June 30, 2022

Turkey's STM 500 sub TKMS Type 205 & 210 Influenced

Turkey, Ukraine and some other Black Sea neighbours have been more than disturbed by aggressive Russian naval activities in 2022, This presents a renewed market niche for relatively inexpensive 500 tonne defensive submarines that can ply the Black and other seas.

Turkey's submarine industry has licence built TKMS 209s and 214s. So its no surprise that Turkey’s "first national submarine" the STM 500, appears to combine the small size of  Germany's TKMS defensive Type 205 and the shape of the TKMS Type 210 "Ula-class". 

Why is Turkey building the STM 500?

The Black Sea strategic need is most likely. The STM 500 has just started to be built with completion expected in 2026. Although the STM 500's customer is yet to be identified Turkey's region has an increasing need for small submarines providing an affordable deterrent against Russian naval forces. In green/brown water operations a 500 tonne sub's  limited range and endurance is acceptable. Theatres of war may include the:

-  Black Sea (with rising Russian aggression against Ukraine) and also

-  the eastern Mediterranean with Greece, Syria and Israel strategic problems requiring  Turkish intelligence gathering.

Many countries without the funds to buy the typical, medium sized, 1,200+ tonne Euro-subs, or South Korean built 209s, might find lower priced STM 500s attractive. Such countries (all close to threatening Russia) might specifically include Ukraine, Albania, Bulgaria, Georgia, Poland, Denmark and Finland. Also the Philippines is a potential buyer and more generally Middle Eastern, North African and Latin American countries. 

Above is a TKMS Type 210 Ula-class sub with a shape that may have inspired the STM 500 concept design below (Artwork courtesy Turkish government via Overt Defense).

June 28, 2022

India Prefers West, Wants Fewer Russian Weapons

Moyura Baba, for Japan's Nikkei Asia, June 17, 2022, deftly reports in part:

"...NEW DELHI -- India is making overtures to Israel, the U.S. and Europe in an effort to reduce its dependence on Russian arms, as the war in Ukraine highlights the risk of relying too heavily a single partner.

The war has pushed Russia closer to China, which India considers its biggest threat as the countries remain embroiled in a border dispute. New Delhi is now exploring ways to possibly reduce its Russia-dependence.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged Israeli defense companies to set up shop in India in a meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Gantz this month. India and Israel have deepened cooperation on defense in recent years.

During Modi's tour of Europe last month, he and French President Emmanuel Macron agreed on more French involvement in India's campaign for greater self-reliance, including on "advanced defense technology."

In April, Modi and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a statement outlining plans for the U.K. to provide technological assistance for India's new homegrown fighter jets.

Modi also met with U.S. President Joe Biden following the May summit of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, which includes Japan and Australia. The leaders discussed a low-cost weapons package from the U.S. to India. Modi urged cooperation from U.S. defense companies on production in India.

"The most important lesson that India is learning from the Ukraine crisis is that overdependence on any one country is bad," said Harsh Pant, vice president of studies and foreign policy at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.

"The defense cooperation with Israel and other countries will help India in reducing its dependence on Russia," Pant added...."


June 27, 2022

Donor Report: Gradual ORCA Deployment & Manpower Savings

Hi Donors

I have just sent you the June 2022 Report 

"More Gradual ORCA Deployment & Manpower Savings"

Here is a superb article https://warontherocks.com/2022/06/feedback-loops-and-fundamental-flaws-in-autonomous-warships/

Happy Reading

Regards Pete

Aircraft Evolution for China's New Type 003 Carrier

China's carrier evolution (Artwork courtesy Feng Qingyin via an interesting article
 at China's Global Times)

China is launching ever more capable aircraft carriers at a pace every 6 years.

This is usually only seen prior to and during major wars. Types and years include: 

Type 001 Liaoning (and see) was re-launched around 2010.

Type 002 Shandong was launched in 2017. 

Type 003 Fujian was launched June 17, 2022, 


Type 004 ("Hainan"?) nuclear powered carrier, maybe by 2028 . 

Fujian is China’s first Catapult Assisted Take-Off But Arrested Recovery (CATOBAR) technology carrier.

