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Australia to Get Nuclear Submarines


Adam_S

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1 minute ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Yes, I too can live in the Fallout or Stalker universe. ūü§®

Is that an opportunity or threat in nowadays UK? :D

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47 minutes ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

Oh, definite opportunity for Ryan to complain we arent strapped. :)

 

Strapped as these?

wez_scream.png

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All the chaps that were presented as evidence definitely had asses in them.

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I meant strapped as in pew pew not arse arse, but not to worry, Im sure we will head there as well before long anyway. :)

 

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/other/british-mp-simon-fell-rejects-peter-duttons-claim-that-uk-does-not-have-capacity-to-build-australias-nuclear-powered-submarines/ar-AA1881Nl

onservative British MP Simon Fell has rejected claims by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton that the UK does not have the capacity to build a new class of nuclear-powered submarine for Australia under the AUKUS program. 

"I simply don't accept that," he said in an interview on 7.30. "We can build that capacity and we can build submarines fast."

Mr Fell's constituency, Barrow and Furness, is home to the shipyards that build nuclear powered submarines for the British navy. Asked if the UK could upscale its capacity to build subs for Australia, he said: "One hundred per cent. If asked, we will deliver."

Yesterday, Mr Dutton said the American Virginia-class submarines were the best option for Australia.

"The beauty in my mind with the American model, of the Virginia class, was that it was a proven design, it gave us interoperability with the Americans and there will be more American subs in the Indo-Pacific than there will be British submarines," Mr Dutton said.

Mr Dutton said he had received advice as defence minister before last year's election that the British shipyard where the nuclear submarines are built had no extra capacity.

"The advice to me at the time was very clear ... Barrow-in-Furness is obviously landlocked, it didn't have the ability to scale up."

Mr Fell acknowledged that the UK's nuclear submarine program was stretched with a number of submarines already on the production line, but said there were plans in place to expand if necessary.

He pushed back on Mr Dutton's claim that the US was in a better position to produce a submarine for Australia.

"Those capacity constraints are felt on the other side of the pond ... I know they have struggled with capacity. I know they struggle to keep up with the regular schedule of delivery, whereas we are now meeting a good pace," Mr Fell said.

Mr Fell said building nuclear-powered submarines was "hideously complex".

"It was described to me ... that there is one thing more complex than a nuclear submarine. And that is the International Space Station," he said.

"We shouldn't take our eyes off the fact that this is going to be a massive challenge for Australia to step up and build those skills and build that manufacturing base itself.

"But that's where we can really lean in and help because we have been through a period of massive growth in our shipyard."

Mr Fell told 7.30 that Australian naval officers are already training onboard HMS Anson and that these sorts of exchanges will be a feature of the AUKUS arrangement.

"From that deep integration ... all the way through to the manufacturing line, I would fully expect that we will be working hand-in-glove," he said.

He said Australia must develop its own manufacturing capacity, but the challenges are enormous.

"It's not a sustainable option for either the UK or the US to be building these things whole for you.

"We have people who have been working in that shipyard for their entire lives and they are incredibly skilled for it. You can't build that from scratch. There is going to have to be technology transfer, knowledge transfer and skills transfer."

Mr Fell remains optimistic that the UK will be chosen as the location to build Australia's first nuclear powered submarine.

 

I have to say, I have some sympathy with the idea that Barrow can scale up, as we are pretty much doing exactly that with Frigate production. Might have to be done off site, but as said, its not as if we are proposing building the full submarine for them, just the nuclear bits.

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We are kicking this subject around on Canadian military forums and the opinion amongst serving RCN types is that the RCN and politicians do not have the safety and performance culture to safely run nuclear powered subs. The willingness to cut corners to satisfy operational needs is a major issue and one that is going to be a major issue soon with our surface fleet. You really need a Rickover to create the level of professionalism to run these boats.

