February 9, 2016

Ongoing Australian Submariner Shortage - Buy The 216?

Trainee Australian Submariners - After a few years difficult to retain. (Photo courtesy RAN via NavalToday)


"Hello sailor! Navy offers $50,000 per man in bid to keep sub fleet afloat

Sailors on Australia's submarines will be given annual lump sum payments of up to $50,000 just for staying in their jobs as navy bosses grow increasingly desperate to keep crews on the boats.

The navy's high command hopes the big money offer will end their long struggle to hold on to enough sailors to maintain Australia's vital submarine warfare capability.

The unprecedented offer of different pay and working conditions to one arm of a Defence service follows a frank admission by top naval brass that the ranks of Australia's submarines crews are under-strength and fragile..." see WHOLE ARTICLE


Its no use buying and maintaining submarines that cannot be crewed. Continuing shortages of Australian submariners (meaning only 2.3 subs can be crewed?) suggest two courses of action:

1.  Australia should only buy 8 or even 6 new submarines because Australia constantly has problems crewing even 6 Collins.

2.  Buy the submarine that uses more advanced labour-saving automation meaning fewer crew can operate it. This may be the TKMS Type 216. The 216 may require as few as 33 crew for short missions at least. The Japanese and DCNS subs may need more than 50 crew.



Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi Pete,
Since Australia has a hard time crewing people for the Collins. I think they should go for the Type 216 or even the Type 218SG because they only require a crew of 33 vs 50 on the Japan and French subs.

Peter Coates said...

Indeed Nicky

Following my low-high strategy:

- Buying 6 x 218AUs for only US$1 Billion each, then,

- in 2030 buying 4 x Virginia SSNs

would make everyone happy (almost).



Common Sense said...


Those "crewing" numbers are the minimum required figure. Its up to individual navies to decide on how many personnel they want to deploy based on their training regimen and operational requirement. The Type-214 has a minimum requirement of 27 personnel, but South Korea deploys around 35-40 personnel on them, IIRC. There is little to suggest that the Germans are way ahead in automation compared with other vendors.

Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

If there are not enough submariners, we must select small submarine instead of large one. Number of submarine is more important than size of submarine to ensure efficiency of submarine operation within limited human resources and budgets. Selection of 8-10 Type 212A submarines with methanol reforming fuels and LIBs is one of the most logical solutions.

You can expect following advantages.
-RAN needs not worry shortage of submariners without loss of operation efficiency.
-Australia does not face the wrath of China and will have a chance to sell submarine to Canada.
-US can ensure selling of combat system.
-Japan and US need not worry about leakage of submarine technology from Australia to China..
-Workers and middle management of MHI and KHI need not work without overtime charge.
-Everyone including PM Merkel and Madam Turnbull will become happy, except PM Abe and his servants.


Nicky K.D Chaleunphone said...

Hi Pete,
I think that for Australia, they should go with this;

Buy 6 Type 218SG from the same production line that Singapore is buying.

As for Virginia class SSN, Australia better work an AIRTIGHT deal and something similar to what the British got with their Nuclear program. If they can't work a deal, they need to swallow their pride and make a deal on the French Barracuda class SSN.

Though in my opinion once Australia get's the Type 218SG, they should sell the Collins to Thailand and the Philippines.