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Royal Australian Navy Discussions and Updates

Discussion in 'Navy & Maritime' started by icelord, Feb 13, 2007.

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  1. John Fedup

    John Fedup Active Member

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    Given Canada's performance in military procurement, the sailor movement will continue from RCN to RAN as the RCN fleet diminishes. The RN has new ships coming on line but limited funds to crew them so unless the UK government starts funding the RN properly their sailors may drift to warmer waters too.
     
  2. hairyman

    hairyman Member

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    Given the various calls for increases to our defence force and defence spending, from Jim Molan and others, how many surface combatant ships should the RAN have? It is obvious that twelve will not be sufficient. I would personally like to see three further AWD's built, but bigger and more powerful. And there might be a case for a number of smaller frigates than those planned for as Future Frigates, take a leaf out of Japans book, who are building 3000 ton frigates as well as their larger ones. If we went along that path, I would re-visit Meko, their 200 AN looks like it would be a good fit for the RAN. Slightly smaller than the Anzac class.
     
  3. hairyman

    hairyman Member

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    Another thought, would it not be practical for the RAN to purchase a number of Lynx Wildcat helicopters for use from our smaller vessels? The Wildcat can be used in all the roles that the M60R can do, and it is only half the size?
     
  4. ASSAIL

    ASSAIL Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    It may be half the size but what will it be there for?
    System integration, weapon commonality and data links are all complex issues which need to be considered.
    The helo is not there as just a helo, it's there as an extension of the Fleet/ship capability and must integrate seamlessly across all the platforms.
    So no, it wouldn't be practical, it would be possible with a huge effort in time and money and we'd end up with twice the expense and half the capability.
     
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  5. hairyman

    hairyman Member

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    ASSAIL, what do you say regarding my previous post in relation to the size of the Australian surface combatant fleet? Do you think 12 ships is enough? Or how many would you like to see in our future fleet?
    I value your opinion.
     
  6. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    If memory serves, the in-service helicopter with a size issue is the NH90, which is a bit too large to fit aboard in the hangar of the ANZAC-class FFH's. The S-70B-2 Seahawks and presumably the MH-60R 'Romeo' which is based off the Seahawk did not/does not have that issue.

    With the SEA 1180 OPV design at present lacking a hangar, I do not see any particular need or advantage to getting another, smaller sized helicopter. This is before any considerations would come into play about supporting yet another helicopter type, or the need to achieve integration with the comms and weapon systems etc.
     
  7. ASSAIL

    ASSAIL Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    In answering this question I'm constrained by the 2016 DWP and IIP. The most important guidance in these documents comes in the IIP Forward and is worth reading every time a suggestion on force structure is made.
    The IIP was developed through a comprehensive force structure review which assessed defence capability needs to meet the challenges of our regions operating environment through the 2030s.
    It ensured an alignment between national defence strategy, capability and resources and the result was a BALANCED, AFFORDABLE AND CAPABLE force.
    The Australian government decides both Strategic Fefence Interests and Strategic Defence Objectives.
    These Objectives are threefold; to defer,, deny and defeat attacks on Australia and our northern approaches, to effectively contribute to operations in maritime SEAsia and support the governments of PNG, Timor L'Este and the Pacific Islands and lastly to contribute military capabilities to coalition operations supporting our strategic objectives. We should refer to these Objectives often.

    All the above is a long winded way of saying that I believe our force structure is currently adequate (including the surface Fleet) within the constraints of balance and affordability. The question you should ask is " if the surface force is increased, what capability and from which service will a sacrifice be made to pay for and man it"?
     
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  8. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    I have a suggestion on the above. Increase the number of naval helicopters and ensure that sufficient are in inventory to be operational whilst embarked on all major vessels. Also work/re-work to ensure that SEA 1180 vessels can have and support an embarked naval helicopter. As for where the sacrifice should be made in service... How does from PM&C and the MP's sound?

    There are a number of ways that could be realized to expand the capabilities of the RAN. As Assail mentioned though there are issues of balance and affordability. I would like there to be more VLS cells available for a larger and wider range of missile loads than currently possible for the RAN. However, one problem with more VLS cells (apart from the cells themselves have acquisition and maintenance costs) is that getting enough munitions to fill those cells can be an expensive proposition.

