May 31, 2015

US Nuclear Subs Temporarily Docked at Rockingham, Western Australia

Visits by US nuclear submarines to Australia's main submarine base, HMAS Stirling, Fleet Base West, Garden Island, Rockingham, Western Australia, are beneficial to Australia. Here are some that have visited over the years:


USS Santa Fe following the 4 Collins class subs.

The US Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (dvids) reported February 26, 2019 that  

“The Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarine USS Santa Fe (SSN 763) [above] arrived at HMAS Stirling, Australia for a scheduled port visit this week”

“Santa Fe’s port visit followed the completion of a joint training exercise with four Royal Australian Navy Collins-class submarines, HMAS Collins, HMAS Farncomb, HMAS Dechaineux and HMAS Sheean, in waters around Australia. The exercise, which was designed to enhance anti-submarine warfare abilities, gave the crews of both navies the opportunity to employ and experiment with real world tactics. Pulling into port, however, gave the crews the opportunity to meet each other face-to-face and forge greater ties.”


HMAS Stirling is an Australian naval base, known as Fleet Base West, at which all 6 of Australia’s Collins class submarines are home based. HMAS Stirling is situated at Rockingham, near Fremantle, near Perth, Western Australia. USS Santa Fe (SSN 763) is home ported at Pearl Harbour.

It is heartening that 4 of the 6 Collins class submarines were available for the exercise with USS Santa Fe.


The SSN USS Jacksonville visits HMAS Stirling Fleet Base West, June 2015. 

USS Jacksonville, an Los Angeles class SSN, visited in late June 2015 escorting ships of US Expeditionary Strike Group Seven that also docked at HMAS Stirling. This Group included  amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, USS Green Bay (LPD-20) a San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock. and USS Preble (DDG-88) an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer

The SSGN USS Ohio temporarily docked at Garden Island, Rockingham, on January 1, 2010. Note  the 2 pods behind the sail - mainly to house SEAL Delivery Vehicles. (Photo Courtesy Ian Johnson 

USS Ohio was the first of the US’s Trident (missile) class nuclear powered submarines. From November 2003, Ohio’s 24 Trident nuclear missiles were removed and 154 conventional Tomahawk cruise missiles were put in theirplace. Ohio rejoined the fleet in January 2006 having been redesignated a guided missile nuclear powered submarine (SSGN 726). 

Ohio's positioning in the Indian Ocean makes it easier and quicker for her to launch Tomahawk missiles onto targets from the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. Ohio can also support operations of up to 66 Navy SEALS for up to 90 days. 
The SSN USS Houston at Garden Island, Rockingham, on September 4, 2005. (Photo Courtesy Ian Johnson,

USS Houston is the 26th submarine in the Los Angeles class of SSNs. In December 2004, Houston changed homeport from San Diego, Calif., to Apra Harbor, Guam. In January 2012, her homeport again changed from Guam to Pearl Harbor.

US SSNs in the Indo-Pacific region can protect US carrier groups, amphibious forces and shadow nuclear submarines or surface forces (such as the Russian cruiser Varyag).
USS Buffalo, a Los Angeles SSN at Garden Island, Rockingham, in 2007 (Photo courtesy Australian Navy)


USS Chicago, a Los Angeles class SSN, visited Garden Island, Rockingham, on August 21, 2013 (Photo and details courtesy

USS Hawaii a Virginia class SSN at Garden Island, Rockingham, visit date unknown but probably 2010 or later (Photo courtesy Australian Government Department of Defence)

USS Michigan, another of the US's four SSGNs, arriving at Garden Island, Rockingham, on April 22, 2012 during its Western Pacific (which also cover the Indian Ocean, Middle East area) deployment. (Photo courtesy US Navy)

USS Albuquerque, Los Angeles class SSN at Garden Island, Rockingham, February 24, 2015 (Photo and details courtesy

The visiting US nuclear subs dock at HMAS Stirling which is Fleet Base West located towards bottom center of the map at Garden Island, Rockingham, Western Australia.


