February 24, 2016

2016 Australian Defence White Paper out tomorrow - Pre-Briefing

Will there be a new building cost diagram tomorrow. The diagram above is courtesy The Daily Telegraph August 20, 2015. Note this is based on Defence Teaming Australia advice in mid August 2015, under the Abbott Government. The Turnbull Government's plans appear to be little different. 
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The Australian Government has indicated that the 2016 Defence White Paper is to be released tomorrow, Thursday, February 25, 2016.

The Government has pre-briefed members of major Australian newspapers including the Australian and Sydney Morning Herald on the White Paper's broad contents.

Today Brendan Nicholson, Defence Editor of the The Australian indicated in part:

...the Royal Australian Navy’s submarine fleet will be ­increased from six to 12, laying to rest fears the long-standing pledge would not be fulfilled.

… It will take 10 years to commission the promised new warships, including nine [Future] frigates and a number of offshore patrol vessels that will be bigger than the existing patrols boats and have more crew members. The two [Canberra Class LHDs] ­already in operation are bigger than the navy’s past aircraft carriers.

… The decision on whether the new submarines will be based on a Japanese, French or German design is not expected until mid-year.

As revealed by The Australian yesterday, the centrepiece of the new defence blueprint will be a multi-billion-dollar plan to expand and modernise the navy and to save the shipbuilding industry...[much more on continuous shipbuilding]

Late yesterday the Sydney Morning Herald reported in part:

The Turnbull Government’s “promises included new planes, an upgrade to the Army's Steyr rifle, new offshore combatant vessels, new frigates, a new grenade launcher, a replacement armoured vehicle fleet and initial work on the new fleet of 12 submarines.

"The [submarine] design work is going to cost a pretty penny," Dr Thomson said."You add to that the Joint Strike Fighter, the P-8 [surveillance aircraft], there's a very sizeable investment budget out there that is going to help them … ramp up towards the 2 per cent."

PETE’S COMMENT

So the 2016 Government announcement is for 12 new submarines.

However previous announcements (for the Oberons and Collins) have led to reduced numbers of submarines over time. We’ll probably only know in 2035 – at the end of the submarine build program how many were built. Two decades is a long time in politics and a need for a batch of SSNs to face China may come along.

It is difficult to assess whether the 12 submarines intention will favour Japan, TKMS or DCNS?

See the subsequent Submarine Matters article which covers the content on Submarines in the White Paper on the actual day of release, February 25 2016.

Pete

6 comments:

Ztev Konrad said...

12 submarines? Its simply un-affordable for Australia let alone the mix of surface- underwater vessels thats long existed in the RAN.
The RAN struggle to make use of 6 submarines and a major reason for that was they specifically designed and built for and in Australia.
The other issue is getting a first of class will take around 5 years to bring up to full operational use and probably close to that for build under a 'cold start' scenario.
In those terms getting an existing build that is slightly modified off an existing 'hot' production line makes sense.

That would rule out those Europeans are proposing a completely new boat way bigger than their existing designs. Submarines are a bit like aeroplanes but twice as hard, you can increase the barrelabout the center of gravity somewhat, but making everything bigger results in a new design from scratch.

The new Air warfare destroyers shows the skills arent there for building even a surface ship properly, so the best outlook is for the Japanese design to be used with some small changes as its practically the only existing boat with Australian requirements.
Building all the pressure hull in Japan on the existing production line makes sense, with perhaps the front and rear parts of the hull outside the pressure structure along with the sail and deck casing to be built in Australia and assembled with hull section supplied from Japan.

That leaves the combat system for Australian development, but even there previous experience shows software was a disaster for the Collins class and ditto for the Seasprite helicopters.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

17B$ for building of 12 submarines and 33B$ for maintenance! Submarine builder and related sectors will be very happy. But, they think that RAN is a best cash caw instead of respecting.

Japan can build a Soryu-mod submarine in 75B yen (0.94B$). In the case of 12sumarines with 30 years operation, if Australia imports 12 submarines from Japan and operates/maintains in 1.01B$ per a sub, total cost will be (0.94B$+1.01B$)*12=23.4B$. If Australia uses amount (26.6B$=50B$-23.4B$) of difference between CEP estimation (50B$) and this estimation (23.4B$) more effectively, such as investment of high speed railway construction by Japan between Sydney and Melbourne, Japan and the two cities are very happy. Japan needs not worry about technology leakage and Australia can pay Japan 11.4B$ which is nearly 50% lower than CEP estimation (16B$).

Regards
S

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

Diving depth of submarine depends on not only original performance of submarine, but also degree of submariner’s trust on submarine builder or welder. In critical situation, submarine sometime has to dive into nearly crushing depth. The submariners do not try this critical diving by the submarine made-in ASC, because they cannot trust ASC. This means performance of submarine made-in ASC is lower than that of submarine made-in KHI or MHI. Of course ASC will insist or explain integrity of their improved performance, but no one wants to be guinea pig to measure or prove performance of ASC.

To win submariner’s trust, ASC has to prove at least their performance through delivery in time, building within budget as well as other requirements, I think.

Regards
S

Peter Coates said...

Hi Ztev

Yes the claim of 12 subs will be long forgotten in 2026 when the first sub is not even commisioned. Changed Prime Ministers, different Government, different ruling Party will override any 2016 plan.

Building the whole submarines in Japan, France and Germany will remove the chances that Adelaide will make it a Collins 2 experience.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi S

Yes decades of Japanese experience doing welding for very deep dives is another reason all of the submarines should be built/assembled in Japan.

Regards

Pete

Peter Coates said...

Hi S [at 27/2/16 1:59 PM]

Thanks for the costings.

I'll put them in an article today.

Regards

Pete