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Australia to build new naval fleet with $65 Billion Package


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Hello Mark:

First, I am not convinced DCNS is offering its "intermediate" frigate to Canada. The Defense News article you quoted only states that it is being offered to Australia as a substitute for the FREMM offering. I quote: "DCNS is also offering Australia its planned intermediate frigate, as the FREMM is much bigger than the Anzac, which displaces around 3,500 tons, Boy said. The intermediate warship could be around 4,200 tons, and could be extended 3, 6 or 9 meters to displace up to 4,600 tons, depending on the requirement and budget."

Now, where does this "planned" intermediate frigate come from? It's the replacement being studied in France right now for the overseas territory security and they would replace the La Fayette class and the Floreal class. The French consider these ships light general purpose vessels for low to medium risk environments. The replacements are planned to be able to face the same threat environments.

It's interesting to note the continuation of size inflation in the "entry" level blue water combat vessels currently going on about everywhere. The Floreal displace about 3,000 tons and the La Fayette's about 3,600 tons, but will both be replaced by the "intermediate" 4,500 tons DCNS design. Meanwhile, the current French navy ASW destroyers of the Georges Leygue class and AD destroyers of the Cassard class, both of approx. 4,500 tons, are being replaced by the FREMM's of about 6,000 tons. Meanwhile also, in Italy, the PPA you mentioned, at about 4,200 tons (size of an IRO), will replace three classes of patrol ships that weighed in at about 1,500 - 1,600 tons.

As for the said P.P.A., as I mentioned, they are weird animals. For one thing, they will have CODAG propulsion, something unheard of on offshore patrol vessels. It is an actual frigate/destroyer set up, and much more expansive that a diesel only power plant. But I guess it is required to achieve the electricity generation they wished to provide  from ship to shore in the disaster assistance role. So if you are going to fit a gas turbine, may as well use it for propulsion also. Besides, it gives you speeds of 32+ knots, a very Italian thing (They insist all of their ships be fast, as compared to other nation's similar classes. Its an Italian thing: looking and acting dashing is more important than results, I suppose  :)). But such speed then means that you have to build the hull with full mil-spec high tensile steel instead of the ordinary medium tensile steel used in patrol vessels and merchant ships. That is also going to increase price. So each P.P.A. will be a lot more expansive than current high end Offshore Patrol Vessels being used and built around the world.

The second thing about the P.P.A. is that it is not an "adaptable" design that lets you switch from the general purpose "light" version that is for patrols, lightly armed, and capable of variations with fitted containers for disaster relief, humanitarian missions, and so forth, to the "full" version which is armed and equipped with supplementary high end sensors for "front line" service as a capable corvette level ship. You buy one OR the other, but they can't be both, and you cannot "switch" between the two types as you go along.

For the first batch of six (and we don't know if the extra four will ever be purchased), the Italians are getting five "light" version and only one of the "full" version. They are getting that last one purely for evaluation purposes, to see IF Fincantieri's claims of usefulness as a "front line" ship is true and if they could then be purchased as cheaper replacement for the Lupo's and a couple of the Maestrale's that would then not need to be replaced by more expansive FREMM's.

The level of sensors and armament of the "full" P.P.A., however, make them less than useful for Canada's or Australia's needs. As I said, it is at the "corvette" level: The "full" version has a limited long range Anti-air sensor capability. It also has no real ASW sensor suite to speak of. The "full" P.P.A. is basically a well rounded surface warfare vessel with anti-air self-protection capability. It cannot be called a General purpose fighting ship.   


Army.ca Fixture
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Oldgateboatdriver: Thanks for very informative and comprehensive post--that Scuderia Ferrari complex :) :


Battleship Littorio (45,410 tons and 30 knots) in Taranto harbour, Summer 1942



Army.ca Fixture
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Type 26 GCS for Australia?

Defense News

BAE, Fincantieri and Navantia ships on Australian shortlist
Nigel Pittaway, Defense News 9:21 a.m. EDT April 18, 2016

MELBOURNE, Australia — Australian Defence Minister Senator Marise Payne has announced that proposals from BAE Systems, Fincantieri and Navantia have been shortlisted for the country’s program to build nine new frigates for the Royal Australian Navy.

The BAE Systems Global Combat Ship, based on the Type 26 frigate; Fincantieri’s anti-submarine warfare FREMM (Fregata Europea Multi-Missione) and a redesigned version of Navantia’s Álvaro de Bazán (F100) class vessel are vying for the $35 billion (US $27 billion) program.



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Re above, RAN and DoD desk wallahs and boffins had quite a few peeps in UK for T26 work a few years ago. All concerned, and later their bosses in Canberra, were very happy with everything. Last I heard that was still the case, but who know?

