Not exactly RAN news

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RussF172
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Not exactly RAN news

Postby RussF172 » 11 Apr 2016 16:54

A Japanese task group will arrive in Sydney on Friday the 15th of April for a visit over several days. The two destroyers will visit along with the first visit by a Japanese Navy SORYU class submarine. It is obviously on a PR/sales visit and I haven't heard but expect that it will probably transit to Adelaide also. This is also the first visit by a Japanese submarine to Sydney since the last time they visited in May 1942. I may not be politically correct, but I expect this visit to be much more cordial.
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Re: Not exactly RAN news

Postby SlatsSSN » 14 Apr 2016 10:49

Wondering what the press will make of it.

Is the German 216 option dead?

Cheers John
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Re: Not exactly RAN news

Postby MikeJames » 14 Apr 2016 11:37

Cabinet is still to be briefed on the options which are still under 'evaluation'.

Mod Soryu

Basically the RAN considers the mod-Soryu the probably best option, given it is a relatively minor alteration of an already in service design and is therefore considered the lowest technical risk of the three. That said however Japan has never transferred the technology for a sub (or ship) build to another country, so it is considered the highest project risk.

The RAN would probably be happy with the Soryu, particularly as it is a proven design in service.The RAN has operated with and against the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force's Soryu's and knows the capabilities the sub offers, they're quiet, capable and in service.

Short Fin Barracuda

The 'Short Fin Barracuda', which is the French proposal, is basically a conventional version of the new 'Suffren' class SSN, the first of class of which is currently under construction in France with a commissioning date of 2017. The technical risks of this proposal are rated as moderate, mostly centered around replacing the 150MW reactor with a battery system.

The Suffren is designed with a significantly higher 'hotel load' of power consumption based on the essentially unlimited power availability of the reactor, something a battery system can't match. This calls into question just what compromises will have to be made to adjust to the reduced power available. The proposal incorporates a pump-jet propulsor and a X tail. The project risks of the project are listed as moderate as the French have some experience in transferring the tech for local builds.

The RAN hasn't expressed a preference either way on the Short Fin Barracuda, though the pump-jet propulsor is a new capability that would be brought into RAN service with this design and is supposed to be extremely quiet.

The Type 216

Probably representing the biggest technical risk, given it is a paper design scaled up almost 100% from the preceding Type 212 (1800 tonnes submerged) and 214 classes (1900 tonnes submerged) compared to the 216s 4,000 tonnes submerged displacement. It is also 90 meters in length, compared to 57 meters (212) and 65 meters (214).

On the other hand the Germans have plenty of experience in transferring sub-building tech to other countries, including South Korea and Italy and are currently negotiating with Turkey for a local Type 214 build so project risk is assessed as low.

The RAN, given the issues that arose from the same problem with the Collins class (a paper design massively scaled up from an existing design) probably harbors the most reservations about the 216.

How much is that SSK in the window?

Ignore the quoted costs to build each contender, the build cost is almost irrelevant given the through-life support costs will be much larger than the build cost. Basically the country will build whichever sub is chosen no matter the cost.

Politics

Obviously politics is playing a massive part in this decision, given the costs of reconstituting a sub-building (as opposed to maintenance) capability at ASC. It has been reported that both the Japanese and the French are proposing building the first of class at home with ASC workers learning on the job, with the following subs built in SA. The Germans are reportedly saying all boats will be built in Australia. Cabinet will decide if that is an all-important part of the deal, especially with a tight election looming.

Virginia Class SSNs, the unlikely option

You will see in the comment section of any online article on the sub project in the papers a few nutters who keep banging on about buying Virginia class boats. These people haven't got a clue.

Firstly the Australian nuclear industry, such as it is, is completely unprepared to undertake the massive expansion required to support a fleet of Virginia's, even if major reactor work is carried out at Guam where the USNs Virginia's will be serviced. Plus the RAN would have to create from scratch a complete core of SSN-capable engineers who are rigorously trained to the exacting standards of the USNs reactor engineers. That's probably a decade's work right there. That's in addition to the requirement to build reactor support capabilities at HMAS Stirling and wherever else the RAN wants to base the subs.

Then there is the minor fact that the US has never offered to sell us Virginia class SSNs. Much like the Air Power Australia kooks who claim we should have bought the F22 Raptor over the F35, they ignore the fact that it was never available for sale to anyone. Same applies to the Virginia's. The USN has said it would assist the RAN to adopt nuclear technology if that was the way to go, what they meant was they would make reactor designs available to the RAN for a local sub in the same way they helped the RN get going in SSN technology back in the 1950s and 60s. At no time was a sale of Virginia's ever formally raised or discussed.

Finally, in addition to the immediately hostile reaction by the far left such as the Greens to anything that smacks of nuclear, there would have been an immediate political backlash as none of these subs would have been built in South Australia, instead being built on the US Virginia production line in the states, as taking advantage of the economies of scale the US Navy has with series production is the only way a Virginia class buy would have been even remotely economically feasible.

Hope this helps.

Mike
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MS Bremen -Expedition Cruise Ship Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.
MS Christina O.
MV Titan Uranus - Harbour Tug
Harbour Tug - (James Slater)

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HMS Liverpool D92 -Type 42 Batch 2 (1983)
HMS Iron Duke F234 - Type 23 (2019)
HMS Dragon D35 (Daring Class Air Warfare Destroyer)
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Re: Not exactly RAN news

Postby SlatsSSN » 14 Apr 2016 11:48

Thanks Mike
Excellent assessment.

Cheers John
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Re: Not exactly RAN news

Postby MikeJames » 18 Apr 2016 09:47

An update on the subs project.

The National Security Committee, a select group of Ministers and the Prime Minister, are likely to be briefed on the Navy's evaluation of the three sub contenders this week. Details are being very tightly held on Navy's recommendation, but I would put money on it being Soryu's,

I don't have inside knowledge or know all the specifics but it checks a whole pile of boxes, including strategic partnership with Japan, a tried and tested product, US approval to provide technology to go into the Suryu's, and a willingness by the Japanese to make this work.

Mind you I could be completely wrong about this too.

The media is suggesting an April 29 announcement, plus is also speculating that the government could make a simultaneous maritime capability announcement, selecting the short list of international tenderer s for the Future Frigates program and the Offshore Patrol Vessels. This would allow it to announce and campaign on a huge program of shipbuilding for South Australia.

Mike
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Re: Not exactly RAN news

Postby fastone045 » 19 Apr 2016 13:02

Also Mike it made it all the way to Sydney, something the others contenders have not done.
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Re: Not exactly RAN news

Postby MikeJames » 19 Apr 2016 13:42

A point not lost on many, I can assure you.

The NSC is considering the subs today.

Mike

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