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Royal Australian Navy Discussions and Updates

Discussion in 'Navy & Maritime' started by icelord, Feb 13, 2007.

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  1. Tasman

    Tasman Ship Watcher Verified Defense Pro

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    I suspect you are right Todjaeger. Based on the above info the points you make seem pretty valid. The best support may well be to pre position a Collins in the deployment area, prior to arrival of the LHD and its escorts.

    BTW, I think it would be a mistake to assume that the RAN's ASW capability is seriously lacking. It is probably true that ASW has not been a high priority since the end of the Cold War (as indeed is the case in many navies) and it could be improved as suggested in some of the earlier posts, but I believe that the FFGs, FFHs and the Seahawks, along with the RAAF's AP-3Cs all have a reasonable capability in this area. They also get to exercise with the Collins class as well as USN SSNs so skill levels ought to be reasonably honed.

    Cheers
     
  2. StingrayOZ

    StingrayOZ Well-Known Member

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    I don't think collins will be a problem.

    The LHD max speed is around 15-19 kts. Realistically cruising speed is more likely 10-15 kts. Fast enough to leave smaller, shorter ranged subs behind and low of fuel but fast enough for collins to keep up. Snorkling is not a problem really. You know the sub is going to be nearby the LHD and AWD so if it snorkels and makes a bit of noise thats not really a big issue (better if you have two tho, one always submerged and stealthy.)

    Once they are around the location, collins will perform perfectly. While the LHD is zooming around at ~15 kts the sub can slowly patrol the area not having to keep up with the LHD.

    We have 6 boats, which means for a big operation we could use two. The AWD will have some very advanced under water detection systems.

    If we are venturing outside of our local waters (with Jorn, P3's, wedgetails etc) then Im sure either the US or UK would be interested in tagging along for the ride. As part of a multination force we would get coverage of our assests. Certainly air ops could be conducted with the F-35 so surface targets would be rather silly trying to sneak up on them.

    A carrier battle group going into mildly hostile waters would be something like 1 x LHD, 1 x AWD, 2 x collins and 1 or 2 Frigates. Most likely with US or UK running nearby with a nuclear boat and perhaps a US destroyer if things look really nasty and the US wants to openly legit the deal. Thats plenty of coverage. Thats essentially equal to a Nimitz group. Even with out the US/UK participation I belive that would be fine against all except countries with nuclear subs (China, Russian, India). Im pretty sure if we are moving our LHD against these countries someone else will be involved.

    Seriously very few countries have subs that would venture out into the blue waters with Australian assests like AWD's and collins, and almost none with most likely US/UK friendlies around.

    If the idea is we can't protect our own ships from other nations, then maybe we should look at fixing that problem rather than not getting them or using them.

    But we are the dominent SSK operator in our little region, with are friends with the dominent super power and other nuclear status nations. The AWD are built to protect assets like the LHD.

    The LHD itself does not need weapons directly, maybe a few CWIS would be a good idea. But it relies on its escorts. A decent 3D-radar would be useful, as would communications, but I can see the LHD operating with fairly minimal fitout. I can see it sitting as a hub in the networked force, which makes is a useful place for command to sit. The BPE LHD is apparently very cheap. We could buy perhaps as many as four for the money. Excluding radar, landing craft, coms etc.

    I would ideally like to see 4 AWD's. One for each LHD, and two remaining, one in dock and one patrolling. 3 provides the bare minimum.

    And hopefully a new class of submarine is not too far away. Some extra subs would be really valuable.
     
  3. ELP

    ELP New Member

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    Historically, ship SAM systems ( and the people running them ) have been real bad at defending against even 1 or 2 anti-ship missiles.

    Just to name a few...
    -The Sheffield
    -Stark
    -Vincennes 1st gen AEGIS ( Iranian shoot down w/ poor target I.D.)
    -The Israeli boat that got hit last summer- This one is worth thinking about because it was a non-nation state that took the shot. Has to go on record as being one of the larger weapons used for 4th generation warfare. Something for a Canberra class to consider if it gets within visual range of a land mass that might not be the most friendly.

    And yes a lot of those were human element driven, but it still begs the question of "wheres the beef"? . Then theres the problem of going out of EMCON, everyone will know where you are then. It gets worse in a littoral environment with terrain. Add to that any non-combatant traffic ( surface or air )

    My problem with robo-cruisers is the man machine interface. One also has to consider that whole portions of the AEGIS system were reported as being compromised by a variety of successful espionage to the Chinese. If it was me, I'd be looking at another vendor on the Hobart thing.

    An air umbrella is needed even if it is a small amount of STOVL JSF.

