Royal Australian Navy Discussions and Updates 2.0

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
IMHO I wouldn't be ruling out the Arrowhead just yet. The report with the 4 potential designs was written back in August last year, Babcock only really started pushing it back in Oct. There could be a possibility of having the first 3 built in say South Korea, New Zealand could jump in then with an order for a couple to bulk it out. Cheers.
I think there is a lot to be said for NZ joining in on the OS build, whatever design and manufacturer is chosen. The timeline of delivery in the mid 30s is spot on for NZ, a two? ship buy as part of a buy of five ships + the eight to be built in Australia would certainly bring down the price for both nations.
 

Stampede

Well-Known Member
While I am as despondent as everybody else that the fleet will reduce in size over the next decade before it starts to expand, there are a number of items that are positive and will provide some bridging capabilities in the short term.
  • The first is that the ANZACs remain good platforms despite their age. The progressive upgrades over time have kept them potent and up to date (say what you want about new ship procurement, however the Navy has invested very well with significant foresight in their existing equipment). It has as many ESSM as other larger ships (32), a very capable radar package and will shortly get 8 odd NSM. It is as quiet or quieter than several modern designs, and just as fast. Its EW and countermeasure systems (such as Nulka) are all leading products and the current versions. Six of these will remain over the period and by the looks of things we have sufficient crew for them. They should not be discounted and they can still punch. Other than additional VLS, they already have most of the combat systems that would be fitted to a new GP frigate. They do have a shortfal with drone defence (lacking a CIWS), but I am sure this is being looked into.
  • Likewise the AWD is a very effective platform with modern, high end systems. Its scheduled Aegis upgrade will improve this even further.
  • The seahawk fleet is being expanded and has been modernised with the Romeos. We will shortly have 36 available (including 12 new ones), providing in the order of 8-12 deployable. It means every operational ship can have an ASW capable helo onboard.
  • There is huge investment happening in shore facilities, most of this is not making the news, but it is necessary behind the scenes infrastructure for all three branches, that hardens, strengthens logistics and force multiplies. Some of this is very high end and is perhaps more valuable than a new ship.
  • As of 2027 we will have US and UK nuclear subs based in WA. While not Australian badged, these will progressively have larger Australian crew compliments, and will provide the mission capability we need in our region. People seem overly focused on when we get our own subs in the early 30's, however the capability really becomes available at this point.
  • Indigenous missile manufacturing will accelerate. At the moment it is focused on the HIMARS system with GLMRS and shortly PrSM, but I would expect that the next development will be Naval, probably NSM, perhaps ESSM. Regardless, the procurement of additional warstocks is already occuring with multiple orders placed.
  • AI and autonomous systems. We have all heard about the ghost bat, however there are submersible systems that are almost as capable that are nearing the field trial stage. This technology will be deployed in the late 20's, particularly in the surveillance role, and probably in numbers to make a difference. We all heard that Australia will have a weapons capable autonomos aircraft this year, and I would suggest that a weapons capable autonomous submersible would follow. These will enhance the ships we have, and cover gaps where we don't have a ship available.
So if you consider the above, our existing platforms are sufficient for the time being, and the Defence is substantially investing in its logistics and support systems over the near term, in order to be ready to accept new platforms later on.

While we may not be able to support deployments like the Red Sea for a while, we will still have the capability and capacity to manage our own region and this will not be lost. Perhaps this is a better focus for us anyway.
Thanks for the post and yes some positivity is refreshing.

True I have boardered the negativity train, but it's more for constructive dialogue re short and long term options.
The RAN certainly has its attributes.

I'm sure smarter minds than mine have reached the conclusion for the path way ahead.

I'm still guarded about expectations on many levels.

Some investment in additional key RAAF platforms would of been a prudent enhancement of capability and a statement of commitment short term.

I voted for this government and feel somewhat disappointed with the result re the ADF.
Hopefully alot is happening behind the scenes.


Cheers S
 

devo99

Active Member
Marles has repeatedly stressed that the new GP Frigate will be military off the shelf with no 'Australianisations'. In my view that makes the entire acquisition a flawed concept.
I haven't seen the press release where Australianisations were ruled out. If you could provide a link to it, it would be greatly appreciated.
 
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76mmGuns

Active Member
IMHO, there is a lot to like about the Batch 2 Mogami-class FFM design as a potential RAN Tier 2 GP frigate in replacement for the Anzac-class.


If I was 20 years younger I would leap at the chance to serve on a Batch 2 Mogami.
2035 onwards is sure going to be damn exciting with so much new naval hardware. Lucky new recruits will be serving on so many cutting edge vessels, spoilt for choice.


