Royal Australian Navy Discussions and Updates

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hauritz

Well-Known Member
ADM reports this am that a “possible” strategy for the SSN build will be for Australi to build the front half of the boats and for the US to build the stern section from the reactor aft.
Worth a thought although still speculative.
Reading this article I would have to say that if I were a betting man I would make the Virginia class a strong favourite at this stage. If they are just looking at a design that requires the least modification then you would pretty much have to eliminate the Astute straight up. Not even its reactors are still in production. An OTS Virginia would match up better with Australia's requirements.

That plus the Prime Minister seems to seeking advice from a committee made up exclusively with American advisors from the companies that actually build the Virginia.

Building 8 X half submarines is the equivalent of getting 4 boats built in the US so you may still have problems finding a space in their production line. Even if we just get the reactor module built OS the rest of the sub looks like something the ASC should be able to handle.
 

ddxx

Active Member
Fix ‘disastrous’ shipbuilding industry or lose combat power

A very interesting piece by Marcus Hellyer in today's Australian on Naval Shipbuilding and capability. He puts forward a solid argument for constructing additional Hobart Class Destroyers for delivery within the decade alongside construction of the Hunter Class. It certainly makes some sense, and could allow for, as an example, three DDGs to be based at both East and West Fleet Bases. Hellyer also again highlights the well known 'missile gap' as a result of too few cells across too few ships.
 

76mmGuns

Active Member
Fix ‘disastrous’ shipbuilding industry or lose combat power

A very interesting piece by Marcus Hellyer in today's Australian on Naval Shipbuilding and capability. He puts forward a solid argument for constructing additional Hobart Class Destroyers for delivery within the decade alongside construction of the Hunter Class. It certainly makes some sense, and could allow for, as an example, three DDGs to be based at both East and West Fleet Bases. Hellyer also again highlights the well known 'missile gap' as a result of too few cells across too few ships.
Makes sense. Build, say, 3 more Hobarts. When the Hunter's come off line, they can replace the remaining ANZACS, then the older Hobarts. Seems to fit nicely, assuming the facilities and workers can be found.

I still wish the 4th Hobart option had been exercised
 

buffy9

Active Member
Fix ‘disastrous’ shipbuilding industry or lose combat power

A very interesting piece by Marcus Hellyer in today's Australian on Naval Shipbuilding and capability. He puts forward a solid argument for constructing additional Hobart Class Destroyers for delivery within the decade alongside construction of the Hunter Class. It certainly makes some sense, and could allow for, as an example, three DDGs to be based at both East and West Fleet Bases. Hellyer also again highlights the well known 'missile gap' as a result of too few cells across too few ships.
Does the capacity exist to begin constructing another two or three DDG? A supply chain would have to be re-established and some of the more advanced systems would need to be ordered in advance - by the time construction really gets going, Hunter-class construction will already be ramping up.

His first point:
First, it must push Defence to more energetically pursue uncrewed or minimally crewed vessels that can be produced cheaply and quickly and fitted with advanced sensors and weapons.
I don't see how you can have "cheaply and quickly" and "advanced sensors and weapons" in the same sentence. I also can't think of any vessel smaller than the OPVs which could operate as part of TG far offshore - with ~19 vessels already planned in that size for offshore patrol and mine warfare tasks, minor warfighting tasks that still need to be filled and which we have already been planning/building for some time.

His second point:
Second, it can make better use of the OPV – the US Navy put anti-ship missiles on its Littoral Combat Ships, turning an essentially irrelevant vessel into a potent ship killer. The same can be done with the OPV.
I'm sure that is also why the US is getting rid of its earlier LCS and pursuing the Constellation-class FFG. The OPVs have been built primarily for a constabulory role that has already been discussed at length on the thread. I imagine they can be enhanced or upgraded for some more warlike mission sets, but a half-decent minor vessel modified to do the job of a major vessel doesn't strike me as a good investment.

And his third point:
Finally, the government needs to make better use of the ship building capability it has already created. While continuing with the Hunter-class frigate, it could restart the build of AWDs. They’ve proven themself to be a capable platform both in air warfare and anti-submarine warfare. And they have more missile cells than the Hunters – something the navy will need to carry the Tomahawk cruise missiles the government has announced it will acquire. It’s likely they could be delivered faster than the Hunters, which still face difficult design challenges. Overall, more AWDs would provide a robust risk mitigator in what will certainly be a very uncertain journey over the next two decades.