What’s more Fujian is to use the advanced Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) catapult and recovery system. EMALS, first used on USS Ford, initially caused trouble on USS Ford. China may have parallel developed EMALS for Fujian in combination with intelligence collection from the US EMALS program.

Early estimates were that Fujian’s maximum displacement was around 80,000 tonnes. But later estimates are up to 100,000 tonnes like USS Ford.

Fujian's large flight deck and catapult system permit a wider choice of carrier aircraft than the 001's and 002's “ski-jumps” which "roll off" Flanker style J-15s

Catapults permit launch of:

-  Chinese propeller driven KJ-600 AEW&C. 

The KJ-600 airframe may also serve as a basis for:

-  an anti-submarine warfare aircraft

-  carrier jet refueling aircraft, and

 -  shore-ship delivery aircraft.

In the future Type 003 carriers could launch:

-  mid-size stealth FC-31 carrier variants.  Wiki reports on October 29, 2021, a modified FC-31 dubbed J-35, made its maiden flight.[37] and see [38]

large stealth aircraft J-20.  Wiki reports: "The J-20 would likely be commissioned upon the Type 003 aircraft carrier under construction, however, the length of the J-20 means that [the J-20] has to be shortened to be considered operable on an aircraft carrier.[137]


Potential tasks of Chinese Type 003 carriers are many, including:

-  Chinese SSBN bastion extension out from the first island chain. That chain has been an obstacle to these SSBN's safe freedom of movement into the broader Pacific Ocean.  

-  operating east of Taiwan - working with surface escorts and submarines to blockade Taiwan and perhaps useful for Taiwan's eventual invasion.

power projection with escort surface ships and SSNs in the South China Sea and broader  Indo-Pacific, and

showing the flag boosting the "Prestige of Xi Jinping and China" in the Indo-Pacific (especially island nations from the Solomons to Sri Lanka). Then there could be longer voyages into the Atlantic visiting Latin American (eg. Cuba, Venezuela), European and Russian ports. “Show the flag” was subsequently confirmed by US Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery. 

Following Teddy Roosevelt's Great White Fleet (that did a world tour in 1907-1909) we now have Xi's Great Red Fleet centered around carriers (which may do a similar tour). 

Check out the stirring video here and below from the good Volk at Global Times about how China was inspired by the USN. Besides the US China is the only other nation with true Super Carriers.

June 24, 2022

Training Aus Nuclear Submariners: US Legislation in House

 Justin Katz at US website Breaking Defense wrote an excellent June 23, 2022 article 

indicating the US Congress is laying early legislative groundwork for an Australian SSN capability.

Meanwhile the UK is silent on any plans to magically dream up 2 Astutes, with no longer built PWR2s, for the RAN.

Snippets from Justin Katz’ article include:

“WASHINGTON: As initial trilateral discussions continue between the AUKUS signatories, [US Congress House of Representatives] lawmakers have moved to establish a “joint training pipeline” for submarine officers between the US and Royal Australian navies.

The legislation, dubbed the Australia-U.S. Submarine Officer Pipeline Act, was introduced last week by Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., and included as an amendment to this year’s defense policy bill, which was favorably voted out of the House Armed Services Committee early this morning.

“The AUKUS alliance is the most important security partnership that America has entered into in decades, and at its core is the creation of an Australian fleet of nuclear-powered submarines — the same world-beating technology operated by our own US Navy, vital to keeping up with today’s challenges in the vast expanse of the Indo-Pacific,” Courtney said of the bill after the committee concluded its marathon mark up of the Fiscal Year 2023 National Defense Authorization Act.

Courtney’s submariner legislation would allow for two Royal Australian Navy submariners being selected to come to the US each year for training at the US Navy’s sub school, enroll in the Submarine Officer Basic Course and be assigned to duty on an operational US sub at sea.

Separately, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro late last week announced [USN] Rear Adm. Dave Goggins was tapped to become a “special assistant” supporting the AUKUS agreement. Goggins, who is currently the Program Executive Officer for Attack Submarines, will be relieved by Rear Adm. Jonathon Rucker.

… When officials from Washington, London and Sydney announced the agreement in September 2021, they said the first step would be an 18-month consultation and planning period..."