Vietnam's 4th Klub Missile Armed Kilo Sub Due to Arrive June 2015

Various sizes of Klub/Sizzler/SS-N-27 missile, with submarine launched 3M54 second from top 8.22 meters long, 533mm diameter for torpedo tube launch.

Animation of land attack by submarine launched 3M54 Klub/Sizzler/SS-N-27 missile.

The location of cargo ship Rolldock Storm, which is carrying the fourth [Kilo submarine for Vietnam] submarine codenamed HQ-185 Khanh Hoa, at 6:20 p.m. on [May 28, 2015]. Photo credit: Marine Traffic [via]
I have added changes and links in [...] brackets to the following articles.

US StrategyPage reports, May 31, 2015,

Submarines: China Objects To Getting Klubbed

"May 31, 2015: China is making angry noises to the UN, Vietnam and Russia about the little publicized Russian sale of Klub submarine launched cruise missiles to Vietnam. China wasn’t happy about Russia selling Vietnam six Kilo class diesel electric submarines in 2009. Russia and Vietnam were quiet about the sale of 50 Klub missiles but the news eventually got out, in part because 28 of the Klub missiles have already been delivered,… The [Russian 3M54 (also known as the SS-N-27, Sizzler or Klub)] anti-ship missiles can also be aimed at targets on land and that’s what really bothers the Chinese…

Weighing two tons, and fired from a 533mm (21 inch) torpedo tube on a Kilo class sub, the 3M54 has a 200 kg (440 pound) warhead. The anti-ship version has a range of 300 kilometers, but speeds up to 3,000 kilometers an hour during its last minute or so of flight. There are also air launched and ship launched versions. The land attack version does away with the high speed final approach feature and that makes possible a larger 400 kg (880 pound) warhead.

What makes the 3M54 particularly dangerous when attacking ships is that during its final approach, which begins when the missile is about 15 kilometers from its target, the missile speeds up. Up to that point, the missile travels at an altitude of about 30 meters (a hundred feet). This makes the missile more difficult to detect. That plus the high speed final approach means that it covers that last fifteen kilometers in less than twenty seconds. This makes it more difficult for current anti-missile weapons to take it down."

"4th Russian-built submarine set to arrive in Vietnam next month" 

"The [HQ-185 Khánh Hoà the fourth of the six Kilo-class submarines] that Vietnam has contracted to buy from Russia is scheduled to arrive in Vietnam [in June 2015].
The submarine [HQ-185 Khánh Hoà] is currently carried by the Dutch-registered cargo [ship Rolldock Storm] which is on its way to Vietnam.
It is docking at a port in the Canary Islands off the southern coast of Morocco for fuel filling.
The submarine is scheduled to be delivered to Cam Ranh Port in late June.
Meanwhile, the fifth submarine codenamed HQ-186 Da Nang completed a two-week trial run [in the Baltic Sea near Russia] and returned to Svetly Shipyard (Kaliningrad, Russia) on Thursday, according to Russian media.
The first three submarines named after Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hai Phong, arrived in Vietnam in 2014 and early 2015.
The delivery of the sixth and last one, HQ-187 Ba Ria-Vung Tau, is scheduled for [2016].
The six submarines are built under a US$2-billion deal signed during a Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung's visit to Russia in 2009.

Russia will deliver all by 2016, train Vietnamese crews, and supply necessary spare parts."
Please connect with Submarine Matters:
-  Vietnam's Russian Speaking Submarine Service, April 21, 2015 and
-   Vietnam's Kili Subs Being Steadily Built by Russia, July 7, 2013

May 30, 2015

South Korean Ballistic Missile Programs, Hyunmoo-2B

(Courtesy Free Republic) Major sites of North Korean ballistic missiles with ranges of perhaps 2,000 km - capable of hitting all of South Korea and Japan. Some are in hard to penetrate silos. South Korea and the US may face restrictions on targeting sites near the Chinese border (including Chunggang-up).  This is due to the risk of SK-US warhead explosions effecting Chinese citizens as well as secondary fallout from destroyed NK warheads or nuclear facilities.  

