Page 48 - Australian Defence Magazine - July 2018
P. 48

Continued from page 46
it’s reasonably safe to say that we’ve always been challenged to find enough people to go to sea in a submarine. I see that challenge remaining and certainly 12 submarines makes it much more difficult than it was with just six.
ADM: How could the submarine fleet, current and future, best make use of un- manned technologies?
SANDER: As I mentioned earlier I think we need to better understand and educate ourselves on unmanned technology. We certainly should be investing in those ac- tivities. What role unmanned technology will have is not clearly yet determined. I view UUVs very much along the same lines as we view UAVs or other such autonomous vehicles. But operating a vessel underneath
There are many lessons from the Oberon to Collins transition that can be applied to the Collins to Future Submarine transition.
the water presents some challenging physics and it’s not as simple as just putting a sub- mersible underwater and being able to drive it around remotely.
So, yes, we need to invest in future tech- nology. We need to understand how we can ensure that we leave that flexibility open in the Future Submarine to adapt to the un- manned vehicles. Potentially in the future an unmanned vehicle or variants of it can reduce our manpower issue and that would be quite attractive.
Again, as I said earlier, I don’t think our manpower situation is going to go away quickly.
ADM: Speaking of that transition point in platforms, obviously we’ve got six Collins Class, we’re building 12 Future Submarines, nine Future Frigates, and 12 OPVs. Do we
have the capacity to do all of this concur- rently? What needs to change in the cur- rent industry and defence landscape to achieve the task that we’ve been set? SANDER: Firstly, we talked about per- sonnel and this is where Collins is critical. We need as many Collins boats running as possible to be able to train the next genera- tion of submariners Technology or simula- tors can improve or optimise the training pipeline but sea time will still be required. Collins will play a key role there.
There’s no doubt in terms of indus- try and the mechanics of building a submarine that we are in a challenging environment. We have another two com- peting projects in the Sea 1180 (OPVs) and Sea 5000 (Future Frigate) and find- ing skilled people in terms of engineers, project managers, logistics support peo- ple to fill all those positions certainly will be challenging.
I think our prime contractors should be looking at engaging more SMEs and the OEMs to share the workload across all of industry. Industry also must be incentiv- ised to look at solutions that would address economies of scale and to be able to look
“The LOTE will be critical to our submarine capability for the next two decades or more.”
across all those projects. We can’t afford these projects to be done in silos.
In any shipbuilding or submarine build- ing activity there’ll be peaks and troughs in that project and we need to be able to smooth out those peaks and troughs by tak- ing a program wide approach to resources.
Definitely we should be looking at com- mon technical and support needs across the multiple platforms and classes where relevant. Defence has published a com- monality policy which I think is an excel- lent initiative. As an example, in terms of diesel engines, we can’t afford to have four, five or six variants of different diesels across the fleet. We should be looking, where pos- sible, to reduce to two or three different types of diesel manufacturers.
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