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29 mars 2012 4 29 /03 /mars /2012 17:15
Un second Shadow 200 pour l’Australie

AAI Shadow 200

photo Australian Governement Departement of Defence


29.03.2012 par Helen Chachaty - journal-aviation.com


Le ministère australien de la Défense annonce ce jeudi 29 mars la livraison prochaine d’un second drone tactique Shadow 200, avec un an d’avance sur le planning initial.

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5 mars 2012 1 05 /03 /mars /2012 12:45


Australia will build 6 new conventional submarine (photo : Layher)




South Australia in Box Seat to Win Billion-dollar Defence Contracts


THE national race to snare work in the planned multi-billion-dollar submarine program has largely been won by South Australia, the state's Treasurer claimed in parliament yesterday.


Jack Snelling, who also is South Australian Defence Industry Minister, said in recent weeks he had met with senior leaders in defence, including the federal Defence Minister Stephen Smith, to secure "early opportunities" arising out of the Future Submarine Project.


The planned 12 new submarines are set to be built in South Australia but the other states, particularly Victoria, had hoped to benefit through companies providing key components and infrastructure.


But Mr Snelling said federal Labor and other defence leaders understood that South Australia was "primed to capture a significant share of this work".


"Over recent weeks, I have personally met with senior leaders in defence to reinforce South Australia's focus on securing early opportunities arising out of the future submarine project, including promoting South Australia as the logical home for project design and complementary facilities, such as the proposed submarine propulsion land based facility," Mr Snelling told parliament.


"Under Defence's current plans, the commonwealth will spend up to $250 billion over the next 20 years on acquiring and sustaining new ships and submarines, an enormous opportunity by any measure.

"South Australia is committed to supporting defence with this ambitious target.

"We are primed to capture a significant share of this work with our highly skilled workforce, state-of-the-art infrastructure and experienced maritime industry."

Mr Snelling said during his meeting with Mr Smith, the Minister had reinforced the federal government's commitment to acquiring 12 new submarines to be consolidated in South Australia over the next 30 years.

"The Future Submarine Project will be the largest and most complex defence project ever undertaken by Australia, providing significant job opportunities for South Australians for decades to come," Mr Snelling said.

The Gillard government has said it would build 12 conventionally powered submarines in Adelaide, but has not yet said whether they would be largely Australian-made or a locally constructed off-the-shelf European boat.

The construction of 12 large home-made submarines has been estimated at up to $36 billion.

Mr Snelling said the state was committed to a long-term defence industry and attracting additional defence units, and was well placed given its multi-billion-dollar Collins class submarine sustainment contract and the $8 billion air warfare destroyer construction contract.

However, while he said he supported the industry's Defence Teaming Centre, he could not guarantee its funding next financial year.

(The Australian)

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7 février 2012 2 07 /02 /février /2012 08:25
Le ministre espagnol de la défense « vend » le sous-marin S-80 à l’Australie



6 février 2012 Par Rédacteur en chef. PORTAIL DES SOUS-MARINS


Navantia construit déjà 2 bâtiments de projection stratégique pour l’Australie, et lui a vendu les plans d’une frégate basée sur la frégate F-100 espagnole.


Le ministre espagnol de la défense, Pedro Morenés, a profité de son premier sommet de l’OTAN pour militer auprès de l’Australie pour la vente du sous-marin S-80. Lors d’une de ses rencontres bilatérales, Morenés a rencontré son homologue australien, Stephen Smith, avec lequel il a évoqué une telle possibilité. Navantia construit déjà 2 bâtiments de projection stratégique — type “Juan Carlos I” —, et lui a vendu les plans d’une frégate basée sur la frégate F-100 espagnole.


L’Australie prévoit de rénover sa flotte de sous-marins par l’achat de 12 sous-marins d’ici 2025. Navantia construit actuellement les 4 premiers sous-marins S-80 pour la marine espagnole au chantier naval de Carthagène. Selon Navantia, le gouvernement australien se serait intéressé en décembre dernier au S-80.