Also high on South Korea's target list would be North Korean nuclear research and possibly reactor and reprocessing sites (although fallout may be a consideration in not attacking reactors or reprocessing sites). South Korea and the US may face restrictions on targeting sites near the Chinese border (including Yongjo-ri and Hyesan).  This is due to the risk of SK-US warhead explosions effecting Chinese citizens as well as secondary fallout from destroyed NK warheads or nuclear facilities.  

Please connect with -  South Korean Submarines, 3,000+ ton KSS-III, Nuclear Potential, April 16, 2015 and South Korean Future Nuclear Weapon Program, May 17, 2015.

See the South Korean announcement of an early June 2015 test of a Hyunmoo-2B.

The following mainly deals with South Korean submarine launched missiles. It is acknowledged that South Korean land based missiles and a major US land/sea/aircraft launched missile and bomb  contribution would acutely influence the submarine aspects and requirements.

Indicates coverage over North Korea of South Korean missiles of 300km and 500km range. Their launch from a predictable launch point in SK runs the risk of NK destruction of the missiles at that launch point and greater effectives of NK anti-missiles-missiles shooting down missiles from that SK launch point. This underlines the value of  SK submarine launched missiles.

South Korea (SK) has been developing land based ballistic missile with ranges around 800 km sufficient to reach all of North Korea (NK) and warheads of at least 500 kg. In order to penetrate silos and bunkers SK is probably working towards 1,000 kg warhead capabilities. 

To face NK's developing submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) threat South Korea would also be considering building an SLBM capability. SLBM would frequently shorten SK's time to NK target capability which is so important in SK's preemptive strike “Kill Chain” strategy. SLBMs are hard to shoot down due to their speed, of 3,000+ km/h, and variable (rather than on land predictable) launch points. Variable launch points complicate an enemy's battle plan thus adding to uncertainty - hopefully promoting deterrence.

South Korea's existing submarine launched cruise missiles (SLCMs) carry disadvantages of subsonic only (around 800 km/h) speeds making them frequently too slow for preemptive strike “Kill Chain” duties and more easily shot down by North Korea’s anti-missile defences. Nevertheless SLCMs might be effective against North Korean coastal targets depending on how close South Korea submarines can get to the coast. 

However South Korea would now be seeking to make its future submarines capable of firing vertically launched ballistic missiles. This may include the four final KSS-IIs submarines (see below) to be launched by 2020 and certainly the KSS-IIIs already due to receive vertical launch systems for cruise, ballistic missiles or anti-missile missiles (BMDs). South Korea may be accelerating its KSS-III program in view of the looming North Korean SLBM threat.


South Korea has the following land based ballistic missiles that might be capable of development into a submarine launched ballistic missile (SLBM) including:

-  The Short Range South Korean Rocket (KSR) research program which has produced a missile of 800 km range perhaps with a 300 kg payload and 11.21m long. With a lot of development this may represent the closest SK built solution to its SLBM needs. See launch below. 

Launch of South Korea short range ballistic missile/rocket to deploy a satellite.

-  The US provided ATACMS (Army TACtical Missile System)  looks like it would require too much development to be modified into an SLBM. The US might also heavily restrict modifications.

-  The Hyunmoo-2B or NHK-2 or Hyon Mu 2 (which is unrelated to the Hyon Mu 3) has a length of 12.14 m which is probably too long for vertical launch from the hull of the future KSS-III. Firing through the sail/fin/conning tower might be possible. The NHK 2 (Hyon Mu 2) may now have a 800 km range and 500 kg payload. The diameter of 0.54 m would allow perhaps 6 to be carried by a 3,000 ton KSS-III. See the South Korean announcement of an early June 2015 test of a Hyunmoo-2B.

New Foreign Missiles?

