Royal Australian Navy Discussions and Updates

Geddy

Member
New subs will now be nuclear

If this report is true, and I think it has credibility, the Attack class will be nuclear. I've been wondering all day what this security announcement was going to be. This will have huge implications for defense, industry and the country.
 

Geddy

Member
I note that reports suggest that Morrison has arranged a call to Macron shortly. It's interesting that 2 reports I've read talk about using US and British nuclear technology, so does this mean finding a way to increase production on the Virginia Class line and buy them? And what would a change to a nuclear powered vessel do to the prospective numbers of subs? Does Electric Boat or HII even have the capacity to build extra subs? Could they realistically be at least partially built in Adelaide? Will be fascinating to watch developments.
 
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If true-Not convinced it's a good idea from a manning perspective but capability? Absolutely! (VLS a must) Now SA can concentrate on getting the Frigates in the water quicker...maybe...
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
I note that reports suggest that Morrison has arranged a call to Macron shortly. It's interesting that 2 reports I've read talk about using US and British nuclear technology, so does this mean finding a way to increase production on the Virginia Class line and buy them? And what would a change to a nuclear powered vessel do to the prospective numbers of subs? Does Electric Boat or HII even have the capacity to build extra subs? Could they realistically be at least partially built in Adelaide? Will be fascinating to watch developments.
Politically, I think a partial build in Australia would be essential. I think it would also necessary from a capacity POV as well. Columbia and Dreadnaught will be stretching US and UK resources.
 

Musashi_kenshin

Well-Known Member
Politically, I think a partial build in Australia would be essential. I think it would also necessary from a capacity POV as well. Columbia and Dreadnaught will be stretching US and UK resources.
I expect that for the reason you mention it's improbable the US or UK could do a full build for Australia even if it wanted it. Maybe the first of class could be completed overseas and the rest assembled in Australia?

Still this is very interesting news. If Australia is willing to spend the big bucks to get an SSN it would be very valuable. Plus the French design seemed really problematic and expensive for what was still a conventional submarine.
 

KiwiRob

Well-Known Member
I guess the Australian Govt will end up paying some pretty hefty penalty fees for cancelling. The really big question is how will the Australian public react???
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
I guess the Australian Govt will end up paying some pretty hefty penalty fees for cancelling. The really big question is how will the Australian public react???
That will interesting but buying into a proven successful program offering much more capability is a huge plus. As for contract cancellation penalties, depends on the actual contract and what milestones were missed by the French team. I am guessing a few for sure.
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
I guess the Australian Govt will end up paying some pretty hefty penalty fees for cancelling. The really big question is how will the Australian public react???
Won't be an issue. Well not about cancellation fees. Perhaps about WOTAM situation. I don't imagine there will be a whole bunch of focus on that part. There is a whole lot of other stuff to be focused on.

I imagine the French may be asked to shut up for failing.

We are rolling with the big guys now.
 

DDG38

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Interesting development and something obviously a lot of people have wished for. Will see what Biden says at 0700. One thing though, if the Australian public thought 90 billion was a lot for 12 subs, wait till they here how much setting up nuclear infrastructure will cost ! Then there's creating a whole new category in the RAN for manning and running the power plant. Absolutely huge step.
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
One thing though, if the Australian public thought 90 billion was a lot for 12 subs, wait till they here how much setting up nuclear infrastructure will cost ! Then there's creating a whole new category in the RAN for manning and running the power plant. Absolutely huge step.
Certainly aint going to cost less.
I imagine sub numbers will be cut down to 6-8.
We will need east and west coast subs.

I hear the power plant will be provided essentially from elsewhere. At least initially.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Interesting development and something obviously a lot of people have wished for. Will see what Biden says at 0700. One thing though, if the Australian public thought 90 billion was a lot for 12 subs, wait till they here how much setting up nuclear infrastructure will cost ! Then there's creating a whole new category in the RAN for manning and running the power plant. Absolutely huge step.
I'm going to drag out my assumption glasses and speculate that some sort of deal which involves end of life recycling for the reactor. I'm thinking the US could easily absorb another half dozen or dozen reactor cores into their existing arrangements as part of the contract and getting rid of that element will greatly smooth the path forward.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
I'm going to drag out my assumption glasses and speculate that some sort of deal which involves end of life recycling for the reactor. I'm thinking the US could easily absorb another half dozen or dozen reactor cores into their existing arrangements as part of the contract and getting rid of that element will greatly smooth the path forward.
Yes, some kind support and disposal agreement is likely. A joint RAN/USN sub base in Australia is a possibility as well.
 

