August 5, 2015

Australia's Naval Shipbuilding Blueprint for the Next 20 Years

Some possible options for Australia's Future Frigate SEA 5000 Program (Diagram Courtesy News . com). Note that the Australian Navy has felt left out of the Iraq War where Australia's Air Force and Army have been serving. Australia's Navy want a mass Tomahawk land attack capability that has served the US Navy so well in wars in the Middle East and elsewhere. So Australia's Navy have been pressing to have mass Tomahawk land attack capability introduced in the Future Frigate Program.
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Despite Abbott's would-be military vanity he and Minister Andrews do generate useful vision statements, on their watch, regarding naval defence programs. The following Media Release covers Future Frigates, OCVs/OPVs, AWDs and to an extent submarines.

Australia cannot afford the extreme extra costs of building all its warships and submarines in Australia. All this surface shipbuilding, now in the pipeline, increases the likelihood that Australia's future submarines will be built almost totally offshore. Offshore submarine building certainly reduces the strength of the German and French options to build the Australia's future submarines in Australia. Japan, which has been relied on build in Japan, gains. Meanwhile the combat system/weapons third of the submarine project will be designed and built in the US uncontested.

"Joint Media Release – Prime Minister and Minister for Defence – The Government’s plan for a strong and sustainable naval shipbuilding industry

The Commonwealth Government is delivering a long-term plan for a strong and sustainable naval shipbuilding industry. Over the next 20 years the Government will invest over $89 billion in ships and submarines for the Navy.
This critical investment will generate significant economic growth and sustain several thousand Australian jobs over decades. It is a key part of our commitment to a safe and secure Australia.
The Government will implement a continuous build of surface warships in Australia. This means that Australia’s shipbuilding workforce will build Navy’s Future Frigates and Offshore Patrol Vessels.
It’s the first time that any Australian government has committed to a permanent naval shipbuilding industry.
This strategy will transform Australia’s naval shipbuilding industry and put it onto a sustainable long-term path, giving the workforce certainty into the future.
The former government failed to commission a single naval warship from an Australian shipyard for the six years it was in office. This created the current shipbuilding ‘valley of death’. The Coalition Government’s plan will put an end to the boom-bust cycle that has afflicted the naval shipbuilding industry.
Today, the Government announces that it is:

  • Bringing forward the Future Frigate programme (SEA 5000) to replace the ANZAC class frigates. As part of this decision, we will confirm a continuous onshore build programme to commence in 2020 – three years earlier than scheduled under Labor’s Defence Capability Plan. This decision will save over 500 hundred jobs and help reduce the risks associated with a ‘cold start’. The Future Frigates will be built in South Australia based on a Competitive Evaluation Process, which will begin in October 2015.
  • Bringing forward construction of [link added by Pete Offshore Patrol Vessels (SEA 1180)] to replace the Armidale class patrol boats by two years, with a continuous onshore build commencing in 2018 following a Competitive Evaluation Process. This decision will maintain around 400 skilled jobs that would otherwise have been lost. It will also reduce the number of man-hours that would be wasted on the Future Frigate programme if the existing workforce was disbanded and reconstituted, setting it on a stronger path for earlier completion.
In the short term these two measures will sustain around 1,000 jobs that would otherwise have been lost. Once both programmes ramp up they will guarantee around 2,500 Australian shipbuilding jobs for decades.
The third major pillar of the Government’s naval shipbuilding plan will be based on the outcomes of the Competitive Evaluation Process (CEP) for Australia’s future submarine.
Overseen by an independent panel of experts, the CEP will ensure that capability, cost, schedule, and key strategic considerations – along with Australian industry involvement – are carefully and methodically considered by the Department of Defence. There will be more submarines and more submarine-related jobs in Australia.
Addressing the serious cost overruns, delays and productivity problems affecting the Air Warfare Destroyer programme is essential to restore public confidence in Australian naval shipbuilding and ensure future projects deliver world-class capabilities for the Defence Force and value for taxpayers.
Following a forensic audit, and building on significant improvements made through the recent interim phase of reforms, the Government is acting decisively to reform the AWD programme. By the end of October 2015 substantial additional shipbuilding management expertise will be inserted into the AWD programme and an additional $1.2 billion will be invested in the programme budget.
The Government will also undertake further reform of ASC to ensure Australian shipbuilding is best structured to support a continuous build programme and future naval projects are delivered on time and on budget.
To this end, the Government has commissioned a strategic review of ASC’s shipbuilding capacity. The review will consider how best to implement long-term arrangements.
Recognising that the Adelaide shipyards and workforce are strategic national assets, the review will consider options to ensure they are structured to support the Government’s commitment to naval shipbuilding. This will include discussions with the South Australian Government on the future of its Common User Facility at Techport, which forms an important part of the Adelaide shipyards.
The outcomes of the review will be considered in conjunction with future decisions on submarines and surface shipbuilding programmes.
The Coalition Government’s historic investment in Navy capability will be a centrepiece of the fully-funded Defence White Paper that will be released later this year. It will set out the Government’s plan to equip the Australian Defence Force to meet current and future challenges.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

I think that the operation period without considering the rate of operation is meaningless.

