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Australia to become major hub for US submarines

dimsum

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Something something "countries don't have friends, just interests"

From this lens, it makes sense why Canada isn't involved. US (and presumably UK) want real estate in that part of the world and Canada is close enough for US subs to deploy from home ports.

...The lengthy wait for an Australian-controlled boat, as well as the need to train Australian sailors and establish a domestic regime to support nuclear-powered submarines, will result in interim measures to mitigate the risk of a capability gap.

These are likely to include the deployment of at least two US nuclear submarines to be based out of Perth, home to Australia’s Collins class submarine fleet.

One suggestion is they will be younger boats of the ageing Los Angeles class submarine either loaned or leased to Australia, which would be more politically palatable from a US perspective than sharing the more modern Virginia class.

US Congress last month passed a defence budget that specifically refers to studying the provision of “legacy United States submarines” for Australia’s use.

But sources said it was anticipated additional US submarines would also make more regular stopovers in Perth.

The Pentagon is pursuing a policy of dispersing US forces in the Pacific to offer greater protection in the event of conflict with China. The US Navy currently operates submarines out of Guam, a prime target for a potential attack, and beefing up a submarine support base in Perth would put them out of range.

Making Perth a hub for submarine operations would allow planned maintenance to be undertaken, as well as urgent repairs, one source said. Some maintenance of the Collins class submarines is already undertaken at Perth’s Henderson shipyard...

 
For Pillar I of AUKUS, that makes sense. Pillar II, which includes secondary tech suppliers that don’t directly relate to SSNs/SSGNs, including advanced semiconductors and Quantum, it is a lost opportunity for Canada to stay committed to a close relationship with other like-minded/focused nations. (Although logically, is Canada ‘like-minded’ anymore? 🤔)

At this point, FVEYs is taking on a mantle of ‘tolerated inclusion’ of ‘those other two countries.’
 
most likely we are not included because they know we have no interest from the political masters for nuke boats of any kind. I remember the white paper of the 1990s? They suggested Nuke boats and everyone took that as weapons not as the drive system. It was over before the ink dried on the first printing.

our 3 subs have a history of issues, and no one wants to be involved in serious talks of upgrades or new boats. we cannot even build a ship without delays of decades. Nuke boat, the delays would be so long they would have to swap out the power core before its maiden voyage. The project leaders would be retired and be invited back for the commissioning ceremonial but would be needing walkers and help from sailors just to stand and watch.
 
But it isn't really about submarines at all, is it? It is about trust and sharing technologies that supply advantage over the rest of the world.
 
most likely we are not included because they know we have no interest from the political masters for nuke boats of any kind. I remember the white paper of the 1990s? They suggested Nuke boats and everyone took that as weapons not as the drive system. It was over before the ink dried on the first printing.

our 3 subs have a history of issues, and no one wants to be involved in serious talks of upgrades or new boats. we cannot even build a ship without delays of decades. Nuke boat, the delays would be so long they would have to swap out the power core before its maiden voyage. The project leaders would be retired and be invited back for the commissioning ceremonial but would be needing walkers and help from sailors just to stand and watch.
When you look at other sub programs around the world, you realize that Canada is not that much different. We got off to a rocky start and we have a bespoke fleet of 4 subs which does not help. However our sub crews did do two extraordinary deployments and a bunch of other stuff. I am not sure if our decision to change out the weapon system was the right one as that degraded the fleet fighting capability for quite some time. The weld issue was a fleet wide issue brought on by a contractor and striking a underwater mount is not that uncommon. So far we have not lost a sub post cold war, which is more than many small navies can say.
 
When you look at other sub programs around the world, you realize that Canada is not that much different. We got off to a rocky start and we have a bespoke fleet of 4 subs which does not help. However our sub crews did do two extraordinary deployments and a bunch of other stuff. I am not sure if our decision to change out the weapon system was the right one as that degraded the fleet fighting capability for quite some time. The weld issue was a fleet wide issue brought on by a contractor and striking a underwater mount is not that uncommon. So far we have not lost a sub post cold war, which is more than many small navies can say.
Agreed.

