in the ADF threads had this on the TLAM capability.
View attachment 48347

So it appears TLAM for the AWD is a possible. Personally I think that is, fine, 48 tubes, could always mix TLAM in for a long range antisurface weapon.

But the critical platforms are the subs. For both land and maritime strike capability.

The issue is I am not sure which platform is driving the acquisition, the subs or the awds.

The original announcement back in JAN was a bit ambiguous..
urity

With ranges in excess of 370 kilometres for anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles, and 1,500 kilometres for maritime land strike missiles, these new weapons will enhance the protection of our maritime resources and borders, and hold adversaries at risk at much greater distances.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said new investments would be made across the current and future submarine and surface combatant fleets, to provide the Australian Defence Force with more options to protect Australia’s interests.
TLAM for the Hobart-class (and/or the Hunter-class for that matter...) might be a possibility, but IMO such a loadout would be only under some fairly specific and irregular circumstances, or else the VLS cell count and air defence missile loadout options would need to be addressed in some fashion.

If we look at the number of currently planned vessels, the RAN will have 3 DDG's and 9 FFG's in service, once the Hunter-class build is completed many years from now. Given the Rule of Threes, this would indicate that a potential RAN TF might have a single DDG and a pair of FFG's acting as escorts. With such an escort force, a hypothetical TF would have ~112 VLS cells available for use. To provide some perspective, the Mk 41 VLS kitted aboard the USN's Aegis Ticonderoga-class CG have a total of 122 cells. Further, a USN CSG task force would have one or two such cruisers, plus two or three Aegis-kitted DDG's with 90 to 96 Mk 41 VLS cells each.

From my POV, a USN TF can afford to have some TLAM in the VLS load out for two reasons. The first is that USN vessels generally have a significantly larger VLS cell counts, enabling more options. The second reason is that the USN is just so much larger, so that a strike package loadout can be spread across a greater number of vessels, or a small number of vessels could be dedicated to a strike and be escorted by sister ships with appropriate defensive loadouts. With the RAN, such options just are not available. Going back to the mention of USN TLAM strike on Syrian targets with 23 missiles, such a missile loadout in likely RAN TF escorts would reduce the VLS cells available for air defence and/or ASW (VL-ASROC for example) by ~20%. If the reduction was essentially evenly split between RAN escort vessels, that would likely require eight VLS loaded for TLAM in each vessel. Now the Hobart-class might be able to manage with only 40 cells available to load with a mix of SM-2/-6 and/or quad-packed ESSM, as that should be sufficient to have up to 32 SM-2/-6 and 32 ESSM, for air defence duties. IMO trying to extend a TLAM loadout to the Hunter-class when it only has 32 Mk 41 VLS cells, becomes a bit more problematic. Eight cells dedicated to TLAM would leave only 24 other cells, which would be just enough to load 16 SM-2/-6 and 32 quad-packed ESSM into the remaining VLS cells. However, if the VL-ASROC or a similar design/capability is brought into service to support the FFG in the ASW role, then the available VLS cell count will be pushed down even further, before air defence missiles get considered.
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
Getting back to what (if anything) can be done for the Anzacs, it's a bit left field but would it worth considering replacing the mk 45 with some vls? Not a nice choice since it's a very handy system especially with some promising new tech in the wings (and it might not even be feasible) but at the end of the day you can only do so much with 4000 tons.
Not sure that would really be feasible. While an 8-cell Mk 41 VLS might be able to fit into the space currently occupied by a Mk 45 gun aboard the FFH's, AFAIK the change would likely reduce the displacement and raise the vessel's CoG.
 

chis73

Active Member
Not sure that would really be feasible. While an 8-cell Mk 41 VLS might be able to fit into the space currently occupied by a Mk 45 gun aboard the FFH's, AFAIK the change would likely reduce the displacement and raise the vessel's CoG.
I don't think the ANZAC class is very likely to get much in the way of further upgrades. Many of the class are more than 20 years old now. I expect what you have now will pretty much be it.

