Royal Australian Navy Discussions and Updates

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StobieWan

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.
I think it's nearer 36, with the 4 Polaris boats north of the border and the rest being attack boats, piled up in Devon.

It's been a political football kicked up the road for decades - the US has a far more proactive approach as far as I can tell, possibly due to the sheer scale of material involved.

As to borrowing a T boat -please don't, they're all high mileage examples and maintenance hogs :)
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Got no idea how they come up with, it will be Block V Virginia's, when they along with everyone else has been told a Task Force is to be formed to investigate the best options.

Well, you know what, before this blew up, I'd have said the Viginias would be a slam-dunk and have been baffled at the idea that Astute was in with a shot.


I'm coming around to the idea I may have been wrong :)
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
The assumption is that US submarine production is going flat strap and has no spare capacity. I am not so sure about that. Back in 2018 the USN was trying to get funding for a dozen submarines rather then the usual batch of 10. The US navy said it was quite viable to ramp up production.

The navy didn't get its two extra hulls, but the implication is that with extra funding it might be possible to produce 12 subs instead of 10 over the same period.


Perhaps extra hulls could be tacked onto the next block of subs built by the US and "leased" to Australia.
 

Geddy

Member
That article is extremely specific, so much so that I wonder if they actually know something we don’t. They’re quite specific about the lead (GD) and associated companies and what each country is supposedly offering. Yes, we need to wait and see but it is a fascinating subject.
 

spoz

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
That article is extremely specific, so much so that I wonder if they actually know something we don’t. They’re quite specific about the lead (GD) and associated companies and what each country is supposedly offering. Yes, we need to wait and see but it is a fascinating subject.
Specific, but apparently not very well informed (talks about civilian nuclear) or apparently in its knowledge of the way nuclear issues are managed in the way it discusses the reactor/fuel rods.

Of course, we may well end up with Virginia’s (although Block 5s would be a stretch, literally) but if so they will be right by accident, they wouldn’t have any inside knowledge, certainly not at this stage.
 

Flexson

Member
I think it's nearer 36, with the 4 Polaris boats north of the border and the rest being attack boats, piled up in Devon.

It's been a political football kicked up the road for decades - the US has a far more proactive approach as far as I can tell, possibly due to the sheer scale of material involved.

As to borrowing a T boat -please don't, they're all high mileage examples and maintenance hogs :)
How are you guys getting 27 or 36 awaiting disposal? I count 20.
Dreadnought
Valiant
Warspite
Churchill
Conqueror
Courageous
Swiftsure
Soverign
Superb
Sceptre
Spartan
Splendid
Trafalgar
Turbulent
Tireless
Torbay
Resolution
Repulse
Renown
Revenge
Are there classes I've forgotten?

Either way it's still not a good look for them to still be sitting around. It seems the USN might have a similar problem deciding how its going to dispose of its nuclear carriers with Enterprise awaiting a desicion and there will be more to follow soon enough.

It's becoming more common for methods of disposal to be considered during the design phase of any vessel these days; I would doubly hope this will be the case for Australia's first class of nuclear vessel and we don't just say "That's future RAN problem".
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
How are you guys getting 27 or 36 awaiting disposal? I count 20.
Dreadnought
Valiant
Warspite
Churchill
Conqueror
Courageous
Swiftsure
Soverign
Superb
Sceptre
Spartan
Splendid
Trafalgar
Turbulent
Tireless
Torbay
Resolution
Repulse
Renown
Revenge
Are there classes I've forgotten?

Either way it's still not a good look for them to still be sitting around. It seems the USN might have a similar problem deciding how its going to dispose of its nuclear carriers with Enterprise awaiting a desicion and there will be more to follow soon enough.

It's becoming more common for methods of disposal to be considered during the design phase of any vessel these days; I would doubly hope this will be the case for Australia's first class of nuclear vessel and we don't just say "That's future RAN problem".
Well, I'm definitely wrong on 36 now I look it up - must have remembered the number from somewhere but...no idea.

.

27 is the government figure.
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
The article links 20 decommissioned subs.

The UK MOD says 27. But states it in a different way.
.
The Submarine Dismantling Project (SDP) will deliver the Government’s commitment to provide a safe, environmentally responsible and cost-effective solution for dismantling 27 of the UK’s de-fuelled, nuclear powered submarines after they have left service with the Royal Navy.
I presume that may include in service subs that will be decommissioned.

The AUSGOV better get a handle on this, because if any future nuclear sharing includes 27 submarines being towed to Australia I can see this getting very unpopular very quick.