It may take South Korea too long (5 years?) to modify one of the above missiles for SLBM use. A wholly new missile might take longer. Therefore South Korea may seek foreign assistance or a complete foreign missile. Possible countries are the US - although the US might which to observe MTCR rules closely. Other countries might be:

-  France
-  Israel (Popeye Turbo - perhaps a supersonic SLCM, with the advantage of horizontal torpedo tube launch option) or
-  India (K-15 Sagarika missile?) noting Indian Prime Minister Modi's visit to South Korea on May 18-19, 2015.


South Korea has two existing types of submarine certainly capable of launching SLCMs and possibly SLBMs, including:

-  Nine  KSS-I Chang Bogo class (Type 209)(no AIP). They can would be capable of firing Harpoon missiles (220 kg warheads, 130 km range) to coastal parts of North Korea. 1,200 tons (surfaced) 8 torpedo tubes (how many can fire Harpoon missiles for land attack?). Could be retrofitted to fire South Korea's Tomahawk like Hyon Mu 3 cruise missiles (500 to 1,000 kg warheads) to any part of North Korea, and

Four KSS-II Son Won-II class (Type 214) with AIP (to remain fully submerged off North Korea’s coast for around 3 weeks). Five more KSS-IIs are due to be commissioned by 2020 which could be modified to launch SLBMs. 1,800 tons surfaced (8) 533 mm torpedo tubes, SLCMs (4?) Harpoon missile capable. Could fire Hyon Mu 3s.

South Korea is also developing KSS-III 3,000 ton submarines capable of firing Harpoons, Hyon Mu 3s SLCMs, and launching SLBMs from their vertical launch systems or anti-missile-missiles (BMDs).


May 29, 2015

India's Unnamed Project for 6 SSNs Begins

Russian started, Indian financially upgraded INS Chakra (Akula 2 based) - along with INS Arihant (nuclear propelled testbed) perhaps more an Indian-French design - form the beginnings of India's SSN project.

Thanks to ZuluEcho at Comment Thread (May 22, 2015) for drawing my attention to Sandeep Unnithan's India Today article of March 26, 2015. The article mainly deals with India's project to indigenously build 6 SSNs. The project has no name - so far? If the SSNs are built after the 4th Arihant class submarine is launched we may be talking 2025 for first launch of an SSN. The following are excerpts with my comments in [...] brackets and added links in [...] brackets.

Article string is :

The Indian Ocean riposte
The Modi government signals a new push into the Indian Ocean with a diplomatic offensive and naval expansion to counter China's growing presence

Sandeep Unnithan  March 26, 2015
On February 18, 2015 the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) formally cleared India's single-largest defence project: a joint Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)-Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC)-Navy project to build six nuclear-powered attack submarines or SSNs for [very low price of] roughly [US] $12 billion (Rs 74,400 crore). This mammoth 'Make in India' project, nearly the size of the budget allotted this year to the three services to buy hardware ($15 billion), was not an isolated policy decision.

A senior naval official says India's ramped-up Indian Ocean push is a direct response to the expansion in China's naval capabilities including submarine deployments in the Indian Ocean over the past year, and oceanographic surveys meant to legitimise its presence in the region.

India's response is part of a recognition of not just its maritime capabilities, a comprehensive linkage between diplomacy and power projection capability and the fact that China's game plan has huge security implications. "We look at capabilities, not intentions. Intentions can change overnight. If the Chinese have the capability to base their ships in the Indian Ocean Region, it has huge security implications for us," the senior naval officer adds.

Late last year, the government dusted out a 2008 naval proposal for six SSNs...the six SSNs that will form the lynchpin of India's response to the Chinese navy.

The Indian Navy envisages multiple roles for a future nuclear-powered attack submarine fleet: two SSNs each to escort each of the three Carrier Battle Groups, protect the "bastion areas", or bases of the Arihant-class SSBNs, and hunt enemy submarines in the Indian Ocean Region. In the event of a Chinese offensive in the Himalayas, the SSNs will form the backbone of a future Indian riposte. They will run interdiction missions at vital choke points and conduct operations in enemy waters.

