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Australia Submarine Capabilities

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Australia Submarine Capabilities

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The Royal Australian Navy (RAN) currently operates six diesel-electric Collins-class submarines, which are based at Fleet Base West, HMAS Stirling, south of Fremantle in Western Australia. [1] The Department of Defence plans to add twelve new Attack-class submarines to the fleet in the 2030s as well as a new submarine base in Sydney to split the fleet between the east and west coasts. [2]

Capabilities at a Glance

Total Submarines in Fleet: 6

  • Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBNs): 0
  • Nuclear-Powered attack submarines (SSNs): 0
  • Diesel-electric attack submarines (SSKs): 6
  • Air-independent propulsion (AIP) enabled: 0/6
Submarines

Australia Submarine Table Class, Builder, Year Commissioned

History

In 1982, the Australian government approved a plan to replace its aging Oberon-class submarines. The Australian government emphasized domestic construction for the project — including the use of local contractors — in order to facilitate significant technology transfer. In 1987 the Australian government chose the Submarine Corporation Pty Limited (ASC), a company founded by Swedish shipyard Kokums and Australian partners, to build the six Collins-class submarines. As a result of the domestic construction, Australia gained the industrial capacity to build, service, and modernize submarines indigenously. [3]

The current fleet of Collins-class vessels are based on the Kokums Type 471 design. The oldest submarine in the Australian fleet, the HMAS Collins, was constructed in 1990 and was commissioned in 1996. The remaining 5 Collins-class submarines were commissioned over the following seven years. [4]

Modernization and Current Capabilities

In a 2009 Defence White Paper, the Australian government announced its intent to replace the fleet of Collins submarines with twelve 4000-ton long-range submarines by 2030. The Department of Defence plans for the new submarines, the Attack class, to conduct anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare as well as intelligence collection. [5] In 2016, the Australian government selected the French company Naval Group to build the Attack-class submarines and in February 2019 finalized the $50 billion contract. In the 2009 White Paper, and again in 2013 and 2016 White Papers, the Department stated that Australia has no incentive to develop nuclear-capable submarines as the “nuclear and conventional military capabilities of the United States can offer effective deterrence.” [6]

Ship Biographies

Collins-Class (Type 417)

Australia possesses six Collins-class diesel-electric attack submarines. These submarines are 77.8 meters long with a 7.8-meter-wide beam and can travel up to 20 knots when submerged. They can remain submerged for about 70 days without surfacing and are armed with 533mm torpedo tubes. Their weapons systems can carry up to 22 surface-to-surface missiles and Tomahawk SLCMs. [7]

Import and Export Behavior

Imports

In May 2016 the Australian government purchased twelve submarines from France; the submarines will be locally built by ASC and replace the existing Collins-class submarines employed by RAN. [8]

Exports

Although in the 1990s the Australian Submarine Corporation expressed interest in exporting submarines to smaller countries in Southeast Asia such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand, and Singapore, Australia is not currently a submarine exporter. [9]

Sources:
[1] “Guided Missile Submarine, Diesel-Electric (SSG),” Royal Australian Navy, www.navy.gov.au.
[2] David Wroe, “Sydney set to become base for new fleet of submarines,” The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 July 2018, www.smh.com.au.
[3] Derek Wollner, "Procuring change: how Kockums was selected for the Collins class submarine," Research paper No. 3, 2001-2002, Information and Research Services, Department of the Parliamentary Library, www.aph.gov.au.
[4] “Collins Class Submarines,” ASC, www.asc.com.au.
[5] "Defending Australia in the Asia Pacific Century: Force 2030," Australian Government Department of Defence, Defence White Paper 2009, www.defence.gov.au.
[6] Australia. Department of Defence, 2016 Defence White Paper.
[7] “Collins Class Submarines,” ASC, www.asc.com.au.
[8] Minister for Defense Media Release, “Future Submarine Announcement,” Navy Daily, 26 April 2016, http://news.navy.gov.au.
[9] David Lague, "Submarines Lift Export Hopes," Sydney Morning Herald, 7 November 1994, www.lexisnexis.com.

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Brazil Submarine Capabilities

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Global trends in the sale and acquisition of diesel- and nuclear-powered submarines by country with capabilities, imports and exports. (CNS)


Indonesia Submarine Capabilities

Fact Sheet

Indonesia Submarine Capabilities

The Indonesian Navy, also known as Tentar Nasional Indonesia-Angkatan Laut (TNI-AL), operates two classes of submarines:


Glossary

Diesel-electric submarine
Diesel-electric submarine: A submarine with a diesel-electric transmission. Diesel-electric transmissions require access to oxygen for the diesel generator to charge the submarine’s batteries or drive the motor. This type of submarine is thus louder and must surface more frequently than a nuclear-powered submarine. A diesel-electric submarine can fire conventional cruise missiles against land targets, and in theory, can also carry nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. Diesel-electric submarines are significantly cheaper to build and purchase than nuclear-powered vessels, which makes them the vessel of choice for smaller navies.
SSBN
Ship, Submersible, Ballistic, Nuclear: A hull classification for a submarine capable of launching a ballistic missile. The "N", or nuclear, refers to the ship's propulsion system. SSBN's are generally reserved for strategic vessels, as most submarine launched ballistic missiles carry nuclear payloads. A non-strategic vessel carries the designation SSN, or attack submarine.
Diesel-electric submarine
Diesel-electric submarine: A submarine with a diesel-electric transmission. Diesel-electric transmissions require access to oxygen for the diesel generator to charge the submarine’s batteries or drive the motor. This type of submarine is thus louder and must surface more frequently than a nuclear-powered submarine. A diesel-electric submarine can fire conventional cruise missiles against land targets, and in theory, can also carry nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. Diesel-electric submarines are significantly cheaper to build and purchase than nuclear-powered vessels, which makes them the vessel of choice for smaller navies.
Air Independent Propulsion Technology (AIP)
Air Independent Propulsion Technology (AIP): A propulsion system that uses liquid (or compressed) oxygen or hydrogen fuel cells, thereby allowing submarines to stay submerged for longer periods without the need for external sources of oxygen. This increased endurance also increases a submarine’s survivability.
Deterrence
The actions of a state or group of states to dissuade a potential adversary from initiating an attack or conflict through the credible threat of retaliation. To be effective, a deterrence strategy should demonstrate to an adversary that the costs of an attack would outweigh any potential gains. See entries for Extended deterrence and nuclear deterrence.

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