Référence : ABC (Espagne)

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3 février 2012 5 03 /02 /février /2012 18:35
Ministerial Waffling Blamed for Australia’s Submarine Burden

Feb. 3, 2012 defense-aerospace.com
(Source: The Canberra Times; issued February 3, 2012)

Analysts predict taxpayers will spend billions of dollars to keep the troubled Collins class submarine fleet afloat into the 2030s, blaming a succession of defence ministers who haven't made a decision on a replacement.

The first Collins class boats are due to be decommissioned around 2025 and the plan called for a replacement to have been designed, built and successfully tested by then.

This just isn't going to happen. Rear-Admiral Rowan Moffitt, the head of the future submarine program, has said an Australian designed and built submarine won't be ready until 2032 at the earliest.

One analyst, who has examined the timeline Admiral Moffitt spelt out at the Seapower conference in Sydney this week, says 2035 is a more likely date. Another, who argues Admiral Moffitt may be being conservative, believes a locally designed and built submarine could be ready for sea trials by 2029.

Both have pinned the blame for the ''schedule slip'' on the Government's failure to get the ball rolling.

Submarine Institute of Australia vice-president Frank Owen said, ''We should have been doing what we are doing now at least three years ago.''

Andrew Davies, a senior analyst with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the delays were ''due to decisions not being made by government - but, on the other hand, I don't believe the quality of information needed to make a decision has been available.''

That point is moot however. ''The Government has not made obtaining that information a priority,'' he said.

Mr Owen and Mr Davies agree there is no way the Collins fleet could be operational into the 2030s in its current form. Mr Davies said, ''It will definitely require a midlife upgrade.''

Both men concur the investment required would be substantial. ''Likely well over a billion dollars,'' Mr Davies said.

The Collins has been dogged by propulsion system problems for decades. ''When Admiral Moffitt gave his speech he referred to some problems that had been designed in [to Collins],'' Mr Davies said. ''The engines are one of those.''

Issues with the diesels are two fold; Hedemora - the manufacturer - stopped making engines in the 1990s.

''They were effectively the last of the previous generation of naval diesels - and they were heavily modified,'' Mr Davies said.

He said the problems with the engines are such they need to be replaced. This could be done in conjunction with the future submarine project. Technology developed for the Collins could then be applied to the new class of submarines.

Mr Owen said a midlife upgrade could also reduce the ever-increasing operating cost of the Collins class boats.

''There is a view that a lack of upgrades in the past is one of the reasons they are costing so much to operate now,'' he said.

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20 décembre 2011 2 20 /12 /décembre /2011 08:20



19 December 2011 - by the Shephard News Team


The Australian Army has selected the Sentient Kestrel Land Moving Target Indicator (MTI) for the Shadow 200 Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (TUAV) systems being acquired under the Defence Capability Plan Joint Project (JP) 129 Phase 2. Under the contract Sentient will provide the automated target detection solution to support the Shadow systems in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) missions.


To be operated by the 20 Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) Regiment, Kestrel Land MTI will assist Australian forces in analysing ISR imagery from the AAI Shadow 200. The software processes the imagery in real time, automatically detecting small, moving targets such as dismounts and vehicles within the TUAV sensors’ field of view.


Equipped with cutting-edge payload technology including advanced electro-optical and infrared sensors the Shadow TUAV will transmit real-time, full motion video (FMV) to the Ground Control Station (GCS) and remote video viewing devices. The Kestrel system analyses the video footage and provide a real-time cue to operators on moving objects within the field of view. This capability will enable the Army to effectively detect and respond to enemy targets, and thus protect Australian forces.


According to the company, the Army has purchased three Kestrel Land MTI licenses for 20 STA Regiment, which will be deployed with the Shadow in Afghanistan early next year. Sentient has been working closely with 20 STA Regiment and AAI over the past years and has successfully demonstrated Kestrel’s automated target detection capability with the Shadow.


Kestrel is currently supporting the Australian Army on board the ScanEagle which will remain in service in Afghanistan during the transition-in of the Shadow.

