Replacing the RAN's Harpoons

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MikeJames
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Replacing the RAN's Harpoons

Postby MikeJames » 23 Apr 2021 00:07

Thales Australia and Lockheed Martin have just signed a deal to develop a surface launched version of Lockheed Martin’s AGM-158C Long Range Anti-Ship Missile, to be built in Australia as part of the Government's plan to develop a missile manufacturing capability here in Australia.

This would make the new missile, tentatively designated Long Range Anti-Ship Missile - Surface Launch, LRASM-SL (though I suspect the Government will come up with some suitable Aboriginal name) as the most likely contender to replace Harpoon.

The new missile would be either canister launched, same as Harpoon, or VLS launched from the Mk 41 VLS and is expected to have a range of 300-400 nautical miles

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Re: Replacing the RAN's Harpoons

Postby SlatsSSN » 23 Apr 2021 12:40

Would the canisters be the same dimensions as the current canister launched Harpoons? Is there a time frame for replacement and installation?
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J
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MikeJames
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German SAR Launch DGzRS Berln
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Re: Replacing the RAN's Harpoons

Postby MikeJames » 23 Apr 2021 17:13

The agreement's only just been inked so no timeframe and no dimensions.

It can be fired from a Mk 41 VLS so its not that large
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MikeJames
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German SAR Launch DGzRS Berln
SS Geest Atlas (Building)
Location: Sydney
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Re: Replacing the RAN's Harpoons

Postby MikeJames » 19 May 2022 19:57

Don't know if this is a supplement to sub-launched Harpoon, or a replacement, but Navy is investigating the acquisition of Tomahawk missiles for use from the post-LOTE Collins class.

Australia To Upgrade Collins Submarines With Tomahawk Missiles
Naval News

Australia is looking at outfitting its in-service Collins-class submarines with Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles as part of their forthcoming Life of Type Extension (LOTE).

During a briefing on the sidelines of INDO PACIFIC 2022, Rear Admiral Peter Quinn, head of Navy Capability said that the Royal Australian Navy is “doing the work” to see if equipping the Collins with Tomahawk is feasible.

“We’re doing the work to look at what it would take to put Tomahawk into those [Collins class] ships” Admiral Quinn said.

As part of the LOTE program, starting in 2026, a single Collins class submarine will complete modernisation every two years. The LOTE upgrade, which is still in development, will see the ship’s power and propulsion systems overhauled, as well as their sensors upgraded.

Regarding the sensors, Naval News has learned that French company Safran Electronics and Defense was selected as “preferred bidder” to fit its non-penetrating Attack Optronic Mast for the Collins-class LOTE. The mast was already selected for the now cancelled Attack-class program. Safran told Naval News the company already successfully replaced legacy periscopes with next generation masts as part of the Swedish Gotland-class submarine Mid Life Update program (with which the Collins-class shares the same DNA, both classes being designed by Kockums).

If Tomahawk is selected as part of LOTE, the necessary hardware and software modifications to accommodate the advanced weapons will be undertaken during that time.

“During the program, ASC will replace the propulsion systems, diesel engines, generators, and the power conversion and distribution systems. There will be an optronics upgrade, a planned cooling system upgrade, and ASC will carry out a range of hull assessments. ASC will integrate the new equipment into the existing command and control system.”

Because the Collins class lacks a Vertical Launch System (VLS) any integration of Tomahawk would require the procurement of torpedo tube-launched variants, such as those utilised by the Royal Navy (RN).

Naval News understands that the tube-launched variant of Tomahawk is currently not in production any more. Raytheon would likely be OK in starting production again, should there be a significant demand for the missile. The RN could consider a “group buy” with the RAN.

Contacted by Naval News for comments, submarine expert H I Sutton said:
“The Collins class is one of the largest non-nuclear submarines and has a relatively large weapons load. Carrying Tomahawks aboard is thus not as challenging as on smaller submarines. The adjustments to the weapons stowage and handling would be minor. The U.S. made combat system, which connects to the weapons launch, would need to be upgraded. But this is to be expected during the LOTE anyway. The Tomahawks will provide the RAN with a ‘first night’ strike capability which could be employed in both tactical and strategic scenarios.”

The Opposition Labor party has previously committed to looking at equipping the Collins-class submarines with Tomahawks in a bid to avoid a potential capability gap. This is, however, the first public confirmation that the Australian Department of Defence itself is looking at the possibility as part of the LOTE.

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