I was originally unhappy how cutting Hunters to 6 might affect the Aust naval industry, but just realised I might be wrong, because BAE showed there is an AAW version, which makes sense for RAN to build, given we literally have everything to build it. So if they don't change their minds, and build 3 AAAW Hunter's to replace Hobart's, then we're back to 9.
 

vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
Regardless what Tier 2 we get will be an improvement so long as we stick clear of Navantia. As to current schedule and some saying things should have been started back in 2010 I would go earlier and say back in 2000. In hindsight ( though im certain people back then was saying as much) Anzac build should have been followed with a 3 ship Burke build to replace the Perths, followed by a 6 ship Hobart build to replace the Adelaides, Which would have bought us up to today and prime to go directly into a Tier 2 build to replace the Anzacs... Which would carry as through to 2030 to replace early the Burkes and mid 2030's to roll in the Hunters....

Actually talked about the fleet with owner of business next door, he was complaining about GoA buying ships and expanding fleet when times so tough.. He actually back tracked on that when I pointed out the planned fleet is almost ship for ship what we had planned back in late 80's... He is now for it.
 

Morgo

Well-Known Member
Marles has repeatedly stressed that the new GP Frigate will be military off the shelf with no 'Australianisations'. In my view that makes the entire acquisition a flawed concept.
Could you please provide a link to the exact text you’re referring to?

My understanding was that the intent was to minimise unnecessary changes rather than none at all.

EDIT: Mods pls delete - I hadn’t seen Devo99s comment, which mine duplicates.
 
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MickB

Well-Known Member
Untrue. The FFM has improved ASW over the original Mogami. This was announced by JMOD


FFM with its high automation makes it extremely desirable and suited to our trouble of crewing the fleet. I am hoping this decision is made sooner rather than later. These reviews upon reviews are rather tiresome and now another year will be wasted making a selection all for the sake of kicking the $ down the road to allow them to scream "SURPLUS".

There was no reason why the selection of the next GP frigate could not have been made concurrent to the release of naval review, disgraceful and not at all in line with the environment where they keep mentioning is the "most high stakes environment since WW2". We can only pray and hope nil action is taken by our adverseries before we can conjure up a reasonable force in the next decade or so, but when you are relying on thoughts and prayers to get by, you know there is a bureaucratic mess that needs attention and remedy. That being said, witnessing the degradation of our armed forces over the last 20 years it still does not suprise me.:(
I belive I must have misunderstood an earlier post that stated the Batch 2 was optimised for AAW.
I read more into this than was there.
Thanks for the clarification.
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
While I am as despondent as everybody else that the fleet will reduce in size over the next decade before it starts to expand, there are a number of items that are positive and will provide some bridging capabilities in the short term.
  • The first is that the ANZACs remain good platforms despite their age. The progressive upgrades over time have kept them potent and up to date (say what you want about new ship procurement, however the Navy has invested very well with significant foresight in their existing equipment). It has as many ESSM as other larger ships (32), a very capable radar package and will shortly get 8 odd NSM. It is as quiet or quieter than several modern designs, and just as fast. Its EW and countermeasure systems (such as Nulka) are all leading products and the current versions. Six of these will remain over the period and by the looks of things we have sufficient crew for them. They should not be discounted and they can still punch. Other than additional VLS, they already have most of the combat systems that would be fitted to a new GP frigate. They do have a shortfal with drone defence (lacking a CIWS), but I am sure this is being looked into.
  • Likewise the AWD is a very effective platform with modern, high end systems. Its scheduled Aegis upgrade will improve this even further.
  • The seahawk fleet is being expanded and has been modernised with the Romeos. We will shortly have 36 available (including 12 new ones), providing in the order of 8-12 deployable. It means every operational ship can have an ASW capable helo onboard.
  • There is huge investment happening in shore facilities, most of this is not making the news, but it is necessary behind the scenes infrastructure for all three branches, that hardens, strengthens logistics and force multiplies. Some of this is very high end and is perhaps more valuable than a new ship.
  • As of 2027 we will have US and UK nuclear subs based in WA. While not Australian badged, these will progressively have larger Australian crew compliments, and will provide the mission capability we need in our region. People seem overly focused on when we get our own subs in the early 30's, however the capability really becomes available at this point.
  • Indigenous missile manufacturing will accelerate. At the moment it is focused on the HIMARS system with GLMRS and shortly PrSM, but I would expect that the next development will be Naval, probably NSM, perhaps ESSM. Regardless, the procurement of additional warstocks is already occuring with multiple orders placed.
  • AI and autonomous systems. We have all heard about the ghost bat, however there are submersible systems that are almost as capable that are nearing the field trial stage. This technology will be deployed in the late 20's, particularly in the surveillance role, and probably in numbers to make a difference. We all heard that Australia will have a weapons capable autonomos aircraft this year, and I would suggest that a weapons capable autonomous submersible would follow. These will enhance the ships we have, and cover gaps where we don't have a ship available.
So if you consider the above, our existing platforms are sufficient for the time being, and the Defence is substantially investing in its logistics and support systems over the near term, in order to be ready to accept new platforms later on.

