Royal Australian Navy Discussions and Updates

hauritz

Well-Known Member
Even with manned submarines communications is challenging. In the end it comes down to how much automated decision making are you willing to grant to an AI system.
 

alexsa

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I missed that.

IIRC OPAL replaced an older research/medical etc. reactor.
Yes OPAL replaced HIFAR which as a 10Mw research reactor. It originally ran on highly enriched rods by transitioned to low enrichment toward the end of its life. It was decommission in 2007.

There was another smaller reactor until called Moata. This 100Kw reactor operated for 34 years and was decommissioned in 2009.

ANSTO History | First National Research Reactor | ANSTO

More history on HIFAR at

Microsoft Word - HIFAR_PlaquingNomination_RevisedFinal.doc (engineersaustralia.org.au)
 
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Yes OPAL replaced HIFAR which as a 10Mw research reactor. It originally ran on highly enriched rods by transitioned to low enrichment toward the end of its life. It was decommission in 2007.

There was another smaller reactor until called Moata. This 100Kw reactor operated for 34 years and was decommissioned in 2009.

ANSTO History | First National Research Reactor | ANSTO

More history on HIFAR at

Microsoft Word - HIFAR_PlaquingNomination_RevisedFinal.doc (engineersaustralia.org.au)
Moata was I believe a carbon moderated reactor.
Amongst other things, they used to do radiography of explosive bolts by laying them on the top with a film. The only other way apparently was to explode them to make sure that they would work
Makes me feel old, my Dad was at the opening of the HIFAR reactor and I was at its 21st birthday party
 

cdxbow

Active Member
....Outside of extending sonar range or utilising them for active sonar with out threatening the mother ship their use will be limited for decades to come.

Let's look at them, hell let's even join in on some of the programs but they won't be filling any roles performed by our submarines anytime soon.
Oh boy, that's going to look bad in a few years, like the bloke at IBM who predicted the world market for computers was 5, not 6, nor 4, the exact number was 5. I've forgotten his name but it was in the mid 1940's when computers were big analog things built with vacuum tubes and relays, a decade later and the transistor changed the rules so the next 50 years developed small powerful CPU's, mobile phones and facebook. Change happens quickly and I'm pretty sure by the end of the decade there will be significant numbers of unmanned submarines doing many of the chores currently done by manned subs. All the technical pieces have already been developed, it's at the application stage.
 
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swerve

Super Moderator
Since every government of any size would want them for its intelligence services, his number was ludicrously far off even with the technology of the time. But of course, he didn't know that the UK had ten in use by the end of WW2 . . .
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Oh boy, that's going to look bad in a few years, like the bloke at IBM who predicted the world market for computers was 5, not 6, nor 4, the exact number was 5. I've forgotten his name but it was in the mid 1940's when computers were big analog things built with vacuum tubes and relays, a decade later and the transistor changed the rules so the next 50 years developed small powerful CPU's, mobile phones and facebook. Change happens quickly and I'm pretty sure by the end of the decade there will be significant numbers of unmanned submarines doing many of the chores currently done by manned subs. All the technical pieces have already been developed, it's at the application stage.
We'll see. There have been plenty of predictions made about new technologies etc., coming on line and changing things in the near to medium term. We're still waiting. On some others we've jumped ahead leaps and bounds relatively quickly. You must admit that in over 100 years of operation of submarines and all of our great technological advances, we still haven't been able to communicate properly between submerged subs and above surface stations, let alone undertake any good quality data transfer. Until that can happen to the same quality, quantity and range that it does currently between surface and above surface stations, UUV acting independently with AI and in swarms in similar manners to UAVS / UGVs / USVs is still theoretical. Once you solve that communication problem then its all go. The biggest problem is the oggy - the water.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Since every government of any size would want them for its intelligence services, his number was ludicrously far off even with the technology of the time. But of course, he didn't know that the UK had ten in use by the end of WW2 . . .
Built without any IBM or US input and ahead of anything that they had at the time.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
Designed by post office engineer Tommy Flowers (1905-1998) . . . Expert in electronic switching, & his idea to make it all-electronic instead of largely electro-mechanical. Pointed out to the skeptics that the telephone system was using lots more valves, working reliably.
 