If you were really desperate though, the only thing I can suggest is perhaps removing the Mk 41 and ESSM, replacing it with say CAMM-ER (now known as Albatros NG in its naval form). It wouldn't offer anything in the way of an improvement in performance (or loadout) over what you have now, but it might claw back a substantial amount of topweight (the Mk 41 is something like 12 tons for the 8-cell self-defence version on the ANZAC, plus you could maybe save about 100+kg or so per missile). Perhaps you may be able to fit a few CAMM silos somewhere as well.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Really? I thought LAND8113 was still a thing. Couldn't turn up much online but I imagine this guy knows the answer:


Just have to fight the urge to make Die Hard references...

EDIT: This is the most recent piece I could find on the subject. Language seems consistent with the MLRS program still being alive and kicking.

It remains an un-approved project so it is subject to change. The word I should have used is “potentially” not possibly, because that is the word the Land Commander used less than a month ago when he mentioned the employment of rocket artillery as part of a discussion about the combined arms system…

 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
It remains an un-approved project so it is subject to change. The word I should have used is “potentially” not possibly, because that is the word the Land Commander used less than a month ago when he mentioned the employment of rocket artillery as part of a discussion about the combined arms system…

Gotcha. Seems like a pretty vital project TBH. Have faith AD! ;-p
 

spoz

The Bunker Group
Don’t think the ANZACs have, or are planned to get, CEC. Not sure it would even be possible with their CMS.
 

south

Well-Known Member
TLAM for the Hobart-class (and/or the Hunter-class for that matter...) might be a possibility, but IMO such a loadout would be only under some fairly specific and irregular circumstances, or else the VLS cell count and air defence missile loadout options would need to be addressed in some fashion.

If we look at the number of currently planned vessels, the RAN will have 3 DDG's and 9 FFG's in service, once the Hunter-class build is completed many years from now. Given the Rule of Threes, this would indicate that a potential RAN TF might have a single DDG and a pair of FFG's acting as escorts. With such an escort force, a hypothetical TF would have ~112 VLS cells available for use. To provide some perspective, the Mk 41 VLS kitted aboard the USN's Aegis Ticonderoga-class CG have a total of 122 cells. Further, a USN CSG task force would have one or two such cruisers, plus two or three Aegis-kitted DDG's with 90 to 96 Mk 41 VLS cells each.

From my POV, a USN TF can afford to have some TLAM in the VLS load out for two reasons. The first is that USN vessels generally have a significantly larger VLS cell counts, enabling more options. The second reason is that the USN is just so much larger, so that a strike package loadout can be spread across a greater number of vessels, or a small number of vessels could be dedicated to a strike and be escorted by sister ships with appropriate defensive loadouts. With the RAN, such options just are not available. Going back to the mention of USN TLAM strike on Syrian targets with 23 missiles, such a missile loadout in likely RAN TF escorts would reduce the VLS cells available for air defence and/or ASW (VL-ASROC for example) by ~20%. If the reduction was essentially evenly split between RAN escort vessels, that would likely require eight VLS loaded for TLAM in each vessel. Now the Hobart-class might be able to manage with only 40 cells available to load with a mix of SM-2/-6 and/or quad-packed ESSM, as that should be sufficient to have up to 32 SM-2/-6 and 32 ESSM, for air defence duties. IMO trying to extend a TLAM loadout to the Hunter-class when it only has 32 Mk 41 VLS cells, becomes a bit more problematic. Eight cells dedicated to TLAM would leave only 24 other cells, which would be just enough to load 16 SM-2/-6 and 32 quad-packed ESSM into the remaining VLS cells. However, if the VL-ASROC or a similar design/capability is brought into service to support the FFG in the ASW role, then the available VLS cell count will be pushed down even further, before air defence missiles get considered.
I agree with your analysis. And that’s the point - it’s not so much that we shouldn’t be able to flex the ship - it’s that by with such small VLS cell counts the RAN has reduced the flexibility and utility of the vessel(s). Your comparison of a RAN TF to USN highlights this well. The limited number of ships, should demand an increase in flexibility through armament choice to cater for the many unknowns…

anyway; I’ll likely sign off on this, seems to be running to its end.
 
