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Old 16th Sep 2021, 11:03
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Coincidentally, the BBC documentary ‘How to Build a Nuclear Submarine’ is repeated on BBC4 next Sunday. It follows the construction of an Astute Class submarine and the many highly skilled jobs and apprenticeships it supports.
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 11:08
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Originally Posted by Not_a_boffin
Any UK expertise might well be in helping the Aussies set up the build, support and safety infrastructure needed. It's non-trivial.
That would be my guess as well.
In the not too distant future the residents of Barrow might be getting to hear the sound of Aussie accents on a regular basis around town....??
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 11:58
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Some years ago I was at a seminar where Ziggy Switowski (then head of the ANSTO) was one of the speakers. From memory he thought that it would take Australia 20(?) years to develop self-sufficiency in the expertise required to support a nuclear industry i.e. be able to design, build, operate, then decommission, a nuclear power station. Presumably a slightly simpler set of problems than nuclear power plants in a maritime environment.

I assume the RAN will be using existing nuclear technology but, even if sailors are despatched tomorrow (or 'yesterday'?), I would imagine there will need to be a few British and / or US accents on the Australian submarines for some time. It may even be an ongoing requirement for Australia to get access to the technology.
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 12:06
  #64 (permalink)  
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Australia submarine deal: France's Naval Group expresses 'great diasppointment

French shipbuilder Naval Group issued the following statement:

Naval Group takes note of the decision of the Australian authorities to acquire a fleet of nuclear submarines in collaboration with the United States and the United Kingdom.

The Commonwealth decided not to proceed with the next phase of the program. This is a major disappointment for Naval Group, which was offering Australia a regionally superior conventional submarine with exceptional performances.

Naval Group was also offering Australia a sovereign submarine capability making unrivalled commitments in terms of technology transfer, jobs and local content.

For five years, Naval Group teams, both in France and in Australia, as well as our partners, have given their best and Naval Group has delivered on all its commitments.

The analysis of the consequences of this sovereign Australian decision will be conducted with the Commonwealth of Australia in the coming days.
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 12:08
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Originally Posted by tartare
At an ADFA open day a few years ago, I had a long discussion with a senior RAN submariner.
He hinted they already spend a lot of time cruising around in the South China sea itself - shallow water.
The supposed rationale for diesel electric boats was primarily that they are quieter and smaller than nuclear boats.
The current quietest sub in the world is Swedish and diesel/electric.
I suspect that in the classified world - the capability of long range UUVs is getting to the point that nuclear mother boat will be able to sit in deeper water for months and dispatch loyal seamen (tee hee) to sneak in and do the ultra quiet shallow water stuff.
I wonder whether the RAN will get off the shelf Virginia class boats, or the Astute class and what the weapon load out will be.
The Swedish technology uses a Stirling engine for AIP (air independent power), and according to this article, is battery-powered, not Diesel-powered when it needs to run fast:

The German U212A class uses Diesel-electric for speed and fuel cells for quiet AIP:

More background on how these rather small, quiet, shallow-water boats are used here (sorry, you'll need to use autotranslate):

It does not seem clear which ones are the most quiet. While the first and fourth link mention Swedish AIP and older German Diesel-powered (non AIP) boats breching US defenses in manouvres, this article seems to say the Americans consider theirs to be the most quiet, followed on the heels by Russian boats:
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 12:09
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NZ has been cosying up to China for some time. Immigration policy has looked favourably on Chinese businessmen and investors to the detriment of skilled workers and professionals. Check out the air traffic on FR24, despite the blanket ban on pax arrivals traffic between China and NZ barely missed a beat throughout the pandemic and continues apace. I'm with ORAC on the possibility that NZ will have to come down off the fence pretty soon and depending on which side they land will depend on whether one of the five eyes develops cataracts.
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 12:47
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A possible next step could be to "Forward base" either Agamemnon or Agincourt (Boats 7 or 8) in Oz to with mixed crews for give the RAN experience of SSN ops, with the option to buy/lease downstream or replace with locally built derivatives.
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 13:09
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If China is so outraged and innocent why is it selling submarines to Thailand (What's the threat to Thailand that it need these weapons?)