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19 décembre 2011 1 19 /12 /décembre /2011 17:35
Kestrel to provide MTI capability for Australian Army's Shadow Operations

photo US DoD


Dec 19, 2011 ASDNews Source : Sentient Vision Systems


Automated Target Detection Solution on board the AAI Shadow 200 UAV Systems


Melbourne, Australia - 19 December 2011 - Under the Defence Capability Plan Joint Project (JP) 129 Phase 2, the Australian Army is acquiring two complete Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (TUAV) systems.


Sentient announced today that its automated target detection solution - Kestrel Land MTI - will actively support the TUAV systems in their surveillance, reconnaissance and target acquisition missions.


Operated by the 20 Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) Regiment, Kestrel Land MTI will assist Australian forces in analysing intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) imagery from the AAI Shadow 200. The software processes the imagery in real time, automatically detecting small, moving targets such as dismounts and vehicles within the TUAV sensors' field of view.


The Army TUAV Capability Implementation Team, which is bringing the Shadow 200 into service, sees in Kestrel Land MTI a significant ISR capability enhancement.


The Shadow will be the Army's "eyes in the sky". Equipped with cutting-edge payload technology including advanced electro-optical and infrared sensors the Shadow will transmit real-time, full motion video (FMV) to the Ground Control Station (GCS) and remote video viewing devices. Kestrel will analyse the video footage and provide a real-time cue to operators on moving objects within the field of view.


This capability will enable the Army to effectively detect and respond to enemy targets, and thus protect Australian forces.


The Army has purchased three Kestrel Land MTI licenses for 20 STA Regiment, which will be deployed with the Shadow in Afghanistan early next year.


Sentient has been working closely with 20 STA Regiment and AAI over the past years and has successfully demonstrated Kestrel's automated target detection capability with the Shadow.


"Sentient's Kestrel Land MTI software has been in operation with Australian forces in Afghanistan now for over two years. It is that in-theatre experience in a variety of operational conditions that proved critical for the Australian Army." said Simon Olsen, Sales and Marketing Manager at Sentient.


Kestrel is currently supporting the Australian Army on board the ScanEagle which will remain in service in Afghanistan during the transition-in of the Shadow.

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21 novembre 2011 1 21 /11 /novembre /2011 13:45
Better Combat Helmets for Soldiers in Afghanistan



Nov 21, 2011 ASDNews Source : MoD Australia

Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced upgrades worth a million dollars to combat helmets worn by soldiers in Afghanistan.

The upgrade to 2,000 helmets was completed last month.

It includes fitting new padding and harnesses inside the helmet to increase comfort and functionality.

Another 1,500 combat helmets will be fitted with the new padding and harnesses in the first quarter of next year for soldiers deploying to Afghanistan in the future.

Further upgrades to better integrate night vision equipment and to enhance blunt impact protection to the current combat helmet will also be undertaken by the Diggerworks Team next year.

Mr Clare said this was an issue soldiers had raised with him this year.

"I met with soldiers from Mentoring Taskforce 3 earlier this year before they deployed to Afghanistan and they told me this was something they wanted fixed. Diggerworks have done a great job in rolling this out so quickly," Mr Clare said.

"The new padding and harness make the helmet more comfortable and easier to wear."

Diggerworks is a specialist team of combat experienced soldiers, scientists and engineers established to develop and deliver new equipment to better protect Australian troops.


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20 octobre 2011 4 20 /10 /octobre /2011 06:05


The C-27J Spartan (photo : Alenia)




The federal government has confirmed it has requested pricing and availability of 10 Alenia C-27J tactical transport aircraft for the RAAF.


The Air 8000 Phase 2 Battlefield Airlifter (BFA) project aims to replace the tactical airlift capability left vacant by the retirement of the RAAF’s DHC Caribou in December 2009, and has been put off by successive governments over a period of more than 20 years.


