Royal Australian Navy Discussions and Updates

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spoz

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Actually, it’s a bit more advanced than that. The steelwork on the block shed is virtually complete, while the assembly hall is probably at about 30%
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
That was from late March. There is huge pressure, but still much to do. We tried to hurry the build, BAE fought against it. Hence why we are building opvs.
We are also frantically upgrading the anzacs.
Currently the ADF has a tremendous amount on. Land, sea and air. Unless it an off the shelf purchase of an existing system from an external supplier, supporting it would be tricky.

As for vls cell counts. Hunter has space and margin, which if you could live with less flex space could be used. Or lengthen the hull. NSM box launches could fit 12 or possibly more and the Canadians show off ram launchers. But realistically, we won't face peer threats alone.
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
In regards to the future Hobart replacement production should actually start before 2038. It will be around then when the last of the planned Hunterts are commissioned so if you base it off that time frame we would have started to cut back on the workforce. I would say steel cutting for the Hobart replacement without any increase in Hunter numbers beyond those already planned should be around 2035 so as that we actually retain the workforce. As to hen we should start looking at the replacement for them in regards to design I reckon no later then 2020 we should start truly discussing what we want and what our options are with design work starting no later then 2025. Yep its a long time from design to build but with politics and possibility that it could be a unique ship design the extra time is better to have and not need then need it and not have it.

In regards to increasing the drum beat well we very well could be launching one a year if we wanted to if we spread the build out and made sure that everything was getting done right at each location (Failed to do so with the Hobarts) but I dont think that would be in our best interest. With a dozen ships on an 18 month build cycle you get a life time of each ship around 18 years, Any less then that and it starts to cost you money to do so unless you can get the build cost down enough. Perhaps a small increase in fleet numbers and skipping a mid life upgrade common around the 15 year mark and we could do one ship annually but I personally don't know if we would have the extra bodies for an expanded fleet or if there is any negative side in skipping a mid life upgrade.
According to Janes BAE Australia is considering developing the Hunter class as a Hobart Destroyer replacement.
Future Frigate prime considers options for Air Warfare Destroyer replacement | Jane's 360
Seems a tad premature since the last Hobart isn't even in service yet. Of course, Canada and Britain might also be interested in AWD versions of the Type 26.
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
According to Janes BAE Australia is considering developing the Hunter class as a Hobart Destroyer replacement.
Future Frigate prime considers options for Air Warfare Destroyer replacement | Jane's 360
Seems a tad premature since the last Hobart isn't even in service yet. Of course, Canada and Britain might also be interested in AWD versions of the Type 26.
Unfortunately most of that article is behind a Pay Wall.
Wouldn’t BAE have design Teams playing around with the design, pushing the design to its very limits? And with the export success wouldn’t they increase funding to those Teams? With both the T45 and Hobart replacements down the track BAE would definitely be thinking about the next Gen Destroyer and Canada is building a AAW version of the Type 26, probably before the ASW version.
 

Hazdog

Member
I think 32 is the minimum, nice to see that officially offered. I got to say, I was reading something the other day and they were talking about 48 like it was a done deal. Wasn't official, but seemed informed. I think most people would hope for 32 VLS fitted, room for 48, even if its just 16 VLS additional self defense type cells, ideally in a 2nd location. To withstand damage from attack, or from miss fires.

I don't believe the Hunter program can be accelerated any more than it already is in terms of cutting steel. We pushed as far as we can with that realistically. We might be able to increase drum beats. But that will take time. I wonder if we could build frigates at the WA build site, or blocks of the hunters there to speed up production.

Really for a proper air defence ship based off the hunters, increasing the number of cells is probably the only key requirement. Radar, combat system, CEC, self defence etc is as good if not better than the DDG's.
Agreed,
32 VLS cells is a very low number considering the number of hulls the PLAN is planning and the number of missile cells on each individual ship.
China’s latest class of warship makes its public debut.