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StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
IMO the ANZACS are maxed out.. The only updates that will get is replacement of munitions (ESSM for ESSM BLK II, MU90 for Mk54 Blk2 etc) and software updates. Perhaps we could swap Harpoons for NSM which would give a longer range anti-shipping capability. Worthwhile upgrades, but you not going to carry more stuff. Then there is the cost of integrating new stuff to 9LV and onto a platform with increasingly short life.

Hunters and Hobarts offer a bit more room to move. But not much.. Perhaps room can be found for another 8 cell self defence launcher to carry ESSM in. Perhaps CAMM could replace/augment Phalanx CIWS. But it is still fairly small beer. Neither has huge growth room without things like plugs etc. If your carrying tomahawk, it would be a very limited number.

The obvious naval platform for land strike is the submarines. Collins if updated to fire TLAM could carry ~20 TLAM as currently configured. If VLS tube were fitted, your talking about a volley of perhaps 12, with the ability of a second strike. Peace time subs carry a very light load which is why VLS installations are important. The new Virginia's for example will be able to launch 40 Tomahawks from VLS, plus any from torpedo tubes encapsulated 65 in total.

Everything else, its likely to be the air force. With LRASM, its likely to be p8's, which is why IMO get more P8's. We need P8's to be able to escort our fleet where ever we go at pretty much all times.

With no room on surface fleet for tomahawk or ASROC.
 

alexsa

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
IMO the ANZACS are maxed out.. The only updates that will get is replacement of munitions (ESSM for ESSM BLK II, MU90 for Mk54 Blk2 etc) and software updates. Perhaps we could swap Harpoons for NSM which would give a longer range anti-shipping capability. Worthwhile upgrades, but you not going to carry more stuff. Then there is the cost of integrating new stuff to 9LV and onto a platform with increasingly short life.

Hunters and Hobarts offer a bit more room to move. But not much.. Perhaps room can be found for another 8 cell self defence launcher to carry ESSM in. Perhaps CAMM could replace/augment Phalanx CIWS. But it is still fairly small beer. Neither has huge growth room without things like plugs etc. If your carrying tomahawk, it would be a very limited number.

The obvious naval platform for land strike is the submarines. Collins if updated to fire TLAM could carry ~20 TLAM as currently configured. If VLS tube were fitted, your talking about a volley of perhaps 12, with the ability of a second strike. Peace time subs carry a very light load which is why VLS installations are important. The new Virginia's for example will be able to launch 40 Tomahawks from VLS, plus any from torpedo tubes encapsulated 65 in total.

Everything else, its likely to be the air force. With LRASM, its likely to be p8's, which is why IMO get more P8's. We need P8's to be able to escort our fleet where ever we go at pretty much all times.

With no room on surface fleet for tomahawk or ASROC.
Another option that is low risk for the Hunters is to swap out Phallax for SeaRAM. That gives you two autonomous mounts with a total of 22 RAM rounds on the mounts (and they can be reloaded at sea). The block II version with HAS mode is a capable missile with a range of 10km. Combined with block II ESSM it would give you a very good layered defence with an autonomous capability.

Maybe it is an option DoD have not fitted Phallax to the LHD or ordered them for the Hunters.
 

alexsa

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I started a conversation re the ANZAC's need for additional weapons. In particular the need for an additional VLS to add volume to the single 8 Cell launcher currently installed.

