AUKUS News, Views, Analysis.


gelgoog

Major
Registered Member
No kidding. Any talk about this leading to faster results was always going to be BS. Even if for whatever reason the US or the UK sold them some old obsolete attack subs they would still need to train crews and have the proper support facilities. It is never going to be fast.
This might end up being a smokescreen used just to cancel the contract with the French to make a later contract with someone else.
The French contract was hugely expensive, but was due to Australian requirements to begin with. They wanted to build everything in Australia which meant making new facilities, and they wanted French submarine with US hardware in them, which also increased costs, last but not least they wanted a huge conventional submarine instead of using an existing design it had to be all new.

The French contract was also done under competitive rules and this new contract seemingly is not going to be done like that. Which only increases the chances for graft.
 

DarkStar

Junior Member
Registered Member
One wonders, how would Napoleon and Louis the Sun King feel about the current status of the french as being mere spear carriers for anglos; the english speakers spit on french interests and expect the french to just take it.
 

Maikeru

Junior Member
Registered Member
No kidding. Any talk about this leading to faster results was always going to be BS. Even if for whatever reason the US or the UK sold them some old obsolete attack subs they would still need to train crews and have the proper support facilities. It is never going to be fast.
This might end up being a smokescreen used just to cancel the contract with the French to make a later contract with someone else.
The French contract was hugely expensive, but was due to Australian requirements to begin with. They wanted to build everything in Australia which meant making new facilities, and they wanted French submarine with US hardware in them, which also increased costs, last but not least they wanted a huge conventional submarine instead of using an existing design it had to be all new.

The French contract was also done under competitive rules and this new contract seemingly is not going to be done like that. Which only increases the chances for graft.
Probably Aus wanted to cancel the French project but push the announcement of the jobs consequences of the decision until after the next election by this 'review', which I suspect will conclude that SSN's are not realistically feasible for Oz at anything like an affordable cost. If they really want SSNs, the quickest, cheapest and easiest way would be to convert the Attack class to nuclear, i.e. make them Barracuda class but with US torpedoes and systems. This would also avoid NPT issues as would use LEU reactors.

As for the original procurement, Oz should have went with the Japanese offer and just bought them off the shelf.
 

gelgoog

Major
Registered Member
Nuclear submarines are *not* cheap. Either they will get way less submarines or none at all.
Australia does not have a civilian nuclear industry so the submarines will be highly dependent on foreign maintenance and parts.
I think at best they will get something similar to the Indian deal with the Russians where they lease a submarine.

I agree that the Japanese submarine was the best option they had. It was the closest one to their requirements and it is something that actually exists not just on paper.
 

Maikeru

Junior Member
Registered Member
Nuclear submarines are *not* cheap. Either they will get way less submarines or none at all.
Australia does not have a civilian nuclear industry so the submarines will be highly dependent on foreign maintenance and parts.
I think at best they will get something similar to the Indian deal with the Russians where they lease a submarine.

I agree that the Japanese submarine was the best option they had. It was the closest one to their requirements and it is something that actually exists not just on paper.
The very idea of Australia getting SSNs makes me look forward to headlines like "Belgium commissions first strategic stealth bomber" and "Peruvian space shuttle test successful". Sorry, if you haven't got a vast STEM base and a multi-trillion economy, you ain't in that game.

If Oz had gone JP the first LIon subs would be hitting the water about now. And would be good enough to scare anyone.
 

Lethe

Senior Member
Probably Aus wanted to cancel the French project but push the announcement of the jobs consequences of the decision until after the next election by this 'review', which I suspect will conclude that SSN's are not realistically feasible for Oz at anything like an affordable cost. If they really want SSNs, the quickest, cheapest and easiest way would be to convert the Attack class to nuclear, i.e. make them Barracuda class but with US torpedoes and systems. This would also avoid NPT issues as would use LEU reactors.

As for the original procurement, Oz should have went with the Japanese offer and just bought them off the shelf.

Former PM Malcolm Turnbull, under whom the Attack-class program was signed, and who has been a vocal critic of Morrison's shift to nuclear boats, mostly in terms of the failures of diplomacy and subsequent rupture in relations with France, said a couple of weeks back that one of the reasons the French bid was selected is because it would have allowed for a smooth transition to nuclear-powered boats if that was subsequently deemed suitable.

Allegedly, the problem with a French nuclear boat is that French reactors use LEU and therefore requires refueling every few years. This would mean either regular lengthy dispatches of boats back to France for refueling, or alternatively creating the necessary infrastructure to accomplish such refuelings here, which was held to be a very expensive undertaking. The HEU reactors used by the US Virginia-class do not require refueling during their service life and are therefore believed to be more compatible with Australia's lack of nuclear infrastructure and expertise.

I don't have the expertise to evaluate those claims, but I say "allegedly" because it's clear that AUKUS is as much a political/strategic arrangement as it is an acquisition program -- arguably moreso. It's difficult to tease out the precise nature of how these factors are entangled with one another, but their entanglement certainly leaves open the possibility that the technical arguments re: the merits and requirements of LEU vs. HEU are simply being deployed to cover what was fundamentally a political decision, i.e. to formally become an American vassal state.
 
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gelgoog

Major
Registered Member
Actually the French Barracuda's reactor requires refueling every 10 years. The US Los Angeles attack submarines require refueling around the same time or less. Only the Virginia class has a supposedly "lifetime" (33 years) duration core. Would the US make available their latest submarine? We'll see.

HEU is also considered a strategic material and its export is heavily restricted. Some types can be used to be make fission weapons. It will be interesting how they handle that.
 

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