Royal Australian Navy Discussions and Updates

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John Newman

The Bunker Group
It does seem to suggest a UK boat but I do wonder if the Barracuda is still in (it appears this will not be the case)

The opposition must be onboard..... or this would be a dead duck.

Quite a stunning decisions .... but it does mean moving to a proven boat if the Astute is to be the model employed.
I agree, I think Astute will be the design reference boat, especially from a crewing point of view.

From what I understand, Collins is 58 crew, the Attack class was to be 60, according to Wiki, Astute is 98 and Virginia is 135.

Too early to speculate of course, but if I had to make a prediction, the boats will be based on Astute, US reactor tech, US combat and weapons systems.
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
It does seem to suggest a UK boat but I do wonder if the Barracuda is still in (it appears this will not be the case)

The opposition must be onboard
It seems we will all be happier to be parting ways with the french. Its not just about nuclear propulsion, but also about industry and commonality. Australia wasn't using a lot of the same equipment as the French.

There seems to be a bigger deal with AU and UK industry on subs, and AU and US industry on munitions and missiles.
Going with US or UK reactors means highly enriched plutonium being imported as part of the reactor.

Also we can partner with someone who can refit out collins.

I have no doubt Labor and Libs are eye to eye on this. No one wants to inherit a problematic disaster of a defence program. Everyone wants the most capability.
My money is on the Astute class with a US combat system. Slightly smaller and with a smaller crew than the Virginia class vessels. Also it’s a mature sub with the final 2 examples being built now. Perhaps there is some spare capacity to build reactors..?
Astute with US made PWR3 and US combat system. Job done.
PWR2 has "issues" Navy to axe 'Fukushima type' nuclear reactors from submarines

 

Morgo

Member
I agree, I think Astute will be the design reference boat, especially from a crewing point of view.

From what I understand, Collins is 58 crew, the Attack class was to be 60, according to Wiki, Astute is 98 and Virginia is 135.

Too early to speculate of course, but if I had to make a prediction, the boats will be based on Astute, US reactor tech, US combat and weapons systems.
On crewing, presumably the key will be which version of the Virginia is considered. A 50% reduction in transit times vs diesel plus a doubling of weapons load if we were to acquire the Block V Virginia’s with the VPM means we wouldn’t need nearly the same number of hulls to achieve the same effects that were expected from the Attacks.

I would also think that if the US wants to be able to leverage in theatre maintenance capability their preference would be for our workforce to be familiar with their subs rather than the UK’s, which is important given I would be expecting far more USN SSN visits vs RN.
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
Very brave decision. Massive in its implications. This obviously been planned for a long time. Surprisingly nothing got leaked.
 

alexsa

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I agree, I think Astute will be the design reference boat, especially from a crewing point of view.

From what I understand, Collins is 58 crew, the Attack class was to be 60, according to Wiki, Astute is 98 and Virginia is 135.

Too early to speculate of course, but if I had to make a prediction, the boats will be based on Astute, US reactor tech, US combat and weapons systems.
I think it will be the Roll Royce Reactor in the Astute but perhaps the PWR3 as suggested above. PWR2 was developed for the Vanguard and I understand this was based on the US design in any case and the US assisted in its development (I stand to be corrected). Certainly PWR3 is supposed to be based on a US design using UK reactor technology (updating myself as I go here). I agree that the fire control will be the BYG-1 selected for the Attack Class noting Lockmart have been handing out contracts recently and the test centre for the fire control system is nearing completion in Osborne.

The sensors for the 'French option' were to be provided by Thales and are essentially the same as the Astute Type 2079 System as far as I can guess (comprising active, passive, towed array, flank array) based on the fact elements of this system being retrofitted to the Collins. This means the integration work between the BYG-1 and the sensors is already being progressed.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Funding is still an issue, the Sub fleet is budgeted for, irrespective of which design we end up with, the only change will be numbers. There is no funding budgeted for a sqn of B-21s.
There was no funding budgeted for nuclear subs 3 months ago. As we’ve clearly seen today, priorities can change. Only last Estimates Defence were again saying nuclear is not possible. I guess with enough will, most things are possible…
 

TheRealist

New Member
Too early to speculate of course, but if I had to make a prediction, the boats will be based on Astute, US reactor tech, US combat and weapons systems.
I agree with this.
Regarding numbers, I certainly hope it's more than 6. Even being nuclear, these boats will still need to be out of action for maintenance, refitting, crew rotations, etc. 6 will be too small a number for our needs. Obviously 12 would more than likely be out of the question. My guess would be 8 or 9.
 

alexsa

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Somewhat overlooked in the submarine stuff was also an announcement on Tomahawk for the Hobarts and JASSM-ER for the Crabs
I have been looking for the full list of announcements but google is drowning in SSN commentary. Do you have a link.
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
There was no funding budgeted for nuclear subs 3 months ago. As we’ve clearly seen today, priorities can change. Only last Estimates Defence were again saying nuclear is not possible. I guess with enough will, most things are possible…
Even if B-21 are a thing, they won't be flown by the RAN, there isn't an ADF project for that type of capability, and aren't yet in production.