KiwiRob

Well-Known Member
Won't be an issue. Well not about cancellation fees. Perhaps about WOTAM situation. I don't imagine there will be a whole bunch of focus on that part. There is a whole lot of other stuff to be focused on.

I imagine the French may be asked to shut up for failing.

We are rolling with the big guys now.
Did the French fail or was there mission creep from when the project started? Also wondering if the number procured will be anywhere near the same, I can't see Aussie buying 12 SSN's, can you?
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
Did the French fail or was there mission creep from when the project started?
Basically zero mission creep AFAIK. But lots of issues out of the gate. The French did not seem particularly interested in talking to local SME and suppliers. There seems to be lots of concern about how sovereign our capability would become if the whole thing was designed, built (with some local assembly of parts) and supported in France. Listing South Australian pizza outlets as "suppliers" to the program did not help the situation.

I imagine from Australia's POV it is a french failure.

Lockmart on the other hand was doing a smashing job, bringing everyone on side, kicking goals on the combat system. Everyone seems very happy with them. That project will likely continue unabated.

Also wondering if the number procured will be anywhere near the same, I can't see Aussie buying 12 SSN's, can you?
Can we crew 12?

SSN's have much larger crews. Astute is about 100, Virginia is about 130. Collins is about 60.
I expect the number of subs to drop to 8. 8 is still a good number and more SSN's than the UK has built. Cutting back numbers puts pressure on the continuous build cycle. Even with 8, naval assets will likely still need more local builds.

Collins is also likely to get a very large extensive life extension/remanufacturing.

But this is a huge change. AUUKUS is a whole new thing, not just in subs, but in aircraft, weapons etc.
Australia has also just penned up a deal with South Korea.
 

PeterM

Active Member
Yes, some kind support and disposal agreement is likely. A joint RAN/USN sub base in Australia is a possibility as well.
I think that is quite possible, alternately the USN could leverage any support facilities for our SSNs, shortening the supply train if needed.

I wouldn't be surprised if expansion/development of the USMC capability in the top end is on the table.
 

Shanesworld

Active Member
Basically zero mission creep AFAIK. But lots of issues out of the gate. The French did not seem particularly interested in talking to local SME and suppliers. There seems to be lots of concern about how sovereign our capability would become if the whole thing was designed, built (with some local assembly of parts) and supported in France. Listing South Australian pizza outlets as "suppliers" to the program did not help the situation.

I imagine from Australia's POV it is a french failure.

Lockmart on the other hand was doing a smashing job, bringing everyone on side, kicking goals on the combat system. Everyone seems very happy with them. That project will likely continue unabated.


Can we crew 12?

SSN's have much larger crews. Astute is about 100, Virginia is about 130. Collins is about 60.
I expect the number of subs to drop to 8. 8 is still a good number and more SSN's than the UK has built. Cutting back numbers puts pressure on the continuous build cycle. Even with 8, naval assets will likely still need more local builds.

Collins is also likely to get a very large extensive life extension/remanufacturing.

But this is a huge change. AUUKUS is a whole new thing, not just in subs, but in aircraft, weapons etc.
Australia has also just penned up a deal with South Korea.
Can you expand on lockmarts role. Was that in reference to this sub project or other projects?
 

rand0m

Member
Call me cynical but I am struggling to see how an additional 8-12 nuclear submarines is "China's worst nightmare" or "tips the military balance in Asia", can anyone enlighten me?

Edit: I feel like this is something I would read on April 1st
 

Morgo

Member
It does sounds like this is going to be a new design and built in Adelaide - which is concerning.

Perhaps both of these are being overplayed for SA political consumption, but if this is anything other than a carbon copy of Astute or Virginia this would presumably result in a delay in hulls in the water vs the previous plans for Attack.
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
Call me cynical but I am struggling to see how an additional 8-12 nuclear submarines is "China's worst nightmare" or "tips the military balance in Asia", can anyone enlighten me?
Sharing nuclear defence technology is not done lightly.

China only has 6 SSN herself. So if Australia was to have 8, that would be more than China has currently. Uk has 7.
SSN can operate globally. Australia is now going to be, a global player.

I think Worst nightmare is an overstatement. But changing the military balance in Asia is probably true. Submarines can wreck all sorts of damage. engaging in combat with a country with SSN is a different category to engaging one with only a few diesel subs.

The south Koreans signing a defence deal with Australia mere days before this announcement is part of that indication of things shifting.
 
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