The C-130H and C-130J Hercules operated by Richmond based 37SQN have to some extent fulfilled this role in recent years, but the Hercules lacks the short field performance and is much heavier than the Caribou or its possible replacements, while helicopters lack the range or speed of a fixed wing aircraft.


In a statement released on October 19, Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Defence Materiel Minister Jason Clare said the formal request was being sent now because production of 38 C-27Js for the US Air National Guard was coming to an end. “Due to the pending closure of the production line for US Air National Guard aircraft the Government has authorised Defence to issue a non-binding/no-commitment Letter of Request seeking price and availability information on the C-27J,” the statement reads.


While Defence was unable to confirm at time of writing to which organisation the request had been submitted, the ministerial statement suggests the C-27J may be acquired through the US Foreign Military Sales process. This would give Australia an opportunity to tie into the US’s sustainment and upgrade program for its fleet, as well as giving greater economies of scale for both operators.


Recent media reports suggest US politicians are pushing for an increase in the US ANG fleet to as many as 75 C-27Js, as the type is now in operation in Afghanistan and has proven to be far more economical than the larger C-130 with typical loads. The C-27J shares common engines and cockpit avionics architecture with the C-130J.


The formal request doesn’t mean the C-27J has been selected to fulfil the Air 8000 Phase requirement over Airbus’s rival C295. “The information from the Letter of Request will inform Government consideration of capability, cost and schedule issues associated with this project as well as consideration of the acquisition strategy, including whether a roader tender process will be pursued,” the ministerial statement said.


But the RAAF is known to have long favoured the more rugged structure and larger cargo hold of the C-27J over the smaller but longer C295, and is likely to push for a sole-source selection. The statement says it expects a response to the request by February 2012, after which “careful consideration of all the options will then proceed.”


The statement has also for the first time officially acknowledged that Defence is developing options to retain the C-130H fleet – of which about eight aircraft are operational out of a core fleet of 12 – beyond its planned retirement in 2013 out to 2016.


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17 octobre 2011 1 17 /10 /octobre /2011 16:45



Royal Australian Navy's Collins class submarine in the floating dock. (photo : cumminscommentary)




AUSTRALIA'S troubled Collins Class submarines are more than twice as expensive to operate as US Navy nuclear submarines that are more than three times bigger.

Figures obtained by the Herald Sun, show the six Collins subs cost about $630 million a year - or $105 million each - to maintain, making them the most expensive submarines ever to put to sea.
Only two of the fleet of six could go to war at the moment.

The annual price for "sustainment" (maintenance and support) is $415.9 million for 2011-12 with operating costs running at $213.4 million for the year, for a total of $629.3 million.

A US Navy Ohio Class nuclear attack submarine - more than three times the size of a Collins boat - costs about $50 million a year to operate.

The cost figures are revealed as Defence officials say at least two possible contenders for the navy's new submarine fleet - the Spanish S-80 and French-Spanish Scorpene class boat - have been ruled out of the future submarine project.

In 2008, embarrassed navy brass stopped reporting on the performance of the Collins fleet in the Defence annual report.


The 2007-08 performance outcome for the Collins fleet showed it achieved 64 per cent of its mission capability, or 559 days of actual availability.



Since then the figures have been classified "secret", but assuming a similar outcome, then sustaining the subs now costs taxpayers $1,643,835 a day for all six vessels.


With only two or three available for duty, that cost blows out to more than $500,000 a day.
Sustainment costs are forecast to be $443 million this year. Since 2004, the costs have more than doubled from $204 million.


Opposition defence spokesman Senator David Johnston accused the Government and Defence Minister Stephen Smith of taking their eye off the ball when it came to the submarines.


Mr Smith said the Government was being careful about plans for 12 new submarines because 80 per cent of problems with the Collins could be traced back to mistakes in the planning stage.