Pete Comment

This follows the November-December 2021 Exchange of Naval Nuclear Propulsion Information Agreement (ENNPIA). 

If this June 2022 training legislation gets through in a timely and untroubled manner this will be another early test whether the AUKUS SSN Program can gain momentum in US-Australian relations. 

If the legislation has not cleared the House and Senate before the possible complication of the US November 8, 2022, "Midterm" Elections then prospects may not be so rosy.

June 22, 2022

Can Australia Really Get US SSNs By 2030?

Marcus Hellyer and Andrew Nicholls for the ASPI Strategist have written an excellent June 22, 2022, article "Can Australia get nuclear-powered submarines this decade?". It concurs with point 2. of my June 9, 2022 article "SSNs: Can the UK or US Really Help Australia" about the non-availability of US Virginia SSNs, for Australia, for a very long time.

Hellyer and Nicholls make a wide range of additional points, including:

"That’s before we get to the second challenge: the rapid ramp-up of the enabling systems. As we and others have written, there are many other elements to an SSN capability than the boats. Vice Admiral Jonathan Mead, the head of the nuclear submarine task force, has emphasised that Australia will need to demonstrate that it can exercise ‘responsible stewardship’ of the nuclear technologies. This will require a larger uniformed workforce, which will require substantially different qualifications. A Collins-class submarine has one engineer-qualified officer; all 15 officers on a Virginia are nuclear-qualified. It will also require the maintenance infrastructure as well as the safety and regulatory ecosystems. That takes time.

Does that mean we have no hope of accelerating an SSN capability? We’ll look at what can be done in the next post."

So stay tuned to the ASPI Strategist on SSN matters.

June 21, 2022

"Interim" SSK By 2040 & Regionally Inferior.

In response to Anonymous's from June 20, 2022 and /Kjell 

Australia cannot simply choose a Japanese or Swedish "Interim" submarine without a tender process. The Australian Government has a financial, prudential, duty of care on how it spends $10s Billions buying an "Interim" submarine class. 

Australia's SSK tender had its day in 2016.  

The new Albanese government would be very unpopular with Australian taxpayers if it ran yet another conventional submarine (SSK) tender or SSK selection, which, on usual design-building-testing timelines would produce the first operational SSK in 2040. 

Main reasons being: 

- Australia had its SSK tender in 2016 

- which chose France's Naval Group (was DCNS) an efficient, credible SSK builder

- the Morrison Government, with Albanese Labor's bipartisan agreement, ripped up the contract with the 2016 tender winner Naval Group. 

- This is because it was judged an SSK would be obsolete against high tech naval superpower China by the mid 2030s. 

- the Albanese Government is paying over A$3 Billion to Naval Group and other contractors in recognition an SSK Tender Winner is not what Australia wants now. 

- All of this makes the idea of running yet another SSK tender inexplicable on financial, greater Chinese capability/threat, timing and definite unpopularity with Australian taxpayer reasons. 

- Also all new submarines are to at least minimal degree tailor-made for customers. 

- For Australia the tailor-making would be to a MAXIMAL degree due to Australia's unique long range-long endurance-at high speed-with large crew-with 20+ heavyweight shots requirements. 

- An SSN, much larger than any SSK, meets those requirements. 

- All the contractual milestone negotiations and design changes, from the Euro-sub, South Korean or Japanese norm, would mean an "INTERIM" submarine would probably only be operation in 2040 - which ISN'T "INTERIM" 


- Australia has wanted a "regionally superior submarine" since 2009. 

-  China has raised the bar on what is regionally superior. For manned submarines only an Australian SSN by around 2040 would be regionally superior against the all-important Chinese SSN threat in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. 

I think only an Orca unmanned submarine can be developed in time to be INTERIM.

June 19, 2022

Orca Doctrine Developing: Australian SSN Substitutes.

A depiction of an undersea, sea surface, aircraft, satellite and land weapon-sensor network in which Orcas can function. Note Orcas can communicate back to land base via encoded acoustic signals to the undersea sensors depicted. (Artwork in Submarine Matters October 26, 2014 article).

In response to Anonymous’ June 19, 2022, 9:23:00 AM comment. 

Good that we agree on using Orca evolving to 80+ tonne unmanned "submarines". 

