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Australia to Get Nuclear Submarines


Adam_S
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So, having vilified the French, do our Australian posters really expect the UK and / or US to hand over their carefully developed IP for building nuclear submarines, including the reactor, so that the Australians can become largely independent instead of having to rely for maintenance, refueling and updates on these despicable outsiders? What makes you think that (partially) constructing such a complex system in Australia will not lead to a repeat, but then much worse, of the troubles with the Collins-class? Do you honestly expect any Australian built boats to hit the waters before 2040?

Similar considerations may well be applicable to the acquisition of other complex defense systems such as fighter aircraft, yet the RAAF Super Hornets and F-35s were manufactured abroad. What makes relying on foreign fighter aircraft acceptable, whilst foreign built submarines are deemed unacceptable?

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2 hours ago, Daan said:

So, having vilified the French, do our Australian posters really expect the UK and / or US to hand over their carefully developed IP for building nuclear submarines, including the reactor, so that the Australians can become largely independent instead of having to rely for maintenance, refueling and updates on these despicable outsiders? What makes you think that (partially) constructing such a complex system in Australia will not lead to a repeat, but then much worse, of the troubles with the Collins-class? Do you honestly expect any Australian built boats to hit the waters before 2040?

Similar considerations may well be applicable to the acquisition of other complex defense systems such as fighter aircraft, yet the RAAF Super Hornets and F-35s were manufactured abroad. What makes relying on foreign fighter aircraft acceptable, whilst foreign built submarines are deemed unacceptable?

Rickover did precisely the same thing for us. He got us in the door, gave us a nuclear reactor, then told us to poke off and stop bothering him. Which frankly was the greatest kindness he could give us. It made us self reliant, rather than having to go cap in hand to the Americans all the time, which is what he was scared of.

Do I think that it will work that way this time? I think, judging by the complete lack of interest in nuclear power in Australia, that they will source a British or American nuclear plant, and hand the compartment back at a later date for disposal. Its the easiest solution to the problem. As we saw with the Americans and Dreadnought, they are not beyond  handing over reactors, as long as they trust the people concerned.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Dreadnought_(S101)

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That happened in a country that, in that particular time frame, had an extensive defense industry, just fought a world war, had designed and fielded multiple classes of diesel submarines. Australia has none of that background. Furthermore, the technology has become more complex and lead times have increased accordingly, even with experienced producers of nuclear submarines. The Astute program started in 1986 with a tender in the early 1990s and the first commissioning of a submarine in 2010. The French Barracuda program started in 1998 with the first unit in service in 2020. 

To me, the decision by Australia to renege on the French deal and still having to find a UK / US substitute seems to imply at once the decision to embark on a life extension program for the Collins-class, which will be rather obsolescent boats by the 2030s, or alternatively, find an interim replacement. None of which are free.

Edited by Daan
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Given how modular modern ship construction is, I could see a future case where (for example) he UK could provide a propulsion module and the Australians could locally produce the rest of the boat and integrate it. Transporting a propulsion "block" would require some care but moving large things about is what the sea is for.

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2 hours ago, Daan said:

That happened in a country that, in that particular time frame, had an extensive defense industry, just fought a world war, had designed and fielded multiple classes of diesel submarines. Australia has none of that background. Furthermore, the technology has become more complex and lead times have increased accordingly, even with experienced producers of nuclear submarines. The Astute program started in 1986 with a tender in the early 1990s and the first commissioning of a submarine in 2010. The French Barracuda program started in 1998 with the first unit in service in 2020. 

To me, the decision by Australia to renege on the French deal and still having to find a UK / US substitute seems to imply at once the decision to embark on a life extension program for the Collins-class, which will be rather obsolescent boats by the 2030s, or alternatively, find an interim replacement. None of which are free.

Well it's been suggested they might borrow a boat as part of the deal.

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But what boat? Would a spare Virginia or Astute be available? Unlikely. Los Angeles class Flight II and later as well the Trafalgar class are 30 to 40 years old by the time they get decommissioned and some are nearly 50 years old by 2030. Perhaps after a refit these are still fine for learning how to operate a nuclear submarine or as moored training ship, I doubt such a ship adds much operationally in the time frame 2030-2040 and as a remedy to the by then ongoing obsolescence of the Collins-class.

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2 hours ago, Daan said:

But what boat? Would a spare Virginia or Astute be available? Unlikely. Los Angeles class Flight II and later as well the Trafalgar class are 30 to 40 years old by the time they get decommissioned and some are nearly 50 years old by 2030. Perhaps after a refit these are still fine for learning how to operate a nuclear submarine or as moored training ship, I doubt such a ship adds much operationally in the time frame 2030-2040 and as a remedy to the by then ongoing obsolescence of the Collins-class.

