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The Forum > Article Comments > Questions about submarines > Comments

Questions about submarines : Comments

By Syd Hickman, published 14/9/2016

Is the plan to dump this sub design in a few years time and go nuclear, or to dump the French completely and get back to the Japanese who by then will have something to sell?

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"The biggest unasked questions" that you missed, Syd Hickman,is how is it that the 6 Indian submarines cost $12 billion dollars, while the 12 Australian submarines, which are near identical in design, cost $50 billion?

And why is Australia buying diesel electric submarines at roughly $4 billion a pop, when for the same price we could buy "Virginia" class nuclear submarines from the USA, the most advanced submarines in existence?

And why are we buying 12 submarines, when out navy can't find crews for the six they already have?

Another thing you forgot to ask, because you are too intent on giving the Liberals a kick instead of really concentrating on an important issue, is why are we making the same mistake we have made so many times before, in buying a weapon that is only on the drawing board?

Let' see, remember the F-111 fiasco? Then we bought the drawing board only F/A 18 fighter jet, instead of the superb F-15, because it was supposedly cheaper. By the time the F-18 was flying, it it's performance was a complete disappointment, and it was more expensive than the F-15, which outperformed it in every way. Then came the "Tiger" helicopter gunships which are now too unsafe to fly, another $500 million pisssed up a wall. Then there was the fiasco over the RAN's anti submarine helicopters, which had to be scrapped. Another $billion or so pisssed up the wall.

Why do we keep making the same mistakes, over and over gain? Is somebody in the defence department getting their palms greased? If the notorious sale of the 12 old C-130A Hercules aircraft is anything to go by, the answer must be "yes."

London to a brick, that by the time we get these new submarines, they will make Australia's old Collins class look good.
Posted by LEGO, Wednesday, 14 September 2016 1:21:33 PM
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Hi Syd and LEGO

Your comments are mostly right.

Turnbull's main goal was to use his 26 April submarine announcement to win/keep enough seats in South Australia to win the July 2016 Election . He succeeded in that.

Our Navy's aim is to build 4 to 6 diesel-electric French submarines in the 2030s until France (late 2030s) gives Australia the option of building 4 to 6 nuclear powered subs (known as Barracuda class ).

This French nuclear offer will then prompt the US to genuinely offer 4 superior Virginia class nuclear subs .

These Virginia's will also be the platforms for Australian nuclear tipped missiles.

Note that Australia needs to build its own nuclear deterrent against existing and NEW submarine launched nuclear missile owning countries (new ones being India, Pakistan and now North Korea).

Submarine Matters
Posted by plantagenet, Wednesday, 14 September 2016 3:29:10 PM
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I believe it has always been about nuclear?

we could deviate from standard design and uranium fuel sources to cheaper than coal thorium

We own around 40% of the world's thorium need to take another hard look at this cheaper than coal fuel!

Given something the size of a marble (8 grams) is safe enough to power your personal ride for 100 years, without refueling, should put to rest some of the green initiated hysteria! And never ever allow the facts to get in the way of their anti development depopulation agenda?

I was reading about flying cars, the most impressive of which was a self piloted VTL hybrid, with a land virtually anywhere range of around 500 miles?

And where the substitution of the petrol engine with a thorium reactor, and even a whooping 50 grams of fuel, would likely allow this essentially (thorium) electric four seat combination to go anywhere by road or air?

Just what a small rapid response unit would need, particularly if it could be used via remote control to, after delivering a highly mobile unit and their equipment, then be tasked with continuous air patrol, forward spotting and or, rapid evacuation!

Thorium powered mini subs using larger thorium powered subs as the mother, enabling a truly massive response on myriad fronts, should that ever become necessary!

If I can agree with Donald Trump on anything, it is a vastly increased defense spend! And given it puts every able bodied person back on this or that assembly line for at least a couple of decades and creates an arms race with other ideologies, to get the global economy up and running!

By repeating what occurred last time in response to Pearl Harbor, a sustained period of unprecedented prosperity, created by equally unprecedented rearming!

Only this time keep it alive and well rather than destroying it with extreme capitalism!

If we need ten years to get up to speed on nuclear power, then we have no time to waste! We'll achieve nought with an (is that all there is) increased welfare response!
Alan B.
Posted by Alan B., Wednesday, 14 September 2016 4:16:48 PM
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Some Australian Boutique submarine reactor ideas are Deadends.

So the Virginia class nuclear subs that Australia would aim to order in the 2040s uses the "S9G" for Submarine 9th Generation/General Electric Reactor

It has taken the US, with its huge military-industrial base, 66 years to produce 9 Generations of submarine reactor

S9G is a tried, tested, pressurized water reactor style nuclear reactor. It has increased energy density, and new plant components, including a new steam generator design featuring improved corrosion resistance and reduced life-cycle costs.

This reactor alleviates the corrosion concerns encountered by earlier designs, while reducing component size and weight and providing greater flexibility in overall arrangement.

Unlike the French Barracuda reactor (known as the K15, which needs refueling for more than a year in France every 7-10 years) the US reactor is designed to operate without refueling for the whole operating life of the submarine, ie. 33 years .

Estimated time for France to develop a reactor comparable to the US S9G is 20-30 years.

Estimated time for Australia to develop a reactor superior to the S9G is 80 years, ie. 2120, costing $500 Billion or $125 Billion per sub for All 4 of our nuclear subs.

Trade and benefitting from US economies of scale is certainly justified.

Posted by plantagenet, Wednesday, 14 September 2016 5:17:15 PM
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The main problem with these submarines comes from the Turnbull government's ignorance of the serious difference between Australia's defence and job-creation. Unlike the the Abbott government, which took defence more seriously, consulted an ally (protector, even) alongside whom the subs would be used, on the type and source of the vessels, Turnbull, who takes advice from noone, used defence as part of his 'jobs and growth' mantra. He decided on France, a country not exactly arm in arm with us or our region, and a local build to 'help' a rust belt state (my own) brought low by 15 years of Labor government. That local build immediately added $10 billion to the project.

Even if these vessels are ever built (and there is now talk from the top that drone-style submarines are a possibility before these convential craft hit the water), the impact will not occur soon enough to fulfill the jobs and growth story for SA, where ACS is shedding jobs jobs as I post. The SA Wetherill government is well reported as being 'anti-business' - strangling red tape; the highest energy prices in the world. Not so long ago, one business a week was closing its doors, and that and worse could be true now, if our only daily, 'The Advertiser' was interested in finding out.

And, of course, who doesn't remember the canoe builders and the Collins Class, which has only just become worth having after reworking by specialists.

Governments should be enabling private enterprise to create jobs, and realise that defence has nothing to do with jobs in South Australia. It's about defending the country and its people. I believe that if Abbott was still Prime Minister, we would have been on the way to having Japanese made submarines, at a much lower price, from a country much friendlier and more reliable than France. But, it looks like we will have another Collins debacle, if we get anything at all.
Posted by ttbn, Wednesday, 14 September 2016 8:04:44 PM
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Firstly we do not need them they will be obsolete when we get them, easy to locate and destroy, if we have people to man them which we do not.

Should be investing in long range moveable ballistic missiles.

I suspect some people are getting a massive payola out of this deal.
Posted by Philip S, Wednesday, 14 September 2016 8:58:58 PM
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