Re subs, following report from the weekend. BTW the repeated claim about US encouragement of the Soryu boats for RAN is 100 per cent b#$&!^%t. A sacked public servant named Andrew Shearer made that claim last year, and while not journo has troubled himself to actually check, it has been repeated ad nauseum. Again, it's bull.

Japanese unlikely to supply our submarines

Hamish McDonald
14 April 2016

Australia’s new submarine looks like it will be das boot. Not quite 74 years ago, three Japanese midget submarines crept into Sydney Harbour and created havoc. The odds of making it back safely out to the ocean were very low and in the end all six crewmen died. This weekend, the JS Hakuryu becomes the first Japanese submarine to arrive in Sydney since then. Its mission is salesmanship rather than attack, but the chances of success are also slim.

The word in Canberra is that the Japanese bid to get its Sōryū-class submarine, for which the Hakuryu is the demonstration model, chosen as the basic design of the Royal Australian Navy’s future submarine is likely to be rejected.

The Defence Department is understood to have completed the “competitive evaluation process” called for by former prime minister Tony Abbott a year ago after his secret “captain’s call” in favour of Sōryū boats built in Japan caused a mutiny in Coalition ranks. Its recommendation will shortly go to the national security committee of Malcolm Turnbull’s cabinet.

With intensifying expectation Turnbull will call a July election soon after the May 3 budget speech, the defence industry is bracing itself for an announcement on not only a decision that the 12 new submarines will be built in Adelaide (that’s been more or less announced already, though the evaluation is supposed to look at an overseas as well as a domestic build, in addition to hybrid options) but the selection of the foreign development partner.

The Japanese submarine seemed to have a lot going for it. The Sōryū-class is the only one of three contending models that’s already in the water. Germany’s Type-216 is a proposed enlargement of other submarines in production. The French offer is a conventional-powered version of its Shortfin Barracuda nuclear submarine.

Strong suggestions have been coming from the United States in favour of the Sōryū, because it would tighten strategic links between its two main Pacific allies, and because of worries about leakage of secrets about American combat systems and weaponry via the more export-oriented European shipbuilders. “In terms of demonology in the Pentagon, the ranking is France, Germany and Japan,” says a senior Australian figure with high-level access to US defence thinking.

Canberra is insisting the choice will be based purely on technology. And on closer study of its highly secret capabilities, the Sōryū-class has one big drawback. It’s superbly suited for lurking around North-East Asia, and diving deeper than just about any other naval submarine into ocean trenches. Yet its patrol range, about 6000 nautical miles, is less than the 9000-mile range of the RAN’s existing Collins-class, and its transit speed much slower. It would need substantial modification to install the bigger fuel load for the RAN’s requirements, and more engine power. Then there are the tasks of fitting a US combat system and array of torpedoes and missiles.

Still smarting from the experience of Adelaide’s ASC shipyard working with Spain’s Navantia on the RAN’s three air warfare destroyers − three years behind in delivery and about $1 billion over budget − the Defence Department also worries about the work-culture mix if Mitsubishi partners ASC in building the new submarines.

Increasingly, defence circles think the bid by Germany’s ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems looks the safer bet. An associated German shipyard provided the design and back-up for the RAN’s trouble-free Anzac-class frigate program. TKMS has built about 160 submarines since 1960, including 50 in the local yards of foreign navy customers, not to mention the hundreds of U-boats turned out by its predecessors in Kiel. At least the Americans won’t have to work with the French. 

Turnbull would have been able to assure his Chinese hosts in Shanghai and Beijing this week that it’s a purely technical decision, and nothing to with them throwing their weight around with Japan and other Asian friends.

It all makes Abbott’s handshake deal with Japan’s Shinzō Abe look even more reckless than it was, landing the RAN with what would have been an unsuitable submarine as well as massively contributing to the deindustrialisation of Australia, not to mention disappointing the expectations raised with Japanese friends.

That being said, the specifications of the new submarine are all about China: being able to patrol up to its coastline, and in the most dire contingency being able to lob a cruise missile into Communist Party headquarters.

Link to site here  -  https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/world/south-and-central-asia/2016/04/16/japanese-unlikely-supply-our-submarines/14607288003128


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An update on the future frigate program:

Navy Recognition

Monday, 29 August 2016 07:04 
Navantia signs the Future Frigate Participant Services Contract for Australia's SEA 5000 Program

The Commonwealth of Australia and Navantia have signed an agreement for the Risk Reduction and Design Study (RRDS) Phase for the SEA 5000 Future Frigate Program. This is part of the Competitive Evaluation Process (CEP) being conducted by the Australian Department of Defence for the SEA5000 Future Frigate Program. The Commonwealth has also entered into similar agreements with each of Fincantieri and BAE Systems.