While like many I'm some what confused why such large vessels in the new Hunter class have less VLS Cells than the smaller Hobarts, they are still a massive increase over the ANZAC's.
I'm also mindful to a lay man like myself that their would be reasons for it. I would assume it's their emphasis on ASW and what the flexibility of their large and impressive mission bay brings to a contingency that is maybe the point of difference.

Anyway 32 VLS may seem small to some of the massive ships recently mentioned, but it is still a good load out for a single ship.

Potentially
22 SM2 and 40 ESSM
or
128 ESSM

Take your pick.

If someone is actually hurling nasties at us, most likely the ship would be apart of a combined taskforce and that task force would not realistically hang around too long, if the threat continued without the opportunity to neutralize it.

The Hunter Class will be OK.


Regards S
True and the Hunters are to be built in blocks of three. This means the design can evolve and my reading of the plan is that will be the case. This may mean the load out may change between batches as weapons and sensors develop.
 

DDG38

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
In all seriousness, what operational changes, if any, are made due to the presence of the PLAN spy ships
There are plenty of EMCON plans enacted when these platforms are in the area, and not just during exercises. When it comes to ELINT you have to assume most stuff is collected by satellites anyway, but it's still best practice to follow established collection mitigation procedures. "Spy on them like they spy on us" etc.
 

ASSAIL

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
In all seriousness, what operational changes, if any, are made due to the presence of the PLAN spy ships
As DDG38 has said EMCON (Emission Control) plans have been part of naval operations for decades.
It matters not whether there is a foreign intelligence gatherer or simply exercises with other fleet units, EMCON is part of fleet life and even more critical in current circumstances.
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
IMO the ANZACS are maxed out.. The only updates that will get is replacement of munitions (ESSM for ESSM BLK II, MU90 for Mk54 Blk2 etc) and software updates. Perhaps we could swap Harpoons for NSM which would give a longer range anti-shipping capability. Worthwhile upgrades, but you not going to carry more stuff. Then there is the cost of integrating new stuff to 9LV and onto a platform with increasingly short life.

Hunters and Hobarts offer a bit more room to move. But not much.. Perhaps room can be found for another 8 cell self defence launcher to carry ESSM in. Perhaps CAMM could replace/augment Phalanx CIWS. But it is still fairly small beer. Neither has huge growth room without things like plugs etc. If your carrying tomahawk, it would be a very limited number.

The obvious naval platform for land strike is the submarines. Collins if updated to fire TLAM could carry ~20 TLAM as currently configured. If VLS tube were fitted, your talking about a volley of perhaps 12, with the ability of a second strike. Peace time subs carry a very light load which is why VLS installations are important. The new Virginia's for example will be able to launch 40 Tomahawks from VLS, plus any from torpedo tubes encapsulated 65 in total.

Everything else, its likely to be the air force. With LRASM, its likely to be p8's, which is why IMO get more P8's. We need P8's to be able to escort our fleet where ever we go at pretty much all times.

With no room on surface fleet for tomahawk or ASROC.
Absolutely agree. There is only so much you can do with a 20 year old ship that is about half the size you require. Additional P8s could be in the air well before the 2030s and add a lot of all round capability. Perhaps reinstate the plans for a couple of additional KC-30s as well.

Some pressure could be taken off the escort vessels if the self defence capability of the the two LHDs was also upgraded. I note that the Spanish were considering VLS for the Juan Carlos and of course the USN operate ESSM off their own Assault ships. At the very least they could consider one or two RAM launchers.
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
Now moderators are jumping to fantasy fleets? You know its bad when that happens.
Firstly, mods are human. We can make mistakes and misjudgments, we can have different opinions. If you want to report a mod, you can certainly do that, and that mod will be judged by their peers.

Secondly, is it a fantasy fleet?

The challenge thrown down by Marcus Hellyar, is that Australia is spending half a trillion dollars, yet not expecting to see a single new VLS get to sea this decade. He has pieces in the Australian and on ASPI demanding that and pressuring industry, defence and government.