Displacement = 16,500 tonnes
Length =170 metres
Speed = 12 knots surfaced 20 kts submerged
Crew = 155
Armament = Mark 68 torpedoes, Trident ballistic nuclear armed missiles, Tomahawk cruise missiles


Displacement = 3000 tonnes
Length = 77 metres
Speed = 10 knots surfaced 21 knots submerged
Crew = 38 to 48
Armament = 6 X 53cm torpedo tubes, Mark 48 torpedoes


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16 octobre 2011 7 16 /10 /octobre /2011 08:05
Australia to Spend $6b on Afghan War By 2014


October 14, 2011 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Australian Strategic Policy Institute; issued October 14, 2011)


Australia would have spent about $6billion on the war in Afghanistan by the time our troops leave in 2014, according to Defence.


Defence Minister Stephen Smith defended the country's decade-long involvement in the conflict in Parliament yesterday. The Opposition expressed bi-partisan support.


''It is in our national interest to be in Afghanistan, not just with our alliance partner, the United States, but also with 47 other members of the International Security Assistance Force acting under a United Nations mandate,'' Mr Smith said.


He welcomed El Salvador, the latest country to join the coalition, to ISAF. ''Australia's fundamental goal is to prevent Afghanistan from again being used by terrorists to plan and train for attacks on innocent civilians, including Australians, in our region and beyond.''


This has come at a cost.


With almost 1000 diggers injured or wounded in the country since the war began ADF rehabilitation costs have escalated year after year. A Defence spokesman said they had jumped from $3 million in 2006-2007 to $12.6 million for 2010-2011.


These figures do not include the cost of artificial limbs, appliances, physiotherapy, medications and other prescribed treatments.


A total of 30 Australians, 29 ADF members and one who was serving with the British army, have also been killed.


''No liability'' payments to Afghan civilians for the deaths of family members, personal injury and damage to property stand at $169,104.


Blood money payments are reported to average about $6000, however, this can go higher depending on the status of the individual.


Mr Smith said Australia and the other ISAF member nations needed to set out a clear policy for Afghanistan after the troop withdrawals scheduled for 2014.


To fail to do so would be to ''send the wrong message to regional neighbours, including Pakistan''.


Raspal Khosa, an independent defence analyst formerly with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, has warned Pakistan is waiting on the Western withdrawal to ramp up its continuing policy of destabilisation in Afghanistan.


''They [Pakistan] continue to view Afghanistan as a source of strategic depth in their regional competition with India,'' he said.


Australia would have spent $6.75 billion on Operation Slipper and enhanced force protection in Afghanistan by the end of 2013-2014.


''Operation Slipper also includes Australia's maritime contributions to security operations in the Arabian Gulf, the Arabian and Red Seas and the Horn of Africa,'' the Defence spokesman said.


By far the largest share of the spend has gone to Afghanistan.

The Canberra Times was told the value of major equipment losses in the theatre to date came to $30 million.


This includes numerous Bushmaster vehicles and one of Australia's six Chinook helicopters that crashed earlier this year.


The figure is based on net book value; the cost of acquisition less depreciation, not replacement cost. It is believed the new Chinooks currently on order from the US will cost about $70 million a machine plus support equipment. With some of the Chinooks in the fleet dating back to the early 1970s, the depreciation would be considerable.


Mr Smith said the mission was on track.

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9 septembre 2011 5 09 /09 /septembre /2011 12:20




USS Oklahoma City visited Fleet Base West when the United States submarine participated in a Submarine Command Course alongside a RAN Collins Class submarine. (photo : RAN)




The Royal Australian Navy has hosted the U.S. Navy's Submarine Command Course (SCC), at Fleet Base West and in the fleet exercise areas off Western Australia.

Australia supports the SCC every year; regularly sending an Australian submarine to Hawaii (as well as the international biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise), or hosting the course in Western Australia.

This year's exercise involved HMAS Dechaineux, HMASNewcastle, HMAS Sirius; Maritime Patrol Aircraft from theRAAF Edinburgh-based 92 Wing, and USS Oklahoma City (SSN 723).

Exercise participants gained valuable experience in complex submarine operations with the opportunity to share the knowledge and expertise of the MK48 Advanced Capability Torpedo and the BYG-1 Combat System which are employed by both submarine forces.

