Royal Australian Navy Discussions and Updates

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John Newman

The Bunker Group
I’m not sure it’s evolving. Rather, they are playing their cards close to their chest as the 18 month review hasn’t taken place. I’m sure they know what they want for a vessel, the question is how quickly can they get it and gain the experience to crew it. Also, the whole system of safety and the manufacturing and supply details.
It does make we wonder if we’ll see some Los Angeles class or Trafalgar class vessels in Australian waters with Australian crews. Amazing times.
LA or Trafalgar class subs are way too long in the tooth.

No thanks.
 

ddxx

Active Member
I think people might be underestimating just how much work would be required to integrate the preferred American combat and weapon systems onto the Astute. These things are certainly not 'plug and play' and potentially make the Astute SSN a more complex and higher risk option for the program. Comparatively, the only potential issue with the Virginia option is slightly higher crew requirement - which is something that can potentially be addressed over time through automation. This would arguably be a far less complicated and risky task compared to the aforementioned changes Astute would require.

Virginia is also the only real option for earlier acquisition of offshore builds.

Furthermore, It's worth remembering Australia's broad efforts and collaboration with the US in regards to future long range missile tech and hypersonics. Having VLS on the SSNs provides far more flexibility over the long life of the boats in terms of load out.
 

DDG38

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
The simple fact is, noone on this forum is cleared into the forum that will be doing the analysis and forward planning proposals for what is at the moment nothing more than a grandstanding announcement. So we can speculate and "coulda woulda shoulda" to the cows come home but until the Admiral in charge stands up and briefs the GOTD we have sweet FA idea what form the new boats will take. /rant
 

John Newman

The Bunker Group
One thing that is interesting to look at is the production timeline schedules of both Astute and Virginia classes.

Astute:


Virginia:


On average it’s taking at least 10 years for an Astute to be laid down, launched and commissioned.

The 7th boat, laid down in 2018 is scheduled to commission in 2026, eight years, an improvement of two.

On the other side of the coin, the first Virginia was five, years, the 2nd four years, and since then, an average of approx three years.

In other words, General Dynamics is delivering three boats for every one BAE delivered boat.

So what does that tell me?

It tells me that we would likely be better off if GD is the prime contractor/yard manager for the Governments SSN project.

Yes we’ll probably choose the Astute design, but don’t forget that GD provided a lot of assistance to the UK when the Astute program fell off the rails too.

If Astute is chosen, of course BAE will be heavily involved, but maybe GD should be at the top of the management structure?

Cheers,
 

hairyman

Active Member
If it is to be years before we actually start work on the nuclear powered subs, could we build a couple of Collins ll subs as a fill in? Conventional subs can do some things that nuclear subs cant. Remember when one of the Collins subs in an excercise, got inside the US fleet defence perimeter and sunk their aircraft carrier?

@hairyman

Because the boats are out of production and the six we have require a LOTE. This has been discussed to death and it is a bit like the F22 debate, to re-establish the production line will consume a lot of time and funds. Suggest you desist ... your warning points appear to be accumulating.

alexsa
 
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alexsa

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
One thing that is interesting to look at is the production timeline schedules of both Astute and Virginia classes.

Astute:


Virginia:


On average it’s taking at least 10 years for an Astute to be laid down, launched and commissioned.

The 7th boat, laid down in 2018 is scheduled to commission in 2026, eight years, an improvement of two.

On the other side of the coin, the first Virginia was five, years, the 2nd four years, and since then, an average of approx three years.

In other words, General Dynamics is delivering three boats for every one BAE delivered boat.

So what does that tell me?

It tells me that we would likely be better off if GD is the prime contractor/yard manager for the Governments SSN project.

Yes we’ll probably choose the Astute design, but don’t forget that GD provided a lot of assistance to the UK when the Astute program fell off the rails too.

If Astute is chosen, of course BAE will be heavily involved, but maybe GD should be at the top of the management structure?

Cheers,
Except it is possible the drum beat has been slower to keep the yard busy pending work on the Dreadnought and finalisation of the design for the follow on vessel. They are delivering a boat about every three years. GD has a large backlog of work with more in the mill so they will be pumping them out pretty quickly.

Again we are all guessing but I think the Virginia would raise a lot of angst with our northern neighbours who have been pretty cool on the announcement. The Astute (or perhaps the follow on) appears to be a good fit as it does not have the significant land attack capability of the mission modules (VLS) on the Virginia.

I cannot see why the UK would be part of this unless we were considering their design.

Time will tell .....
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
One thing that is interesting to look at is the production timeline schedules of both Astute and Virginia classes.

Astute:


Virginia:


On average it’s taking at least 10 years for an Astute to be laid down, launched and commissioned.

The 7th boat, laid down in 2018 is scheduled to commission in 2026, eight years, an improvement of two.

On the other side of the coin, the first Virginia was five, years, the 2nd four years, and since then, an average of approx three years.

In other words, General Dynamics is delivering three boats for every one BAE delivered boat.

So what does that tell me?

It tells me that we would likely be better off if GD is the prime contractor/yard manager for the Governments SSN project.

Yes we’ll probably choose the Astute design, but don’t forget that GD provided a lot of assistance to the UK when the Astute program fell off the rails too.