The cancellation of the Attack has freed up a planned spend of $1-2bn per year that could pay for the new AWDs. Plus, the 1500 shipyard jobs (and twice that in the supply chain) that evaporated along with the Attack would still be created. Importantly, that work would generate the robust shipbuilding ecosystem that will be needed to start the SSN program later in the decade.
I'm not familiar with the matter, but surely a supply chain would need to be established again and some of the more advanced systems (AEGIS, SPY-1D, etc) ordered in advance? The capability exists and no doubt there are workers with experience on the project, but a tangent to restart production of a few hulls might not be ideal when Hunter-class construction is getting ramped up.

On top of the Hunter-class, finishing the OPV vessels at Osborne will need to be finished and space/manpower potentially made available for upgrading the existing Hobart-class (with the project seeming to partially fill the hole between the OPV and Hunter-class builds)

I like the idea of more escorts and getting assets in service sooner, but I like the idea of getting it done right better. Restarting production strikes me as a side-project that may do more harm than good - regardless of increasing fleet VLS and MFU size/replacing some of the more worn out Anzac-class.

The article seems like weekend commentary indirectly linked to the idea of lost work at Osborne and Henderson - e.g. the PSS being built offshore and with doubts over Australian capacity to produce whichever SSN locally.
 
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ddxx

Active Member
Does the capacity exist to begin constructing another two or three DDG? A supply chain would have to be re-established and some of the more advanced systems would need to be ordered in advance - by the time construction really gets going, Hunter-class construction will already be ramping up.
Absolutely - I think Hellyer is more so arguing that a more proactive approach is required, and he's suggesting one such option. Whatever the choices made, there's some obvious areas of disparity between the Strategic Update and Force Structure Plan which need to be put under the spotlight.
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
And all this completely ignores the fact that the Hobarts were not "built" at Osborne they were only consolidated there from Blocks built at Forgacs in Newcastle, BAE in Melbourne, Navantia in Spain and some at Osborn. To build more Hobarts we would have to start from scratch and that would be about a 15 year project eating up room, personnel and resources needed for the Hunters to build an ageing design that is going to be short on VLS Cells by the late 30s.
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
A very interesting piece by Marcus Hellyer in today's Australian on Naval Shipbuilding and capability. He puts forward a solid argument for constructing additional Hobart Class Destroyers for delivery within the decade alongside construction of the Hunter Class. It certainly makes some sense, and could allow for, as an example, three DDGs to be based at both East and West Fleet Bases. Hellyer also again highlights the well known 'missile gap' as a result of too few cells across too few ships.
There are issues with the current plan its clear that there are now well and truly build gaps. Developing, slowly with time the plan is starting to break up. It clearly and urgently needs an update.

So In part I tend to agree with Marcus on this point.

I worry we are running out of time to fix this. Long lead items like radars, and combat systems aren't already in the pipe. Or suppliers may need to change mid production. The lack of update and surety is hurting industry and suppliers tool up, and getting funding to tool up. Laying everyone off from the attack program and then putting them back on, is destructive. This is exactly the kind of government on and off and on again that has hurt ship yards (and navies) with government decision making. People need security.

With the Pacific ship evaporating as work, the subs with lots of question marks (with possibly half the work evaporating) and the Hunters, never going to meet the original era ~2016 timeframes (which were optimistic even back then, but it was a plan). It may be cheaper to order new ships rather than "slow" work on existing planed ships. The OPV fleet is moving along now with two yard doing eating into the work that was planned for one. So I agree there are work issues.

Also, our surface fleet or manning may need to grow to allow our planned sub manning to grow. Submariners tend to start their careers on surface ships. It helps to have surface seamanship experience. It may help to think of submariners akin to SAS. If you want to grow the SAS, you can't just make the SAS the same size as the regular army. Your SAS recruits would logically be selected from that larger army pool. There is also rotation through and back again as part of retention, recruiting green recruits into SAS and expecting them to spend their whole careers there is unrealistic.. Subs have a similar problem. If someone isn't pulling their weight they are a liability. Australia learnt hard near fatal lessons about conscripting people into subs.

However I disagree with Marcus on his solution.

As for additional DDG's. Well not sure on that one. The supply lines for the Hobarts are cold now, as Alexsa (and redlands18 above) mentioned two of the three yards don't even exist anymore. It was an aging design when we built them. The design has aged further along again. Long lead items have not been ordered. If the program was started today, would be ready before the Hunters? I do believe we need east/west Air defence capability, which we don't have with our fleet of 3 DDG's. It may be faster to start the air warfare version evolution of the Hunter design now and build that as ship 3 and 4.