While we may not be able to support deployments like the Red Sea for a while, we will still have the capability and capacity to manage our own region and this will not be lost. Perhaps this is a better focus for us anyway.
The concern I have about the announced plans is less about the reduction in overall fleet numbers between now and some time in the early/mid-30's (assuming that the announced plans are kept and actually proceed, BTW there is an Americanism about what it means to "assume").

My concern is just how tight the timeframe is and how vulnerable the timeframe is likely to be to issues which cause delays or even outright cancellations. As I have already gone through a few times in this thread, whether it is done in Australia or overseas, naval shipbuilding takes time and there are different stages which have to be gone through. A roughly ten year window to go from starting a new ship acquisition programme to IOC of the lead ship, for something as complex as a warship, is really pushing it and could easily fail.

When one also looks at what has been getting done so far, as well as what has been announced and when, it does seem as though the actions and follow through are falling short of the narrative. IIRC the ALP announced back in May 2022 that if they were in gov't they would conduct a review, which led to the 2023 DSR. The public version of that was released back in April 2023 along with an announcement that there was then going to be a subsequent naval review which IIRC was concluded ~October 2023 but the public version of that has only just now been released.

From my perspective, if gov't was actually serious about the repeatedly stated urgency then it should have initiated a new SEA project office to get the processes started pretty much immediately after the naval review was completed which determined that a new/different warship was needed in RAN service apart from the existing and planned-for Hobart-class and Hunter-class vessels. Instead, the present timeline seems to indicate that gov't will decide sometime next year on what the new warship will be, with first steel being cut the following year. Had a new project been started back in Oct or Nov of 2023 that then issued RFI's, RFP's and/or RFT's then it would likely been able to get work progressed enough for a design selection to be made some time in 2025 along with contract signing, etc.

Instead of there being some clues as to what steps gov't was taking to implement findings from the naval review, we had several months of nothing before the public release.
 

Reptilia

Active Member
Current shiplift at Osborne South.
‘A Syncrolift shiplift measuring 156m long x 34m wide – the largest in the southern hemisphere – with a lifting capacity of 13,000T and capable of operating at a water depth of 18m’

Anyone know why they are extending and upgrading the shiplift at Osborne?
It is already big enough for the Hunter class. Are we looking at larger ships being built, cruisers perhaps? or ship upgrades/maintenance?

 
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vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
Current shiplift at Osborne South.
‘A Syncrolift shiplift measuring 156m long x 34m wide – the largest in the southern hemisphere – with a lifting capacity of 13,000T and capable of operating at a water depth of 18m’

Anyone know why they are extending and upgrading the shiplift at Osborne?
It is already big enough for the Hunter class. Are we looking at larger ships being built, cruisers perhaps? or ship upgrades/maintenance?

Dimensions are still the same its more just an increase in tonnage going from 9,300 tons to 13,000 tons lift. Considering the role it performs going the larger lift capacity is more to cover a safety net, Hunters at about 10,000 tons, Future DDG likely larger.. You dont want to upgrade it to minimal and find out need to do it again a decade later, or leave such a small margin between ship/boat weight and its capacity that you worry it may fail.
 

Brissy1982

Active Member
I haven't seen the the press release where Australianisations were ruled out. If you could provide a link to it, it would be greatly appreciated.
I've trawled all the press releases I can find and the public version of the Surface Fleet Review itself and the government's response, and I haven't been able to find anything that refers to "No Australianisation" of the Tier 2 GP frigates.

While something might have been said verbally by the Defence Minister or the Minister for Defence Industry, it doesn't seem to have been committed to writing - I think that might be telling. I think it is more likely that there will be at least some Australianisation of the Tier 2 ships.

Even if something like "military off the shelf with no Australianisation" of the Tier 2 ships had been put in writing, which would have been extremely foolish, I just don't think it could be adhered to in practice.

