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Does Australia need Long Range Firepower

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Does Australia need Long Range Firepower

Old 1st Jul 2020, 10:33
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Does Australia need Long Range Firepower

We just bough some new wizz bang long range area denial missiles. But do we need a great reach with our airforce than the limp wristed F35 or F18E can provide. Failing a new version of the B1, do we need something like the F15EX.

It seems like nuclear subs are also quetly comming on the agenda.

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Old 1st Jul 2020, 10:51
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It seems like nuclear subs are also quetly comming on the agenda
Do you have a source for that info ? I very much doubt Australia has any intention of acquiring either nuclear powered or nuclear armed subs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack-class_submarine
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Old 1st Jul 2020, 11:25
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“Australia needs to seriously consider moving to a nuclear-powered submarine force because, in the rapidly changing circumstances of the region, it is the best solution to meet the Royal Australian Navy’s demanding strategic and operational requirements.

https://www.defenceconnect.com.au/ma...licy-community

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/au...ew-submarines/
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Old 1st Jul 2020, 11:55
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Interesting, but despite advice from any number of well informed sources, I'd be very surprised if the politicians give nuclear powered subs the green light.
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Old 1st Jul 2020, 11:59
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I read about these underwater drones (battery powered) that have a range of thousands of kilometers - they mostly glide underwater, downwards when the ballast tanks are full and glide upwards when empty, they even have solar panels to take up a charge when resting on the surface. Too small and too quiet for detection as they go about gathering their intel.
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Old 1st Jul 2020, 12:41
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Originally Posted by TWT View Post
Interesting, but despite advice from any number of well informed sources, I'd be very surprised if the politicians give nuclear powered subs the green light.
So would I.

Point is, not that long ago nobody would waste their time even bringing it up.
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Old 1st Jul 2020, 17:37
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Originally Posted by TWT View Post
Interesting, but despite advice from any number of well informed sources, I'd be very surprised if the politicians give nuclear powered subs the green light.
I saw what you did there - nice play on words.

FWIW a cheaper way to go for longer endurance is AIP on a diesel submarine.
That tech is a few decades old, and is affordable. (Swedish, German, and Russian subs have all successfully demonstrated that kit)
Put a nuke tip on a Tomahawk, or similar submarine munition, and Bob's your uncle if what your Navy wants is a sub carried means to deliver a bucket of sunshine somewhere.
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Old 1st Jul 2020, 19:07
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Lonewolf, as you know, the nuclear has the advantage when it comes to mobility ie high speed transit.
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Old 2nd Jul 2020, 00:15
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Here's one of the two documents that form the latest Defence White paper update:
https://www.defence.gov.au/Strategic...cture_Plan.pdf
The plans are ambitious, but my personal view is China will move faster than Australia will be able to develop the sort of capabilities that it needs.
I think any future engagement with China would largely be a skirmish based air-sea battle beyond visual range.
I absolutely agree the ADF needs long range force projection far in excess of what it has now.
The AGM-158 is a good start.
Some kind of diesel-electric boat - ideally unmanned is needed for the shallow waters of the South China sea - nuclear boats are too big to get close.
But the RAN does need nuclear boats with at least long range conventionally tipped cruise missiles to hold China at threat - US leased or procured.
By the time it arrives, the Collins successor will be a big lumbering out of date target.
I personally think Australia needs a full nuclear deterrent, but it'll never fly with the public or politicians.
And the idea that they'll be able to develop or even procure a domestic anti-ballistic missile system or hypersonic glide vehicles in a decade is laughable.
If you think US or UK defence procurement is a clvster**** - I'd argue Australia's is exponentially worse.
They'll still be fighting over the agenda for the committee meeting or trying to sort out problems with Zoom as the first Chinese landing craft hit the beaches.
The next 10 years are going to be a continuation of muddling through, and hoping like hell the US will step up if the CCP get too aggressive...
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Old 2nd Jul 2020, 05:41
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Originally Posted by WingNut60 View Post
Does Australia need?? Apparently Donald thinks so.
Donald wouldn't call the shots at this level WingNut. Way above his pay grade. Just because he's got the title of President doesn't mean he has supreme control.
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Old 2nd Jul 2020, 06:25
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Our US friends can confirm (or not) but my understanding is that the President of the USA is also Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces.