“The exercise proved to be extremely beneficial for all participants; enabling new crew members to put into practice what they have been taught as well as allowing experienced crews to hone their skills,” said CMDR Jason Cupples, Commanding Officer of HMAS Dechaineux.

The SCC has been training prospective commanding officers of U.S. submarines since 1944 and is an important milestone in those officer's careers. It is also an example of the outstanding relationship between the submarine forces of Australia and the United States.

“The students of the SCC responded well to the challenges they encountered, with the crew enjoying the opportunity to exercise with the Australian submarine force and Australian warships,” said USS Oklahoma City Commanding Officer, Commander Andrew Peterson, US Navy.

All participants agreed that this year's exercise proved to be a success for all involved.



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1 septembre 2011 4 01 /09 /septembre /2011 17:55



CANBERRA, Australia, Sept. 1 (UPI)


Australia's Defense Department hit back at criticism over its MU90 lightweight torpedo purchase from the weapon's French and Italian manufacturers.


A written statement by the Defense Ministry said all essential documentation from the manufacturers is in English and not, as reported by Australian media, in French or Italian only.


An article in some Fairfax Media newspapers and "more widely reported in the electronic media" contains "information that is wrong and misleading," the ministry said.


The Age newspaper in Melbourne, under the headline "Navy at sea over French manual," savaged the government for going out to tender for a translation of the manufacturers' documents despite having spent several hundred million dollars on the much-delayed project.


The Age said the deal has dragged on 13 years, will cost $655 million and has been condemned by the government auditor.


The article said the Defense Department will pay $110,100 for the translation service and cover the cost of flights and accommodation the tender winner.


"Buy flat-pack furniture from a well-known Scandinavian chain store and you can be sure the instructions will be in English," the article said. "But spend hundreds of millions on European-built torpedoes for your navy and apparently that is not the case."



However, the Defense Department said "as a condition of contract, all key project documentation including technical instructions from the supplier has been delivered in English."


What is in need of translation is "additional test data from these countries as a way to reduce costs and minimize the number of formal ship trials for the Australian MU90 program" before the weapon is commissioned, the department said.


The statement noted that Australia is getting test-firing data ordinarily not included in such contracts but will save Australian taxpayers a lot of money.


"To date the French and Italian navy testing programs have involved the firing of over 200 MU90 torpedoes. It is the reports and data from these tests that is in French and Italian and needs to be translated into English," the Defense Department said in its statement.


Apart from Australia, the MU90 anti-submarine torpedo is used by the navies of Germany, France, Italy, Denmark and Poland. It is designed to outperform the U.S.-built Mark 46, torpedo designed by Alliant Techsytems.


The MU90 manufacturer, EuroTorp, is a consortium formed in 1993 by French and Italian defense companies specifically to design and build a new generation lightweight torpedoes.


EuroTorp companies are Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei, which has a 50 percent stake, DCN International with a 26 percent stake and Thales Underwater Systems, owning 24 percent.


The Defense Department statement also noted that the MU90 contract is an Acquisition Project of Concern. Being on the Project of Concern list -- set up in 2008 -- means the government is aware of escalating costs and lengthening delivery dates and is working with contractors to get the contract back on track.


In May, a report by the Auditor General blasted Defense for badly managing the torpedo purchase which, even though signed in 1998, has no firm delivery date.


'Planning and management was inadequate,'' the Auditor General said.


There had been ''an underestimation of … risk'' even though almost $400 million has been spent.


The project ''will not deliver the capability originally sought by the Australian Defense Force (military), with uncertainty surrounding what will be delivered."


The audit report said the government knew so little about the torpedo when they bought it, they ''believed the MU90 to be an off-the-shelf acquisition … already in service with the other navies. This was not the case.''

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29 août 2011 1 29 /08 /août /2011 05:30
Australian DoD Response to Criticisms of MU90 Torpedo Project

MU-90 lightweight torpedo (photo : Eurotorp)




An article in some Fairfax media papers today (Lost for words, a Navy all at sea, 26 August 2011) and more widely reported in the electronic media contains information that is wrong in fact and misleading.


