Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

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Scimitar54
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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

Post by Scimitar54 »

We are told that Barrow cannot build at more than the current rate, because of Reactor supply timescales. If more Reactors are going to be required for both UK and AUS boats, then perhaps the AUKUS opportunity may provide the possibility of expanded and/or doubled Reactor Production line(s), such that this is no longer a limiting factor.
What the AUKUS agreement may also do is to bring forward design work for the SSN(R) and earlier production of the first boat, with possibly expanded infrastructure at Barrow (or elsewhere) to facilitate this, eliminating any potential for consequent delay to the Dreadnought Programme. :idea:

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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Defiance wrote:SSN(R) has been ongoing for a couple of years (and MUFC before that) according to snippets on the internet so they aren't starting from scratch at least.
Indeed, in the review previous to IR the timing (funding profile) of the ongoing prgrm got shunted by two years... to the right
Poiuytrewq wrote: Therefore the first of class is unlikely be commissioned before the mid 2040’s. The timeline looks too elongated for the RAN.
[+]
Therefore IMO the RAN would be best to proceed at pace with modified Astutes.
The Ozzie prgrm chief said that while 2040 is a marker for the plans, he will do everything in his power to shift it closer in time (as the plans get refined).
- a point in favour of the Astutes is that their reactor has received v little modification from the US 'base model'
- indeed, this was quoted as a reason for no shore-based test reactor (here in the UK)
- and while our production capacity for cores has been brought back in line with build plans (from a 54 mth delay, at its worst), it is still a constraint regardless

Astute builds, with US reactors put into them,
AND
Bring Deeps wrote: Being creative it might be possible to use technology to create one virtual engineering team to provide the expertise and support needed by the Australians from experts based in both the UK and US.
as @Bring Deeps say, do like with the TEMPEST where 17 of the participating physical sites - as opposed to companies - have by now been connected by a secure Cloud.
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
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ArmChairCivvy
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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

Scimitar54 wrote:expanded infrastructure at Barrow (or elsewhere) to facilitate this, eliminating any potential for consequent delay to the Dreadnought Programme.
I seem to remember that the 'hall' can now handle three hulls abreast... so the effective constraints are elsewhere.
- the fact that Dreadnoughts were left to the latest possible time line and now are 'rushed' along with the Astutes (desperately needed as the T-boats are reaching their limits) may :idea: turn into 'good news' afterall
Ever-lasting truths: Multi-year budgets/ planning by necessity have to address the painful questions; more often than not the Either-Or prevails over Both-And.
If everyone is thinking the same, then someone is not thinking (attributed to Patton)

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

Post by Scimitar54 »

ArmChairCivvy Wrote
I seem to remember that the 'hall' can now handle three hulls abreast... so the effective constraints are elsewhere
As indeed I alluded to in my previous post ! :arrow:

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

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Do people really, and I mean really, think the US is going to let the lion’s share of the deal, I.e., building the actual subs, go to the UK? What reality do you people live in? Politically it’s unthinkable… remember how AUKUS came about and you’ll realize the U.K. was the middleman… in fact, once contact was established with the US, there were some on this side that wanted to ditch the U.K. altogether and it was only Biden directly that prevented it. Make no mistake, the U.K.’s presence is nice to reinforce the political side of AUKUS, but this is essentially a security deal between Australia and the US.

Technically, most likely the Aussies witll a short Virginia, I.e., minus the VLS. The US is ramping up its industrial base to move to 2 SSN and 1 SSBN per year, so they will use some of that extra capacity to alternate between boats for the US Navy and the RAN and the Aussies could get their first sub in the early 2030s (they might even get a couple of leased 688s with some core life left before then, just to build up experience and for training crews). The U.K. is the junior partner in this and will benefit from some of the work, either by supplying some of the components (sonar, maybe?) or, more likely, helping with some of the local infrastructure.

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

Post by donald_of_tokyo »

JohnM wrote:... this is essentially a security deal between Australia and the US.
Totally agree.
Technically, most likely the Aussies witll a short Virginia, I.e., minus the VLS.
You mean Block IV boats? Very likely.