All of these tasks are presently carried out by a solitary [INS Chakra], which is to be supplemented by a second SSN, possibly the [Kashalot] to be leased from Russia for $2.7 billion in 2018. "SSN's utility in denial operations, raising the cost of hostile military intervention and shadowing high-value units such as carrier groups and SSBNs, is unparalleled," says Shankar.

The SSN project comes at a time when India's three-decade-old nuclear submarine project is finally coming up to speed. The [INS Arihant] or the S2, the first of a class of four 6,000-tonne ballistic missile submarines, recently began her sea trials in Visakhapatnam. [My calculations are the 2nd [INS Aridhaman], 3rd and 4th subs of the Arihant class will weigh around 8,000+ tons surfaced in order to accommodate the 8 K-4 missiles planned. Arihant itself is a testbed highly unlikely (too light and with too shallow a draught of 11m) to be commissioned with the 12m long-high K-4s.].

The submarine's performance in surface trials has enthused naval officials to plan for its commissioning in December this year. The INS Arihant cost around Rs 6,000 crore to build and can carry either 12 short-range [K-15 missiles] or four K-4 nuclear tipped ballistic missiles with a range of 3,500 km. The DRDO has set up an SSN cell headed by a retired vice admiral in its nuclear submarine building hub, the [Ship Building Centre (SBC) in Visakhapatnam]. The [Navy's Delhi based Submarine Design Group] is now working to complete a design for these undersea vessels in the next two years. The shipyard to build the vessels is yet to be decided but officials say this programme will run parallel to the seven strategic submarines of the Advanced Technology Vessel Project (ATV).


At roughly Rs 12,000 crore a unit, one SSN would equal the cost of two 7,500-tonne Project 15A Kolkata-class destroyers. Cost, however, has never been a hurdle. The belief in the need for a nuclear navy has led a series of PMs from Indira Gandhi to Narendra Modi to ensure generous budgetary support.

The ATV programme has spent over Rs 30,000 crore, most of it in secret funds which do not form part of the defence budget. Politicians have occasionally questioned if they were getting value for money. In 2005, then finance minister P. Chidambaram, a member of the apex political committee steering the classified project, wondered why the Arihant, costing over a billion dollars (Rs 6,200 crore), [was to carry only 4 K-4 missiles]. The project team doubled the missile load on three subsequent vessels [to 8 K-4 missiles  for the 2nd [INS Aridhaman], 3rd and 4th subs of the Arihant class]. The only challenges in the project have been technological. The CCS approval marks the start of a new challenge for scientists and nuclear engineers.

...the technical challenge of designing and fitting a compact reactor inside a space the size of a two-storeyed building is insurmountable for all but the P5 countries which build such vessels. [Not quite. Brazil is on the way to building a "ProSub" SSN and South Korea (KSS-N) and Japan certainly have the technical know-how].

India's ATV project started as a troika of agencies. Steered by the DRDO which also developed the vessel's long-range ballistic missiles, it was staffed by naval project teams that brought in design expertise and BARC that built and developed the reactor. By the late 1990s, it had spent over Rs 2,000 crore on its classified ATV programme without results. The failure to produce a submarine had in 1998 piqued then navy chief Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat to call for a technical audit. Considerable Russian design assistance that followed the May 1998 nuclear tests breathed new life into the project. Even so, it took the Arihant 15 years from the start of construction to begin sea trials. The navy fought a pitched but unsuccessful battle to wrest the project away from DRDO control five years back.

A former DRDO chief is optimistic about the next line of submarines. "We are on schedule with the SSNs and we have the capability to design the submarine and build the reactor," he says.
The six SSNs will be a spin-off from a project that is building four Arihant class SSBNs or ballistic missile-firing nuclear submarines. The downstream effect of this Make in India project will be tremendous. One private sector official says the $12-billion project will have a force multiplier effect of $40 billion on the Indian economy, generating over a million skilled jobs and sustaining the ecosystem that has grown around the ATV project.