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The official shipbuilding plan and industrial policy was announced by the gov't the other day.

By my reading of several sources, it's pretty good. At last, an end to stop/start/stop/start production and too many yards scrambling for insufficient work to maintain critical mass.

First, a very useful vid from the gov't PR wallahs...


Second, this from Aust. Defence Monthly magazine at http://www.australiandefence.com.au/news/long-awaited-shipbuilding-plan-released

Long awaited shipbuilding plan released

16 May 2017
Patrick Durrant

Larger and more complex than the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme and the National Broadband Network, the Government's highly anticipated Naval Shipbuilding Plan has been released today.

The Plan maps out the establishment of a national shipbuilding enterprise that will engage all States and Territories through their contributions to naval shipbuilding and sustainment of both current and future naval vessels, or as contributors to industry supply chains, or providers of national workforce development and skilling to meet the growing need for skilled naval shipbuilding workers across the sector.

It is in many ways a comprehensive response to the RAND report which made clear that the Australian naval shipbuilding industry was in a precarious and uncertain state as a consequence of underinvestment over many years. According to the report, the underinvestment had resulted in an increase in the cost of building naval ships in Australia to a figure 30–40 per cent greater than US benchmarks, and even greater against some other naval shipbuilding nations.

Major goals in the short term are the development of the new Osborne South surface ship construction facilities, considered to be one of the most time sensitive stages of the plan, with future frigates set for steel cut in 2020. The existing infrastructure is sufficient to enable the continuing block assembly of Australia’s three air warfare destroyers and is largely suitable for construction of the smaller and less complex offshore patrol vessels.

However, according to the Government, it is inadequate for high productivity construction (versus block consolidation) of major surface combatants such as the future frigate. An investment of up to $535 million is expected to start in the second half of 2017, following consideration of the detailed design and awarding of contracts. The Government also announced on 20 February 2017 that it will invest $100 million in naval related industrial infrastructure and sustainment in Western Australia from 2017 to 2020

The Government has outlined four key enablers necessary for the success of the naval shipbuilding enterprise, that will require its additional investment as well as engagement and investment from industry:

* The first of these enablers is a modern, innovative and secure naval shipbuilding and sustainment infrastructure.

* The second enabler of the naval shipbuilding enterprise is a highly capable, productive and skilled naval shipbuilding and sustainment workforce. By 2026, the industry will require over 5 200 staff employed in construction activities, and more than double that number employed in sustainment activities and in supply chain and related institutions and industries that directly and indirectly support the enterprise, on both the customer (Government) and supplier (industry) sides of the activity. Over 15 000 personnel will ultimately be directly or indirectly employed in the naval shipbuilding enterprise.

* The third enabler of the naval shipbuilding enterprise is a motivated, innovative, cost-competitive and sustainable Australian industrial base with industry at its centre.

* The final of the four enablers of the Naval Shipbuilding Plan is a national approach to its implementation.

* Other points of note that conform to earlier Defence documents, such as the 2016 Defence White Paper and the associated Integrated Investment Plan, include the option to construct a hydrographic vessel as part of the Naval Shipbuilding Plan for a strategic military survey capability, with the military survey capability to be delivered in the mid 2020s.

The life of the four current Huon Class minehunters will be extended until the early 2030s while new technologies are developed to counter the threat of maritime mines. New vessels are likely to be required at that time.

A riverine patrol capability will be re-established in the 2020s, based on a fleet of lightly armed small patrol boats to allow mobility in a wide range of riverine environments.

A new infrastructure company, Australian Naval Infrastructure Pty Ltd, will own on behalf of the Commonwealth the critical infrastructure previously held by ASC Pty Ltd, necessary to support shipbuilding and submarine programs at Osborne and Henderson, in line with the Prime Minister’s commitment that the fundamental assets of ASC remain under Commonwealth ownership.

A costed and detailed design of a modernised submarine construction facility at Osborne North for the purpose of building the DCNS Future Submarines will be presented for the Government’s consideration in 2018.

Options are also under consideration to potentially add a second floating dock to the Common User Facility at Henderson in WA with an increased capacity to handle larger vessels up to 28,000 tonnes.

Karel Doorman

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Well a dicision has been made for the new OPV's,and it's not(sorry to say),Damen but Lursen.

No hangar and a 40mm canon,more details on here(winning design)


instead of Damen's bid.


and offcourse the bid of Fassmer.