The article refers to the need to translate technical documents and instructions for the MU90 Light Weight Torpedo into English.


This is not correct.


As a condition of contract all key project documentation including technical instructions from the supplier has been delivered in English.


The MU90 torpedo is a complex anti-submarine warfare weapon and is a joint French and Italian development.


Defence is taking advantage of additional test data from these countries as a way to reduce costs and minimise the number of formal ship trials for the Australian MU90 program to finalise the acceptance into ADF service process.


Torpedo trials are very expensive and each test firing is a significant exercise in its own right. Being able to examine and use the results of other countries’ trials saves the Australian taxpayer a lot of money.


To date the French and Italian Navy testing programs have involved the firing of over 200 MU90 torpedoes. It is the reports and data from these tests - conducted by the French and Italian Navy for their own purposes and provided to Australia - that is in French and Italian and needs to be translated into English.


As a Project of Concern the MU90 Light Weight Torpedo replacement project receives Government, Defence and equipment supplier oversight.
(Aus DoD)
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22 juillet 2011 5 22 /07 /juillet /2011 12:20



Collins class submarine (photo : RAN)

DEFENCE Minister Stephen Smith has ordered a review of the maintenance regime of the navy's troubled Collins-class submarines and why so few of them are available for operations.

Mr Smith said last night the submarines were a vital part of the country's maritime national security capability.
"But problems with the availability of the Collins-class are longstanding, deeply entrenched and well known to the public," he told the Australian Strategic Policy Institute.
He said the problems were significant and technically complex, and they had to be sorted out before work could begin on plans for 12 replacement "future submarines" promised in the Rudd government's 2007 defence white paper.
ASPI estimates those submarines will cost about $36 billion to design and build in Australia.
"So for what will be the largest defence capability project that the commonwealth of Australia has seen, very careful attention in its early stages is demanded, and that's what we're doing, including sustainment," Mr Smith said.
He said that at times only one Collins-class submarine had been available for operations.
"This situation is unacceptable but will not be addressed simply by continuation of the status quo."
Mr Smith said getting more submarines operational for more of the time was a significant challenge for the government, Defence, the navy and the Australian Submarine Corporation.
A review would be conducted by John Coles, a British-based private sector expert in major defence programs. Mr Coles would provide an interim report by December and a final version by March, Mr Smith said.
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12 juin 2011 7 12 /06 /juin /2011 11:35



Collins class submarines (photo : Australian DoD)


11.06.2011 China Defense Blog


Availability of Submarines


The article in The Australian, 10 June 2011, by Cameron Stewart – “Not a single submarine seaworthy” – appears to misunderstand how Navy and Defence maintain and operate the submarine fleet to meet operational requirements.


As part of the regular ongoing management of the submarine fleet, all submarines are in various stages of their docking, maintenance and operational cycles.


Two submarines are currently in their operational cycle, and it is incorrect that there are no seaworthy submarines.


Navy is presently able to meet the Government’s standing requirement for submarine availability to respond to operational needs.


Maintaining the Collins Class is one of the most challenging tasks Defence has. It is one of the most complex and important capabilities operated by the Australian Defence Force.


Navy, the Defence Materiel Organisation and industry continue to work closely on a program to improve reliability across the entire submarine fleet.


Navy remains committed to maintaining a submarine capability that is operated effectively and safely to protect Australia’s national interests.