I cannot provide a link to this but, the Hunter class can fit up to 64 VLS cells IF the government wants. (I am happy for someone to correct me on this if they find a source).

The problem with this IF is, that it is unlikely that any government would be willing to stick their neck out on it. Although it should be noted that more missiles in a self-defense scenario are definitely better than less. Again if it were me on those ships, I'd rather more missile cells than less, and I can expect that everyone else would also agree.
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
I think going forward into the 2030 region, having something like 64 VLS on an air defence ship give significant options. Particularly if you can load up an additional 8 x harpoon (or more likely 12 or 16 NSM) from side launchers, and have 2x CIWS (either Phalanx or seaRAM launchers) plus counter measures like nulka not taking up any strike length VLS space. But that space isn't free, put something on, you lose something else. 32 strike length is I believe a reasonable number for a "frigate".

VLS are a lot cheaper than the missiles that fill them. It is also relatively easy and quick to acquire more munitions than it is to refit a ship with additional VLS. We also only have a small number of SM-2, particularly if we wanted to fit out a fleet of 12 ships. However with Sm-2, SM-6, SM-3, LRASM, ASROC, ESSM etc all competing for cells depending on the mission.

I would hope we don't wait until the end of the sea5000 program to build some air warfare variants. We should build some in the middle that can fill that role, particularly while the DDG get updated with new radars, etc. They wouldn't have to be significantly different, give the high spec of the Hunters already, additional VLS would be pretty critical.
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
Unfortunately most of that article is behind a Pay Wall.
Wouldn’t BAE have design Teams playing around with the design, pushing the design to its very limits? And with the export success wouldn’t they increase funding to those Teams? With both the T45 and Hobart replacements down the track BAE would definitely be thinking about the next Gen Destroyer and Canada is building a AAW version of the Type 26, probably before the ASW version.
I think BAE see an opportunity to dominate Australia's ship building industry for the next 50 or 60 years. By jumping in early and offering up the type 26 as a Hobart replacement they could set themselves up to continue building evolved versions of this design well into the foreseeable future. This would probably be a good thing. At the moment Australia is in the position where it relies on overseas ship designs for its navy. American designs are often too expensive and European designs are not always entirely suitable.
 

Morgo

Active Member
Agreed,
32 VLS cells is a very low number considering the number of hulls the PLAN is planning and the number of missile cells on each individual ship.
China’s latest class of warship makes its public debut.

I cannot provide a link to this but, the Hunter class can fit up to 64 VLS cells IF the government wants. (I am happy for someone to correct me on this if they find a source).

The problem with this IF is, that it is unlikely that any government would be willing to stick their neck out on it. Although it should be noted that more missiles in a self-defense scenario are definitely better than less. Again if it were me on those ships, I'd rather more missile cells than less, and I can expect that everyone else would also agree.
I agree with all you’ve said. But we shouldn’t neglect the pretty serious cost implications of more VLS’, as the contents are very expensive.

Take your extra 32 cells for example. From what I can see, the unit cost of an ESSM is around USD1m or AUD1.5m at current exchange rates. Say all 32 are quad packed with ESSM for the sake of argument, and you end up with an extra cost of $192m per hull or $1.7bn across 9 hulls. If you then assume there is enough held in inventory to perform at least one reload, you’re left with a total cost of $3.4bn, or around 10% of the total program cost. I’m sure I’ve got one of my numbers wrong here but I think the order of magnitude is illustrative.

Personally I think that this is the right thing to do, as that price tag is much cheaper than an ASCM sized hole in a hull.

Elsewhere I’ve also expressed the opinion that we should have a sovereign capability to produce ESSM / AIM-120 rounds to fill RAN VLS, RAAF pylons and Army NASAMS launchers onshore under license from Raytheon for both cost and strategic reasons. No idea if this is actually feasible or not but I hope this is being / has been explored by Govt. Could be complementary with the precinct being built around the new space agency in SA.
 