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

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donald_of_tokyo wrote:
JohnM wrote:... this is essentially a security deal between Australia and the US.
Totally agree.
Technically, most likely the Aussies witll a short Virginia, I.e., minus the VLS.
You mean Block IV boats? Very likely.
Probably Block V, which is the current and most up-to-date block, minus the 6 VPM… they’ll end up shorter, but essentially the same as the latest Virginias in every other respect…

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

Post by Ron5 »

Why would Australia not want Virginia's VLS?

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

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Ron5 wrote:Why would Australia not want Virginia's VLS?
I read somewhere, but for the life of me can’t remember where, that they look at the subs essentially as defensive and interdiction tools and don’t want to up the overall temperature in the region even more by adding land attack capability, but I may be wrong… they’d still be able to launch cruise missiles from the torpedo tubes if they chose to go that way… besides, the VPMs are very, very expensive and they could shave a few billion AUS$ Over the 8 boats…

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

Post by Ron5 »

JohnM wrote:
Ron5 wrote:Why would Australia not want Virginia's VLS?
I read somewhere, but for the life of me can’t remember where, that they look at the subs essentially as defensive and interdiction tools and don’t want to up the overall temperature in the region even more by adding land attack capability, but I may be wrong… they’d still be able to launch cruise missiles from the torpedo tubes if they chose to go that way… besides, the VPMs are very, very expensive and they could shave a few billion AUS$ Over the 8 boats…
I'm surprised they add so much to the cost of a boat. I got the opposite impression.

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

Post by JohnM »

Ron5 wrote:
JohnM wrote:
Ron5 wrote:Why would Australia not want Virginia's VLS?
I read somewhere, but for the life of me can’t remember where, that they look at the subs essentially as defensive and interdiction tools and don’t want to up the overall temperature in the region even more by adding land attack capability, but I may be wrong… they’d still be able to launch cruise missiles from the torpedo tubes if they chose to go that way… besides, the VPMs are very, very expensive and they could shave a few billion AUS$ Over the 8 boats…
I'm surprised they add so much to the cost of a boat. I got the opposite impression.
https://news.usni.org/2015/11/18/navy-f ... educe-risk

Each VPM, which comprises 6 VPTs, if I'm not mistaken, is supposed to cost about $500 million (see above)... the article is from 2015, so I don't know the real 2021 numbers, but I seriously doubt they're lower... very few things in defense equipment ever get cheaper than anticipated...

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

Post by JohnM »

JohnM wrote:
Ron5 wrote:
JohnM wrote:
Ron5 wrote:Why would Australia not want Virginia's VLS?
I read somewhere, but for the life of me can’t remember where, that they look at the subs essentially as defensive and interdiction tools and don’t want to up the overall temperature in the region even more by adding land attack capability, but I may be wrong… they’d still be able to launch cruise missiles from the torpedo tubes if they chose to go that way… besides, the VPMs are very, very expensive and they could shave a few billion AUS$ Over the 8 boats…
I'm surprised they add so much to the cost of a boat. I got the opposite impression.
https://news.usni.org/2015/11/18/navy-f ... educe-risk

Each VPM, which comprises 4 VPTs, is supposed to cost about $500 million (see above)... the article is from 2015, so I don't know the real 2021 numbers, but I seriously doubt they're lower... very few things in defense equipment ever get cheaper than anticipated... and there are still 2 more VPTs that are not part of the VPM but have been a part of the Virginia's configuration since Block III, I believe; that's still 14 cruise missiles, if the Aussies want them

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

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JohnM wrote:Do people really, and I mean really, think the US is going to let the lion’s share of the deal, I.e., building the actual subs, go to the UK? What reality do you people live in? Politically it’s unthinkable…
You are probably right although strange things can happen where politics are involved. Who would have predicted an Irish American president allowing the British to have Polaris back in the 1960s?

One thing is sure, if the Aussies select a Astginia hybrid design it is bound to be a disaster.