    Unfortunately there is no plan to fund STOVL JSF. And yes, it looks like the Spanish option for the Canberra class is the safe way to go to have that growth room on arrival.

    A defence in depth is needed, meaning ship SAMs and some kind of barcap. Where as the C variants of AMRAAM working with AESA are designed to take out a cruise missiles. A netcentrically linked JSF AESA into the CIC of the air warfare ship will be a large help too. Not a total solution, but it beats SAM-only.

    Finally there is mines. These things are a big show stopper. The navy has some outstanding mine clearance people and gear but if there is a shooting war they will have barely enough resources to cover home waters. A Canberra class will need more robust anti-mine warfare clearance ships assigned, and those, in order to do their work safely will also need some kind of air cover.

    No need to have yet another Canberra memorial because someone thinks these ships that are carrying a lot of people and equipment on board don't need air cover. Huge mistake.
     
  4. Waylander

    Waylander Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    One question.

    Why is a Sky Jump needed? The USMC operates its Harriers without one and as long as I know they are going to do the same with the F-35s.
     
  5. ELP

    ELP New Member

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    Fuel economy not having to burn so much on the take off. One nice thing about STOVL JSF is 14,000lb of fuel internal vs a Harriers (USMC) almost 8000lb of fuel. Also with the ski jump, in the non stealth mode hanging weapons external, JSF would be able to carry more for a longer distance.
     
  6. Tasman

    Tasman Ship Watcher Verified Defense Pro

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    As well as all of the above the USN's Wasp class is also larger so a longer take off run is possible.

    Cheers
     
  7. StingrayOZ

    StingrayOZ Well-Known Member

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    For me the Jump really is a non issue. It can be fitted and altered after manufacturer apparently fairly easily. The BPE is designed to handle the F-35 in all regards, so there is no huge issue if in 2020 Australia decides it does want the STOVL F-35 and modifys the LHD to fly them at its next refit. I've heard harriers can take off from the HMS Ocean, which has no jump, just with limited weapons and fuel. Something to think about. F-35 taking off within 200 m with just air to air missiles might be possible.

    What is needed is political will to get the STOVL F-35. Protecting the fleet from anti shipping missile fired from aircraft/ships etc would be a reasonable starting argument. Isn't it one of the reasons for the Harriers on the WASP's.

    They are billion dollar ships, with billion dollar+ equipment and priceless personel inside. I think its entirely reasonable for Australia to do everything to protect them.

    For me thats:
    1 x AWD hobart class loaded to the eye balls (atleast 1 preferable 2)
    2 x ANZAC Frigates ugraded with upgraded missiles (SM-2)
    2 x collins submarines
    6 x F-35B's on the LHD (minium)
    2 x ASW helos (atleast)
    1 x Huon mine hunter
    Preferably another frigate (NZ, US, UK, Japan, Singapore, etc)
    Preferably atleast one more destroyer (UK, US, Japan) if operating outside of regional waters or in a hot and heavy enviroment.
    Preferably a UK or US nuclear boat nearby or part of the carrier group (maybe replacing a collins).
    CWIS x2 on the LHD itself
    Support from JORN and other radar networks

    Acutally it would be very interesting to see how the RAN escorts the canberras, given the extensive experience they have with US carrier groups and other carrier photo ops from oberons and collins subs. US carrier groups usually have 2 destroyers, a few frigates, and two nuke boats don't they. I don't think they worry about mines that much? Mind you they move at 30+ kts.

    Given the E.Timor operation and the appearance of subs, and the use of aircraft to buzz ships, I would say Australia would be wise to be protective.

    Obviously being blue water based, a hundred nautical miles + off a coast would be a worth while bit of protection. Mines, littorial conflicts, land based aircraft, ships and land based missiles are less of a issue.
     
  8. ELP

    ELP New Member

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    Good reading.

    I would like the Spanish design as it comes with the ability to set it up with as many as 20 Harriers and has the ski jump. Certainly that would be less JSFs on available as the JSF deck footprint is bigger.

    Have to have an engineer tell us what conversion/refit the French design would need. My understanding is the deck isn't rated for JSF weights for what Australia is looking at.

    I think mines are a concern. Good you mentioned U.S. as it was Desert Storm where our lack of ability to clear mines made the amphb invasion of Kuwait impossible. In one day a Tico AEGIS class and a big amphib not unlike a future Canberra were mission killed by mines. Fortunately there was no coordinated attack when they were dead in the water. That was the end of any fantasy we had about having another Inchon or whatever. We don't seem to take mine clearance seriously ( funding ) and usually end up asking the Brits or Aussies or whatever to help us out as our small resources end up being maxed out. We also had a Perry not unlike what you have, mission killed the Persian Gulf in '88 due to a mine. That ship went home on a floating dry dock. The littoral waters north of Australia are made for mines.
     