There does seem to be an agreed decoupling de-soloing budget of defence and national security and sovereignty. But it isn't clear exactly how this will work. I imagine part of the argument for the nuclear development is reducing risk, which in one way, reduces potential cost, to free up money.
 

jack412

Member
That is how it is looking to me too. UK subs and power plant. US systems.
"UK-based firms Babcock, BAE and Rolls-Royce are likely to help build the stealth subs."
 
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John Newman

The Bunker Group
I think it will be the Roll Royce Reactor in the Astute but perhaps the PWR3 as suggested above. PWR2 was developed for the Vanguard and I understand this was based on the US design in any case and the US assisted in its development (I stand to be corrected). Certainly PWR3 is supposed to be based on a US design using UK reactor technology (updating myself as I go here). I agree that the fire control will be the BYG-1 selected for the Attack Class noting Lockmart have been handing out contracts recently and the test centre for the fire control system is nearing completion in Osborne.

The sensors for the 'French option' were to be provided by Thales and are essentially the same as the Astute Type 2079 System as far as I can guess (comprising active, passive, towed array, flank array) based on the fact elements of this system being retrofitted to the Collins. This means the integration work between the BYG-1 and the sensors is already being progressed.
Yes I should have been a bit more explicit regarding the reactor tech.

And yes my money will be on PWR3 too.

Which as you say is reported to be a US design, but also UK tech and build.

And yes also to the Thales tech and equipment too.

Cheers,
 

Anthony_B_78

Active Member
I have been looking for the full list of announcements but google is drowning in SSN commentary. Do you have a link.
PM just mentioned it in the media conference currently underway. He said - I think - Chief of Defence - will have more to say about those in a minute. I believe The Australian has been reporting these aspects.
 

Anthony_B_78

Active Member
I have been looking for the full list of announcements but google is drowning in SSN commentary. Do you have a link.

Media release is up now - PM's media release

Here's the extra bits:

Other capabilities
The Government will also acquire additional long-range strike capabilities for the Australian Defence Force.

Throughout the decade, Australia will rapidly acquire long-range strike capabilities to enhance the ADF’s ability to deliver strike effects across our air, land and maritime domains.

These include:

  • Tomahawk Cruise Missiles, to be fielded on our Hobart class destroyers, enabling our maritime assets to strike land targets at greater distances, with better precision.
  • Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (Extended Range) will enable our F/A-18 A/B Hornets and in future, our F-35A Lightning II, to hit targets at a range of 900km.
  • Long-Range Anti-Ship Missiles (Extended Range) (LRASM) for the F/A-18F Super Hornet.
  • Continuing collaboration with the United States to develop hypersonic missiles for our air capabilities.
  • Precision strike guided missiles for our land forces, which are capable of destroying, neutralising and supressing diverse targets from over 400km.
  • Accelerating $1 billion for a sovereign guided weapons manufacturing enterprise – which will enable us to create our own weapons on Australian soil.
These capabilities, coupled with the planned Life-of-Type Extension of Australia’s Collins class submarine fleet, will enhance Australia’s ability to deter and respond to potential security challenges.

The management of this transition, and other capability acquisition options that will meet Australia’s strategic requirements, will be at the forefront of consultations through AUKUS over the next 18 months.
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
The article is behind a paywall. I would be astounded if NZ banned RAN SSNs from port visits.
Being widely reported.


Ms Ardern said her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison had briefed her on Canberra's plan to develop nuclear-powered submarines with the help of the US and Britain.

She described the deal as "primarily around technology and defence hardware", playing down implications for the so-called "Five Eyes" partnership of the US, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

"This arrangement in no way changes our security and intelligence ties with these three countries, as well as Canada," Ms Ardern said in a statement on Thursday.

But she also said that New Zealand would maintain a ban on nuclear-powered vessels that dates back to 1985, meaning Wellington will not allow the prized naval asset being developed by Australia into its waters.

"New Zealand's position in relation to the prohibition of nuclear-powered vessels in our waters remains unchanged," Ardern said.
It doesn't look good for NZ.
Clearly the relationship between NZ and AU needs to evolve or devolve.


Check out the comments section.. familiar faces.. NZ defence policy was heavy with apathy. This changes that.. NZ will have to make a decision on which team they are with. While very theoretical at this stage, its a coming.
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
The article is behind a paywall. I would be astounded if NZ banned RAN SSNs from port visits.
Honestly the current NZG does not AFAIK have much of a choice but to ban any/all nuclear-powered vessels from NZ home waters, courtesy of the
New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act of 1987 which I have linked to here.

Perhaps Mr.C could provide some guidance on what options might be open/available to the NZG, but my current understanding is that 'regular' RAN surface vessels could still do port visits, but anything nuclear-powered or armed would be refused.
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
I honestly don't know what will happen going forward but building nukes in Australia still seems to be a pipe dream. I actually found myself googling "How to build a Nuclear Submarine"and come to the conclusion that it maybe beyond Australia's capability. However I don't see any spare capacity in either the UK or US. Unless the USN is willing to give up a few of their spots in the Virginia production line or the UK is willing to push back the Dreadnaught class I don't see an overseas build happening.

As the first non-nuclear power to get nuclear submarines we are in completely uncharted territory.
 
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