If there is a VLS short fall I doubt going from the Hunters 32 to the Hobarts 48 is enough. If you wanted a proper destroyer, South Korea has just started work on the KDX-III Batch II.

This is the modern evolution of the burke for a middle power navy. 170m long, 21m wide, 10,000+t destroyers with 88+VLS (with larger than mk48 VLS cells), 5", Aegis, Phalanx. This is an active program, with modern equipment and specifications etc. There are draw backs, while crewing is meant to be lower, its still likely to be more than a Hobart (more like the Perth class DDGs). Its a full 4 x LM2500 powered ship so range will be more limited, but you are still talking about the capabilities of a Burke ship. Another slightly colder option (both ships are already commissioned as of 2021) is the Japanese Maya class ship, which at 169m/22m, 10000t+ and has IEP and should give longer low speed range and lower operating costs.

Each ship would more than double that of a Hobart class in terms of missile capability. Even an evolved Hunter variant with AA capability is unlikely to carry 96+ cells. These ships would be in their own capability niche, as a full sized destroyer. Platforms that could embark TLAM, SM-3, SM-6 and other high capability munitions.

Again with the up gunning the OPV's. The LCS with a missile isn't a destroyer. If you want to do something with the OPV, give them the dismounted systems they need to be useful. If the 40mm isn't enough to cover them, then you have the wrong ship. Fitting missiles to these ships would require significant modifications. Wrong ship. Good OPV. Move on.
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Fix ‘disastrous’ shipbuilding industry or lose combat power

A very interesting piece by Marcus Hellyer in today's Australian on Naval Shipbuilding and capability. He puts forward a solid argument for constructing additional Hobart Class Destroyers for delivery within the decade alongside construction of the Hunter Class. It certainly makes some sense, and could allow for, as an example, three DDGs to be based at both East and West Fleet Bases. Hellyer also again highlights the well known 'missile gap' as a result of too few cells across too few ships.
Makes sense. Build, say, 3 more Hobarts. When the Hunter's come off line, they can replace the remaining ANZACS, then the older Hobarts. Seems to fit nicely, assuming the facilities and workers can be found.

I still wish the 4th Hobart option had been exercised
Have you two been sniffing the barmens crotch or something? How many times have the Defence Professionals on here have explained the fallacy of that argument? No wonder some of us Kiwis think that the average Aussie IQ is in single digits if fair dinkum Aussies are still suggesting propositions such as you two are pushing. Answer me this:
  • Why would you build a new variant of the Hobart, that is a platform smaller than and less capable than the Hunter Class?
  • Do you realise how long it will take to stand up a Hobart build line again?
    • If you do where would you do build it?
    • Where would you get the workforce from?
    • How are you going to pay for it?
    • How are you going to crew it?
This is the stupidest idea that I have heard since Helen Clark scrapped the RNZAF Air Combat Force.

EDIT: In fact don't bother answering my questions because we can only take so much stupidity in one day.
 

Stampede

Well-Known Member
There are issues with the current plan its clear that there are now well and truly build gaps. Developing, slowly with time the plan is starting to break up. It clearly and urgently needs an update.

So In part I tend to agree with Marcus on this point.

I worry we are running out of time to fix this. Long lead items like radars, and combat systems aren't already in the pipe. Or suppliers may need to change mid production. The lack of update and surety is hurting industry and suppliers tool up, and getting funding to tool up. Laying everyone off from the attack program and then putting them back on, is destructive. This is exactly the kind of government on and off and on again that has hurt ship yards (and navies) with government decision making. People need security.

With the Pacific ship evaporating as work, the subs with lots of question marks (with possibly half the work evaporating) and the Hunters, never going to meet the original era ~2016 timeframes (which were optimistic even back then, but it was a plan). It may be cheaper to order new ships rather than "slow" work on existing planed ships. The OPV fleet is moving along now with two yard doing eating into the work that was planned for one. So I agree there are work issues.

Also, our surface fleet or manning may need to grow to allow our planned sub manning to grow. Submariners tend to start their careers on surface ships. It helps to have surface seamanship experience. It may help to think of submariners akin to SAS. If you want to grow the SAS, you can't just make the SAS the same size as the regular army. Your SAS recruits would logically be selected from that larger army pool. There is also rotation through and back again as part of retention, recruiting green recruits into SAS and expecting them to spend their whole careers there is unrealistic.. Subs have a similar problem. If someone isn't pulling their weight they are a liability. Australia learnt hard near fatal lessons about conscripting people into subs.

However I disagree with Marcus on his solution.