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

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Bring Deeps wrote: One thing is sure, if the Aussies select a Astginia hybrid design it is bound to be a disaster.
Agree 100%, the Aussie subs will have be fit into one of the existing production lines... both the US Navy and the RN are in the initial planning stages of their next SSNs (SSN(X) and SSN(R), respectively), so there may be some scope for a (at least partially) common design for the three navies, but I doubt it... in addition, it would come too late for RAN, unless the Americans can scrounge up three or four I-688s with a decent amount of core life left (or even refitting and extending a few, although that would be costly). We'll see...

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

Post by Poiuytrewq »

JohnM wrote:…the Aussie subs will have be fit into one of the existing production lines...
So zero work share for SCY at Osborne in Adelaide?

Can’t see the successive Australian governments going along with that.

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

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Poiuytrewq wrote:
JohnM wrote:…the Aussie subs will have be fit into one of the existing production lines...
So zero work share for SCY at Osborne in Adelaide?

Can’t see the successive Australian governments going along with that.
I didn’t say that, I said the US will not let the submarines to be built in the UK, to a UK design… the cheapest option is the one I mentioned in my subsequent message, I.e., piggyback off the Virginia production line. Of course, all will depend on how much the Australian government wants to spend and what their sense of urgency is… Personally, I think the Australian government will want to do some of the construction/assembly locally, but that’s to be determined exactly over the next 18 months; given the potential price tag and anti-nuclear sentiment, I doubt Australia will actually build the reactors, but we’ll see… it’s crazy expensive to set up local production lines and sustainment infrastructure and a lot will depend how much the Australian government is willing to invest and when they want the subs by…

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

Post by tomuk »

JohnM wrote:Do people really, and I mean really, think the US is going to let the lion’s share of the deal, I.e., building the actual subs, go to the UK? What reality do you people live in? Politically it’s unthinkable… remember how AUKUS came about and you’ll realize the U.K. was the middleman… in fact, once contact was established with the US, there were some on this side that wanted to ditch the U.K. altogether and it was only Biden directly that prevented it. Make no mistake, the U.K.’s presence is nice to reinforce the political side of AUKUS, but this is essentially a security deal between Australia and the US.
Are you living in some parallel universe. The Aussies approached the UK not the US. The reason the US are involved is due to the Astute reactor design essentially being an updated US one.
In the televised announcement Biden hardly mentioned the Subs he made more of the intelligence, long range missiles and basing opportunities. It was Boris who majored on the job creation in the UK.

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

Post by tomuk »

JohnM wrote: I didn’t say that, I said the US will not let the submarines to be built in the UK, to a UK design… the cheapest option is the one I mentioned in my subsequent message, I.e., piggyback off the Virginia production line.
I'm sorry but how is the cheapest option the one to buy the more expensive submarine.
Of course, all will depend on how much the Australian government wants to spend and what their sense of urgency is… Personally, I think the Australian government will want to do some of the construction/assembly locally,

One of the major reasons the Aussies have dropped the French deal is due to Naval Group reducing the level of local build. There is a shipyard waiting at Osbourne for the build
given the potential price tag and anti-nuclear sentiment, I doubt Australia will actually build the reactors, but we’ll see… it’s crazy expensive to set up local production lines

There is no way Australia will build the reactors, they just don't have any of the required capabilities. They don't have any civil nuclear industry apart from a very small research reactor. Then there are the proliferation issues to contend with.

The outcome will be be 'Batch 2' Astutes, with sealed for life reactors built in the UK the Aussies will build the 'front half' of the sub in Australia fitted with US sonar, similar to the Swedish Collins class. The US will provided training and oversight.

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

Post by SD67 »

tomuk wrote:
JohnM wrote: I didn’t say that, I said the US will not let the submarines to be built in the UK, to a UK design… the cheapest option is the one I mentioned in my subsequent message, I.e., piggyback off the Virginia production line.
I'm sorry but how is the cheapest option the one to buy the more expensive submarine.
Of course, all will depend on how much the Australian government wants to spend and what their sense of urgency is… Personally, I think the Australian government will want to do some of the construction/assembly locally,

One of the major reasons the Aussies have dropped the French deal is due to Naval Group reducing the level of local build. There is a shipyard waiting at Osbourne for the build
given the potential price tag and anti-nuclear sentiment, I doubt Australia will actually build the reactors, but we’ll see… it’s crazy expensive to set up local production lines

There is no way Australia will build the reactors, they just don't have any of the required capabilities. They don't have any civil nuclear industry apart from a very small research reactor. Then there are the proliferation issues to contend with.

