I can see why we (the US) need a Nuc sub with the vast distances needed to travel for patrol missions, while Aus is right on the edge of "needing" that same distance. Your country/continent is pretty large as well and when you want to patrol in the outer defensive areas your subs start to have issues.
As far a being able to escape detection in littoral water, most modern diesel-electrics/hybrid designs are very good and thus are pretty good ASuW fighters, but how are they at detecting a modern Nuc sub? Could they be used to escort the new Amphib Carriers from a sub threat? At what range would they no longer be useful to a Surface Task Force?
It was a big hurdle constructing our own sub and we are far from out of the woods in terms of maintaining them. It was a big step producing the largest D/E subs in the world, and to produce six is commendable. Building an even larger version of the Collins class shouldn't be impossible, it will be another learning curve but we need them. Perhaps the navy should give itself a clear manifesto in what is expected and what missions are paramount during the design process.... although I would suspect the ability to protect the Canberra class will be one of the main objectives if used in a non permissive environment.
The big problems with the Collins class has been the full cycle refit, compounded by other smaller faults along the way, which have incidentally been "unique" with each boat... except for the DC motors(manufacturing design fault). Lack of crew numbers don't help but last I heard we should have enough to service four subs at this point in time.
I can't clearly answer the point about detecting a nuc' sub, I recently posted a video about HMAS Rankin avoiding two US destroyers, two Frigates, a search aircraft and a nuclear submarine. Given the chance, the RAN can achieve in having one of the finest submariners in the world. I hope we don't throw that away.
__________________ "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
First get your facts straight, then distort them at your leisure. - Mark Twain.
Last edited by Achtung Baby; 29 Dec 11 at 17:51..
Reason: I not i
Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) staff are advancing the progressive application of new radar absorbing material to Australia's Collins class submarine fleet.
The fitment program commenced in 2008, in collaboration with Mackay Consolidated Industries, a Melbourne-based rubber manufacturer.
DSTO maritime platforms researcher Dr Andrew Amiet explains that the new radar absorbing material was designed, formulated and tested by electromagnetic signature management specialists.
He says that DSTO is replacing internationally sourced absorbers ‘that proved to be less optimal.’
“The old material showed evidence of deterioration and rust, where it affixed to the Collins. The underlying metal also needed to be treated with hydrofluoric acid, to help affix the absorber,” Dr Amiet says.
In applying the newly developed rubber, DSTO and Mackay Consolidated Industries do not need to rely on hydrofluoric acid treatment – an extremely hazardous substance which requires great care when using.
DSTO has previously worked with Mackay Consolidated Industries on other projects and consulted them again to develop a durable material that meets the Royal Australian Navy’s unique signature management requirements.
“The new material is tested for peel and tear, to help ensure it adheres effectively to the masts.”
“It is designed to reduce the range at which other sea or airborne platforms could detect a Collins class submarine. The effectiveness of the absorber has been validated through measurements performed by electronic warfare and radar experts at DSTO.”
Dr Amiet says that Mackay uses the best, locally derived materials to develop the new Radar Absorbing Material.
“Working with local manufacturers means that the Australian Defence Force and DSTO have the sovereign ability to modify the material, as required, if circumstances or demand change.”
...here is a excert from the Lowy's institute website, the numbers here are truly staggering...
engineering staff in one part of Navy have shrunk from 800 to 60 over the last 20 years, replacement engineering staff weren't trained in DMO or defence industry, and Navy 'has not been able to maintain corporate knowledge'. Rizzo notes that the equivalent engineering staff in the RAAF is seven times larger.
...irrespective of lateral recruitment and offering larger pay to those already serving, there is also a not well known fact that about a 3rd of the remaining engineering staff are due to exit the forces in 2015.