I'm a bit confused over your: 

"If the start of a nuclear sub build is as faraway as claimed we should hold proper tenders for it. If it is soon we should focus on that and buy new diesel subs from Germany or Japan to replace Collins in the interim if there is any capability gap. Build Orcas here in the mean time. There seems little point re-establishing an SSK manufacturing capability in Australia for a stop-gap solution." 

1.  I don't think the US SSN building industry would expose itself to an Australian tender. I think it unlikely it would hand over the vast amount of sensitive Virginia/SSN(X) technical detail required by Australian tender procedures. Also GD-EB and HII are flat out building Virginia SSNs and Columbia SSBNs for their own navy. 

2.  Which leaves the UK SSN(R) Astute successor as the no need to compete, monopoly SSN supplier for Australia. 

3.  The group of ex-RAN officers at https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/jun/19/new-collins-based-submarine-best-fit-while-waiting-for-aukus-defence-experts-say are over optimistic (launched by "2032") about how quickly Sweden could design-build "Son of Collins". 

Its panning out Sweden will have taken 14 years to build A26-Blekinge-class subs for its own navy, ie. 2014-2028. Also Sweden's thin submarine designer-builder-manager workforce will be building A26s for 6 years 2022-28. This 6 year hiatus would hinder SAAB's ability to design-build "Son of Collins" in Adelaide.  

4.  So, a more accurate timeline is the standard 15 years to design-launch "Son of Collins". Then 3 more years to Commission/problem solve that first submarine. The first Son of Collins being operational by 2040, is more accurate. 18 years also applies to the German Type 216 and the latest Japanese sub, which is the Taigei. The main development hurdles for the 216 and Taigei will be Australia's familiar larger sub requirement for extended range-endurance (conquering the total 7,000km to-from transit to operations), at higher speed, with larger crew. This has been required for all new Australian submarines conceived since the Collins concept in the 1970s. 

Australian submarine's' transit reality means we need submarines at least 1,000 tonnes heavier than standard for the German Type 214/218 subs used by Singapore. Hence we would need never operated large TKMS 216 concept subs. 

An alternative is a sub 1,000 tonnes heavier than Japan's shorter range Taigeis. This is noting after Australia rejected Abbott-Abe's handshake promised Soryu in 2016 Japan would be very hesitant exposing itself again to another face-losing Australian rejection.   

5.  I think the LOTE will end up as A$2 Billion per Collins life of type extension eg. MTU diesels are needed. But this process can deliver the first "LOTED" Collins in 2028 with the remaining 5 every 2 years thereafter. So I think the LOTE is the best Interim manned  submarine solution. 

6.  Orcas will probably grow in size, particularly those that are nuclear propelled. Cutting out an SSN's necessary 8,000 tonnage to support a human crew will probably always mean Orcas will only displace one third of an SSN. Orcas human "crew" will always be remote, back in Australia. Orcas' remote "commanders" (as with weaponised Reaper UAVs right now) will be the people who give permission for Orcas to fire their torpedoes and cruise missiles at targets. As established here even manned submarines report back to base to seek permission to hit a target. Disposable Orcas can be even more talkative and will be managed with required Australia-based digital codeword certifications )to minimise enemy tampering) to hit a specific target. 

7.  As Orcas evolve, they may be able to do 90% of what a manned submarine can do. About the remaining 10% - Orcas cannot deliver Special Forces/Divers. An Orca network option a third the cost of an SSN option might present a reasonable permanent capability for Australia. 

8.  We won't need to train or risk a 2,400 member submariner corps (noting two 100+ member "Blue" and "Gold" crews per SSN and on-shore training and command teams) required for an SSN fleet.

9.  This is recalling Orcas will be part of a network already used by Australia. This network overlaps many manned submarine functions. It includes:

AUKUS/QUAD fixed undersea sensors intensively laid and criss-crossing the Pacific and Indian oceans,

-  increasingly sensitive reconnaissance radar, optical and electronic interception satellites doing much of the intelligence collection role once done by satellites

missile/light torpedo carrying anti-sub, anti-shipping aircraft/helicopters and already  ship based medium UAVs and perhaps future land launched large UAVs

-  missile/light torpedo carrying warships, and

-  Australia's steadily evolving land based, long range, AUKUS hypersonic missile capability, and

Foreign conventional (Singapore and Japan) and nuclear propelled (US, UK) submarines can hit targets detected by Orcas.