One admiral points out that while the SSN will be Arihant's size, designing and building it will be far more challenging as both platforms have different tasks. An SSBN like the Arihant is a stealth underwater bomber ready to launch nuclear-tipped missiles at an adversary. Its reactor needs to deliver steady speeds as it prowls undetected.

An SSN, on the other hand, is like a fighter jet. It needs a high-performance nuclear reactor which delivers tremendous speed with rapid acceleration and deceleration. It needs a reactor that can perform multiple tasks such as pursuing enemy warships and striking land targets. Opinion seems to be divided regarding the type of reactor that will power the SSN.

BARC wants the Arihant's 83 MW reactor to lead the way. "It's better to build on a proven design. The SSN should have a compact version of the same reactor," says Anil Anand, former head of the BARC reactor design team. A former admiral, also part of the project, differs and calls for a new 190 MW reactor such as the one on the Chakra to be designed.

The new SSN programme, experts say, is an opportunity to learn from past mistakes. Admiral Arun Kumar Singh, former eastern naval commander, calls for stringent supervision to ensure the project stays the course. "The Prime Minister must monitor its progress every year and the defence minister every three months. Otherwise what happens is that the DRDO gives us ambitious projections which it fails to meet," he says. Clearly, old ghosts will continue to haunt the project. Also Read : India's string of flowers" ENDS

Please Connect with Submarine Matters articles:

-  Indian Possible Interest in Buying-Building Japan’s Soryu Submarine – Australia, January 30, 2015

-  South Asian Submarine Issues, December 7, 2014,  concerning construction of India's emerging SSBN base at INS Varsha on the East coast below Visakhapatnam.

-  India’s Plans for 21 More Subs including SSNs, August 24, 2014


May 28, 2015

German TKMS-HDW's Bid to Build Australia's Future Submarine

Highly skilled and experienced workforce ... TKMS workers fitting out one of six new subm
Highly skilled and experienced workforce ... TKMS workers fitting out one of six new submarines now being built at the TKMS shipyard in Kiel. Supplied: German Submarine Source 

The following are excerpts from’s “Why German company ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems wants Australia’s Future Submarines contract” of MAY 23, 2015. Extra comments are in [...] brackets and links that I have added are also in [...] brackets :

