Friday, March 31, 2023

Submariners push for new ‘Son of Collins’ fleet before nuclear boats arrive

Former submariners with over 500 years of collective service in the Royal Australian Navy are warning a new version of the Collins-class boat as a stopgap measure before AUKUS nuclear-powered boats hit the water in the 2040s Necessary.

Veterans serving on Australia’s current submarines and the preceding Oberon-class are urging the defense to consider building an interim boat based on the Swedish-designed Collins to address a growing capacity gap.

In “Expression of Grave Concern”, the group argues: “Australia should keep the Collins submarines operational until 2040+ or ​​acquire some new conventional submarines:”

“The fact remains that arguably both must be done, or Collins submarines will retire at age 45 and older.

“It’s fair to ask whether they would still be safe to operate, let alone whether they should be used in combat. That would be very poor value for money.

“Acquiring an immediate Collins life extension and building more submarines are both essential to maintaining today’s submarine capability and to prepare the industry and navy for nuclear submarines.”

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One of the signatories to the document is retired Chief Petty Officer Greg Jones, who helped establish the Royal Australian Navy’s (RAN) Submarine Sea Training Group (SSTG).

Speaking at 7.30am, the Navy veteran described last year’s decision to dump French-designed conventionally powered boats in favor of the nuclear option as a “knee-jerk reaction” not properly thought through. went.

“Everyone is up for it, but not now – it is too early and we need something that is sustainable and capable of being used by our submarine force, our submarine arm within Australia for the next 20, maybe 30 years before we see nuclear “

Former submariner Tim Bass fears Australia’s AUKUS plan for nuclear submarines is being put on hold as Collins’ fleet nears the end of its life, and worries about potential security threats.

“The time it takes for our diesel boat generations to get from nuclear to nuclear isn’t going to happen overnight – you’re looking at 20, 30 years to fix this without bypassing the massive amount of protection to get the job done,” Mr. Bass told at 7.30.

“Now, I will not go to sea on one, unless it has been done properly, and I don’t think I can find anyone in the country who has got into the sea on a boat that has been at sea for a couple of years. Got along with the ‘worth of ‘Oh, I guess we should do this’.”

The Swedish Company That Designed to Help Reinvent the Collins-Class

A Man Wearing A Yellow Jacket And A White Helmet Stands Next To A Submarine.
Lars Tossmann believes that Sweden’s An-26 design could be used by Australia as “a gap-filler”.,Supply: Saab Cocums,

In the late 1980s, a Swedish company now known as Saab Kokoms won an international competition in Adelaide to design and build Australia’s new Collins-class submarines.

Saab Kokoms’ Global Head of Business Lars Tossman recently traveled to Australia to discuss the company’s ongoing work on a “life of type extension” to upgrade the Collins-class fleet.

While attending the Indo Pacific Sea Power Conference in Sydney this month, Mr Tossman said at 7.30 pm that his company would be willing to work with Australia if it decides to pursue the “son of Collins” option.

“The capability we have now, the program we are looking at, can be useful for Australia both in upgrading and if they want anything else, we are ready to support Australia,” he said. “

The SAAB Kockums company insists it has not held any formal discussions with Defense about a possible interim submarine option, but believes Sweden’s A-26 design could be scaled up for Australia’s needs. Is.

“If they choose to do so, I think we have more recent experience with the design and production of the A-26 modular design – which could be used for a gap-filler here,” Mr. Tossman said.

Defense warns ‘Third Submarine Class’ will bring more challenges than benefits

Defense Minister Peter Dutton In Front Of The Collins-Class Submarine At The Osborne Facility.
Former Defense Secretary Peter Dutton announced an upgrade to a system on the Collins-class subs in April.,Nation World News: Brent Cumming,

Senior defense figures, including the Navy chief, have consistently dismissed the notion of an interim submarine capability amid the Collins-class retirement and the advent of nuclear-powered submarines.

During this month’s Maritime Powers Conference, the Navy chief, Vice Admiral Mike Noonan, strongly criticized the idea.

“I am very, very confident that the Collins-class submarine will continue to be a very capable submarine that will continue to meet Australia’s needs until we see a nuclear-powered submarine,” he told reporters.

“Introducing an interim submarine, I think, would bring more challenges than capability and it would seem unimaginable that a small navy like ours could conduct the transition to an interim, a nuclear one from Collins.”

Similarly, former Defense Minister Peter Dutton, who helped secure the AUKUS deal with the United Kingdom and the United States, has rejected the idea.

During a defense debate held at the National Press Club earlier this month, Mr Dutton said: “It is not in our national interest to pretend that we can have a third-class submarine – somehow, we can buy it off the shelf.” Huh.”

“I want someone to tell me where this shelf is, because I don’t know”.

While Defense Minister, Mr Dutton has consistently indicated that Australia will be able to acquire its first nuclear-powered submarines before the current expected deadline of 2040.

“At this point in time, we could achieve capacity much sooner than some pundits are anticipating,” he said.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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