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Kim Beazley on the new subs

Posted May 7, 2016 into Science and Tech by John Birmingham

The Bomber returned from the embassy in Washington and took up a role with ASPI where he writes the occasional piece, bringing a lot more insider knowledge than most analysts:

While I was Ambassador to the US, I visited Electric Boat’s yard in Groton, Connecticut, where the US Navy’s latest Virginia class nuclear submarines are under construction. This wasn’t an indulgence. Part of my job was to seek constant reassurance from the relevant officials of our ally that strong US support would be forthcoming when we finally decided on a process and partner(s) for the replacement for the Collins-class submarines. That reassurance was constantly but, lately, impatiently given. They came to wonder when we would get on with it. The US regards the Australian submarine as a potent addition to allied underwater strength in the Pacific.

I was taken aboard the then-latest Virginia-class submarine, the USS Missouri. The captain showed us the control room and asked me if I recognised anything. I said ‘yes’ and told him that I appeared to be standing in a Collins-class submarine. He responded, ‘Exactly’. The US had benefitted greatly from the structures we had put in place in the Collins. He had served as an exchange officer on one of them. ‘Best submarine I have served on’. It was polite hyperbole, but the USN has great respect for the class nonetheless. It has been a handful in joint exercises—so troubling, in fact, that a couple of years ago they hired the Swedes to practice on, as they tried to get to grips with finding modern conventional submarines. On my bookshelf sits a photo of the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln taken on exercise through the periscope of a Collins. The submarine, undetected, had just put three “torpedos” into the carrier.

Read it all here.

13 Responses to ‘Kim Beazley on the new subs’

w from brisbane puts forth...

Posted May 7, 2016
I believe a reasonable working ratio for subs is about 4:1, which means that having 12 subs might give you 3 subs available at any one time.

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ShaneAlpha puts forth...

Posted May 8, 2016
Are we starting a petition to name the first one the HMAS Havok?

HAVOCK21 reckons...

Posted May 8, 2016
Its got a C in it FFSAKES MAN!

Nocturnalist ducks in to say...

Posted May 9, 2016
Not if he's proposing to name it after the Marvel character.

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Surtac reckons...

Posted May 9, 2016
Confirming what I'd heard off the record for awhile now - the Collins class are f*cking good at their jobs.

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another JB would have you know...

Posted May 9, 2016
Having presided over the last debacle it's no surprise Bomber has enthusiasm for the next one.

The success of Collins as more to do with the crew performing above and beyond in a platform badly compromised by a poor development process.

A poor process being replicated in alarming detail again now.

Seriously the wikipedia article is well work a background read.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collins-class_submarine

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted May 9, 2016
I didn't realize that the French boat is designed as nuclear and the Australian model will be fitted for diesel, how can that possibly be a very efficient design?

Nocturnalist puts forth...

Posted May 9, 2016
You're absolutely right, Barnes. Should be coal.

Barnesm mumbles...

Posted May 9, 2016
because according to an ex-PM it's good for humanity?

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Murphy_of_Missouri has opinions thus...

Posted May 9, 2016
Or you could do the novel thing of getting over a resistance to nuclear power.

Barnesm reckons...

Posted May 9, 2016
To be fair there are some advantages of diesel to nuclear other than ideological nut-baggery. I remember reading the heat signature from nuke subs is harder to conceal whereas if you turn the engines off on a diesel boat the acoustic signal is zero.

Murphy_of_Missouri puts forth...

Posted May 9, 2016
I am aware of that.

I was mainly referencing the concerns of trying to take a nuke and turn it into a diesel. I'm sure they'll work it out though.

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Bondiboy66 mumbles...

Posted May 9, 2016
I have been told a similar story about Aussies v US on Ex when we still had the Orion Class subs - i.e. Aussie sub sneaks into US fleet, shadows a large aircraft carrier for about three days, takes pics and sound/sonar recordings, then slips away undetected. Make of that what you will!

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