TKMS has constructed 161 boats for 20 navies around the world since 1960 at Kiel including more than 50 built in customer countries that have benefited from a philosophy of total technology transfer.
The parent company [TKMS] operates in 80 countries, has a $60 billion turnover and employs 160,700 people globally. In Australia it employs 900 mainly engineers.
TKMS is the world leader in non-nuclear submarine construction and it is pushing very hard to win the contract to build Australia’s future submarine.
The navy wants to buy more than eight 4000-tonne submarines to replace its six ageing Collins Class boats from about 2026.
Germany, Japan and France are engaged in a bizarre “competitive evaluation process” by the Abbott Government for the $20 billion plus contract, which will be the most expensive and complex defence project ever undertaken to provide the nation with a vital deterrent and force multiplier for the next 50 years.
Sadly there is no “transparency” requirement in the process but that hasn’t stopped the Germans from opening their doors to share almost everything about their submarines and what they can offer Australian taxpayers.
The same cannot be said for Japan and France whose submarine proposals are shrouded in secrecy.
For TKMS this is a rare opportunity to win the biggest contract in history for non-nuclear submarines and the firm is pulling out all stops.
This week it opened its door to a group of Australian defence writers to explore in detail both its submarine and surface ship operations.
TKMS board member [Torsten Konker] described the Japanese bid as a “white elephant” because no one knew anything at all about what it is offering with its evolved Soryu Class boat.
Many observers agree and regard the Soryu as being optimised for Japan rather than Australia. They see the huge sovereign risk issues such as the lack of an export record as well as language, political and cultural differences as a bridge too far.
With nine submarines either under construction or being upgraded the Kiel facility is the world leader in non-nuclear boats.
TKMS Australia chief executive and former submarine commander [Philip Stanford] said all the German technology was exportable and the firm was willing to design an Australian built capability tailored to Australia’s needs.
“We don’t hide things,” he said.
Mr Stanford said another major advantage was the fact that the synergies between the German and Australian navies were very strong and likely to become even closer.
“The German navy is similar to ours,” he said.
That means cooperating in a variety of areas including submarine, technology and weapons development.
The company also visualises an Australian submarine and warship hub in Adelaide possibly building boats for countries such as Canada and maintaining TKMS submarines for regional nations and its bid is strongly supported by a German Government that is keen for close cooperation with Australia.
According to Mr Konker the German firm has a good record of cooperating with very different companies and diverse cultures including Israel, Turkey, Italy and Colombia to deliver cutting edge submarines.
“We have quite a good track record,” he said.
At the Kiel yard [Israeli Dolphin boats] are built alongside Greek or German submarines and when the time comes to install sensitive equipment — and there is a lot of it in an Israeli submarine — the vessel is “locked up” and everyone apart from Israeli engineers are banned from entry until the installation is complete.
Blohm and Voss sub contracts its huge yard to TKMS and today turns out hi-tech Frigates and other warships for navies around the world.
It was a robust Blohm and Voss Meko design that was chosen for the navy’s [Anzac Frigate] project that is widely regarded as the most successful Australian navy shipbuilding project ever.
According to TKMS senior vice-president of strategic sales and former South African Rear Admiral Jonathan Kamerman, the company’s key pillars that made the Anzacs such a success — such as seakeeping and fighting survivability — still applied today. TKMS has supplied 143 warships to 16 navies in 17 new classes since 1970 with half built in customer shipyards such as Williamstown in Melbourne.
He said Australia should learn the lesson from the flawed Air Warfare Destroyer alliance and look to the company that has done it before for Australia.
The man behind the Anzac ship was Dr John White who is now the chairman of [TKMS Australia]. When John White speaks governments usually take notice and he is speaking a great deal of sense when it comes to the navy’ future submarine and future frigate projects.
He was recently contracted by the government with American expert Donald Winter to examine the troubled Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance that is running years late and hundreds of millions over budget. The report remains a closely guarded secret.
Dr White sees a clear and logical path for the nation’s most important weapon projects.
He said TKMS was committed to replicating its German naval capability in Australia and specifically at Techport in Port Adelaide on the site of the taxpayer owned ASC. The company will push to take over ASC as part of its push to build subs, frigates and Pacific Patrol boats at the site.
“If not we will establish our own facilities at Techport and work with other facilities to build both Sea 1000 [submarines] and Sea 5000 [frigates] if we won them competitively,” Dr White said.
The Howard Government first raised the prospect of Adelaide becoming the national shipbuilding centre of excellence back in the late 1990s.
Sadly successive governments have been unable to make it happen, but the future submarine and frigate projects present an ideal opportunity for “national interest and sound business decisions to triumph over political bastardry and stupidity.” ENDS

May 24, 2015

Singapore Recommends Submarine Safety Regime - Exercise with India

Malacca Strait - narrow and many rocks, islands and shallows. Its at its narrowest just south of Singapore. A ship and submarine captain's nightmare (Map courtesy IMO).

About one third of oil carried by sea (worldwide) is moved through the extremely congested Malacca Strait. Large tankers and other subs can accidentally collide with subs. (Map courtesy US Energy Information Administralian (EIA))

I have reproduced an excellent commentary by Prashanth Parameswaran who wrote for The Diplomat, May 21, 2015. I have added some links bolded and some comments, bolded in [...] brackets. The link is

"A New Plan to Manage Asia’s Submarine Race?"