The Australian Collins-class subs were not exactly the shining beacon of performance either.
 
Agreed.

The Australian Collins-class subs were not exactly the shining beacon of performance either.
Even the Germans with one of the largest export sub programs, could not keep their 6 subs going and had all 6 non-operational at the same time. Then the Indians sinking one at the dock, the Argentinians losing one at sea, the list goes on.
 
For Pillar I of AUKUS, that makes sense. Pillar II, which includes secondary tech suppliers that don’t directly relate to SSNs/SSGNs, including advanced semiconductors and Quantum, it is a lost opportunity for Canada to stay committed to a close relationship with other like-minded/focused nations. (Although logically, is Canada ‘like-minded’ anymore? 🤔)

At this point, FVEYs is taking on a mantle of ‘tolerated inclusion’ of ‘those other two countries.’
I've been doing a lot of research on this.

Historically Canada would call the US the first sign of an international problem. We could have been a security free rider but instead we called the President and said basically "How can we help". This was the height of the peacekeeping years more recently highlighted by Gulf War 1 and Afghanistan.

But we were smart about it and would get exemptions for Canadian industry from the US for this help (dairy, auto, oil, softwood, electricity and on and on). This was codified in NAFTA 1. All roads to US consideration lead through their security lens.

The US is withdrawing from the world and their security considerations no longer look to the butter for bullets model. Canada is considered an economic competator to the US now, not a partner. And as such a lot of the exemptions in NAFTA 1 were removed in NAFTA 2. Which means we need a new model to get along with the US. This deal with Australia is a prime example of how US considerations change when their security threats change.

I'm not entirely sure that the current Gov't or even any of the Gov'ts in waiting have a friggin clue that the cheese has moved.

And secondly do we need to be involved with this with the US? Is that something that needs to happen or can we do our own deal for particular things that are important to Canada.
 
And secondly do we need to be involved with this with the US? Is that something that needs to happen or can we do our own deal for particular things that are important to Canada.
CAF Continental Modernization may help, especially if Canada in earnest seeks to ramp up capability to protect itself and the continent with only a minimal amount of direction/encouragement from the US…
 
I've been doing a lot of research on this.

Historically Canada would call the US the first sign of an international problem. We could have been a security free rider but instead we called the President and said basically "How can we help". This was the height of the peacekeeping years more recently highlighted by Gulf War 1 and Afghanistan.

But we were smart about it and would get exemptions for Canadian industry from the US for this help (dairy, auto, oil, softwood, electricity and on and on). This was codified in NAFTA 1. All roads to US consideration lead through their security lens.

The US is withdrawing from the world and their security considerations no longer look to the butter for bullets model. Canada is considered an economic competator to the US now, not a partner. And as such a lot of the exemptions in NAFTA 1 were removed in NAFTA 2. Which means we need a new model to get along with the US. This deal with Australia is a prime example of how US considerations change when their security threats change.

I'm not entirely sure that the current Gov't or even any of the Gov'ts in waiting have a friggin clue that the cheese has moved.

And secondly do we need to be involved with this with the US? Is that something that needs to happen or can we do our own deal for particular things that are important to Canada.
Someone listens to Peter Zeihan.
 
Someone listens to Peter Zeihan.
Guilty. I read and listen to a lot of futurists and geopolitical analyists. Zeihan is the only major one who speaks about Canada regularly. I don't agree with everything he says but his past analysis is pretty good on where we've been.
 
BLUF (Dated but still appropriate):

Kurt Campbell, head of Indo-Pacific issues on the US National Security Council, has said the three countries will increasingly fund their forces “almost melding.”

“We will have more British sailors serving on our naval vessels, Australians and the like on more of our forward-deployed assets in Australia. This leads to a deeper interconnection and, almost a melding in the new respects of our services and working together on common purpose that we couldn’t have dreamed about five or 10 years ago,” Campbell said in November 2021.