I've read there may be some capacity for an Astute. So try this on for size, we build a new Astute, let the Aussies have the first of the class, and we take delivery of the new one, which should carry is through in work till the Dreadnoughta and the new SSN come on line.

Will we do that? If course not, it makes sense.

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It is a modern nuclear attack submarine, but I do not see how this proposed solution creates the independence and ownership so craved for by Australia. It would put Australia in a similar position towards the UK as it was with France with the Shortfin Barracuda diesel submarines. Most of the design work and manufacture of sub-systems is done abroad with an increasing part of the assembly done in Australia. Furthermore, one would need more of these foreign built submarines to cover the lengthy period towards successful domestic Australian assembly.

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You misunderstood what I meant. Astute is the oldest of the Astutes, I think she entered service in 2007/8. If we got a replacement, we could pass her up for her last 10 years for Australia to develop nuclear skills on. I daresay the Americans could do something similar with an early batch Virginia. This wouldn't be a permanent solution, just a stopgap till they build their own boats.

Let's face it, one boat is probably going to be worth 2 diesels, at least as far as deployment is concerned. Yes, there is going to be a shortfall in coverage, but not that much. The UK is talking about basing one boat in Australia. I suspect the US will too. If the French free up, they could too.

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That is still a rather underwhelming replacement given that the lead boat of the Collins-class was originally planned to be decommissioned in the middle of the decade and no less than 12 Barracuda's were envisioned to replace this class. A single trials boat is an insufficient replacement for operational submarines. In addition, one does not command a foreign ship. If the UK needs its ship elsewhere, say the North Atlantic, it's gone. This means that Australia will need to invest in stopgaps measures, either by extending the life of the already aging Collins class or seek to acquire an interim modern submarine elsewhere.

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Firstly I'm not convinced that Australia is seeking to be independent in anything but the initial construction of SOME boats (and not all).   Although the self contained nuclear modules are low maintenance, anything intensive will require going back to UK or US heavy maintenance support for the reactors as nothing available (or intended to be) in Oz.

Certainly leasing a nuke boat from US or UK has been discussed at government level and looked upon favourably - much like the transfer of IP with heavy oversight from big brothers.  No one is suggesting Australia would be exporting finished boats or tech in any way or form, so let's look at it in context.

Certainly the French did themselves no favours with appalling communication and project management.   It does make sense to tear up the deal if the French were so far behind and amazingly over budget, although I agree that the original requirement of converting a nuclear boat into a conventional one was a big ask.  

So amusing that a few have taken this as a personal affront to West Taiwan ;)  when other countries such as Brazil  and India getting into Nuclear boats sooner without a whimper.  I'd suggest that no country is keeping up with the amazing rise of PRC Navy and they should be rightly proud of the advances in tech and size of their fleet.  Most definitley there is no threat from downunder to the Chinese century and I'd suggest no one rational would suggest otherwise (outside of the nonsense from communist propaganda intended for bluster only).

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We didn't back out of the French deal until the UK/US one was approved by all parties. There's has been talk of a training boat turning up quite quickly, a Trafalgar or 688, also seeing either an Astute or USN SSN operating out of Australian ports 'a lot.' 

The nuance is rather different to the USN/RN deal in the 50's, then yeah the RN was after the core IP to design and build its own nuclear plant. Half the reason nukes are even on the table for Australia now is because the new plants don't require refuelling and mid life deep maintenance with the all the overhead that brings.  I'm pretty damn sure the plan is to bring in the reactor module from either the US or UK, or as I like to think of it  'High Pressure Steam as a Service' :D

 

Edited by Argus
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2 hours ago, Gman said:

Firstly I'm not convinced that Australia is seeking to be independent in anything but the initial construction of SOME boats (and not all).   Although the self contained nuclear modules are low maintenance, anything intensive will require going back to UK or US heavy maintenance support for the reactors as nothing available (or intended to be) in Oz.

Certainly leasing a nuke boat from US or UK has been discussed at government level and looked upon favourably - much like the transfer of IP with heavy oversight from big brothers.  No one is suggesting Australia would be exporting finished boats or tech in any way or form, so let's look at it in context.

Certainly the French did themselves no favours with appalling communication and project management.   It does make sense to tear up the deal if the French were so far behind and amazingly over budget, although I agree that the original requirement of converting a nuclear boat into a conventional one was a big ask.  