ASSAIL

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
I think BAE see an opportunity to dominate Australia's ship building industry for the next 50 or 60 years. By jumping in early and offering up the type 26 as a Hobart replacement they could set themselves up to continue building evolved versions of this design well into the foreseeable future. This would probably be a good thing. At the moment Australia is in the position where it relies on overseas ship designs for its navy. American designs are often too expensive and European designs are not always entirely suitable.
No one knows the future of naval warfare 50 years on so redoing today’s designs is madness.
Allowing any company to dominate naval shipbuilding is also careless and the very reason why ANI have simply leased the Osborne yard for the duration of The T26 build.
In 20 years time the naval capability requirements will be determined in the then current strategic environment and decisions will be made accordingly.
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
I think the Australian gov has a sovereign licence of the design and its Australian evolution. BAE is contracted and the project is delivered under ASC.

It has been setup that BAE won't be the only game in town. Civmec in wa could in the future bid or be diverted work. BAE could be kicked and ASC run by other agency in the future. Another international could come in and basically do the same.

But you also want to be hold some entity accountable. Which was hard with the awd build.

Given Australia's risk adverse environment, it is likely Hunter variant would be the logical basis choice for the AWD replacements. But I would imagine they would still have a competition and benchmark other existing designs. I though the future frigate would be based off the F-105. If BAE doesn't perform I expect swift action.

However, I am more concerned about the Sub build. Its bigger, harder, more risky, and there are less builders you can just phone in to fix things.

But neither can be accelerated. We have what we have currently.

I think quad packing ESSM is misleading. SM-2 is our likely backbone missile, you can only fit one in a tube, and they go for under a million each approx. We really already have significant stocks of ESSM. We have a reasonable SM-2 stock (200>). It would be worth while ordering more SM-2 and SM-6 when the hunters come on line. I think a dozen or so LRASM would be worthwhile.

I think its worth having two separate locations, as we have recently seen, firing missile can go wrong, and a miss fire could certainly temporary disable a ship.
 
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Hazdog

Member
I agree with all you’ve said. But we shouldn’t neglect the pretty serious cost implications of more VLS’, as the contents are very expensive.

Take your extra 32 cells for example. From what I can see, the unit cost of an ESSM is around USD1m or AUD1.5m at current exchange rates. Say all 32 are quad packed with ESSM for the sake of argument, and you end up with an extra cost of $192m per hull or $1.7bn across 9 hulls. If you then assume there is enough held in inventory to perform at least one reload, you’re left with a total cost of $3.4bn, or around 10% of the total program cost. I’m sure I’ve got one of my numbers wrong here but I think the order of magnitude is illustrative.

Personally I think that this is the right thing to do, as that price tag is much cheaper than an ASCM sized hole in a hull.

Elsewhere I’ve also expressed the opinion that we should have a sovereign capability to produce ESSM / AIM-120 rounds to fill RAN VLS, RAAF pylons and Army NASAMS launchers onshore under license from Raytheon for both cost and strategic reasons. No idea if this is actually feasible or not but I hope this is being / has been explored by Govt. Could be complementary with the precinct being built around the new space agency in SA.
You bring up some good points, I'd agree that the budget may be larger than expected but this could be accommodated I believe.

Also, unless I am mistaken, the ships do not have to have all their cells loaded at all times?
I'd advocate for a system which rotates missiles throughout the fleet, ready for surge deployment at any time. This system would be able to use the already planned purchases (I am yet to see the missile orders come through here; Major Arms Sales: May 2019 | The Official Home of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. ) to supply deployed ships with a relative number of missiles i.e. if it's deploying into a hot zone, more missiles; if it's deploying on a diplomatic mission, fewer missiles and so on.

- The ADF has been underspending its budget over the last few years as per pg.31 of the May 2019 issue of ADM, implying that there 'may' be room to fit some more missiles into future orders to accommodate such an addition to the design.