Submarine hull will experience physical, chemical and chemical-physical degradations such as fatigue, corrosion and stress-corrosion cracking under. Also, mechanical parts such as diesel engines, batteries systems and AIP systems will deteriorate. These degradations will come up only under the actual operation conditions. For example, if there is no repeated surfacing-submerging, the fatigue of the hull caused by repeated application and release of external stress is not experienced.

It is said that the rate of operation of Soryu submarine is 80%. As operation period of Soryu is 24 years, actual operation period becomes ca. 19 years (=24 years x 0.8). In case of Collins submarine, the rate of operation obviously lower than that of Soryu. For 60% of the rate of operation and 30 years operation period, actual operation period becomes 18 years (=30 years x 0.6) which is nearly same as that of Soryu.

We have better think not only increase in numbers of submarines but also improvement of the rate of operation.

Regards
S

Nicky said...

Hi pete,
I think for Australia, if they are looking for a High end Frigate. The FREMM Frigate is one option, the German F-125 Frigate is another option and the German Meko 600 Frigate is an option for them. What the Australians are looking for is a Frigate that combines the Perry class Frigate with the ANZAC class frigates.

I know they are looking for a larger OPV to replace the Armidale class patrol boats as well. I think they should talk to the US Coast Guard on getting the Legend class Cutters aka National security cutters from them.

Peter Coates said...

Hi S

You raise interesting issues - which I will respond to in my next article being written today.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

I don't know enough about specific frigates to specifically respond.

Whatever frigate Australia chooses it should choose an existing, proven design and be built with a minimum number of companies - all of whom have concrete responsibilities.

Australia should not buy a frigate design excessively large because size = cost.

Yes definitly Australia should talk to the US Coast Guard about OPVs, not just European builder/users. Australia's OPV needs enough capacity to accomodate 100 refugees - as refugees, not drug smuggling, is Australia's major on water law enforcement challenge.

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

HI Pete
I think for Australia, they should look at a MEKO 600 Frigate. It fits right into their overseas missions and at home as well. One frigate can combine both the Anzac class frigate and Perry class Frigate.

As for an OPV, I think the US Coast Guard's National Security Cutter is a perfect fit for Australia. The NSC has the SEA legs and can remain on station longer. Here's details on the NSC

National Security Cutter: Program Profile
http://www.uscg.mil/acquisition/nsc/features.asp

Here's Specs on the National Security Cutter
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Cutter

Displacement: 4,500 long tons (4,600 t)
Length: 418 feet (127 m)
Beam: 54 feet (16 m)
Draft: 22.5 feet (6.9 m)
Propulsion: Combined diesel and gas
2 × 7.400 kW MTU 20V 1163 diesels
1 × 22MW LM2500 gas turbine engine[3]
Speed: Over 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)
Range: 12,000 nautical miles (22,000 km; 14,000 mi)
Complement: 113 (14 Officers + 99 Enlisted)
Sensors and
processing systems: EADS 3D TRS-16 Air Search Radar
SPQ-9B Fire Control Radar
AN/SPS-73 Surface Search Radar
AN/SLQ-32
Electronic warfare
and decoys: AN/SLQ-32 Electronic Warfare System
2 SRBOC/ 2 x NULKA countermeasures chaff/rapid decoy launcher
Armament: 1 x Bofors 57 mm gun and Gunfire Control System
1 x 20 mm Close-In Weapons System
4 x .50 Caliber Machine Guns
2 x M240B 7.62mm Medium Machine Guns
Aircraft carried: 2 x MH-65C Dolphin MCH, or 4 x VUAV or 1 x MH-65C Dolphin MCH and 2 x VUAV
Aviation facilities: 50-by-80-foot (15 m × 24 m) flight deck, hangar for all aircraft
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Cutter

Even the Netheralnds builds a good OPV such as the Holland class OPV https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holland-class_offshore_patrol_vessels

There's even a concept that HII has proposed taking the National Security cutter design and turn it into a patrol Frigate. Here's the Video presentation.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OJZ8eB_mPA

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

Nope https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holland-class_offshore_patrol_vessels is too big.