    What might be possible is to require all future RAN (as opposed to vessels in general gov't service) be built to naval as opposed to other build standards. I do not know about the SEA 1180 vessels, but the ACPB and I strongly suspect the Cape-class patrol boats in RAN service were built to HSC standards. I also believe that the ADV Ocean Protector was built to a civilian/commercial shipping standard, as opposed to a naval standard. By taking such a step, it could potentially aid from letting a ship with a 'glass jaw' into the fleet. Even for non-combat ships like the AOR, having improved damage control features should make RAN vessels more survivable in the event of an incident.
     
  9. Massive

    Massive Member

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    I read this article with some frustration as I felt it didn't provide a compelling "Why" there was this need. Then it headed off into fixed wing fairyland.

    What's realistic? Probably not something too different to what is planned now?

    My take on possible expansion options:

    More submarines past 12
    Light frigate class of 8 ships taking patrol duties form some of the OPVs
    An additional oiler
    LSH class (perhaps 4)
    Expanded helicopter availability (say 16 requiring X additional airframes) - note that a fully equipped escort squadron of 1 AWD, 3 Frigate, 1 Oiler could deploy 8 helicopters

    Thoughts?

    Massive
     
  10. hauritz

    hauritz Member

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    I was reading about the distributed lethality concept which seems to effectively network the entire surface fleet.

    'Distributed Lethality' Is The Surface Navy's Strategy For The Trump Era

    Unless I am misunderstanding the concept of distributed lethality ... which is possible ... it means that the OPVs will already be effective combat vessels even if they aren't fitted with much more than what they already carry. They could operate as part of a networked group sharing information with other more powerful units. If that is the case you could probably get away with fitting them with a basic CIWS and they might simply serve as part of the kill chain allowing the navies new destroyers and frigates to fire their weapons remotely at extreme range.

    Australia seems to have already taken a step in this direction with the mandating the all future naval vessels including the OPVs and new AORs be fitted with the SAAB Australia developed combat management system.
     
  11. hairyman

    hairyman Member

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    What ASSAIL has not taken into account is the call from Jim Molan (Now a member of the government) and others, for an increase in defence spending to above 2% GDP. This is where the funding for new equipment should be coming from.

    The fall of the US as a world power is given as the reason for a larger Australian Defence Force.
     
  12. ASSAIL

    ASSAIL Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    I think these are all good suggestions and in the interests of the original question and delving into fantasy money land I would offer that any expansion of the RAN should concentrate on Warfare helos as you mention above and increasing the submarine fleet by a further 50% above the planned 12. Subs are the most effective force multiplier in our arsenal producing a strategic and tactical response way in excess of their actual numbers.
    However, as Maritime and anti submarine warfare acquisitions already consume 25% of the entire planned investment in our defence force any non emergency increase is in the realm of fantasy.
    The ACPBs and Capes are a complete aberration with a planned 15 year life and I doubt if they will ever be repeated, although Alex probably knows what the build rules are for the Lurssen replacement, I don't.
     
  13. ASSAIL

    ASSAIL Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    Jim Milan is not in Cabinet and is free to express any view. It's not policy.
     
  14. hairyman

    hairyman Member

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    I am sorry. I was unaware that we could not throw up for discussion anything that was not government policy on this thread..
    Molan is only one of many who are calling for an increase in defence spending based on the changing circumstances that are existing today. And most are saying our fleet is too small for our large coastline.
     
  15. ADMk2

    ADMk2 Just a bloke Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    No offence intended but the force we have is the one that Government is prepared to fund. There is no particular strategic imperative for the size of our current defence forces. We talk about generational change and other buzzwords but the reality is we effectively replace platforms more or less one for one and then write force structure documents in vague terms justifying this structure

    The ‘manning constraints’ so often used as an excuse as to why we could not significantly expand the RAN or ADF more broadly is a function of the Government authorised strength of our forces, not the actual numbers of people we could recruit and train if these artificial caps were lifted.

    The fact that we have effectively maintained the same sized surface combatant force for the last 45 years of more when our population has more than doubled is indicative of this.
     
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  16. oldsig127

    oldsig127 Member

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    And Assail didn't suggest that we not discuss things that are not government policy, but that what Jim Molan says isn't government policy.

    The trouble with your line of argument (that Molan is one of many calling for an increase) is the definition of "many". It needs to be enough people to change governments, which means convincing not just Defence Professionals, ex service personnel and interested amateurs but also the great bulk of Australians who will take a common sense approach and start with "What will this cost?", go through to "What will happen if we don't do it?" and end up at "What will I and my family lose?" in either case. Once you take out all those who would NEVER vote for an increase in defence spending, you're left with a hell of a lot of the remaining public to convince or increased expenditure will never happen, or be wound back after the next election.