If Astute is chosen, of course BAE will be heavily involved, but maybe GD should be at the top of the management structure?

Cheers,
The UK Drumbeat may be about Continuous build, they only have a requirement for 4 SSBN and 7 SSN. The delivery of the last 2 Astutes flows nicely into the Dreadnought build. If they built at the same rate as the Virginia's then they would have had a Valley of death going into the Dreadnoughts and unlike France they aren't exporting DEs to keep there Workforce busy.

* @alexsa beat me to it, typing at the same time
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
If it is to be years before we actually start work on the nuclear powered subs, could we build a couple of Collins ll subs as a fill in? Conventional subs can do some things that nuclear subs cant. Remember when one of the Collins subs in an excercise, got inside the US fleet defence perimeter and sunk their aircraft carrier?
Very unlikely IMO, as there are a whole host of issues which would need to be sorted so that an order could be placed. Given past history, if a decision was made to go ahead and order interim conventional subs, it would be at least a couple of years before the order could get placed and contracts signed, which could then trigger placing orders for long-lead items. As I understand it, there are potentially some remaining IP issues regarding the Collins-class sub design which are among the things which would need to be sorted. Then there is also the issue of some redesign work being needed since AFAIK not all the systems included in the current boats are still in production and available, thus requiring substitution.

I would not be surprised if trying to order interim conventional production took nearly as long to get started, at a significant cost, for a capability that is likely to be less than Australia really needs and would likely be decommissioning as soon as reasonably feasible once SSN's came into service.
 

jack412

Member
At least we are all in the same boat on this one then. I would have thought the 'Defence News' section of this website would handle the release when it is done. I come her for discussion and even wild speculation on a forum./rant
 

spoz

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
The option for the 4th DDG was not taken up by the Rudd government when newly elected. It expired in 2008.

As has been stated on this forum many times it would not be possible to build another Collins; and even if you could it wouldn’t be in service much before an SSN could be, standfast the 18 months. What’s the point?
 
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John Newman

The Bunker Group
The option for the 4th DDG was not taken up by the Rudd government when newly elected. It expired in 2008
Don’t know if it was exactly 2008(?), but it was certainly during the 2007-2013 Rudd/Gillard/Rudd Government time in office.

One thing people forget is that the Future Frigate project was increased from eight to nine when the 2016 Turnbull DWP was released.

You could reasonably say that the ninth FFG is the replacement for the fourth DDG.

Cheers,
 

Lolcake

Member
While the Astute certainly makes sense in terms of and crewing requirements and the UK concurrently ending their program while we start ours (we could more than likely tap into this), would it not be wiser to go with the Virginia's?

They are currently testing a whole range of improvements on the boat 790 South Dakota, Specifically, I recall reading a few articles last year where they were working on improved stealth and acoustic performance on top of the already quiet base boat, better sonar from the new bow conformal array; and the ability to sense and interact with more of the water column, including the sea bed. These will all go into the block VI which are due to be built from 2024-2028 and will inform their future sub program.

Further, if the US is to base their subs here, from a maintenance and construction perspective, WOULD it not make more sense for our sub guys to be versed on the Virginia's operations through exchanges between the RAN and USN. We wouldn't need the VPM orientated boats. The block IV base with the block VI upgrades planned would give us the latest boats leveraging currently tested new tech and it would prove convenient for both the US and AU in this regard. Further, integrating the US combat system on the Astute maybe encounter problems, there is a risk here, albeit a small one and it has the potential to cause some delays."

Again, the only issue would be the crewing requirements, but this may be able to be sorted through a variety of means including US sailor exchange, rapid recruitment drive and financial incentives I mean we are going to likely spend 100bn+ here, going to have to make it attractive financially for any potential crew.

No matter which option is chosen, this is such a tremendous win for our strategic defence. The F-111's deterrence has well and truly been replaced (although I wish there was an aircraft of similar capability in this day and age).
 

pussertas

Active Member
The hidden agenda is the PRC vow to take Taiwan by force if necessary. This would be a coup for Xi prior to his retirement.

I have absolutely no doubts that the US would request the RAN to assist with any Chinese attack on Taiwan.

Have only seen one politician mention this and that was Theresa May asking a question the the UK Prime Minister. As one has come to expect Boris 'dodged' the question.
 

Bluey

New Member
I suspect that if the talk of leasing is a real possibility then a Virginia class boat is the more likely option. I can’t see the Brits leasing an Astute boat when they only have 7.
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
The US are still using the Virginias. Good luck trying to steal one off the USN.
Closest we would get, is basing some Virginias out here some of the time.

As for borrowing a Trafalgar or LA class.. They would have to be refueled, upgraded. then disposed of. Any lease would consume existing submarine crew, and have to be based out of WA. Keep in mind the UK has never fully decommissioned and recylced any nuclear submarine. 27 are awaiting disposal. While the UK has many things to be envious of, their recycling of nuclear submarines is not one of them.


Australia should start planning for something, as a new class is far away as it ever was, while the existing Collins need extensive refits and life extensions. Will see their availability rates drop as they go into life extension.

Maybe we look at things like additional P8's or MH60R's.
 
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