SYDNEY and BELFAST — With the formal announcement of Australia’s path to obtain nuclear attack submarines expected to happen in Washington next month, speculation about the likely solution AUKUS is beginning to leak out.

The most intriguing hints center on a British boat — but not the Astute-class — based in part on rare public comments by Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles and his British counterpart, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace.

Marles said Monday in Canberra that an announcement on Australia’s preferred option was “not far off,” and would be a “genuine three-way collaboration” between Australia, the UK and US. “I think when you see what is ultimately unveiled, it is the three countries working really closely together.”

“However, there have recently been indications that a design based more on the UK’s planned next-generation submarine, currently dubbed SSNR, has been finding favour, and could potentially be developed further under AUKUS. This may ultimately be the foundation for the plan that eventually breaks surface,” Childs wrote.

“Among the ‘straws in the wind’ are the UK’s ambitions to rebuild its own submarine fleet. The Royal Navy would like to see a rise from the planned seven Astute-class attack submarines to perhaps 12 boats in the long term. In a speech in December 2022, the UK chief of the defence staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, said of AUKUS that ‘if we have the courage to do this properly’ it could help grow the UK’s own submarine numbers in the decades to come, clearly assisted in part by potential economies of scale under AUKUS.”

Australia’s conventionally powered Collins-class boats rely on a crew of 58, compared to 143 for the nuclear US Virginia-class and 98 for Britain’s Astute-class subs. Australia has found it challenging to find, train and retain sub crews for the smaller subs

A driving force - the need for more hulls vs fewer sailors available.
 
UK SSN(R) info

 
Of course Canada is outside the fence ;)

The Anglophone military alliance in Asia is seriously ambitious​

America, Australia and Britain will build, man and arm each other’s nuclear subs in Asia​


IN 1908 the second USS Missouri, an American battleship, sailed from San Francisco to Sydney, part of the so-called Great White Fleet’s tour of Asia and circumnavigation of the world. Her successor, the third USS Missouri, hosted Japan’s surrender in 1945. On March 13th the fourth USS Missouri, a Virginia-class attack submarine, lived up to this illustrious lineage by etching her own name in the history of American naval power in the Pacific.
On a warm afternoon in San Diego, Joe Biden, Anthony Albanese and Rishi Sunak, leaders of America, Australia and Britain, gathered in front of the Missouri and revealed the next chapter of the AUKUS pact signed by their countries 18 months ago. The resulting agreement will intensify American and British involvement in the Pacific and bind the three allies together in unprecedented ways, into the 2040s and beyond.

This saga began in 2016 when Australia agreed a $33bn-deal to replace its ageing Collins-class attack submarines with a dozen French diesel-electric boats. In 2021, increasingly mindful of the threat from China, it tore up that deal and signed AUKUS with great fanfare. Under its terms, America and Britain would help Australia build a fleet of at least eight nuclear-powered (though not nuclear-armed) submarines. These have far greater range, endurance and stealth than electric boats (see map). They are also far more complex. Only six countries have them and America has until now only shared the technology with Britain.

Many expected that Australia’s future submarine would be modelled on America’s current Virginia-class sub or on its planned successor. Yet Mr Biden, Mr Albanese and Mr Sunak revealed that it will in fact be based on Britain’s future attack sub, a hypothetical boat known as the SSNR (“SSNs” are attack submarines, which carry conventional weapons and hunt other subs and ships, as opposed to “SSBNs”, which carry nuclear-armed ballistic missiles). Britain will build the first boats at Barrow in north-west England. Australia will learn from the prototypes and then build its own in Adelaide. The idea is to create an economy of scale, with Australian investment boosting British shipbuilding capacity and a larger aggregate order lowering the cost to both countries.

American technology will suffuse this new “SSN-AUKUS”. America will provide its vertical launching system, a set of tubes that can hold a greater number of missiles, and more advanced ones, than traditional torpedo tubes. No British attack submarine has had this capability. The defence industries of all three countries will be entangled to an unprecedented degree. Subsystems like communications gear, sonar and fire control should be compatible between the Anglo-Australian boat and the next American one. “We’ll almost be one joint nuclear submarine force”, says one official involved in the pact. It will be a “beautiful, blended submarine” gushes another.