At the very least, whatever the country of origin of the new Tier 2 ships, they would need to be adapted for an English-speaking crew. Can you imagine the media furore that would surround RAN personnel having to learn Japanese / Korean / German / Spanish / [insert language here] just to be able to understand and operate basic systems on board the ships, let alone navigate them safely at sea and potentially go to war in them?

Then there is the issue of supply chains - why force the creation of a whole new set of supply chains for key systems when there are existing supply chains that can be tapped into and expanded? This includes everything from radars and missiles to fire-fighting equipment to tables, chairs, beds and heads.

There is also the issue of promoting Australia's self-reliance in defence and championing Australian content, e.g. CEAFAR / CEAMOUNT, Nulka, etc. This is a political hot potato, as well as being an important military issue. Unless the key technology used in the selected design is way ahead of anything Australia can produce, there will be strong political and military reasons to prefer home-grown tech and equipment.

What I think we'll end up seeing is the hulls, key machinery and basic superstructure of first three Tier 2 GP frigates of whichever design is ultimately selected built as quickly as possible overseas, and then shipped to Australia so that the detailed fitout can be completed here. This is what was done with the LHDs - Navantia constructed the hulls up to the flight deck level, then the hulls were shipped to Australia for the fitout to be completed, including the internal fitout and island superstructure. Of course, frigates and LHDs are very different ships, but doing something similar with the first three Tier 2 GP frigates would allow Australian content to be maximised, and it would give the build team at Henderson the ability to gain some practical experience working on the ships before they embark on building the first fully Australian-built ship. What do others think?
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
Dimensions are still the same its more just an increase in tonnage going from 9,300 tons to 13,000 tons lift. Considering the role it performs going the larger lift capacity is more to cover a safety net, Hunters at about 10,000 tons, Future DDG likely larger.. You dont want to upgrade it to minimal and find out need to do it again a decade later, or leave such a small margin between ship/boat weight and its capacity that you worry it may fail.
!0,000t is full load displacement, the Hunters are never going to sit on the ship lift anywhere near full load displacement.
 

Reptilia

Active Member
n
Dimensions are still the same its more just an increase in tonnage going from 9,300 tons to 13,000 tons lift. Considering the role it performs going the larger lift capacity is more to cover a safety net, Hunters at about 10,000 tons, Future DDG likely larger.. You dont want to upgrade it to minimal and find out need to do it again a decade later, or leave such a small margin between ship/boat weight and its capacity that you worry it may fail.

The current lift capacity is 13,000T, before the upgrades and extension.
Current dimensions are similar to the new BAE lift being built in the U.S, but that will have a lifting capacity of 25,000T.
Maybe Osborne could be upgraded to that capacity, would you then still need an expensive dry dock in WA if another location can maintain if required the supply class ships, choules, the auxiliaries and future JSS?.
HMAS Supply has spent too much time in the Drydock.

 
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spoz

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
You don’t dock a ship at anywhere near full load displacement…….

One of Navy’s concerns for many years is the single point of failure which is the Captain Cook Dock. Another facility with the capacity to dock the largest ships (although not at full load!) has long been wanted.
 

Reptilia

Active Member
You don’t dock a ship at anywhere near full load displacement…….

One of Navy’s concerns for many years is the single point of failure which is the Captain Cook Dock. Another facility with the capacity to dock the largest ships (although not at full load!) has long been wanted.
A couple of years ago, the WA dry dock was expected to cost almost $5 billion and be ready for operations by the end of the decade.
Multi millions spent on expanding the shiplift at Osborne to be completed by the end of this year is a great low cost-short term solution.
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
I've trawled all the press releases I can find and the public version of the Surface Fleet Review itself and the government's response, and I haven't been able to find anything that refers to "No Australianisation" of the Tier 2 GP frigates.

While something might have been said verbally by the Defence Minister or the Minister for Defence Industry, it doesn't seem to have been committed to writing - I think that might be telling. I think it is more likely that there will be at least some Australianisation of the Tier 2 ships.

Even if something like "military off the shelf with no Australianisation" of the Tier 2 ships had been put in writing, which would have been extremely foolish, I just don't think it could be adhered to in practice.

At the very least, whatever the country of origin of the new Tier 2 ships, they would need to be adapted for an English-speaking crew. Can you imagine the media furore that would surround RAN personnel having to learn Japanese / Korean / German / Spanish / [insert language here] just to be able to understand and operate basic systems on board the ships, let alone navigate them safely at sea and potentially go to war in them?