US has excellent method of doing it. Defuel, then they cut the whole thing out, and bury. Australia doesn't want anything to do with refueling or defueling. UK already left plenty of land in South Australia, enhanced, by a nuclear program.

As we have seen speculation is running hot. This announcement should have come with firehoses to deploy on journalists, pundits, and forums. If only with could pack into a hull and make it boil steam...
 

Flexson

Member
The article links 20 decommissioned subs.

The UK MOD says 27. But states it in a different way.
.

I presume that may include in service subs that will be decommissioned.

The AUSGOV better get a handle on this, because if any future nuclear sharing includes 27 submarines being towed to Australia I can see this getting very unpopular very quick.

US has excellent method of doing it. Defuel, then they cut the whole thing out, and bury. Australia doesn't want anything to do with refueling or defueling. UK already left plenty of land in South Australia, enhanced, by a nuclear program.

As we have seen speculation is running hot. This announcement should have come with firehoses to deploy on journalists, pundits, and forums. If only with could pack into a hull and make it boil steam...
7 extra will account for the 3 remaining Trafalgars and the 4 Vanguards. Makes sense.

I'm sure this will be an unpopular opinion, especially amongst the general population..... But. I am of the opinion that if we want nuclear submarines (and I do) then we must be willing to store the spent fuel and decomissioned reactors from our submarines in Australia. If AUSGOV can negotiate for somewhere else to do it, then sure why not. But we shouldn't just expect to get all the pros without having to deal with the cons.
 

Gryphinator

Active Member
Unpopular opinion but we have more than enough wasted space for a facility to hold decommissioned reactors. Maybe that's the UK govt angle? Selling us the boats cheaply, if we can store some old reactors in a geographically safe/stable location? Maybe...
 
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John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Unpopular opinion but we have more than enough wasted space for a facility to hold decommissioned reactors. Maybe that's the UK govt angle? Selling us the boats cheaply, if we can store some old reactors in a geographically safe/stable location? Maybe...
Probably politically impossible but it would be a decent solution and could well see some financial incentive from the UK.
 

John Fedup

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,
Astute production has a slower drumbeat to keep the yard busy until Dreadnaught ramps up as others have mentioned. Another factor allowing a higher drumbeat in the US, IIRC, is both Newport News and Electric Boat are invoked in sub construction now.
 

MickB

Active Member
So the retention of the workforce in Adelaide is going to be an issue with a delay of 18 months or so, I would have thought. So with the money that is not being spent on the Attack subs in the next 2 years, I wonder if building another Hobart Class AWD or something else to fill the “task gap” is a realistic proposition? They did say the Adelaide team would be deployed to help in current and new ship building programs.

The other thing is be interested in hearing thoughts on is, has the choice of vessel been made (Astute) already but just not announced? As the governments statement said

“Over the next 18 months, Australia, the UK and US will intensely examine the full suite of requirements that underpin nuclear stewardship and demonstrate a clear pathway to becoming a responsible and reliable steward of this sensitive technology. Australia will establish a Nuclear-Powered Submarine Taskforce in the Department of Defence to lead this work. “

Nothing about selection. It seem more about establishing procedures, systems and protocols. I can’t see how it could be anything other than the Astute class. Just don’t Australianise it!
You talk about delay, where in any of the documents was a delay in cutting steel listed.
If it was, I missed it and will stand corrected.
Both subs considered are existing in service vessels, the study time you talk about seems to be less than the design time needed for the French subs.
 

Mark_Evans

Member
Unpopular opinion but we have more than enough wasted space for a facility to hold decommissioned reactors. Maybe that's the UK govt angle? Selling us the boats cheaply, if we can store some old reactors in a geographically safe/stable location? Maybe...
We are still arguing over a low level nuclear waste site.
Housing another countries nuclear waste is way over the horizon.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
USNI article on the why they think that the French sub deal was sunk.

 

Arclighy

Member
Unpopular opinion but we have more than enough wasted space for a facility to hold decommissioned reactors. Maybe that's the UK govt angle? Selling us the boats cheaply, if we can store some old reactors in a geographically safe/stable location? Maybe...
Australia would go from having fairly broad support from its population to having fairly broad opposition, overnight. It should not even be a dot point for discussion on whatever agenda is being contemplated into the future.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
USNI article on the why they think that the French sub deal was sunk.

Decent summary that concludes a large submarine meeting Australia’s needs powered by diesel/electric was not realistic and poor value for money.
 
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