- I do think that your idea of building missiles in Australia would be extremely beneficial to multiple industry and defense projects, I'd like to see that pursed along with potentially joining the US and Japan in designing further SM-3 designs.
 

Systems Adict

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Unfortunately most of that article is behind a Pay Wall.
Wouldn’t BAE have design Teams playing around with the design, pushing the design to its very limits? And with the export success wouldn’t they increase funding to those Teams? With both the T45 and Hobart replacements down the track BAE would definitely be thinking about the next Gen Destroyer and Canada is building a AAW version of the Type 26, probably before the ASW version.
It is a phallicy that R&D depts are constantly "pushing the design to its very limits" Many businesses in ship build & design do regularly take a 'current' or 'past' designs & tweak them, presenting variants as artist renderings, to test the water of the market, but generally it is specifically to meet the requirements of a customer nation who has put out RFI's (Requests for Information) & is looking at specifics to update their fleet. Speculation on this regarding BAE I think is pessimistic, as I've not seen any open source declarations that BAE have even considered the replacement for T45.

While it's feasible that they may be working on something in the background (as it's been 10 years since DARING left the shipyard), there's nothing on their website. I am in no way disputing the reputability of the Jane's article, but it is Australian focused, so that implies somewhere within the RAN / Australian govt supply chain, that there has been a discussion / is a consideration.

Looking at it from a practical point of view (putting the Hobart issue to one side), the T26 hull form, physical size & weight logically lends itself to being 'adapted' into an AWD hull. Purely from that point of view, it makes very astute sense that the RAN considers taking that hull design & adapting it to suit the future replacement for the Hobarts.

20 years may seem like a long time to design a replacement for a hull form, but allowing for budget constraints, the practicalities of integrating new / advanced technology & getting the supply chain / equipment designers up & running with products that the RAN wants in their AWD, along with the contract negotiations / getting the RAN to define exactly they want the hull to do / lead times to manufacture & ship equipment to meet a build programme that doesn't start until after 2040, it does make sense that discussions are taking place just now.

From a Govt point of view, it means that they are planning to maintain the fleet, advance it & more importantly, shows a will to keep the shipbuilding infrastructure & capability, 'alive & kicking' for the next 30 years. THAT is a big commitment & as it is the AUS Govt who are making the decisions on who is prime contractor / 'owner', of the yard / facilities, so any business / supplier whose prepared to partner up with the Govt, will have to be able to play ball & deliver on their promises.

SA
 

Systems Adict

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
No one knows the future of naval warfare 50 years on so redoing today’s designs is madness.
Allowing any company to dominate naval shipbuilding is also careless and the very reason why ANI have simply leased the Osborne yard for the duration of The T26 build.
In 20 years time the naval capability requirements will be determined in the then current strategic environment and decisions will be made accordingly.

Gotta agree, 110%.

Most navies want all those 'Gucci' toys that they've seen on TV & in the movies since the 1980's. The only way to do that is to invest in the tech / speaking to equipment suppliers / make suggestions & implicitly indoctrinate it into policy.

As Assail stated, no one really knows what the future holds, the past 50 years of naval technological progress matched to the demands of conflicts that have taken place simply show that navies have more often than not, adapted current fleet assets to meet the demand, as they haven't had the right tools for the job. This has driven a global "all-things-to-all-men" approach.

This has pro's & con's which simplistically put, have driven the size / shape of hulls to go larger, while physically reducing the quantity of hulls, as budgets get squeezed to meet the demands of designing/integrating/procuring the equipment.

Navies who are planning to start fleet replacement programmes in to 2040's & 50's have to seriously consider the modern tech that we are currently developing / have in low rate production (LDEWS - Laser defence / hyper-sonic missiles & anti missile systems / drone & AI technology)./ None of this kit will be cheap & it may make more sense to reverse the single 'gold plated' hull route & head for the smaller, single role hull form, that can be expanded / adapted by adding equipment/systems as required, or using a 'modular' hull form, so that 'variants' can be produced from x1 design, so that at build, the hulls could be made larger by adding in sections, or reduced to keep them small & simplistic.