His proposal was more Hobarts and OPV's converted to carry missiles. While logical, is flawed, IMO. Which was IMO both a fairly weak response for the situation we are in, in that it does not add many VLS to the RAN. Also both ships would have numerous problems in terms of build.

My counter proposal was build two full size Burkes. This addresses the getting ship to sea in the remaining 8 years. It also address the lack of VLS by more the doubling the amount of VLS available in the entire RAN and tripling the amount typically on deployment. I also outline a capability need, beyond the platform, as a BMD ship with strong air defence. I proposed an outline of an assessment process to choose a platform, several realistic build options and how they would work within the RAN and where crewing would come from.

Generally speaking all AB DDG's and their international variations are crew heavy, Can they be operated with smaller crews?
In terms of weakness this is certainly one of them. The Hobarts run with about 180 crew. An Anzac or a FFG runs around 180. One of the primary reasons we did not assess a full size burke previously was crewing.

The Burke proposals would run 300 for Maya, closer to 330 for Burke flight IIA or III, and presumed around 300 for the KDX III either Batch I or Batch II. The build proposal was central to specing the ships the same as currently built for other navies, so no increased automation. It may be possible to crew the ships differently, and run them lean, perhaps to ~270. To crew a Burke, we would likely have to pull crews from 3 Anzacs to crew 2 ships. Even then, there would be a shortfall. I suggested growing the RAN and also actively recruiting already trained USN crew, which is a tremendously large pool to draw from. A transfer system could be made with no loss of rank, and RAN salary would be highly attractive. A credible option to cover the ~30 extra needed per ship. Eventually over time, this USN transfer/recruitment could be sustained, to actually long term grown the RAN. The RAN and the USN would be running near identical platforms and crew structures.

We could also take advantage of USN crew training with their shore facilities and embark sailors on their Burkes and have exchanges. This would be attractive to potential Australian sailors, spending early parts of their career in the US on Burkes. Maybe in a location like Hawaii, while we take USN sailors in say Sydney.

Hopefully to gain enough crew to crew additional ships and bring the total up to 14 by the end of the Hunter program in 2050. Being larger crewed would likely still make them more difficult to crew. Although being brand new, and the largest surface combatant in the RAN, is very different from trying to crew something built in the 1960's in the early 2000's.

That all being the case, If time is a factor that is freaking everyone out and we can magically wave around a wand to acquire the extra personnel (not to mention the extra tail end service personnel) then you dont try and build it in Australia, You either A. Get a foreign yard to build it with a hot production line or B. Buy a used one that still potentially has another 20 years of life in it.
That doesn't address the sustainable build plan. You would then close or remove the Henderson yard from that sustainable plan. We are also likely to remove Osborne from that sustainable plan. As with half the SSN being built overseas, and total build numbers also likely cut in half, while a larger submarine. The build work in a Burke is extensive, pulling that out of the local build pool would pretty much kill it as it would replace ~ hunters. Then there is who has spare capacity. Both South Korea and Japan are building for themselves first and Australia doing no favours recent about international naval collaboration onbuilds. But if possible, it would get our ships earlier.

Even if much of the fabrication was to happen at the Henderson yard, it is likely much of the Final fitout would need to happen in Osborne. Given the current situation and balance of skills. We are probably looking at modules being made at Henderson + some at Osborne, assembled at Osborne. With final fitout at Osborne. However, if BAE complains about impact to hunter, or isn't interested, hull fabrication could occur at Henderson, and fitout at Osborne/Henderson. We could even lean on the Americans to perhaps have some input/assistance on the build as this would be something that they would be familiar with.

There are no second hand Burkes that I am aware of that are near decommissioning. USS A Burke, recently changed home port to spain, and the USN intends to continue to operate her, and are still acquiring new builds. The Ticonderoga class is being pulled with the last of those coming out around 2030, which would seem to then indicate the first of the burkes retiring around 2030, but that isn't clear. Not really addressing our VLS in this decade challenge. Burkes are big, expensive, crew heavy ships. Not sure how we would feel about jumping into a high mileage one.