"This week, Singapore co-hosts the Asia Pacific Submarine Conference (APSC) with the United States. Founded in 2001, the APSC has established itself as a major forum dealing with submarine rescue, and this year reportedly saw the highest attendance with 23 navies and organizations.
At the conference, Chief of the Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) Rear-Admiral Lai Chung Han delivered a speech, seen by The Diplomat, outlining how Asia should take multilateral submarine rescue cooperation [see last para of a 2014 Diplomat article]  “to the next bound.” More specifically, given the busyness and shallowness [eg. 20meters to 50meters in some parts of South China Sea] of some of the Asian waters as well as the rapid rise of submarines expected in the region over the next few years, Lai suggested that Asian nations should enhance submarine operational safety and proactively minimize the risk of incidents by developing a regional framework.
Such a framework, Lai argued, would comprise four elements. The first would be better information exchange. This would not involve sharing sensitive information about submarine positions and movements, but other sorts of information like the real-time movement of fishing vessels and very large crude carriers. He suggested that the effort could be supported by the Information Fusion Center (IFC) at the Changi Command and Control Center through a dedicated Submarine Safety Information Portal. In his view, the information platform, along with the extensive network of International Liaison Officers [most probably including US and Australian] at the IFC and the information technology and command and control support of the Multinational Operations and Exercises Center, would provide robust infrastructure for this information exchange to occur.
The second element would be the sharing of best practices. While he acknowledged that some of this is already being done at APSC, he encouraged such exchanges to extend beyond just submarine rescue to encompass best practices, certification, and training to enhance the safety of navies and submarine operators.
The third element, Lai said, would be the setting of common standards. For instance, he recommended leveraging an established material safety standard, such as the United States Navy’s SUBSAFE regime, to ensure that submarines are in the best technical condition for safe operations.
The fourth element, and the most ambitious one, is coming up with a Code of Conduct for submarine operations or underwater “rules of the road.” He noted that given the confined and congested waters in some parts of the Asia-Pacific, there is a need to develop regulations for the underwater domain to help avert catastrophic incidents should submarines encounter each other unexpectedly underwater.
The challenges to such a regional framework are clear, and Lai acknowledged some of these himself. First, even the more basic elements of such a framework, such as information sharing, are hard to accomplish fully because of a classic catch-22: more information is required to build greater trust, yet it’s precisely the lack of initial trust — rooted in a range of factors including history, current geopolitical competition, and unresolved disputes — that often makes parties unwilling to share that information in the first place. While that does not make this an unworthy goal to strive for, it does mean that achieving it will not be as easy as it looks, even though the infrastructure exists and it makes sense to do so.
Second, although the sharing of best practices and the adoption of common standards may seem like no-brainers, they may take time to implement fully in practice. In reality, the speed through which practices are shared and standards are harmonized is the product of a variety of factors, including the extent to which there is similarity in capabilities; the degree to which different countries exercise with each other to facilitate interoperability; and, of course, the level of willingness of the different actors to make this a priority.
Third and lastly, the wide divergence in the experience of Asian states — both in terms of operating submarines as well as cooperation on submarine safety — will likely make the specifics of a regional framework more complicated. [Singapore's suggestion might particularly be aimed at other sub owning ASEAN nations (Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam) also at China] While some countries have robust submarine fleets, other major states have just acquired them within the past few years and still others have plans in the pipeline to get them in the future. That has significant implications for designing a regional framework, including the dilemma usually inherent in such arrangements about how to balance inclusivity and high standards.
Given these challenges as well as others, Lai was right to note that Asia has a long way to go before getting anywhere near the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) preventive system for submarine operational safety, which has the [NATO Submarine Movement Advisory Authority] deconflicting underwater activities as well as endorsed procedures and standards by NATO’s International Submarine Escape and Rescue Liaison Office. But he was also right to stress that while this is probably a bridge too far, that should not stop countries from taking small steps now. Otherwise, as he gloomily suggested, it may not be a matter of whether, but when, a submarine-related crisis occurs in the future in the Asia-Pacific."

Meanwhile Times of India, May 23, 2015 reports "NEW DELHI: India has dispatched four warships, including a frontline destroyer and a stealth frigate, on a long overseas deployment to the South Indian Ocean and South China Sea in consonance with the country's "Act East" policy. As part of the endeavor, two of the warships -- stealth frigate INS Satpura and anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kamorta [against the sub RNS Archer] also kicked off the four-day SIMBEX exercise with the Singaporean Navy on [May 23, 2015]..."