But, like that of whisky, the production of high-end subs is measured in double-digit years. Australia’s current boats are around 30 years old and will need to be retired by the early 2030s. The first SSN-AUKUS will not be in Australia’s hands until the early 2040s. It takes at least 15 years to produce a submarine commanding officer in America’s navy, says Tom Shugart, who reached that position himself—partly because of the complexity of training officers how to use and maintain nuclear propulsion systems. China’s navy, already the largest in the world, looks dangerous. To bridge the gap, the three leaders announced two further path-breaking steps.

First, as early as 2027, America and Britain will deploy their own subs to the Pacific in a scheme that some officials are calling “enhanced rotational presence”, a deliberate nod to NATO’s “enhanced forward presence” of armoured battle groups in eastern Europe. America typically has two-to-four attack subs in Asia at any time, according to one official. Under the new set-up it will rotate up to four Virginia-class subs to hmas Stirling near Perth—a big and relatively conspicuous step that will require ending a longstanding policy of near-total secrecy about sub deployment. Britain plans to rotate one of its own Astute class subs, out of a planned fleet of only seven. Australian sailors have already started embedding in American and British subs.

Second, in the early 2030s, and assuming Congress approves, Australia will buy three Virginia-class submarines from America at a discounted rate, with the option of two more, as an interim boat to use until ssn-aukus turns up. That America agreed to this is surprising. Renting out a nuclear sub is vanishingly rare: only Russia has ever done it, to India. Australia has struggled to crew its current subs, which take fewer than 60 people; the Virginia-class needs 140 or so. More important, America’s navy is still struggling to churn out enough Virginia-class subs for itself as it races to close the gap with China. To ease that problem, Australia is expected to invest billions of dollars in American shipyards. Even then, many in Congress may be unhappy with the diversion of hulls. And America’s lawmakers may need to amend the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which imposes strict limits on high-tech exports even to close allies.

The risks are manifold. The project will need to endure at least three American presidential terms beyond Mr Biden’s current one and more than three British elections, a stiff test, even if it currently has bipartisan support in all three countries. The cost to Australia could be $180bn-245bn over the next 32 years, including $6bn in the next two years, according to very early estimates. For Australia to produce the necessary skilled labour and nuclear expertise will be formidable. “This is potentially a 100-year endeavour,” observed Peter Malinauskas, the premier of South Australia, of which Adelaide is the capital, on March 10th.

But the pay-off will be high. For Britain, the benefit is not just a shot in the arm for a submarine industry that has struggled with stop-start construction. It also gives real substance to the government’s wished-for “tilt” to the Indo-Pacific. Critics had questioned the wisdom of emphasising naval power in Asia while a land war raged in Europe; Mr Sunak has doubled down. On March 10th he agreed with Emmanuel Macron, France’s president, that the two countries would establish “the backbone to a permanent European maritime presence in the Indo-Pacific” by co-ordinating deployments of their aircraft-carriers. On March 13th Mr Sunak’s government published a mini-review of foreign policy which emphasised the “epoch-defining” challenge from China. The decision to rotate subs through Asia and co-build new ones with an Asian ally gives the tilt an additional long-term anchor.

For America, aukus and the related agreements are the latest and most dramatic step in its steady consolidation of Asian alliances. It is likely to sell hundreds of cruise missiles to Japan and in January agreed to place a marine regiment in Okinawa. In February it secured access to four extra military bases in the Philippines. AUKUS also includes a second “pillar” of collaboration on advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, quantum systems and hypersonic missiles. And it is part of a wider boom in US-Australian defence ties.

America has invested huge sums in building up stockpiles of fuel and ammunition in Australia and expanded airfields to allow long-range bombers to operate from the north of the country, out of the range of most Chinese missiles. Australian investment in naval bases around Perth to support the rotational deployments of American and British subs will make it easier for the boats to be maintained, repaired and replenished without having to slog back to Guam or Hawaii, enabling a higher tempo of operations in peacetime and war.