The outcome will be be 'Batch 2' Astutes, with sealed for life reactors built in the UK the Aussies will build the 'front half' of the sub in Australia fitted with US sonar, similar to the Swedish Collins class. The US will provided training and oversight.
I agree. The Ozzies cannot in reality crew a Virginia, the US Congress would probably not allow them to sell a Virginia, Australia's regional allies particularly ASEAN would be put off by the offensive capabilities of a Virginia, and the Ozzies would have zero ongoing influence over the design. I'll put money on Astute 2 /SSN(R) batch one built in Adelaide, with the reactor module arriving in a sealed box. The US will always be involved through tech transfer.

Rolls are in the process of scaling up their whole nuclear supply chain for civilian SMRs, this could all dovetail nicely.

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

Post by JohnM »

it’s funny you actually think the US is going to give up a $20+B deal and just give it to the U.K., lol… and even if they were, for some magical reason, where is the capacity in the UK to build it concurrently with Dreadnought? I guess time will tell which one of us is right…

P.S.- The Aussies approached the U.K. to act as a middleman with the US… everyone knows the UK is the junior partner in the group and this is a US/Australia security deal for the Pacific… even the French know it, and that’s why they didn’t pull out their Ambassador to the UK… it was their way of getting that point across (that and some good old “stick it to the Brits”…); it’s all nice and well to be patriotic, but let’s not get delusional here… the only reason the U.K. stayed in the deal was because Biden himself said so… the State Department wanted to drop the U.K.

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

Post by SD67 »

Either way they're going to get a gamechanging capability which could seriously tip/restore the regional balance of power.

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

Post by Poiuytrewq »

JohnM wrote:….the US is going to give up a $20+B deal
$20bn ??? That’s a big +

It’s likely to be more than 3 times that everything considered unless the US/UK are going to fund the SSN infrastructure in Australia.

The Australians have been spending big with military procurement in recent years, it will be interesting to see if the budgets can take the strain to the conclusion of all these highly ambitious programmes.

Eight Virginia SSN’s seems very very ambitious for a country with virtually no civil nuclear industry, a population of only 25 million and a gdp of $1.3 trillion.

As said, time will tell.

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

Post by seaspear »

There is some 18 months ahead of discussion and planning on the future submarine both the U.K and American shipyards for submarines are at almost full capacity, the timeline in the U.Ks submarine program seems to indicate there is no room to extend the build of an Astute-class without hindering the build of the Dreadnought class.
This article suggests that it may be no current plans to expand the production for export of submarines just to meet the needs of the U.S.Nhttps://sgp.fas.org/crs/weapons/RL32418.pdf
A concern for the R.A.N may be getting crew numbers with experience for these nuclear submarines and that even the possible leasing of older Las Angles class submarines for training may not be practical or realistic with the differences to the more modern classes
The last estimates of the Attack class to build was 90 billion and 145 to maintain over its life cycle hardly a bargain compared to the Virginia or Astute programs

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Re: Astute Class Attack Submarine (SSN) (RN)

Post by ArmChairCivvy »

seaspear wrote:The last estimates of the Attack class to build was 90 billion and 145 to maintain over its life cycle hardly a bargain compared to the Virginia or Astute programs
Is that in AUD and is it still based on the French-designed boats?
- probably the conclusion still stands, regardless, as "When procured at a rate of two boats per year, VPM-equipped Virginia-class SSNs have an estimated procurement cost of about $3.45billion per boat"

With a quick skim-read I did not find any mentions about nuclear reactor (or their core) construction being a constraint
... so putting UK boats and US reactors (plus weapon systems) together might be the way forward? Unlike the suggestions that UK was added to the deal in the last minute, just for 'optics'.
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