The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) is set to receive three Type 039B Yuan-class submarines from China at a total cost of US$1.1 billion.
The Deal now on hold as Thailand is broke however seems it now has an offer of Buy 2 get one free!!!!

PS from Wikipedia Type 39A Sub
Combat control systemsChina was known to have imported the Thales TSM 2233 ELEDONE / DSUV-22 and Thales TSM 2255 / DUUX-5 from France during the 1980s and early 1990s. It also has access to a wide range of modern Russian sonar systems (MG-519 MOUSE ROAR, MGK-500 SHARK GILL) through its purchase of the Kilo class. Comparable systems are expected to be copied for the Type 039A. It is likely to be fitted with a comparable surface/air search radar similar to the MRK-50 SNOOP TRAY, a commercial navigation radar like a Furuno unit observed on a number of SONG class and ESM system is comparable to the Type 921A.

No wonder the French are upset they want to sell the stuff to both sides............................

Last edited by orionsbelt; 16th Sep 2021 at 13:19. Reason: Include the extract from Wikipedia
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 13:38
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Originally Posted by Not_a_boffin
Our industrial base struggles to deliver our own boats - let alone anyone else's. While welcome in strategic terms, this is going to pose a real risk to UK capabilities - primarily in manpower terms.

Any UK expertise might well be in helping the Aussies set up the build, support and safety infrastructure needed. It's non-trivial.
Agreed but just to be clear, I'm certainly not suggesting any Astute-based solution would involve build at Barrow. If what you're saying is that we don't have the wherewithal to support Australia in setting up and running an Astute build facility in Australia then you may be right I guess - we'll just have to see what pans out. Overall I'd agree that the UK is most likely in line for crumbs from the table - but for the reasons I mentioned an Astute scenario exists, even if only just...
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 13:39
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This seems to have annoyed both China and France - what's not to like? As for Australians visiting Barrow - one feels for them.
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 13:47
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In other news, England has just leapfrogged France in the FIFA world rankings. It never rains...
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 13:58
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Maybe Oz offered the UK the option to base its subs their when Scotland eventually goes independent and declares itself nuke-free. Our deterrent doesn't need to be based in the Atlantic.

PS I wonder if the France option is still on the table?...
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 18:00
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As a choice I think it's the right one - the RAN need long range and endurance - not something you get with a diesel.

The big problem is building the damn things - the UK has been building them since the '50's and still has problems - "Audacious" spent 4 years working up due to "emergent technical issues" in a class that is over 4 years old.

There are some nice people in Port Adelaide but the yard has had issues before completing high tech warships

Would the US sell them direct?
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 20:06
  #74 (permalink)  
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Sir Humphrey….

Underway on Nuclear Power - AUKUS and Australian Nuclear Submarines

….There are challenges though to delivering this vision. Firstly, nuclear submarines are extremely expensive and need heavy investment to build and deliver – the challenge Australia will face is working out a strategy that finds sufficient skilled workers to build them, and put the supporting infrastructure in place.

It may be a challenging task, particularly at a time when there is already an extremely ambitious naval construction programme underway in Australia with the Type 26 frigate. Additionally, this is going to need to be an open ended building programme – as the UK and US have found, shutting down construction yards for nuclear submarine construction makes for a very expensive experience when you need to reopen it.

If Australia is serious about becoming, and remaining, a nuclear navy, then it will need to think carefully about building timescales, and essentially always having an SSN in the construction plan to prevent the yards closing. Once closed, the cost to reopen is astronomical – but this in turn may pose significant challenges for the Australian defence budget.

A wider challenge will be putting the infrastructure in place for berthing and supporting these vessels, which will be expensive and require major changes. It will also need a significant retraining and skills uplift in the navy and its support staff to ensure that they can maintain and support these vessels.

The challenge will be in both finding and training these staff, and also potentially handling the nationality restrictions imposed on access to nuclear material. As a nation built on immigrants, it may prove challenging to find the right blend of people who can satisfy the security vetting criteria that they can have access to the highly sensitive nuclear areas and work.