So amusing that a few have taken this as a personal affront to West Taiwan ;)  when other countries such as Brazil  and India getting into Nuclear boats sooner without a whimper.  I'd suggest that no country is keeping up with the amazing rise of PRC Navy and they should be rightly proud of the advances in tech and size of their fleet.  Most definitley there is no threat from downunder to the Chinese century and I'd suggest no one rational would suggest otherwise (outside of the nonsense from communist propaganda intended for bluster only).

Regarding the last paragraph. Brazil getting nuke sub, heh, haven't noticed that one. I reckon several here haven't noticed. Under French lead too.

You have a decent point about India and Brazil getting ssn sooner. Although still some counterpoints such as economy of scale of those two countries in comparison to Australia (lots of land but only 25 mil pop). And those two already have nuclear power generation while Australia does not. 

West Taiwan? Makes no sense. "West ROC" would make sense. ROT wouldn't claim any form of China indentity so naturally the claim by ROC would go away once the official name and official policy of ROC goes away even though such official capacity is at only a verbal level and even that has been losing weight. The change to full "Taiwan" and no "ROC" probably would happen much sooner or even would have already happened had the PRC not been using threats against Taiwan to declare itself at the official capacity as just Taiwan or ROT.  Although even with that said, it still seens like Taiwan nation narrative still seeks to preserve ROC inheretence such as a space for an honored memory for those that died fighting for an ROC that had become an undeniable part of the total inheretence of the whole Taiwanese indenty. 

Now, a bit of an extension.. if the CCP drew up a path for an eventual Chinese democracy for the mainland, then it might be not be so difficult to reincorporate ROC political parties into the mainland along with the CCP and thus open a sealane of smooth sailing of the Formosa island literally becoming part of the mainland. Maybe Taiwan president Ma was sort of hoping for something like that in the end. Hu Jintao may have been the type of person to give it an ear to that kind of idea. Although apparantly Hu Jintao was a bit of a puppet to Wang Jingwei. But regardless, comes 2012 and Xi and he carried out lots of "anti-corruption" campaigns and stamped at internal CCP rival to him. So yeah, CCP doesn't share domestic power (not just Xi, but Wang Jingwei nor the hardliners during the 1980s of whom Deng backed) and doesn't provide any feasible means for a rival party, not even a junior party. So yeah. That stark political structure difference between the mainland and what emerged on Taiwan in the 1990s is part of the identity divergence between the two of them. 

With PRC navy rise, the pace of expansion with entry of new ships was really at an incrediable and worrisome rate in the mid 2010s. But it seems to have slowed somewhat. They'll need some time to get comfortable with all the new stuff they just commissioned so after doing so, maybe they'll restart a brisk pace of further PLAN expansion. But until then. 

Edited by futon
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Good points Futon, respect your viewpoint.

 

Certainly agree its surprising for Oz to get nuclear boats with no real domestic nuclear industry agree.  Unusual times indeed.

 

RE my very poor attempt at humour on West Taiwan, it's a running joke with some HK and ROC friends here that Republic of China was the original China and it's the Communists that are the usurpers.  Thus the joke about real China being Taiwan and the breakaway is to the west...    Apologies to any communists I've offended here, though it doesn't usually take this much.  (insert smiley face again here !)

To be honest, I'm not sure that even if Taiwan changes it's official title then it will still be left alone.  That much freedom of expression and movement is politically threatening and I can't see it being left alone even with changes of name.  No one assumes that Xi Jinping thinks small when it comes to Chinese growth, either.   Whether the war is in Biden's presidency or in Harris or later than that is the big question.  (No, I'm not convinced Biden will last out the full term...)

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Gman said:

Good points Futon, respect your viewpoint.

 

Certainly agree its surprising for Oz to get nuclear boats with no real domestic nuclear industry agree.  Unusual times indeed.

 

RE my very poor attempt at humour on West Taiwan, it's a running joke with some HK and ROC friends here that Republic of China was the original China and it's the Communists that are the usurpers.  Thus the joke about real China being Taiwan and the breakaway is to the west...    Apologies to any communists I've offended here, though it doesn't usually take this much.  (insert smiley face again here !)

To be honest, I'm not sure that even if Taiwan changes it's official title then it will still be left alone.  That much freedom of expression and movement is politically threatening and I can't see it being left alone even with changes of name.  No one assumes that Xi Jinping thinks small when it comes to Chinese growth, either.   Whether the war is in Biden's presidency or in Harris or later than that is the big question.  (No, I'm not convinced Biden will last out the full term...)

 

 

 

Thank you for that. 