As for additional DDG's. Well not sure on that one. The supply lines for the Hobarts are cold now, as Alexsa (and redlands18 above) mentioned two of the three yards don't even exist anymore. It was an aging design when we built them. The design has aged further along again. Long lead items have not been ordered. If the program was started today, would be ready before the Hunters? I do believe we need east/west Air defence capability, which we don't have with our fleet of 3 DDG's. It may be faster to start the air warfare version evolution of the Hunter design now and build that as ship 3 and 4.

If there is a VLS short fall I doubt going from the Hunters 32 to the Hobarts 48 is enough. If you wanted a proper destroyer, South Korea has just started work on the KDX-III Batch II.

This is the modern evolution of the burke for a middle power navy. 170m long, 21m wide, 10,000+t destroyers with 88+VLS (with larger than mk48 VLS cells), 5", Aegis, Phalanx. This is an active program, with modern equipment and specifications etc. There are draw backs, while crewing is meant to be lower, its still likely to be more than a Hobart (more like the Perth class DDGs). Its a full 4 x LM2500 powered ship so range will be more limited, but you are still talking about the capabilities of a Burke ship. Another slightly colder option (both ships are already commissioned as of 2021) is the Japanese Maya class ship, which at 169m/22m, 10000t+ and has IEP and should give longer low speed range and lower operating costs.

Each ship would more than double that of a Hobart class in terms of missile capability. Even an evolved Hunter variant with AA capability is unlikely to carry 96+ cells. These ships would be in their own capability niche, as a full sized destroyer. Platforms that could embark TLAM, SM-3, SM-6 and other high capability munitions.

Again with the up gunning the OPV's. The LCS with a missile isn't a destroyer. If you want to do something with the OPV, give them the dismounted systems they need to be useful. If the 40mm isn't enough to cover them, then you have the wrong ship. Fitting missiles to these ships would require significant modifications. Wrong ship. Good OPV. Move on.
The question is, what or is there a problem with the RAN?

Realistically we are replacing our existing fleet of vessels with much larger modern platforms in equal or greater numbers.
Surely we would be the envy of most modern Navy's.

So if there is a issue
What is it?

The replacement vessels design and capability.
Vessel numbers
Timing of replacement.
Something else.


Thoughts


Regards S
 

ddxx

Active Member
Have you two been sniffing the barmens crotch or something? How many times have the Defence Professionals on here have explained the fallacy of that argument? No wonder some of us Kiwis think that the average Aussie IQ is in single digits if fair dinkum Aussies are still suggesting propositions such as you two are pushing. Answer me this:
  • Why would you build a new variant of the Hobart, that is a platform smaller than and less capable than the Hunter Class?
  • Do you realise how long it will take to stand up a Hobart build line again?
    • If you do where would you do build it?
    • Where would you get the workforce from?
    • How are you going to pay for it?
    • How are you going to crew it?
This is the stupidest idea that I have heard since Helen Clark scrapped the RNZAF Air Combat Force.

EDIT: In fact don't bother answering my questions because we can only take so much stupidity in one day.
To be honest, I find your response a bit rude when I simply posted an article from a reputable source - it doesn’t make it my opinion. Insinuating that I am in turn stupid is really bad form, and I’d honestly expect more.

I suggest you direct your legitimate concerns, which I actually agree with, to the author of the article.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
To be honest, I find your response a bit rude when I simply posted an article from a reputable source - it doesn’t make it my opinion. Insinuating that I am in turn stupid is really bad form, and I’d honestly expect more.

I suggest you direct your legitimate concerns, which I actually agree with, to the author of the article.
Actually my response is quite polite. I didn't swear once which is pretty good for someone from the lower deck. I can be blunter than that.

Notice that the reply was and still is in black ink. Why do you think Hellyer is no longer respected by the Defence Professionals? Because he's gone the way of Air Power Australia that's why. His ideas for the Hobarts and the B-21 have no logic and aren't grounded in reality. You've been on here long enough to understand what the DEFPROS and SMEs are saying. 80% of the time you are a good poster and you do post some interesting stuff.

However, the DEFPROS and Moderators tire of the same topic being continually rehashed when it's been clearly pointed out more than once why it isn't a good idea and the logic behind it. If it's not standing up the Hobart line again it’s some other thing like putting 16in guns on the F-35A for something completely silly. The Moderators also get sick of the flea in the ear from the DEFPROS and some senior members about the continual rehashing of topics that have been shown to be somewhat unworkable. For example earlier I saw some fool in a comment on a NZ media site advocating NZ acquire SSNs. No clues that fool. Still PMSL about it.
 

hauritz

Well-Known Member
For the last 15 years or so Australia has put off making the tough decisions and we are now paying the price for that. We should of had well established frigate and submarine production lines up and running by now. We should have built one or more extra Hobart class destroyers. Lots of things that we should have done, but we didn't.

