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Australian navy's hunt for new sub to replace Collins class

MarkOttawa

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From 2016, VADM Norman quoted:

Government will have to decide whether to invest into submarines or cut ships adrift: Navy commander
The Royal Canadian Navy’s four submarines have been plagued by problems since they were acquired from Britain in the 1990s

The outgoing head of the navy says the government will have to decide soon whether to invest more money into Canada’s submarines so they can continue operating past the mid-2020s — or cut the ships adrift.

The Royal Canadian Navy’s four submarines have been plagued by problems since they were acquired from Britain in the 1990s. The most recent incident came last week when the HMCS Windsor broke down en route to a training exercise in Norway.

Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, however, said the Windsor is now back up to full speed after the “hiccup.” In addition, he said, two of the other three subs will be completely operational and contributing to Canada’s power at sea in the next two years. All four vessels should then be good until the early to mid-2020s.

“I feel very optimistic about this,” Norman said in an interview. “We need the conversation in Canada to shift from the trials and tribulations of the Victoria class to why submarines are essential a nation like Canada given our strategic context.”

The navy, however, is waiting to hear whether the government wants to extend the submarines’ lives so they can operate until the 2030s. A decision needs to be made “in the next year or two,” Norman said, so the necessary funds — which previous reports have put between $1.5 billion and $3 billion — can be set aside.

“The decision is tied to the fact that if we want to plan for another cycle, we have to get that into the investment plan, and that has to be programmed,” he said. “So we need some sort of indication that we’re going to continue to operate the submarines.”

Norman made the comments to the Citizen about a week before he was due to turn over command of the navy after three years. He will become the vice chief of defence staff, the Canadian Armed Forces’ second-highest ranked officer, this week...
https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/liberals-will-soon-decide-whether-to-invest-into-navy-submarines-or-to-cut-the-ships-adrift

From 2017:

...
In Canadian Defence Review, August 2017 Issue 4, in an interview Vice Admiral Ron Lloyd Commander RCN responded to a question about the Defence Policy Review and submarines as follows:

The new Defence Policy clearly notes that submarines are a vital capability for the defence of Canada and the protection of naval assets in deployed operations. The best asset to track a submarine is, without doubt, another submarine. The Victoria Class provide Canada with this extremely valuable capability.

Just as we have successfully completed the Halifax Class Modernization program, we aim to conduct a similar type modernization in the Victoria Class that will ensure the boats remain relevant in an ever-changing and rapidly evolving security environment.

Thus it can been seen that the current government commitment to “Operate and modernize the four Victoria-class submarines” will not only maintain the submarine capability but also upgrade further its survivability and technical capability for the years to come. Equally important the current in-service support partnership with defence industry will need to develop even further to maximize its potential and keep that Canadian strategic industrial capability alive. When it comes time to consider replacing the Victoria-class then the question of how – for example, build as part of NSS or otherwise -- can be answered...
http://www.navalreview.ca/2017/09/victoria-class-submarines/

2018 from gov't:

Victoria-class Modernization (VCM)
Strong, Secure, Engaged
Project Type

Project Extension

Objective

This program will provide vital modernization to the Victoria-class Submarines (VCS), through a program-based approach, across a number of capability areas to meet future challenges. Overall, the project outcomes will:

    Position the Victoria-class to contribute meaningfully to CAF Joint Operations ashore;
    Ensure the survivability of the Victoria-class against an evolving threat in an increasingly complex and changing battlespace; and
    Improve the habitability and deployment conditions onboard the Victoria-class in support of RCN submariners.

Requirements

The Victoria-class Modernization (VCM) Program is the introduction of the necessary platform and combat system capabilities to achieve the required submarine operational capability through the mid-2030s. The VCM Program will address the critical capability gaps in Canada’s submarines that will emerge and reduce their utility over their remaining years of operation. It will deliver capability through targeted investments, consisting of capability upgrades and insertions, already identified as a priority for Canada.\

Funding Ranges

$1 billion to 4.99 billion

Anticipated Timeline (Fiscal Year)

    2018 Start Options Analysis
    2020 to 2021 Start Definition
    2023 to 2024 Start Implementation
    2025 to 2026 Initial Delivery
    Beyond 2035 Final Delivery
http://dgpaapp.forces.gc.ca/en/defence-capabilities-blueprint/project-details.asp?id=943

Whenever, if ever.