The background of all of this is that we are effectively going into a period of conflict. While difficult to crew, such ships would be significant assets during this period. However, post conflict, it may be reasonable for them to have short lives and be decommissioned early, freeing up crews for the last of the hunters around late 2040 early 2050. Avoiding an extensive mid life refit. Restoring the sustainable build program.

I guess this is as much as a discussion of what the RAN would look like if we acquired two Burke ships. There are benefits, VLS load out, capabilities, USN crewing opportunities. But there are issues, including crewing, number of combatants, formulating a complete build program in time to deliver even with a fixed in service design.

For comparison the AWD program ordered 3 ships in 2007, yards selected in 2009, Hobart laid down in 2012, Launched 2015, commissioned 2017. So it is possible to build a destroyer in less than 10 years. Even with all the drama that particular project had.

If instead of building a bigger combatant we wanted to get more smaller but still capable ships, faster. I would be taking a long hard look at the Mogami design. As @ddxx suggested. In terms of crewing, you could build two Mogami for every Anzac it replaced. Instead of four light covettes, you could have four real frigates. Armed with 16 VLS (which could have ESSM, SM-6), 5", 8 antiship missiles, Searam, hangar, torpedos, they would be capable small ships. For each anzac you replaced you would be gaining 24 new VLS.. The ships would be more open sea worthy and longer ranged with greater than the 7 day endurance of the corvettes being mentioned.
 

MickB

Active Member
Firstly, mods are human. We can make mistakes and misjudgments, we can have different opinions. If you want to report a mod, you can certainly do that, and that mod will be judged by their peers.

Secondly, is it a fantasy fleet?

The challenge thrown down by Marcus Hellyar, is that Australia is spending half a trillion dollars, yet not expecting to see a single new VLS get to sea this decade. He has pieces in the Australian and on ASPI demanding that and pressuring industry, defence and government.

His proposal was more Hobarts and OPV's converted to carry missiles. While logical, is flawed, IMO. Which was IMO both a fairly weak response for the situation we are in, in that it does not add many VLS to the RAN. Also both ships would have numerous problems in terms of build.

My counter proposal was build two full size Burkes. This addresses the getting ship to sea in the remaining 8 years. It also address the lack of VLS by more the doubling the amount of VLS available in the entire RAN and tripling the amount typically on deployment. I also outline a capability need, beyond the platform, as a BMD ship with strong air defence. I proposed an outline of an assessment process to choose a platform, several realistic build options and how they would work within the RAN and where crewing would come from.


In terms of weakness this is certainly one of them. The Hobarts run with about 180 crew. An Anzac or a FFG runs around 180. One of the primary reasons we did not assess a full size burke previously was crewing.

The Burke proposals would run 300 for Maya, closer to 330 for Burke flight IIA or III, and presumed around 300 for the KDX III either Batch I or Batch II. The build proposal was central to specing the ships the same as currently built for other navies, so no increased automation. It may be possible to crew the ships differently, and run them lean, perhaps to ~270. To crew a Burke, we would likely have to pull crews from 3 Anzacs to crew 2 ships. Even then, there would be a shortfall. I suggested growing the RAN and also actively recruiting already trained USN crew, which is a tremendously large pool to draw from. A transfer system could be made with no loss of rank, and RAN salary would be highly attractive. A credible option to cover the ~30 extra needed per ship. Eventually over time, this USN transfer/recruitment could be sustained, to actually long term grown the RAN. The RAN and the USN would be running near identical platforms and crew structures.

We could also take advantage of USN crew training with their shore facilities and embark sailors on their Burkes and have exchanges. This would be attractive to potential Australian sailors, spending early parts of their career in the US on Burkes. Maybe in a location like Hawaii, while we take USN sailors in say Sydney.