All pie in the sky, but all things that are being discussed behind closed doors by navies across the globe.

SA
 

vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
On the Royal Navy thread with the discussion regarding the Type 26/Hunter class variant and in some googling came past this

http://www.defence.gov.au/FOI/Docs/Disclosures/321_1617_Documents.pdf

Unsure if it has been posted before, If so apologies I have missed it, If not have a read. It outlines the project overview and statement of requirements specifically stating that tenderer's should base the bids on an assumed upgrade path and that the 9 ships will likely be built in 3 batches of 3 ships. Still reading through it but also baby sitting so splitting my time, If anyone can finish it before me and find any more relevant information then will be appreciated :)
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
No one knows the future of naval warfare 50 years on so redoing today’s designs is madness.
Allowing any company to dominate naval shipbuilding is also careless and the very reason why ANI have simply leased the Osborne yard for the duration of The T26 build.
In 20 years time the naval capability requirements will be determined in the then current strategic environment and decisions will be made accordingly.
Allowing any company to dominate naval shipbuilding is a problem that just about every country that design and build their own ships have to deal with. Navantia, BAE, Fincantiera and others all dominate the shipbuilding industries in their counties of origin. Unless you have a massive domestic market you are unlikely to find yourself in a position where you have more than a handful of local companies competing to build these ships.

There are a number of methods a government can employ to keep strategically important industries honest besides having them compete directly with other companies. They can always just do your own costing and simply tell them what they are willing to pay. If they can't deliver at that price then throw it open to other competitors. Also make sure you tie them up with watertight contracts and constantly audit them.

Often these companies aren't really competing on how cheaply they can deliver a capability anyway. The Hunter frigates and Attack class subs would not have been the cheapest options but rather the competitors that offered the best capability and fell within the budget being offered for the program. In the end it came down to how much money Australia is willing to pay to acquire that capability.

In the case of both the submarine and frigate programs the build process will be spread over such a long period that constant redesign work would need to be done anyway. I expect that 20 years from now we will have quite substantial in-house design capability and the next step could be designing our own equipment rather than buying off the shelf.
 

vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
Allowing any company to dominate naval shipbuilding is a problem that just about every country that design and build their own ships have to deal with. Navantia, BAE, Fincantiera and others all dominate the shipbuilding industries in their counties of origin. Unless you have a massive domestic market you are unlikely to find yourself in a position where you have more than a handful of local companies competing to build these ships.

There are a number of methods a government can employ to keep strategically important industries honest besides having them compete directly with other companies. They can always just do your own costing and simply tell them what they are willing to pay. If they can't deliver at that price then throw it open to other competitors. Also make sure you tie them up with watertight contracts and constantly audit them.

Often these companies aren't really competing on how cheaply they can deliver a capability anyway. The Hunter frigates and Attack class subs would not have been the cheapest options but rather the competitors that offered the best capability and fell within the budget being offered for the program. In the end it came down to how much money Australia is willing to pay to acquire that capability.

In the case of both the submarine and frigate programs the build process will be spread over such a long period that constant redesign work would need to be done anyway. I expect that 20 years from now we will have quite substantial in-house design capability and the next step could be designing our own equipment rather than buying off the shelf.
Well that is why we have farmed out the management of ASC shipbuilding to BAE, They will build up that capability and according to current government plans from 2038 (Personally I reckon should start earlier but maybe I just worry to much) ASC will be in a position to design and build a new ship design to replace the Hobarts. We are still allowed to actually use the yard and for other work out side of BAE's scope to be undertaken there however BAE will be in charge of the allocation of resources from ASC shipbuilding to the different projects as per the deal signed with the CoA so it will require working with them some what.
 
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