https://www.justice.gov/file/20626/download
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Old 2nd Jul 2020, 11:59
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Originally Posted by cattletruck View Post
I read about these underwater drones (battery powered) that have a range of thousands of kilometers - they mostly glide underwater, downwards when the ballast tanks are full and glide upwards when empty, they even have solar panels to take up a charge when resting on the surface. Too small and too quiet for detection as they go about gathering their intel.
And too slow and too comms limited to provide anything tactically useful beyond good environmental data
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Old 2nd Jul 2020, 13:44
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Originally Posted by Pontius Navigator View Post
Lonewolf, as you know, the nuclear has the advantage when it comes to mobility ie high speed transit.
To be sure, but that speed comes at a significant cost premium and isn't as necessary if you are assessing a regional security situation rather than a global one. The problem (force structure wise) then becomes one of numbers.
When your strategic situation is primarily local regional defense and small expeditionary operations within a region, the dash capacity isn't as critical "to get there" but one still does run into the patrol length problem in any event when using non nukes. Nukes can stay out a lot longer.
Depending on your regional coverage requirements, and your need to have an asset 'positioned within X nm of operations zone Y' (since we are not talking an ICBM style of capability in my suggestion) you will eventually discover a rotation scheme that will probably increase the number of boats, total, and manpower, total, one would need to establish at least a credible deterrent of the kind I mentioned.
Still cheaper than running nukes, though.

Establishing the infrastructure and industrial plant for a nuclear powered sub fleet is bloody expensive. That is one of the factors that led the Government of India to eventually return the Charlies to the Soviets that had been lent/tried out in the 80's. (There was some question at the time of them choosing to establish an autonomous capability ... but it's been a few years, I think I need to follow up on that ...)

More than one way to peel the onion; most national ecnomies can't or won't afford that nuclear capability. The up front costs are non trivial.
I'd expect to see the Japanese do it long before the Aussies.

Last edited by Lonewolf_50; 2nd Jul 2020 at 14:07.
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Old 2nd Jul 2020, 13:49
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Originally Posted by Pontius Navigator View Post
Lonewolf, as you know, the nuclear has the advantage when it comes to mobility ie high speed transit.
The flip side being a nuke is louder, more expensive to purchase, maintain and then dispose of.

Not to mention the hoopla and hurdles on civilian buy off.
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Old 2nd Jul 2020, 15:18
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The F15E has great performance, it is very proven, can carry a good load over longer distances, and it is a flying radar reflector

It can easily can be spotted & tracked from far, by so-so radar systems.

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Old 2nd Jul 2020, 17:50
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Originally Posted by West Coast View Post
The flip side being a nuke is louder, more expensive to purchase, maintain and then dispose of.

Not to mention the hoopla and hurdles on civilian buy off.
The RN just park theirs near major towns when they're out of service
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Old 3rd Jul 2020, 05:15
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I believe Lang Hancock had something to say about nuclear missile defence of Australia.
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Old 3rd Jul 2020, 07:13
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Originally Posted by keesje View Post
The F15E has great performance, it is very proven, can carry a good load over longer distances, and it is a flying radar reflector

It can easily can be spotted & tracked from far, by so-so radar systems.
A manned aircraft is not the answer, a variant of the Loyal Wingman is.
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Old 3rd Jul 2020, 17:16
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I guess the question is where are you going to fight and who are you fighting?

It's hard to see the Red Army ploughing through Indonesia so you're thinking of fighting the Chinese Navy and Air Force somewhere north of Indonesia & PNG. You have to ask if that is likely or effective unless you are fighting alongside the USA - in which case Australia is going to be a bit of a side-show to the main action which will take place much further north - Taiwan and the N Pacific
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Old 6th Jul 2020, 02:37
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Originally Posted by Asturias56 View Post
I guess the question is where are you going to fight and who are you fighting?

It's hard to see the Red Army ploughing through Indonesia so you're thinking of fighting the Chinese Navy and Air Force somewhere north of Indonesia & PNG. You have to ask if that is likely or effective unless you are fighting alongside the USA - in which case Australia is going to be a bit of a side-show to the main action which will take place much further north - Taiwan and the N Pacific
Yes. This is true. Policy seems pretty clear we won't be operating on our own. We will be operating with traditional and emerging allies.

Though no matter what the scenario, the RAAF will need to be mobile, potentially dispersed and expeditionary. Otherwise, the F35's are an airborne Maginot Line if solely Australian based. Operating from Indonesian or New Guinea bases, or from Malaysia and Singapore, the RAAF can patrol or interdict primary and secondary shipping lanes ( as was done in WW2 ) which are critical to China. I've attached a wayward article from Forbes has a nice map showing the huge distances involved.


There's considerable logic in a big, heavy fighter bomber like the new F15 if we are planning to fight a second rate power in the Indonesian archipelago. But China is all but named as the threat. And the F15's role was to work with the range limited F35's and Growlers anyways.


The Australian Air Force Can Send Just Two Fighters Into Battle With China

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