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16 minutes ago, Colin said:

We are kicking this subject around on Canadian military forums and the opinion amongst serving RCN types is that the RCN and politicians do not have the safety and performance culture to safely run nuclear powered subs. The willingness to cut corners to satisfy operational needs is a major issue and one that is going to be a major issue soon with our surface fleet. You really need a Rickover to create the level of professionalism to run these boats.

When we get into NATO, we need battalion of Canucks (even Montreal ones) based here.

At least you guys would not go un-operational when snowflake hits the ground...

OTOH, Ozzies...local restaurants are not used to that sort of revenue...

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I'm not sure about that, I know the Finns are rather partial to a cup of coffee, but are you really prepared to play host to World War Coffee Canada vs Australia? 

Tim Hortons vs Gloria Jeans - round one *ting ting*

Edited by Argus
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He really rates the Astute pretty highly doesnt he?

He has a point about how long it takes to build. Though to be honest, its probably going to take that long to build up the skillset Australia needs. Ok, so the RN seemed to pick up building and operating the first generation SSN's in about 5-6 years. But those were considerably simpler boats, and we did have the esteemed help of Admiral Rickover to make it happen.

If it was me, Id base two boats in Aus, and have the crew made up of a mixture of RN and Australian personnel. So that way we can build up the skillset for Australia to operate them. Should give Australia enough time to figure out what exactly they want.

 

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2 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

He really rates the Astute pretty highly doesnt he?

He has a point about how long it takes to build. Though to be honest, its probably going to take that long to build up the skillset Australia needs. Ok, so the RN seemed to pick up building and operating the first generation SSN's in about 5-6 years. But those were considerably simpler boats, and we did have the esteemed help of Admiral Rickover to make it happen.

If it was me, Id base two boats in Aus, and have the crew made up of a mixture of RN and Australian personnel. So that way we can build up the skillset for Australia to operate them. Should give Australia enough time to figure out what exactly they want.

 

Well, I think Astute is pretty well-regarded.

But, that's just the rumour. 

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Given the closeness of the USN and RN, I doubt Astute is really missing anything a Virginia has except for the spherical array and VLS.

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The Astute program had time issues early on, partly first of class woes, but also a lot of trouble from having to spin the design office and yard back up again. Partly as a consequence this production of the whole class, along with the Dreadnought's  and the SSN(R) to follow is on a scheduled 'drumbeat' to pace the whole business out and avoid future gaps in activity.  The estimate I heard was that Barrow had the yard time to build another 2 Astutes before Dreadnought, if they'd been the need. 

I would agree that some form of dual crewing is the most likely and a commitment of two boats might well mean only one on station down here at any one time. I also can't help notice Trenchant and Talant were only decommissioned in May last year - they might be in a position to be reactivated to bring back into the mix?   

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Yeah, 'The Silent Deep' said that the main problem is that when the Trafalgar line went cold, they didnt build an SSN again for nearly decade. The Americans were called in to iron out some problems that went with losing a chunk of the skillset in the interim (I think more in the design than the production, but I shall have to go and read it again). Wiki says the last Trafalgar (Triumph) commissioned in October 1991, and they didnt lay down Astute till January 2001. The long production time of the Astutes is possibly at least in part a means of making sure they dont suffer too much skill loss between SSN Batches. Which was probably a good idea at the time, but obviously not envisaged we might be building chunks of someone elses. Im not sure how they are going to get around that, but I did hear that Barrow in Furness was hiring lots of apprentices to try to help fill the gap.

3 hours ago, Argus said:

The Astute program had time issues early on, partly first of class woes, but also a lot of trouble from having to spin the design office and yard back up again. Partly as a consequence this production of the whole class, along with the Dreadnought's  and the SSN(R) to follow is on a scheduled 'drumbeat' to pace the whole business out and avoid future gaps in activity.  The estimate I heard was that Barrow had the yard time to build another 2 Astutes before Dreadnought, if they'd been the need. 

I would agree that some form of dual crewing is the most likely and a commitment of two boats might well mean only one on station down here at any one time. I also can't help notice Trenchant and Talant were only decommissioned in May last year - they might be in a position to be reactivated to bring back into the mix?   