  9. harryriedl

    harryriedl Active Member

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  10. swerve

    swerve Super Moderator

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    But the F-35Bs empty weight is almost twice that of a Harrier, so that's a slightly smaller fuel fraction.
     
  11. ELP

    ELP New Member

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    Thanks Swerve. :cool:
     
  12. alexsa

    alexsa Defense Professional Verified Defense Pro

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    Max speed of the BPE is given as 21 knots. I will cruise at lower speeds but given it is based on a commercial system it should be able to sustain the max speed if required.
     
  13. gf0012-aust

    gf0012-aust Grumpy Old Man Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    I certainly wouldn't game play a scenario using publicly sourced data on Collins.

    Some of it is absolute nonsense.
     
  14. StingrayOZ

    StingrayOZ Well-Known Member

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  15. gf0012-aust

    gf0012-aust Grumpy Old Man Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    They also go fast to avoid slow diesel subs and to make less efficient shadowing nukes make noise trying to keep up ;)


    Collins Mk2 won't be a nuke. I don't see Collins Mk1's being used as Task Force escorts in "fast environments".

    Nukes are really the only subs able to keep up with fast task forces, fast resupply or hacking jobs.

    as an aside, the odds are on that it would be a good idea for some in the RAN assessment teams to start learning Spanish.
     
  16. StingrayOZ

    StingrayOZ Well-Known Member

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    Hahaha...

    I suppose when your part of a US carrier group (or strike force or what ever they call them these days), stealthy and quiet arent really required. I would have thought the nuke boats would easily keep up, I've heard they can be very quick when they want to be (and not caring about silence).

    I suppose different tactics are required to use diesel subs as protectors of a LHD. The italians and spanish do it with out nuke boats, but then again they have different threats. Japanese and Koreans are going to have to figure out escorts for their smaller LHD's.

    Now all we need is F-35B's and we are away...
     
  17. gf0012-aust

    gf0012-aust Grumpy Old Man Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    I think you've misunderstood me - I'm talking about the hackers making noise - not the escorts

    Nukes don't have a problem, and plus the fact that the USN (for example) has the luxury of being able to afford subs for discretionary work. small countries like Oz don't have that luxury.


    The Italians, Spanish, Japanese and Koreans don't have management responsibility for 1/9th of the worlds oceans and blue/green waterways. Their demands and requirements are thus a bit more flexible and compressed (as in platforms per real estate footprint)

    well, this is going to be the eternal argument for years to come. I suspect that under prev history, where platforms were mercilessly maligned by all and sundry (eg F-111 and Collins) that they will deliver the goods. As opposed to the Miracle which was a veritable lawn dart and seems to have had a charmed life and post script to its service life. Go figure. :rolleyes:
     
  18. contedicavour

    contedicavour New Member

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    What is bizarre is that we are all hoping that F35Bs will eventually fly off from Australian LHDs... and since most of us underline that the Mistrals have never been built with that in mind, most of us support the BPE...
    Ok fair enough, but Spain hasn't even confirmed its interest for the F35Bs and its navy's plans call for a real aircraft carrier to operate jets and replace the existing CVL Asturias.
    Hence I come to my point : if Australia wants to make sure its new LHDs are F35s compatible, why not launch an international procurement race with precisely that clearly written ? DCN, Izar, and of course Fincantieri and Vosper would have to come up with a perfectly suitable design !

    cheers
     
  19. Tasman

    Tasman Ship Watcher Verified Defense Pro

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    I guess the point is that the RAN has not indicated publicly at any stage that it requires the vessels to be F-35B capable. The project is already aiming to build vessels far larger than the ships they are replacing and this has attracted quite a bit of media criticism. Any public push to acquire what the public might perceive as 'aircraft carriers' would immediately bring out the anti carrier critics in the media and could bring down the whole program.

    The LHDs are being built to meet an army rather than a naval requirement. The ability to be able to use them for naval purposes will be a bonus. If the RAN does want the future capability to be able to get fixed wing aircraft back to sea, and it can convince the army and RAAF of the benefits that the F-35B would provide, it will push for the BPE. Selection of this design would provide a huge boost to the ability of the ADF to project power.

    Cheers
     
  20. gf0012-aust

    gf0012-aust Grumpy Old Man Staff Member Verified Defense Pro

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    I don't see that as a huge stumbling block. As it is the proposals have been along the lines of the RN/RAF re-org where RAF fixed wing pilots take over fixed wing fleet air arm roles and are deployed on the RN assets.