Hopefully to gain enough crew to crew additional ships and bring the total up to 14 by the end of the Hunter program in 2050. Being larger crewed would likely still make them more difficult to crew. Although being brand new, and the largest surface combatant in the RAN, is very different from trying to crew something built in the 1960's in the early 2000's.



That doesn't address the sustainable build plan. You would then close or remove the Henderson yard from that sustainable plan. We are also likely to remove Osborne from that sustainable plan. As with half the SSN being built overseas, and total build numbers also likely cut in half, while a larger submarine. The build work in a Burke is extensive, pulling that out of the local build pool would pretty much kill it as it would replace ~ hunters. Then there is who has spare capacity. Both South Korea and Japan are building for themselves first and Australia doing no favours recent about international naval collaboration onbuilds. But if possible, it would get our ships earlier.

Even if much of the fabrication was to happen at the Henderson yard, it is likely much of the Final fitout would need to happen in Osborne. Given the current situation and balance of skills. We are probably looking at modules being made at Henderson + some at Osborne, assembled at Osborne. With final fitout at Osborne. However, if BAE complains about impact to hunter, or isn't interested, hull fabrication could occur at Henderson, and fitout at Osborne/Henderson. We could even lean on the Americans to perhaps have some input/assistance on the build as this would be something that they would be familiar with.

There are no second hand Burkes that I am aware of that are near decommissioning. USS A Burke, recently changed home port to spain, and the USN intends to continue to operate her, and are still acquiring new builds. The Ticonderoga class is being pulled with the last of those coming out around 2030, which would seem to then indicate the first of the burkes retiring around 2030, but that isn't clear. Not really addressing our VLS in this decade challenge. Burkes are big, expensive, crew heavy ships. Not sure how we would feel about jumping into a high mileage one.

The background of all of this is that we are effectively going into a period of conflict. While difficult to crew, such ships would be significant assets during this period. However, post conflict, it may be reasonable for them to have short lives and be decommissioned early, freeing up crews for the last of the hunters around late 2040 early 2050. Avoiding an extensive mid life refit. Restoring the sustainable build program.

I guess this is as much as a discussion of what the RAN would look like if we acquired two Burke ships. There are benefits, VLS load out, capabilities, USN crewing opportunities. But there are issues, including crewing, number of combatants, formulating a complete build program in time to deliver even with a fixed in service design.

For comparison the AWD program ordered 3 ships in 2007, yards selected in 2009, Hobart laid down in 2012, Launched 2015, commissioned 2017. So it is possible to build a destroyer in less than 10 years. Even with all the drama that particular project had.

If instead of building a bigger combatant we wanted to get more smaller but still capable ships, faster. I would be taking a long hard look at the Mogami design. As @ddxx suggested. In terms of crewing, you could build two Mogami for every Anzac it replaced. Instead of four light covettes, you could have four real frigates. Armed with 16 VLS (which could have ESSM, SM-6), 5", 8 antiship missiles, Searam, hangar, torpedos, they would be capable small ships. For each anzac you replaced you would be gaining 24 new VLS.. The ships would be more open sea worthy and longer ranged with greater than the 7 day endurance of the corvettes being mentioned.
If the idea is to expand production at Henderson then a MOTS replacement for the LCHs is a start.
Plenty of existing designs to chose from.

If it is to increase combat power, them a small batch of lightly Australianised (CMS, radar, weapons and possibly engines) Mogami class could act as a powerful coastal defence force for Australia.
This would free up larger, longer ranged fleet units to operate in the expeditionary role.
Since both Australia and Japan use mostly US weapons not much should need to be changed in this regard.

One could even follow the other, the time taken for the LCH replacement build will allow the basic redesign of Mogami for Australian content.

Given its size the Mogamis could even be based in Cairns and Darwin.

Other than that I would push the Hunters as quickly as possible within the constraints of a sustainable building program.
 
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