No worries about the humour. I felt compelled to make a big filler post probably because of my perception of the lack of context. Humour lives in an accepted context. Without it, a given himour may appear to rub the wrong way. With a shared context laid out, it works. 

Thanks for the fresh content. It gets tiresome to read more and more of the usual Stuart/Simon/Glenn/etc. How about that, I got some humour still left (^^)

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@Futon I've no idea where you are from, but for the sake of the discussion (especially for others looking on) ...   Let me say clearly that I have no issues or dislike for any nation or ethnicity.  I have very close friends from mainland China and dear friends from France.   Doesn't mean I have to love their governments or politics in much the same way that being an Aussie doesn't mean I agree or condone everything my government does in my name.

I will admit to not being a big fan of communism as I've too many friends burned by cultural revolution and the inherent corruptions in an enclosed society that communism encourages. This colours my love for red overall, even as I politely disagree with those of comrade Mao and Uncle Joe Stalin's ilk.   So for those ardently of the left... none of this is personal against any individual.   

I also am deeply unimpressed by France's handling at a national and industrial level of the submarine contract but this doesn't mean I approve of France bashing on it's own.  I manage several facebook groups and have been glad to kick at racial slurs from idiots about 1940 France stuff. None of that is pertinent to modern day intergovernmental failings IMHO.

 

Blunt rant off...

 

 

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4 hours ago, futon said:

Thank you for that. 

No worries about the humour. I felt compelled to make a big filler post probably because of my perception of the lack of context. Humour lives in an accepted context. Without it, a given himour may appear to rub the wrong way. With a shared context laid out, it works. 

Thanks for the fresh content. It gets tiresome to read more and more of the usual Stuart/Simon/Glenn/etc. How about that, I got some humour still left (^^)

Depends on whether you want to learn anything or not I guess.

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5 hours ago, Gman said:

@Futon I've no idea where you are from, but for the sake of the discussion (especially for others looking on) ...   Let me say clearly that I have no issues or dislike for any nation or ethnicity.  I have very close friends from mainland China and dear friends from France.   Doesn't mean I have to love their governments or politics in much the same way that being an Aussie doesn't mean I agree or condone everything my government does in my name.

I will admit to not being a big fan of communism as I've too many friends burned by cultural revolution and the inherent corruptions in an enclosed society that communism encourages. This colours my love for red overall, even as I politely disagree with those of comrade Mao and Uncle Joe Stalin's ilk.   So for those ardently of the left... none of this is personal against any individual.   

I also am deeply unimpressed by France's handling at a national and industrial level of the submarine contract but this doesn't mean I approve of France bashing on it's own.  I manage several facebook groups and have been glad to kick at racial slurs from idiots about 1940 France stuff. None of that is pertinent to modern day intergovernmental failings IMHO.

 

Blunt rant off...

 

 

It's a fair rant. There's good people in any country. Geopolitics is like another dimension that can rip any fine fabric. 

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https://uk.news.yahoo.com/france-strengthens-ties-indonesia-aukus-142141465.html

France and Indonesia strengthened a strategic partnership agreement on Wednesday that includes bolstering defence ties as Paris regroups in the Indo-Pacific after the collapse of a multibillion-dollar submarine deal with Australia.

Paris was furious after Australia ditched the submarine deal in September, saying it had been given no warning that Canberra was negotiating a new defence pact with the US and Britain, which left France rethinking its alliances in the Indo-Pacific.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian met with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi in Jakarta to sign an action plan that he said will strengthen the two "countries' strategic partnership" and improve ties "in defence and maritime affairs".

 

During the two-day visit, Le Drian also met with Indonesia's Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto, who leads Jakarta's ongoing negotiations for the acquisition of 36 Rafale fighter jets, but no deal was announced.

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39 minutes ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

If you are going to do a meme, perhaps get one thats  more familiar ground. Here, let me assist. :)

 

attack-on-pearl-harbor-midget-submarine-

 

It's Ticked off Vic. 

A self-declared learner like urself would be satisfied to know. 

PH? One of the most beated dead horses on the site, zzzzzzz

 

 

 

(^^)

 

horse-dead.gif

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On 11/24/2021 at 10:43 PM, futon said:

Thanks for the fresh content. It gets tiresome to read more and more of the usual Stuart/Simon/Glenn/etc. How about that, I got some humour still left (^^)

Dunno futon, I just don't think Japan getting into a war with China over Taiwan is a good idea.  

For the Australian submarines, I think they make sense for Australia for home defense because they're a big country with lots of coast.  But when they start talking about Australian submarines defending Taiwan, I don't think that's a good idea for Australia either.

Edited by glenn239
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