Also the US will blaze the technical and doctrinal Orca trail. Australian Orcas will interoperate with US Orcas.

10.  As Orcas are unmanned some versions would be expendable in time of war. Orcas themselves could carry 10 tonne conventional warheads. 

11.  If nuclear propelled Orcas, in the context of broader Australian-Foreign weapon-sensor networks, are developed to do all this, Australian SSNs will not be necessary. 

June 16, 2022

Australia's Future Orca Interim Submarines

A Boeing, SSN builder HII and US Navy developed Orca unmanned submarine being launched on April 28, 2022. In version above it displaces 80+ tonnes and, with a 7,000nm range, it is a substantial vessel. (Photo courtesy Boeing, via Naval News). 

Orcas have various propulsion options including fuel-cell or diesel powering batteries. Perhaps, in future, they can even be powered by a micro reactor. 

Orcas have many of the capabilities of a manned submarine including intelligence collection, eg. electronic interception and can tow sonar arrays. Orcas can report back to base * via technologies including short range acoustic signals to AUKUS fixed seafloor sensors, aided by Orcas' ability to dive much deeper than manned submarines.

Orcas can lay mines and can be configured (on remote human command) to launch heavyweight torpedoes and anti-ship missiles. The only thing they can't do is special forces/diver delivery.  

* This is noting that in the only modern Western example, HMS Conqueror's sinking of

General Belgrano in 1982, submarines do report back to base before torpedoing a vessel.

HistoryNet records:

Conqueror duly reported its change of direction to London at 1400 Zulu. Then, despite problems with its communications equipment, at 1710 Zulu the British submarine received and acknowledged the new ROE and orders to attack. At the same time Cmdr. Chris Wreford-Brown, Conqueror’s captain, transmitted his intention to strike the enemy..."

June 14, 2022

Ukraine War Depleting Russian Power in China's Favour

Even if Russia eventually "wins" the Ukraine War Russia's economic and military power will have declined compared to China’s.

China is not in political, economic or military alliance with Russia. Their relationship is centred more on self-interest than shared values. They are united though in an attitude that the US is the main enemy.

Russia’s inability to quickly beat Ukraine has lowered Russian morale and demonstrated to China that Russia’s conventional military is not as formidable as previously assumed. Russia’s tanks were previously seen as high quality but this has been disproven by the rapidity of their destruction by merely shoulder fired Ukrainian missiles.

China resents some of the border arrangements coerced by Russia over a century agoIn 1858 (Treaty of Aigun) Russia annexed the land north of the Amur River and in 1860 (Treaty of Beijing) annexed Chinese coastal territory down to Vladivostok.

Military Balance

Major conventional military and nuclear enmity was underlined by the 1969 Sino-Soviet border conflict which almost escalated to a nuclear exchange

In comparing China with Russia China has more than 5 times Russia's national GDP, more than 3 times Russia's military spending covering fewer threats than Russia's. Russia’s main advantage is in nuclear warheads, 6,257 compared to 350 in 2018. 

China has embarked on a major drive to install more ICBMs in Western China which in the long term may translate to parity with Russia's warhead numbers.

The Russian defence-strategic budgets must balance nuclear and conventional military spending. The sharp rise in Russian conventional military spending and weapon losses in Ukraine mean less Russian defence spending available for Russian nuclear weapons. Russia’s nuclear weapon arsenal is a very high cost for the relatively small Russian economy. 

Russia would be mindful that China is a rising nuclear competitor. Russia's nuclear weapons include Russian nuclear submarine (SSBN and SSGN) platforms, nuclear armed jet bombers, ICBMs and smaller tactical nukes. Over a standard 30 year life cycle Russian nuclear weapons and their platforms are not a static cost. Platforms and weapons need constant protection, maintenance, development and replacement to remain competitive.

Economic Decline

China, has more often been in economic competition with Russia than a subsidizer of the Russian economy. A prolonged Russian invasion of Ukraine, win or loose, would be a win-win situation for China. The economic and conventional military costs for Russia would fall in China’s favour in the short-medium and long term.