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17 avril 2011 7 17 /04 /avril /2011 06:00



April 15, 2011 Australian Strategic Policy Institute - defense-aerospace.com


Funds must be allocated in the May budget for early design work on Australia's next submarine if a serious capability gap is to be avoided, Defence experts have said. Time is running out if new submarines are to be in operation by 2025 the date proposed in the latest Defence Capability Plan update. That plan and the 2009 Defence White Paper calls for the construction of 12 new submarines at a cost of at least $36 billion. They would replace the six Collins class submarines currently in service. Experts from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute have said that given this will be Australia's most expensive ever weapons program and a similar spend to the National Broadband Network pressure from the Government and voters for sound planning and effective delivery would be intense. Defence insiders have already said, off-the-record, the Navy is dreaming if it expects the Government to sign off on the 12-boat plan this year. Mark Thomson, the director of budget and maintenance at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said the Government needed to use the budget to get the project moving. A failure to do so would likely result in the existing boats reaching the end of their effective lives before their replacements were ready to put to sea. This had happened in the transition from the old Oberon class boats to the Collins class between 1992 and 2003. While Defence had started winding back the use of the outdated O-boats in the early 1990s, the Collins class boats were not fully operational until 2003. Andrew Davies, ASPI's operations and capability director, said this created a decade-long capability gap that had seen many experienced submariners lost to the fleet. The Collins class boats have been plagued by crew shortages ever since. Mr Thomson, who worked with Mr Davies on a discussion paper on the submarine replacement issue that was released late yesterday, said the Government was due to make a ''first pass decision on the shape and size of the next submarine fleet in the next two years''. Once that was done, the initial design work expected to cost between $500 million and $1 billion could begin. The problem is that at the moment Defence does not have the information it needs to make informed recommendations to Government he said. Mr Davies agrees. ''You need to understand the true costs and benefits if you are to do an informed cost benefit analysis,'' Mr Davies said. He said Defence had a history of playing down costs while playing up benefits. At this point, despite the White Paper recommendations, the only certainties surrounding the next generation of submarines is that they will be conventionally powered and they will be built in Adelaide. Political factors have at least partly driven those parameters. The size of the boats, the numbers to be built and the tasks they should be required to perform are yet to be determined, Mr Davies said. He described the White Paper recommendation as an ''ambit claim'' and questioned the need for the submarines to be able to deploy special forces units. Mr Davies said it was difficult to conceive of a circumstance under which the need to land a small group of men on a beach would justify placing a $3 billion submarine at risk. Meanwhile, others haven't given up the fight for the nuclear option. Graham Harris, the president of The Navy League, has called for nuclear power to remain under consideration.


Click here to download the related report “The once and future submarine: raising and sustaining Australia’s underwater capability” (7 pages in PDF format) from the ASPI website.

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16 février 2011 3 16 /02 /février /2011 02:02
Navantia propose à l’Australie un sous-marin "XXL"



Par Rédacteur en chef. le 15 février 2011


Navantia ne veut laisser passer aucune chance dans l’un des plus importants contrats de son histoire. Les chantiers navals espagnols ont inclus dans leur proposition à l’Australie un nouveau sous-marin, plus gros que le S-80. Selon des sources de l’entreprise espagnole, la réponse à l’appel d’offres que Navantia a déposée à la mi-janvier, comprend 3 propositions. Un sous-marin similaire au S-80 commandé par la marine espagnole, un S-80 adapté aux exigences australiennes, et un S-80 XXL, de dimensions plus importantes. Bien que l’appel d’offres n’en soit encore qu’à ses débuts, cette période est l’un des moments les plus délicats, parce que la marine australienne doit se décider pour un modèle de sous-marin. C’est pourquoi la prochaine visite en Espagne de responsables australiens pourrait permettre de préciser les détails. D’autres pays, comme l’Allemagne (avec HDW) et la France (avec DCNS), sont aussi candidats, et on n’attend pas avant 2015 ou 2016 la désignation du gagnant. Le premier sous-marin ne sera pas livré avant 2018. Actuellement, même le nombre de sous-marins n’est pas connu. Si l’Australie se décide pour un sous-marin de la taille du S-80, la marine australienne pourrait en commander jusqu’à 12. Par contre, si elle retient un sous-marin de grande taille, elle se contenterait de 6. "Dans les 2 cas, le contrat dépasserait les 5 milliards €", indiquent les mêmes sources.


Référence :Defensa (Espagne)

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