Page 90 - Australian Defence Magazine Dec 2018 - Jan 2019
P. 90

National Shipbuilding Plan in reality
Unsurprisingly, future platforms with a total acquisition cost of $90 billion dominated the limelight in the naval domain over the past year.
ALTHOUGH more than two years have passed since Naval Group of France was selected to design and build 12 Future Sub- marines to replace the RAN’s six in-service Collins-class boats, the likely acquisition cost - $50 billion - the complexity of the project, and protracted contractual wran- gling ensured that Project Sea 1000 re- tained its place on centre stage.
There it was joined by the $35 billion Future Frigate program and BAE Systems, who was selected in July under Project Sea 5000 to de- liver nine Australianised Global Combat Ships (GCS) to replace the RAN’s eight workhorse Anzac-class frigates with the Hunter class.
Elsewhere, Spanish shipbuilder Navantia begun work on the second auxiliary oiler re- plenishment (AOR) vessel on order for the RAN, first steel was cut under Project Sea 1180 for the first of 12 Arafura-class off- shore patrol vessels (OPVs), and for the first time the RAN and US Navy jointly tested the Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) real time sensor netting system.
According to Rear Admiral Greg Sammut,
HMAS Newcastle, at sea during Exercise Kakadu 2018.
head of the Future Submarine program, the concept design for the 4,700-tonne Shortfin Barracuda, including its dimensions, should be finalised by the end of 2018.
These would be “of the order” of measure- ments referred to in November 2017 by De- fence Industry Minister – now Defence Min- ister – Christopher Pyne; namely a length of 97 metres and a hull diameter of 8.8 metres.
Concept design would be followed by the design phase, with detailed design work beginning in 2022. Production of hull sec- tions would start around 2023 and the first- of-type would enter service with the RAN “in the early 2030s”.
However Chief of Navy Mike Noonan disclosed in November that test and evalu- ation activities meant the first Future Submarine might not be fully operational until 2035, some three years later than pre- viously assumed.
To maintain capability, this could mean that more than three Collins-class boats would need to have their service life extend- ed beyond their scheduled decommission- ing in the late 2030s.
“If it needs to be more than three subma- rines, that’s the advice I’ll provide to govern- ment. And if it needs to be all six Collins- class submarines, that’s the advice I’ll take to government,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.
His recommendations will be made in the first half of 2019.
Not only the number of possible life ex- tensions but their scope is currently far from clear. Life of Type Extensions (LOTE) have already been proposed for Farncomb, Collins and Waller, with Waller decommis- sioning in 2042, but pointed questions are now being raised about whether such exten- sions would centre simply on obsolescence management, or on maintaining the high-
90 | December 2018 – January 2019 |

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