Page 46 - Australian Defence Magazine - July 2018
P. 46

“I think we need to improve our preparation and understanding of sustainment.”
Maintaining adequate crews for submarines is an ongoing issue
Continued from page 50
I think we need to also improve our prep- aration and understanding of sustainment. This issue was mentioned recently in Sen- ate Estimates, the costs or potential costs of sustainment. I think the new submarine needs to be designed with sustainment in mind to ensure that it will be as efficient, and cost-effective to support as the subma- rines move into the future.
We’re fortunate at the moment that the government is very supportive of Defence and is allocating considerable funding to- wards Defence, but that may not always be the case. Economic times may not be as fa- vourable as they are today and we need to take that into consideration.
We talk a lot about a parent navy and I think this is another learning opportunity from Collins on how to ensure that we truly understand our submarines, that we can pro- tect our most sensitive secrets and that we fully understand what sovereignty means and the costs associated. I think it’s a word that’s often used but not often fully understood.
ADM: What role do you see DSTG play- ing in the Future Submarine program?
SANDER: DSTG has always been viewed as the trusted technical ad-
viser to Defence and to government. I think that role will always continue. I think, though, there are technical areas where sometimes industry may not want to pursue which DST Group is able to.
We had an excellent relationship with DST Group in the Oberons and a lot of the technology that eventually flowed into Collins came from the Oberon experience and especially because of the amount of sea time many of the scientists from DST Group clocked up. I think that needs to be replicated.
ADM: Justification for the acquisition of 12 regionally superior submarines appears to be based on their need to face future challenges in our region. What sort of chal- lenges do you foresee submarines facing? SANDER: I suppose there are two areas there that we could look at. Certainly the number of submarines that are being ac- quired in the region is quite significant and that pace is accelerating all the time.
I think the opportunity for smaller na- tions to acquire off-the-shelf submarines and some very capable off-the-shelf subma- rines is vastly different than it was even 20 years ago. Nations can acquire these capable
submarines relatively easily these days and so therefore the very nature of submarine operations and the attractiveness of a sub- marine capability is the very reason why na- tions in our region are acquiring them. It’s this rapid increase in numbers which will be a challenge over the next few decades.
Technology is changing at a rapid pace. If we think of our phones, how rapidly phones have changed in the last 15-20 years. If we apply that to something like the Future Submarine where in 2018 we have com- menced the design of the submarine which will not be ready for sea for over a decade. How do you adjust for that evolution in technology? This will be a huge challenge for the submarines of the future.
Operationally, we often discuss the devel- opment of unmanned platforms and tech- nologies. Some commentators believe that they will be a replacement for submarines. I view them much more as being comple- mentary to submarines.
We need to understand how we can opti- mise their capabilities in conjunction with manned submarines and that that we de- sign our next submarine to allow the flex- ibility to adapt to the UUVs (unmanned underwater vehicles).
The larger challenge as we move into the future is finding the right people or enough people to crew these submarines. I think
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