Finding enough crew will also be hard – the Australians have long staffed their military through both local recruitment and the encouraging of former UK (and other) nationals to join for a second career – they are hard worked for a few years, then retire on a good salary and citizenship. The pool of nuclear submariners is small though, so the first challenge is finding them locally, then not poaching too many from the UK or US, a move which may cause tensions if too many British submariners were to ‘jump ship’ to join the RAN.

Finally there is a wider issue of keeping the focus to ensure this project is delivered – realistically this is a 10-20 year project to acquire and build sufficient nuclear submarines to provide a credible capability. Having the focus, resources and political desire to do this, even as the bills mount up and opposition grows is going to be a challenge. Hopefully it happens, but it may not. There is always a slim chance that billions will be spent, and that the Australians will have nothing to show for it (perhaps they should follow the UK example and call the SSN’s the ‘AJAX’ class?)………
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Old 16th Sep 2021, 23:43
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Thank you for those posts Orac.
The Astute class would seem to be quite a capable boat.
And the French will likely get a slice of the pie anyway - given the 2076 sonar is developed by Thales!
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Old 17th Sep 2021, 06:13
  #76 (permalink)  
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Old 17th Sep 2021, 07:00
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There seems to be a real worry in Europe, not least in France, that this is the UK turning its eyes, and it’s military, to the Pacific - and realising how much they need the UK strategically. Not sure if the joint declaration on AUKUS being so close to this meeting was a coincidence or deliberate.

Might have been more appropriate in the EU army thread - but also fits here.

Back in the day the UK, along with the USA, was involved in not only NATO but also CENTO and SEATO. The latter two withered on the vine. One wonders what the rise of AUKUS will mean for the former as the focus shifts back to the Pacific.

Dutch leader Mark Rutte will invite Britain to join deal with EU

Boris Johnson will be offered a pact with the European Union on defence and security co-operation today during a meeting in Downing Street with Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister…..

“Afghanistan is a catalyst for further discussion on European defence co-operation, preferably including the UK,” a diplomatic source said. “Since Brexit, not enough European leaders have been in touch with Johnson. It is important to look at the geopolitics without being divided and there is a need to work with the UK.”

France and Germany support the initiative and EU sources have suggested that Downing Street is more receptive to talks after British tensions arose with President Biden……

Rutte will make the offer despite French anger over a security pact between Australia, the US and Britain. The EU regards the issue as primarily a trade dispute over Australia’s decision to drop a submarine contract with France rather than a strategic question.…..

Dutch, French and other European governments back greater co-operation with Britain to overcome European dependency on the US for airlifts, evacuation of nationals and emergency humanitarian assistance.

Doing a deal with the UK is integral to European plans to develop a rapid reaction force to intervene independently of the US to ensure aid is delivered and evacuations carried out in a crisis……

The EU yesterday expressed “regret” that neither the Americans nor the British had consulted European capitals over the new alliance with Australia to counter China but it played down the significance of the row.

Borrell [the EU’s foreign affairs chief] said: “I understand the extent to which the French government must be disappointed. We regret not being informed.”

He said that the EU foreign ministers would discuss the agreement and the French would call for European navies to increase their military presence in the region.

“EU foreign and defence ministers will be pressing for an increase of our presence in the Indo-Pacific and enhanced defence of our interests in the region,” Borrell said. “I am not saying we should send a European fleet in but we should have vessels there.”

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Old 17th Sep 2021, 07:20
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Given how "successful" (not!) decades of Green et al protests around Faslane have been in blunting the British R boats and now V boats, methinks that there is not much there to worry about
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Old 17th Sep 2021, 07:30
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The Sir Humphrey post hits most of the nails on the head - yes its a great idea BUT can the Aussies carry it through over a 20 year period?
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Old 17th Sep 2021, 07:41
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Reinforcing the French/EU angle….

AUKUS deal showing France and EU that Biden not all he seems

What is the AUKUS alliance and what are its implications?

Jilted France cancels events over lost submarine deal

Biden shuns EU with Asia-Pacific power play

Last edited by ORAC; 17th Sep 2021 at 08:07.
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