The fact that AUKUS survived the transition from Australia’s centre-right Liberal party to Mr Albanese’s centre-left Labour party last year reflects the consensus now baked into Australian politics over the threat from China and the need for drastic measures to confront it. A defence review in 2020 concluded that the prospect of a major war was “less remote than in the past” and that the government could no longer be assured of a ten-year warning of its impending outbreak. (A new defence review written by a former defence minister and military chief was submitted to the government in February but has not yet been published.)

At present Australia cannot strike a target or protect an expeditionary force more than about 150km from its landmass, points out Ashley Townshend, an Australian expert at the Carnegie Endowment, a think-tank in Washington. Its new subs, he says, will give it “escalation options” in regional crises where Australian leaders might want to “deter or defeat” a Chinese military presence—say, in South-East Asia or in the Southern Pacific—but lack confidence to do so without the cover of a mobile strike force. “This will be an Australian sovereign capability,” emphasised Mr Albanese, “built by Australians, commanded by the Royal Australian Navy and sustained by Australian workers in Australian shipyards”.

But the the scenario that weighs most heavily on American planners is a larger war over Taiwan. “aukus has one overriding objective:” declared Mr Biden, in front of the Missouri, “to enhance the stability of the Indo-Pacific amid rapidly-shifting global dynamics.” A US-Australian pact in 2021 spelt out, more explicitly, the purpose of all that investment in Australian facilities: “to support high-end warfighting and combined military operations in the region”. Eight additional subs’ worth of missiles prowling in the South and East China Seas would make it significantly harder for China to get an invasion force across the Taiwan strait.

That will add to deterrence. Equally significant, it has developed the Anglophone military alliance in Asia to a point of no-return. Australia’s ports, bases and potentially submarines will increasingly be baked into American war plans. That gives Australia influence and leverage over those plans, says Mr Townshend. It also constrains its options. “This is an extremely costly signal of our willingness to contribute to the collective deterrence of China. To back out of it would cause an unimaginable rift in the alliance—which is precisely why it will be taken seriously in Beijing.”■

 
Australia has struggled to crew its current subs, which take fewer than 60 people; the Virginia-class needs 140 or so.
Every Western nation is facing a similar manning crisis. We need to start looking at new approaches now or we'll likely end up with ships and subs sitting in the dockyards with nobody to man them.
 
Every Western nation is facing a similar manning crisis. We need to start looking at new approaches now or we'll likely end up with ships and subs sitting in the dockyards with nobody to man them.
Actually it is an old approach that you need: called, national pride, patriotism and that starts in the home and the class: in particular history
 
Actually it is an old approach that you need: called, national pride, patriotism and that starts in the home and the class: in particular history
Is national pride and patriotism going to convince the 18-year old Aussie to choose being in a tube over working the mines on a 2-on-2-off basis for $90-100k to start?

The old approach isn't working, hence the crisis.
 
Is national pride and patriotism going to convince the 18-year old Aussie to choose being in a tube over working the mines on a 2-on-2-off basis for $90-100k to start?

The old approach isn't working, hence the crisis.
Our government's attitude, and many, not all by any means, of our teachers have spent the last 20 years or more tearing down the old approach and, if I read the news from down under correctly, the Aussies are allowing the same malaise in that we have: attitudes in the schools denigrating the concept of patriotism and encouraging a 'what's in it for me' attitude. There is something to be said for reciting the pledge of allegiance and playing the national anthem every morning without sarcasm from the teacher at the front of the class. Allowing long blue hair at a parade is not ever going to encourage our young people to join up unless it is simply to gain a skill and then opt out after 5 years without signing up for the reserves.
 
Is national pride and patriotism going to convince the 18-year old Aussie to choose being in a tube over working the mines on a 2-on-2-off basis for $90-100k to start?

The old approach isn't working, hence the crisis.

The old approach hasn't been in use for many many years.
 
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