Mark
Ottawa
 

Cloud Cover

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Ahhh, hope Col Campbell doesn't mind: https://coloneltedcampbell.blog/2018/11/19/stupidity-of-the-worst-sort/
 

Cloud Cover

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MarkOttawa said:
From 2016, VADM Norman quoted:

From 2017:

2018 from gov't:

Whenever, if ever.

Mark
Ottawa

According to that awful website, the CP140 will be 52+ years flying by the time the first one is replaced.  And the Vic’s will be 50+ years in the brine by the time the upgrade finishes. 
 

dapaterson

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And the youngest of the B52s was built in 1962 - 56 years and counting.
 

YZT580

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With the exception of under ice work which requires a boat of a totally different class can the Victorias do the job.  Are they a sound hull to begin with and can they be maintained properly to the point where they are a valid threat to any erstwhile enemy.  Will upgrades be cost effective?  The answers to those questions all seem to be positive.  They seem to be good boats with a bad public relations history.  The problem really is can we keep the government of the days feet to the fire to ensure that those upgrades are done completely and without cutting corners on costs. 
 

SeaKingTacco

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dapaterson said:
And the youngest of the B52s was built in 1962 - 56 years and counting.

While I agree that the age of an airframe alone does not tell the tale, I will note two things:

The B52 is not even remotely operated in the same airframe fatigue envelop as a CP140.

The USAF lavishes more money on avionics/weapons upgrades/sensors/airframe rebuilds than we could ever possibly dream of.
 

SeaKingTacco

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YZT580 said:
With the exception of under ice work which requires a boat of a totally different class can the Victorias do the job.  Are they a sound hull to begin with and can they be maintained properly to the point where they are a valid threat to any erstwhile enemy.  Will upgrades be cost effective?  The answers to those questions all seem to be positive.  They seem to be good boats with a bad public relations history.  The problem really is can we keep the government of the days feet to the fire to ensure that those upgrades are done completely and without cutting corners on costs.

They are a good boat, with bad PR.
 

dimsum

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Defence ordered to hand over documents on $50bn submarine deal with French
Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick accuses department of ‘unlawful conduct’ for wrongly withholding sensitive material

The defence department has been accused of “unlawful conduct” after it wrongly withheld sensitive documents about Australia’s $50bn submarine deal with a French multinational.

The government’s massive future submarines project has been under intense scrutiny since a French arms manufacturer, DCNS, won the contract in 2016. The project has been described as the largest defence procurement in Australia’s history, but South Australian politicians feared the state’s shipbuilder, ASC, was unfairly shut out of a major role in the work, risking local jobs.

Two years ago, the former senator Nick Xenophon lodged a freedom of information request to attempt to obtain a 2015 document outlining DCNS’s plan for involving local industry.

Xenophon’s successor in parliament, the Centre Alliance senator Rex Patrick, believes the document will show DCNS, now known as Naval Group, wanted to involve Australian industry and partner with ASC in building the submarines from the start, but met resistance from the Australian government.

[More in link]

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jul/19/defence-ordered-to-hand-over-documents-on-50bn-submarine-deal-with-french
 

Colin Parkinson

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His patience with the Senator is remarkable, at least she didn't ask if the island would capsize..... 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYF08jJi9Hg&fbclid=IwAR0kh12fX-r_-J-UwLIZ3WcQsawAxnE-ANi1dzdCFVLmUzYIp6Q2fv93S5M
 

dimsum

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tomahawk6 said:
Is the French sub better than other potential buys ?

Unsure.  However, that sub is a diesel-electric version of the French Suffren-class nuclear attack submarine.  That is not a trivial change, and Australia is its launch customer.
 

suffolkowner

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Colin P said:
His patience with the Senator is remarkable, at least she didn't ask if the island would capsize..... 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYF08jJi9Hg&fbclid=IwAR0kh12fX-r_-J-UwLIZ3WcQsawAxnE-ANi1dzdCFVLmUzYIp6Q2fv93S5M

Colin, I'm guessing the Senator had been briefed going in but didn't quite grasp everything.

this article covers some of the concerns/issues with the choice of pump jet propulsion at the lower speeds of a diesel/electric submarine

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/pumpjet-future-submarine-not-fast-slow/

when you combine that with choice to stick with lead acid batteries for the first batch

https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/science-not-fiction-modern-batteries-for-modern-submarines/

add the immaturity of the French Barracuda class and the push by some proponents on www.aspistrategist.org.au and gentleseas.blogspot.com to forgo the diesel/electric option and pursue the nuclear and you can see where she was coming from

I wonder if she had been given information that suggested that the Attack class would be limited to 20min at peak speed with the pumpjet on lead acid batteries as there's something that's familiar there






 

Colin Parkinson

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I think the Admiral made it clear that they had their marching orders as to it was to be a conventional boat and not nuclear. I suspect she should be asking her political colleagues that question and not the military.