Russia is gradually losing its pre-war level of trade in gas and oil exports to West Europe and to Japan. This will place largely capitalist China in a stronger bargaining position over Russian gas and oil and the Russian economy generally.

The war is also causing a “brain drain” of middle class Russians leaving the country impacted by financial hardship,  uncertainty and fear of being called up to fight in Ukraine. They may be taking money with them by such unofficial means as cryptocurrencies.  Immigration from Russia has increased to places such as Finland and Bali - destinations with more stable economic conditions and a more predictable lifestyle. This Russian brain drain is making China comparatively stronger economically. 

China's Comparative Power Growing

Fewer Russian economic levers and military resources are available on the China-Russia border and in contested central Asian ‘stans and Mongolian buffer zones.

This would put China in a stronger position to, at a minimum, press for better terms of trade, lower oil/gas prices, maybe even joint developments rights of Far Eastern Siberian oil/gas fields including those in the Sea of Okhotsk.

Longer term Russian economic and military declines may see increasing Chinese submarine, surface ship and airbase visiting rights to East Siberian Russian bases. This includes Russia's Pacific Fleet bases at Vladivostok (SSKs and ships) and more advantageously Russia’s northeast Siberian Rybachiy (nuclear submarine) bases. For the latter see "Across Avacha Bay from the city in Vilyuchinsk is Russia's largest submarine base, the Rybachiy Nuclear Submarine Base relies on icebreakers, established during the Soviet period and still used by the Russian Navy." Over the medium-long term global warming's depletion of Arctic ice may eventually make Rybachiy an ice free base. Importantly the Rybachiy Base would permit China’s navy to operate outside first island chain restrictions.

Chinese visiting rights to Russian bases may be upgraded to joint ownership in future in a similar way to the US and Japanese navies having ownership of Yokosuka Naval Base.
Russia high tech weapon exports to China may one day extend to trade in Russian nuclear submarine hull and reactor technology to improve China's nuclear submarine arm. This would improve China's power projection internationally, especially in the Indo-Pacific.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine is proving beneficial to China in ways unexpected. Even if Russia wins, the longer the war lasts the better for China.

June 12, 2022

Australia's AUKUS Programs Out to 2070s

Inspired by Bureaucratus Lex's June 11, 2022 comment I, in contrast, think the following:


This starts with the Collins Life of Type Extension (LOTE) to be done by ASC from 2026 to 2035 on the 6 Collins. Sweden's Saab will probably assist, in part due to Saab's experience updating Sweden's Gotland-class subs (with many similarities to the Collins). Lockheed Martin might also assist updating the Collins' Combat System hardware, eg. introducing optronic masts.

The LOTE will be:
-  extensive eg. replacing the existing problematic diesels with MTU diesels, and
-  expensive. probably between 1.5 to 2 A$Billion per Collins.

Still compared to the 12 to 15 year delay acquiring "interim" submarines (which would be below Australia's long range-endurance-at speed-large crew needs) the LOTE is the only viable way to avoid a manned submarine gap. 

This LOTE will mean 5 Collins in service up to 2034 - then steadily down 1 every 2 years to 1 Collins in service until 2043. These Collins will also benefit from the vast amount of computer, subsonic Tomahawk and perhaps hypersonic missile technologies discussed under AUKUS. 


By 2030 very large semi-Autonomus UUVs, under AUKUS "undersea capabilities" will have matured to be a useful Australian unmanned weapons system type. A major example is the now grown to 80 tonnes Orca AUVs (already with a 7,000nm range and getting longer). Orcas will do much of the Collins' intelligence gathering job, like towed array sonar and can be part weaponised with smart mine laying. Orcas could be launched from the Northwest Cape Point Murat pier, significantly shortening transit routes to operational tasks. 

Also Australian and shared Australian-US ASW and anti-ship assets can do many submarine jobs. Assets like P-8s, large UAVs, satellites, warships and fixed undersea sensors.

All the above weapons and sensor platforms, UUVs, hypersonic, "counter-hypersonic" missiles and fixed sensors will be recipients of the artificial intelligence and quantum technologies under AUKUS.