National Security cutters (4,000+ tonnes) are US, China, Japan sized but not what Australia will consider for OPVs/OCVs.

One needs a Goldilocks view:

- 2,000+ too big,

- 1,000- too small

- about 1,200 tonnes, just right :)

Pete

Nicky said...

HI Pete,
I am think more like the River class OPV that the British make for themselves and for Thailand. The other could be spain's Buque de Acción Marítima or modified Protector-class offshore patrol vessel from New Zealand.

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [at August 5, 2015 at 3:32 PM]

Before I publish my article on Japanese-Australian submarine issues, please provide answers concerning:

1. Why "operation period of Soryu is 24 years"?

2. Why not 30 years like Germany, France and almost all other submarine builders?

3. What happens if Australia needs to lift availabily of its Japanese built submarine to 80% in time of strategic need?

4. What happens if Australia wants to cut the NS110 pressure hull and reweld it to do major maintenance work (including large parts replacement on the propulsion system) or major emergency repairs?

4.1 Can this pressure hull cutting-rewelding work be done in Australia?

Regards

Pete

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Answer of Q1
Submarine operation period used to be as short as 18 years, and JMSDF was criticized. Also National Defense Program Outline FY 2011 decided to increase number of submarine to 24 including 2 training submarines.

Answer of Q2
Submarine building span in Japan is in line with Long-term or Mid-term Defense Buildup Plan and technology innovation.

Answer of Q3
I think that Australia may reduce defense cost as a result of reduction in number of submarines.

Answer of Q4
Asashio, precedent submarine of Oyashio Class with NS110 and NS80 pressure hull like Soryu Class had experienced hull-cutting for experimental equipment of Starling AIP system. After hull-cutting, submerge depth of Asashio was limited.

Answer of Q4.1
Aside whether JMSDF agrees NS110 technology transfer or not, advise from Japan is required, because Japan has an experience of hull-cutting of Asashio.

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky [at August 6, 2015 at 3:37 PM]

The https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/River-class_patrol_vessel at 1,700 tons passes the Goldilocks test. Known supplier. May have the improved sea keeping Australia is after.

NZ Protector-class offshore patrol vessel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protector_class_OPV was actually built in Australia - Williamstown, Victoria. Might be big business, political problems if the main ships have to be assembled in South Australia. May be too heavy at 1,900 tons as Australia would always want to add to the weight.

Regards

Pete

Nicky said...

Hi Pete,
For Australia, I do think the River class OPV or the Protector class OPV is something that Australia needs. For one, Australia needs one common ship for four separate ship classes: the Armidale-class patrol boats, the Huon-class minehunters, the Leeuwin-class survey vessels, and the Paluma-class survey motor launches. I would think Australia would want something as high as a National Security cutter and as low as the Protector class OPV or River class OPV. Even their was talk of Australia taking the Independence-class littoral combat ship for their low end work.

MHalblaub said...

What about the 1,800 t Braunschweig-class corvette?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braunschweig-class_corvette

Regards,
MHalblaub

Peter Coates said...

Hi Nicky

Yes River class and Protector class OPV are Goldilocks compliant.

True that Australia needs one common ship for four separate ship classes: the Armidale-class patrol boats, the Huon-class minehunters, the Leeuwin-class survey vessels. Odd that the Paluma-class is officially called "motor launches" as though the alternative is oar-rowed long boats.

No Goldilocks look with frown on over large "National Security cutter".

Australia is too small a Navy to have 2,300 tonnes, intermediate sized https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence-class_littoral_combat_ship . The aluminium hull is also vulnerable.

The OPV will be our littoral solutions.

Australia's heavier Frigates must be littoral and blue-water capable with less vulnerable hulls.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi MHalblaub

If the 1,800 t Braunschweig-class were more modular, multi-role and did not have
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Braunschweig-class_corvette#Technical_problems and weighed less it may be a choice. Australia is renaming the requirement Offshore Patrol Vessel instead of Offshore Combatant Vessel to shift the emphasis to non-combat duties - mainly refugees, also anti-drugs, fisheries, mine-sweeper and survey - not after Baltic warships.

The danger of starting with a 1,800 ton platform is the RAN will ask for additional equipment ("wish list") of a few hundred tons.

I like Singapore 1,200 ton https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Independence-class_littoral_mission_vessel . Light enough for the add-ons - modular, multirole - with the first of class has just been launched. Similar boats af similar tonnage should be also considered.

Regards

Pete