Beam

Member
Designed by post office engineer Tommy Flowers (1905-1998) . . . Expert in electronic switching, & his idea to make it all-electronic instead of largely electro-mechanical. Pointed out to the skeptics that the telephone system was using lots more valves, working reliably.
If you count electromechanical units, there were more than four just in Australia by the mid - late forties - the turf Totalisator in use at many race tracks. All made in Australia by Automatic Totalisators Ltd.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
But they weren't programmable. They were built from the ground up for a single task (or rather, a fixed set of tasks), & couldn't do anything else. Impressive machines, but not computers in the modern sense*.

*As distinct from the old meaning of 'people who did calculations'.
 

vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
Oh boy, that's going to look bad in a few years, like the bloke at IBM who predicted the world market for computers was 5, not 6, nor 4, the exact number was 5. I've forgotten his name but it was in the mid 1940's when computers were big analog things built with vacuum tubes and relays, a decade later and the transistor changed the rules so the next 50 years developed small powerful CPU's, mobile phones and facebook. Change happens quickly and I'm pretty sure by the end of the decade there will be significant numbers of unmanned submarines doing many of the chores currently done by manned subs. All the technical pieces have already been developed, it's at the application stage.
As @ngatimozart said the biggest problem is the water. Sending any communication through it runs into the problem it's always moving so your signal gets messed up then the distance factor, imagine wifi in your home, with no obstructions it can go a decent distance, throw in 4 walls over the same distance and it might still reach it but it will be slower and drop out at times. Att present some of the most advanced tech being developed for submarine communication coming out of MIT is using radio waves to send out signals in the 0 to 300hz range to create micro vibrations on the surface so an aircraft fitted with radar can pick it up and communicate it back. Even then it's very early with it not able to work in waves above 16cm, communication is only one way and you need an aircraft flying above you to send it.

When they say designing a submarine is harder then a spaceship they aren't wrong, building a real-time communication system that has to work against the toughest environment on earth? Multitudes harder. Can't go below, over or around, you have to go through it.

To put it in perspective if we can't make a long distance call beyond line of site on the surface with out relying on radio towers and satellites how are we meant to do it under water?
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
But they weren't programmable. They were built from the ground up for a single task (or rather, a fixed set of tasks), & couldn't do anything else. Impressive machines, but not computers in the modern sense*.

*As distinct from the old meaning of 'people who did calculations'.
But I guess it did show the potential market for computers.

I don't think manned platforms are going anywhere. Particularly in UUV.

Even if you have an extremely capable UAV, its not the same as a manned platform. Sure they are great sensor platforms, and yeh, you can even arm them. Complimentary, not replacement. I feel in other areas that is much the case, but the ratio may be different.

HMAS Ballarat looks as if she has been a very hard working member of the working Navy!
Her radar mast looks neat from this angle.

She has been busy..and working hard.

This from a day ago.
And from earlier in the year when she was helping look for that Indonesian submarine.
She is currently deployed on mission ARGOS, sanctions against north Korea. On top of various bi/tri/multilateral drills.
 

koxinga

Active Member
If you read back through the thread to when this was discussed 2 or 3 years ago you will find the answer to your question there. It's better that you do some basic research than everyone relitigating the whole saga again.

This applies to German, Dutch, and Swedish submarines. Why? Because none meet the requirements of the Royal Australian Navy and the Commonwealth of Australia who happen to be the ones paying the bills. There is a significant amount that happens behind closed doors that is not in the public domain and this submarine acquisition is highly politicised by certain pollies, groups and media with ulterior motives. Hence what does make it to the public domain outside of official channels should be regarded with caution because of people grinding axes.
Thank you for your reply and apologies for the late response.