As a result I think we are now effectively out of options as far as quickly acquiring new frigates and submarines are concerned. We need to accept that these vessels are still more than a decade away and there isn't a lot we can do to accelerate those projects.

Options such as extending the lives of the Collins and Anzacs aren't ideal and it is shameful that we have found ourselves in this position.

Our best option now is to look at capabilities that can be introduced into service relatively quickly.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
For the last 15 years or so Australia has put off making the tough decisions and we are now paying the price for that. We should of had well established frigate and submarine production lines up and running by now. We should have built one or more extra Hobart class destroyers. Lots of things that we should have done, but we didn't.

As a result I think we are now effectively out of options as far as quickly acquiring new frigates and submarines are concerned. We need to accept that these vessels are still more than a decade away and there isn't a lot we can do to accelerate those projects.

Options such as extending the lives of the Collins and Anzacs aren't ideal and it is shameful that we have found ourselves in this position.

Our best option now is to look at capabilities that can be introduced into service relatively quickly.
I think it is fair to say the RAN isn’t the only navy in this position. Many governments and naval experts (and military technology experts generally) were slow in realizing how massive China’s military growth has been. Also the deteriorating geopolitical situation was expected but it’s pace has been much faster as well.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
ADM reports this am that a “possible” strategy for the SSN build will be for Australi to build the front half of the boats and for the US to build the stern section from the reactor aft.
Worth a thought although still speculative.
It's what the UK did for the Polaris boats - it all had to happen in a hurry (which may sound both familiar and relevant) so the UK arranged to build the front bit and tack it on to the bit with all the magical moon beams supplied by the US - final assembly of both parts happening in a UK yard.


Astute is built in modules (rings effectively) and they have some very large welding jigs on site which allow the rings to be rotated such that the welding always occurs at the correct angle relative to gravity - ASC may have something similar already

I'm wondering if the Australian contributions could sections shipped to the construction yard and final assembly and trials would happen in the originating country ?


Thing is, the driving force behind the Collins design was to make sure the issues with supporting the O-boats didn't re-occur - that all the spares chain would be domestically produced as far as possible. Going nuclear is a direct U turn on that.

I'm not complaining - hearing our Australian allies are going nuclear was the best (and most astonishing) defence announcement of the year.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
HMS Astute is alongside at Stirling with Minister Dutton there to welcome - the sales contest between Astute and Virginia is underway:
British nuclear submarine visits Australia (ukdefencejournal.org.uk)
Dutton talking to the mike, the UK High Commissioner in the white jacket & dark blue trousers, with grey hair - but who's that in a dress next to Dutton? Positioning suggests she's significant.

High Commissioner with sailors. Did she pick her colours to blend in?

 

DDG38

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Dutton talking to the mike, the UK High Commissioner in the white jacket & dark blue trousers, with grey hair - but who's that in a dress next to Dutton? Positioning suggests she's significant.
That's the Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price (also a sandgroper so will be obviously pushing hard for WA to get a slice of any new ship/boat building project)
 

vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
In regards to surface ships and timeframes well those can be traced back to 1992 when we started at looking at a replacement for the Perths which then became a replacement for the Perths and Adelaides without an increase in numbers. Took 15 years from start to just select a design and another 12? or so years just to get all 3 commissioned. More ships replaced with fewer hulls and no replacement at time even looked into for the Anzac class common sense dictates it was going to be a nightmare. Just to maintain our numbers from past we should have been looking at 6 DDG's rather then 3 but thats my opinion.

For submarines if they want to build the back half overseas even if its just for the first few to get numbers up quicker im all for that. As pointed out been done in past before no reason can't do it now.

What i am actually curious about is what 3D printing and cold air spray could bring to naval shipbuilding. The army is making strides in their testing of their 3D printer at at this stage probably a world leader in trialing deployed 3D printing. Would like to see the navy get on to these technologies because in theory not only can they produce parts cheaper but the cold air spray they could potentially repair ship/submarine hulls that have suffered decades of wear and tear back to like new condition.
 

seaspear

Active Member
Spraying of hulls of submarines might be a stretch,I can recall dozens of potential sections of the Collins-class submarine hull that were tested with explosive with very mixed result
 
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