All this during acquisition of:

-  Virginia Block VIs or VIIs from the 2040s 


-  UK
SSN(R)s from the late 2030s if Australian money speeds up UK plans. Aus SSN(R)s can fit Lockheed Martin integrated US AN/BYG-1 Combat Systems) that the RAN is already using.

Noting much US compatible Combat System software (including databases and sensor views) are already aboard UK nuke subs sharing the Atlantic with the USN sub force. US weapons on Aus SSN(R)s can also be worked out. 

Australia can operate Orcas and these SSNs out to the 2070s. From Aus SSN contracts being signed to the 2070s Australia will need to increase defence spending from the current 2% of GDP to 3%.

Thats the plan. Some context see https://www.defence.gov.au/about/taskforces/nuclear-powered-submarine-task-force .

June 9, 2022

SSNs: Can the UK or US Really Help Australia?

Dutton's opportunism is damaging Australian negotiations with its AUKUS allies.

Part of Dutton's outbursts on June 8/9, 2022 were to cause divisions amongst Labor Party decision-makers. See "The Enemy" in my June 3, 2022 article.

Apart from Dutton's "help", UK and US SSN provision for Australia is already looking very problematic. 

1.  SSN Batch building by the UK is of no help to Australia's SSN aspirations.

A "batch"? The UK is Commissioning the 7 Astutes as a batch, from 2010 to 2026.

Then, for Australia, there is the very unhelpful gap between UK batches with the UK only commissioning Astute successors SSN(R)s from the mid 2040s.

The UK batch builds SSNs for its own navy because it doesn't have the requirement for the large number of SSNs that would be produced by a Continuous build (of 1 or more SSNs every year).

Only the US (with Virginias) and China (probably with the future Type 095s) have the will, competitive need, industrial capacity and defence budget for Continuous build of SSNs.

Nuclear threats by Putin, in the context of the war in Ukraine, may well have unnerved the UK and US, increasing the chances that they won't lease or sell SSNs to Australia early.

2.  From all I've read the US appears to have delegated to the UK the task of assisting Australia build AUKUS SSNs.

Otherwise it would be much more logical that constantly inter-operating Pacific and Indian Ocean allies (Australia and the US) formed an A-US SSN building alliance rather than AUKUS. The UK, most of the time, is a far off North Atlantic power these days.

Reasons for the US delegation to the UK seem to be based on a US expectation that the US will never deliver its own world's best SSNs to Australia. Here are five reasons:

- the US sees it as essential that all Virginia SSNs produced go to its own navy. Total US SSN numbers will soon decline while threats/commitments for US SSNs increase. The US largely built its SSN force to face the Russian threat but added to that the China threat is even greater.

- the US's "F-22 like" national security tradition of not exporting its complete-most-sensitive weapons. Yes Australia now has some US reactor tech, but is the US offering whole of Virginia tech?

- US SSN building companies, GD-EB and HII, have never exported whole SSN tech, because that may eventually boost international SSN building commercial competition against them.

- Also GD-EB or HII providing Australia with SSNs or overseeing Virginia construction in Adelaide is a very inefficient Contractural, Administrative and Training process. GD-EB and HII don't have the time or resources to do this while they are fully committed building Virginia SSNs and Columbia SSBNs.


- delivery of Virginias to Australia is politically and financially risky (for GD-EB and HII and Australiadue to the unpredictability of the Next US President and the fickleness of US Congressional export permissions. Australia is caught between perhaps one-term, "lame duck" US President Biden and the far worse prospect of the return of Trump. Trump, with no sense of alliance loyalty, could consider AUKUS "Biden's Deal to be broken".

Re Congressional stability: the Republicans are strongly favoured to win the November 8, 2022 Midterm Elections in both the Senate and House. This may tend to hobble Biden AUKUS initiatives. 

Trump is currently odds on favourite to win the November 2024 Presidential Election.

The Collins Life of Type Extension (LOTE), providing some Collins subs to the mid 2040s, gives Australia some time to acquire new submarines, but not much time. 

Mainly China's Cambodian Ream Naval Base


For readers with access to The Diplomat paysite note:


which questions what May be a US scare campaign.