As for the batteries, it's only in the last couple of years have the SK/Japanese decided to go with lithium-ion batteries in a sub, I suspect the Aussies are not willing to stick their neck that far out and may make the sub upgradable. I believe the Aussies want to reduce the risks as much as possible.

The pump jet is interesting, perhaps the French have developed a variable duct that would address some of the slow speed issues?
 

tomahawk6

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And the decision is the French design because they can build it in Oz.

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/3470/australia-is-getting-the-baddest-diesel-electric-submarines-on-the-planet
 

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Construction of Australia’s Future Submarine to start in 2024 but contract details yet to be decided

The head of Australia's AUD50 billion (USD32.2 billion) Sea 1000 programme has confirmed that construction of the pressure hull for the first of 12 Attack-class conventionally powered submarines is scheduled to begin in 2024.

This will follow the construction in 2023 of a hull qualification section to prove procedures, equipment, and skills at the submarine construction facility now being built at Osborne North near Adelaide by government-owned Australian Naval Infrastructure to the functional requirements of Sea 1000's French-owned designer and build partner Naval Group.

Greg Sammut, general manager, submarines, in the Department of Defence's (DoD's) Capability and Sustainment Group (CASG), told Jane's on 5 May that details of the first submarine construction contract were still under consideration.

...


https://www.janes.com/article/96017/construction-of-australia-s-future-submarine-to-start-in-2024-but-contract-details-yet-to-be-decided
 

calculus

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This project is off the rails. Costs have gone way past initial estimates, at $90 Billion for the build and something like $140 Billion in operating costs. Initial build estimates were $20 Billion. So one has to question if this is even worth doing anymore. They might be building the best diesel boats around, but for that cost they could buy double the amount of another advanced design such as the A26 Oceanic ER.

https://www.defenseworld.net/news/26898/Australia_to_spend__90B_for_12_Attack_class_Submarines
 

dimsum

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calculus said:
This project is off the rails. Costs have gone way past initial estimates, at $90 Billion for the build and something like $140 Billion in operating costs. Initial build estimates were $20 Billion. So one has to question if this is even worth doing anymore. They might be building the best diesel boats around, but for that cost they could buy double the amount of another advanced design such as the A26 Oceanic ER.

https://www.defenseworld.net/news/26898/Australia_to_spend__90B_for_12_Attack_class_Submarines

Not to mention the timeline for delivery.  20-ish years for 12 boats.
 

Colin Parkinson

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The cost to build has gone up 40 Billion, how much though is inflation and how much is unforseen costs? Of course it takes money to run a fleet, even if they get 6 of these in the end, it means they can't be ignored as a regional player. I foresee Australia aggressively the further 6 to Allies, which would actually work for us. 
 

RDBZ

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calculus said:
This project is off the rails. Costs have gone way past initial estimates, at $90 Billion for the build and something like $140 Billion in operating costs. Initial build estimates were $20 Billion. So one has to question if this is even worth doing anymore. They might be building the best diesel boats around, but for that cost they could buy double the amount of another advanced design such as the A26 Oceanic ER.

https://www.defenseworld.net/news/26898/Australia_to_spend__90B_for_12_Attack_class_Submarines

This is a total non-story, because "Prices calculated in 2016-17 have been revised according to present exchange rates and inflation calculations.."  The estimated approved project cost and budgeted expenditure were all expressed in then present day (2016-17) dollars, the only way expenses in future years can be evaluated and assessed, particularly against other projects across different timeframes.  Its consistent  with good practice in pretty much every industry.  Sure, costs will inflate over time, but so too will government revenues and the DoD budget.

A 20 year program makes sense in the context of the continuous build strategy. This design is the baseline sub that, in progressively updated forms, will be in production over 20 years before a change over to a new generation platform.  It's no different to the USN Arleigh Burke program that has been in build for in excess of 30 years.
 
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