I sadly doubt it, they are getting pretty long in the tooth. They undoubtedly would need an overhaul, and due to their age (they are well over 30 years old now) its likely they are going to find it hard to get spares for some components. Triumph is reportedly still active though, im not quite sure for how long. Judging by the TV series on one of the last Trafalgars, and how often it broke down, it most likely is not something you want guys to learn on. Fires, mechanical failure, etc etc.

Yeah, I guess its most likely going to be one on station, thats a long frigging way. I suppose the advantage though, that does give the RN one hell of a lot of coverage of the worlds oceans transiting to and from Oz. 'Oh im sorry Mr PRC, we had an Astute in the Spratleys? Well he was on transition to Australia. Yes, we know it isnt particularly on the way, but you know what Satnavs are like....'

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On 3/4/2023 at 4:36 PM, Colin said:

We are kicking this subject around on Canadian military forums and the opinion amongst serving RCN types is that the RCN and politicians do not have the safety and performance culture to safely run nuclear powered subs. The willingness to cut corners to satisfy operational needs is a major issue and one that is going to be a major issue soon with our surface fleet. You really need a Rickover to create the level of professionalism to run these boats.

I think the (failure) culture you need to operate SSNs safely will be a lot closer to the culture you have in aviation than to a standard navy environment. And based on experience, if you deploy with helicopters on warships, that is a clash of cultures.

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So media leaks began today ahead of the expected Monday announcement.  Substantially, reports say that Australia will purchase "as many as five" Virginia-class boats while a UK-Australia design is completed for service well into the next decade.  

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2 hours ago, PCallahan said:

So media leaks began today ahead of the expected Monday announcement.  Substantially, reports say that Australia will purchase "as many as five" Virginia-class boats while a UK-Australia design is completed for service well into the next decade.  

That '5' is a strain on my credulity, that the US would let so many go, that we would buy so many of a class and then switch streams and suppliers ... I dunno. We might lease 5 perhaps or something like that, but SSN's seem a little too weighty to go flitting about with like that - in peacetime. I suppose that is the kicker at the end of the day, all problems are soluble in money IF the need is strong enough.  

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22 hours ago, Stuart Galbraith said:

... 'Oh im sorry Mr PRC, we had an Astute in the Spratleys? Well he was on transition to Australia. Yes, we know it isnt particularly on the way, but you know what Satnavs are like....'

I dunno, draw a straight line from the UK to say HMAS Stirling ... runs pretty much right through the middle of China. And the Spratly islands. Seems reasonable to me.

768px-Azimuthal_equidistant_projection_S

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13 minutes ago, Coldsteel said:

I dunno, draw a straight line from the UK to say HMAS Stirling ... runs pretty much right through the middle of China. And the Spratly islands. Seems reasonable to me.


If you don't much care about ice, you can Great Circle from the UK direct to NZ and on around to do a full circumnavigation )

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1 hour ago, Coldsteel said:

I dunno, draw a straight line from the UK to say HMAS Stirling ... runs pretty much right through the middle of China. And the Spratly islands. Seems reasonable to me.

768px-Azimuthal_equidistant_projection_S

 

Haha, of course you are right. I neglected to think like a fish. :)

3 hours ago, Argus said:

That '5' is a strain on my credulity, that the US would let so many go, that we would buy so many of a class and then switch streams and suppliers ... I dunno. We might lease 5 perhaps or something like that, but SSN's seem a little too weighty to go flitting about with like that - in peacetime. I suppose that is the kicker at the end of the day, all problems are soluble in money IF the need is strong enough.  

Yeah, cant see 5. That would require getting on for 700 sailors, along with all the dockside staff to maintain them. 

If they said they were going to put Australian officers and sailors on 5 USN SSN's to train them up, then that would make perfect sense to me. Although personally Id put the officers through the RN, just so you get them to Perisher.

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Actually the more I read of it and ponder the more sense it makes in that horribly back handed Yes Minister way. I think it comes down to which sticking points of the multitude are really immovable. 