    The reason our population can double without the Navy size doubling - the perceived risk ("What will happen if we don't do it?") is lower than in the aftermath of WW2, and the appetite of people who grew up beyond memory of those years for service is decidedly less. Filling even the existing numbers can be hard enough

    oldsig
     
  17. ngatimozart

    ngatimozart Super Moderator Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    No need for you to be sarcastic towards Assail. What he states is the reality. I strongly suggest that you apologise.
     
  18. ASSAIL

    ASSAIL Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    I would disagree.
    The Naval force we had in the 1960s and 70s was a force in response to the submarine threat posed by the Soviet Union and her client states hence, an ASW hunter killer force which bears no resemblance to today's RAN. We discovered its inadequacies during ET?
    The force today is one with the ability to respond to out near neighbours in both defence and HADR circumstances and one which is capable of defending our SLOC to the near North. It is a far more rounded RAN than the one I joined in 1966.

    It's true that the size of the force is similar to that of a generation before but it's depth and capability far exceed its predecessor.
    During the Viet Nam conflict we spent 4% upwards of GDP on Defence and that obviously had ramifications to force structure most notably in Army and to a lesser extent Airforce but that was only a bubble in what has been a fairly constant although wavy allocation to defence by the Australian people. The only way that will change is if the economy grows and the 2% with it.
     
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  19. Todjaeger

    Todjaeger Potstirrer

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    My take on Distributed Lethality is that it is similar to such developments for aircraft/the air force. What that essentially means is that the shooting platform and the sensing/detecting platform do not have to be one and the same.

    With that in mind, I still do not see much of a role for either the SEA 1180 OPV's or the RAN's future AOR in distributed lethality, unless those vessels are going to be kitted out much better than expected or IMO even advisable. The armaments, at least as currently indicated, are not (IMO at least) at a minimum capable of basic self-defence, but instead are only sufficient vs. incoming hostile smallcraft. The OPV's and/or AOR would be vulnerable to hostile warships, aircraft, submarines, and AShM or torpedoes launched from any of the previously listed types of platforms. This would be exacerbated if the OPV's and/or AOR would be acting as a picket vessel.

    In addition, while the vessels are to be fitted with the common 9LV CMS in use aboard the FFH's and LHD's, without comprehensive (and expensive) sensor fitouts like air & surface search radars, hull & towed sonar arrays, ESM, etc. the vessels would be unsuitable for the sensor role, in addition to already being unsuitable for the shooter role. Absent more capabilities than the SEA 1180 OPV design is currently understood to have, or major upgrades to the current design, I suspect the vessels would be little more than targets in a future shooting war.

    My interest in seeing more naval helicopters like the MH-60R 'Romeo' brought into service is their ability to participate and expand upon the capabilities of whatever group or task force they are assigned to. Having four or more 'Romeos' in a task force should permit one to stay aloft in most conditions, and provide an extended and expanded sensor footprint beyond what the vessels themselves could do. This is of course operating under the assumption that such a hypothetical RAN task force was operating outside of the range at which the RAAF could sustain land-based surveillance aircraft operations. On a related note, I would also like to see more such enabling systems like a closer to 1:1 replacement ratio for the AP-3C to P-8A, more E-7's, more AAR, etc.

    Where things start to get questionable is how and where a RAN task force could have sufficient helicopters embarked to provide both an ASW when needed, and air/surface surveillance coverage. One of the LHD's definitely has sufficient helicopter spots, but utilizing them would degrade the LHD's ability to land, move and support embarked troops in their primary role.

    As a side note, in the event of hostilities, having orbiting naval helicopters near some of Australia's major ports could help detect and deter (or destroy) unfriendly visitors and any 'tourists' they might attempt to deliver.
     
  20. hairyman

    hairyman Member

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    I have no intention to offend anyone, but ASSAIL has only partly answered my post. ignoring my reference to others, by whom I meant Peter Jennings and Mark Thomson both of ASPI,while ex PM Paul Keating has proposed a more independant stance for Australia,more rooted within the region. And Angus Houston estimates we would have to double our defence spending to replace the US Alliance.

    I am aware that what ASSAIL states is the reality and government policy, but it is not set in stone, and can and should be changed.