Then there is the issue of supply chains - why force the creation of a whole new set of supply chains for key systems when there are existing supply chains that can be tapped into and expanded? This includes everything from radars and missiles to fire-fighting equipment to tables, chairs, beds and heads.

There is also the issue of promoting Australia's self-reliance in defence and championing Australian content, e.g. CEAFAR / CEAMOUNT, Nulka, etc. This is a political hot potato, as well as being an important military issue. Unless the key technology used in the selected design is way ahead of anything Australia can produce, there will be strong political and military reasons to prefer home-grown tech and equipment.

What I think we'll end up seeing is the hulls, key machinery and basic superstructure of first three Tier 2 GP frigates of whichever design is ultimately selected built as quickly as possible overseas, and then shipped to Australia so that the detailed fitout can be completed here. This is what was done with the LHDs - Navantia constructed the hulls up to the flight deck level, then the hulls were shipped to Australia for the fitout to be completed, including the internal fitout and island superstructure. Of course, frigates and LHDs are very different ships, but doing something similar with the first three Tier 2 GP frigates would allow Australian content to be maximised, and it would give the build team at Henderson the ability to gain some practical experience working on the ships before they embark on building the first fully Australian-built ship. What do others think?
Plans for these new frigates are still in the project definition phase. The contenders mentioned are just exemplars. No mention has been made of weapons or sensors although I suspect there are some fairly obvious choices.

Looking at the exemplar list confirms to me that Australia’s requirements for new ships are fairly unique and it will be almost impossible to find an off the shelf solution. Like it or not any ship we choose will require extensive design changes.

That is probably why we are going to struggle with quick delivery of these ships.

That is why I am tipping that we will see optionally crewed ships in RAN service before these new frigates. Those will just be near clones of whatever the US goes with.
 

InterestedParty

Active Member
Plans for these new frigates are still in the project definition phase. The contenders mentioned are just exemplars. No mention has been made of weapons or sensors although I suspect there are some fairly obvious choices.

Looking at the exemplar list confirms to me that Australia’s requirements for new ships are fairly unique and it will be almost impossible to find an off the shelf solution. Like it or not any ship we choose will require extensive design changes.

That is probably why we are going to struggle with quick delivery of these ships.

That is why I am tipping that we will see optionally crewed ships in RAN service before these new frigates. Those will just be near clones of whatever the US goes with.
Surely this is a reason why we should speed up and churn out Hunters as fast as we can now it is so close.
There will be years of Australianising like there was with the Hunters
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
Surely this is a reason why we should speed up and churn out Hunters as fast as we can now it is so close.
There will be years of Australianising like there was with the Hunters
Yep, the simplest and most obvious solution is to accelerate production of the Hunter. Yet for some reason the government has decided to try to rapidly produce a ship that will require years of planning and redesigning before it is even ready for production. We would probably need to order some of the long lead items now in order to have a new ship in the water by 2030. Just to make the whole plan even riskier they cancel the Transcap upgrade, pay off a couple of the ANZACs and cancel 3 Hunters and 6 Arafuras.
 

Armchair

Active Member
My concern is just how tight the timeframe is and how vulnerable the timeframe is likely to be to issues which cause delays or even outright cancellations. As I have already gone through a few times in this thread, whether it is done in Australia or overseas, naval shipbuilding takes time and there are different stages which have to be gone through. A roughly ten year window to go from starting a new ship acquisition programme to IOC of the lead ship, for something as complex as a warship, is really pushing it and could easily fail.



Instead of there being some clues as to what steps gov't was taking to implement findings from the naval review, we had several months of nothing before the public release.
You have repeatedly emphasised the time that shipbuilding takes time to get right but you seem to imply that government decision processes can be accomplished almost immediately.
They received an analysis in September. That analysis recommended 7-11 gp frigates, TRANSCAP for ANZAC and 6 LOCSVs.

By February they have decided that there will be 11 new frigates, cancelled TRANSCAP and decided on 6 LOCSVs. They have also (according to them, it looks a bit sneaky to me) budgeted in forward estimates and 10 year outlook for the surface fleet. Presumably they also requested further information from shipbuilders and confirmed with the US government that they could join their optionally crewed program.
All of those processes take time.

Alongside that the government decided to cancel 6 OPVs and 3 FFGs. Such decisions for multi billion dollar contracts are extremely commercially sensitive and almost certainly involve multiple rounds of legal advice. Try getting that quickly.

Finally, the announced package created the prospect of a new “valley of death“ at Henderson. The government doing “nothing” in the period Oct 23-Feb 24 included adding new work for littoral craft.
 
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