It is not my intention to revisit the original selection. I am well aware of why the Japanese proposal as well as the German, Dutch, Swedish off the shelve models were not selected because they were far off the requirements which RAN was looking for.

When I asked the question on "Plan B" (e.g less capable, but lower risk solution), it was in the context of the recent news that Defense was reported (unconfirmed) to be looking at the Type 214 . Among the losing candidates, the Japanese proposal was both larger and more capable than the Type 214 and with the follow-on Taigei class well underway, seems like the better choice if there was ever such a situation. For all we know, this could just be an red herring to pressure Naval Group or politicians with a vested interest with other competitors.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Thank you for your reply and apologies for the late response.

It is not my intention to revisit the original selection. I am well aware of why the Japanese proposal as well as the German, Dutch, Swedish off the shelve models were not selected because they were far off the requirements which RAN was looking for.

When I asked the question on "Plan B" (e.g less capable, but lower risk solution), it was in the context of the recent news that Defense was reported (unconfirmed) to be looking at the Type 214 . Among the losing candidates, the Japanese proposal was both larger and more capable than the Type 214 and with the follow-on Taigei class well underway, seems like the better choice if there was ever such a situation. For all we know, this could just be an red herring to pressure Naval Group or politicians with a vested interest with other competitors.
No probs. Yes it could be and it can also be pollies with an axe to grind and media stirring shit. But the French like to play rough, fast and loose, however this time they've bitten the tail of a grumpy old salty croc, and that's gonna bite them in the arse. :D
 

John Newman

The Bunker Group
There are a number of media reports today suggesting that Def Min Dutton has approved/decided that all six Collins class submarines will undergo life extensions, upgrades, etc.

(I won’t bother putting up links, the stories are behind paywalls, google if you wish).

I can imagine that the naysayers will put a negative spin on this, linking it to ‘problems’ with the Attack class.

On the other hand, I’d say it a good move to ensure ‘all’ six Collins stay relevant for the equivalent of another FCD, this to me is part of ‘Plan B’.

Meanwhile development of ‘Plan A’, the Attack class can and will continue.

Apart from ensuring the Collins fleet remains relevant, I would also like to see a long range TLAM capability added during the upgrade.

No doubt we’ll see details in due course.

Cheers,
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
Improved communications and information warfare is a big part of the 2020 Strategic Defence Plan. Of course this will be crucial if unmanned systems are to become viable warfighting platforms. If you can take human beings out of the cockpit or the warship and yet still have complete situational awareness and control then you are well on the way to eliminating the need of manned platforms.

STaR (Science Technology and Research) Shots at this stage is a research program aimed at utilising existing and emerging technologies to this end. From what I understand they are virtually starting with a clean sheet and seem to have a 2030 deadline. Implementation will take even longer.

 

alexsa

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
There are a number of media reports today suggesting that Def Min Dutton has approved/decided that all six Collins class submarines will undergo life extensions, upgrades, etc.

(I won’t bother putting up links, the stories are behind paywalls, google if you wish).

I can imagine that the naysayers will put a negative spin on this, linking it to ‘problems’ with the Attack class.

On the other hand, I’d say it a good move to ensure ‘all’ six Collins stay relevant for the equivalent of another FCD, this to me is part of ‘Plan B’.

Meanwhile development of ‘Plan A’, the Attack class can and will continue.

Apart from ensuring the Collins fleet remains relevant, I would also like to see a long range TLAM capability added during the upgrade.

No doubt we’ll see details in due course.

Cheers,
Australia will spend $10billion on re-fitting its six submarines (msn.com)

A good move given the current situation. Even with the Attack class being delivered on time this provides contingency and an improved deterrent. It is better than an interim class of submarine IMHO. It will be interesting to see what is included in the upgrade.
 
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