If we stake our planetary orbit on the USN/Congressional lobby never ever under any circumstances letting any outside influence have any say in their submarine construction at all ever - and then throw that Australia needs some industrial input for good and serious reasons as a 'moon' to provide a counterpoise. Then it sort of falls into line.

Any SSN is better than no SSN, or an SSK for the RAN. The US is and has always been the obvious source for everything - but only if taking exactly what they have on offer and running them more or less out of US yards and mail ordering everything. AUKUS is breaking down the barriers a bit, its been touted as its greater benefit and far greater than the subs, but we'll see. As things stand buying US subs would be like the same deal the French offer to their clients,  a turn key lease in all but name. Which is fine for a prestige fleet but our actually works for a living, they rack up the sea time, they generate modifications as experience mounts up etc etc and that deal simply won't fly.  Meanwhile the RN simply do not have the numbers to readily afford an antipodean diversion - with less than 10x SSN's 1 is too big a slice for comfort, and 2x is pretty much gutting operational capability (which is what drove the 7 as a minimum in the first place). 

So the US is the only short term source this side of 2040. But it can't be the long term solution because internal issues will not let them open up the full package (its frankly amazing they are going this far IMHO). The UK is the only long term solution, but it can't help too much in the short term. If we accept the  game IS worth the candle, and the situation is serious enough to use money as a solvent rather than a glue... fuck that is a scary place... but this deal makes sense, its actually bloody awesome.

In the short term we can turn over the whole fleet pretty much as fast as the intuition (RAN) can absorb the change, and do so even faster than originally anticipated. In the long term we have a sustainable solution. 

Edited by Argus
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13 minutes ago, Argus said:

Actually the more I read of it and ponder the more sense it makes in that horribly back handed Yes Minister way. I think it comes down to which sticking points of the multitude are really immovable. 

If we stake our planetary orbit on the USN/Congressional lobby never ever under any circumstances letting any outside influence have any say in their submarine construction at all ever - and then throw that Australia needs some industrial input for good and serious reasons as a 'moon' to provide a counterpoise. Then it sort of falls into line.

Any SSN is better than no SSN, or an SSK for the RAN. The US is and has always been the obvious source for everything - but only if taking exactly what they have on offer and running them more or less out of US yards and mail ordering everything. AUKUS is breaking down the barriers a bit, its been touted as its greater benefit and far greater than the subs, but we'll see. As things stand buying US subs would be like the same deal the French offer to their clients,  a turn key lease in all but name. Which is fine for a prestige fleet but our actually works for a living, they rack up the sea time, they generate modifications as experience mounts up etc etc and that deal simply won't fly.  Meanwhile the RN simply do not have the numbers to readily afford an antipodean diversion - with less than 10x SSN's 1 is too big a slice for comfort, and 2x is pretty much gutting operational capability (which is what drove the 7 as a minimum in the first place). 

So the US is the only short term source this side of 2040. But it can't be the long term solution because internal issues will not let them open up the full package (its frankly amazing they are going this far IMHO). The UK is the only long term solution, but it can't help too much in the short term. If we accept the  game IS worth the candle, and the situation is serious enough to use money as a solvent rather than a glue... fuck that is a scary place... but this deal makes sense, its actually bloody awesome.

In the short term we can turn over the whole fleet pretty much as fast as the intuition (RAN) can absorb the change, and do so even faster than originally anticipated. In the long term we have a sustainable solution. 

Im not sure thats entirely true. From what I read the RN is suffering a shortfall (like the rest of the services) in manpower and retention. An influx of several hundred Australians to fill out the Submarine Service would if anything benefit both of us, because we could transfer some of the guys filling berths to the surface navy. And to be honest, I see no problem in letting at least the seamen on board the SSBN's, because seamen never know where they are anyway. If the objective is to teach them how to operate the kettle, it works just as well. So thats 5, plus Triumph (teach them damage control if nothing else...) and 3 or 4 Vanguards.

But as you say, politics, and I dont disagree.

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