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ASC Hidden Assets.pdf - Submarine Institute of Australia

hidden assets

contents4 evolution of the submarine8 submarines in australia10 collins class project14 collins class submarines16 submarine construction18 role of submarines20 relative complexity of submarines22 submarines of the future3

evolutionof the submarineWhile it is widely considered that William Borne designed the first submarine in 1578, itwas Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) who initially developed the idea of a military vesselthat could submerge under water to attack enemy ships. However, it wasn’t until 1776that the first submarine to make an attack on an enemy ship was built. Named the Turtle,it was designed by David Bushnell and was built with the intention of breaking the Britishnaval blockade in New York Harbor during the American Revolution. Operated by SergeantEzra Lee, the Turtle made an unsuccessful attack on a British ship on 7 September 1776.Several more submarines were attempted over the years, but it wasn’t until thebeginning of the 20th century that modern day submarine warfare was born. At thestart of World War I, submarines were still in their infancy. Considered to be‘unethical’ and not fitting into the conventional rules of war, few foresaw thewatershed in naval warfare that submarines were to bring about. Once their truecapabilities were realised, submarines had a substantial impact on World War I:sinking ships, laying mines, blockading ports and providing escorts totrans-Atlantic convoys.Main image:Photo reproduced courtesy of the Royal Australian Navy.Images left to right:1776 - The Turtle.During World War II, submarine technology advanced significantly. The Germans,who were operating U-Boats in the Atlantic Ocean, developed the ‘snorkel’(allowing the boat to recharge its batteries while staying submerged). TheJapanese were the first nation to utilise the ‘midget subs’, most famouslywhen they launched their attack on Pearl Harbor (in the Pacific Ocean)in 1941. These submarines were also used to attack shipping in SydneyHarbour on 31 May 1942.1863 - The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley – credited with the first successful underwater attack.1870 - The Intelligent Whale, bought by the United States Navy, was never put into service.5

evolutionof the submarinecontinuedFrom 1945 to 1991, the Cold War dictated much of the advancement in military capabilities.Many features of the German U-Boats were incorporated into future designs of theallied forces. When the United States launched the first nuclear powered boat in 1955(USS Nautilus), the submarine was transformed from a surface ship that could submergebriefly, to a fully underwater vessel which could stay submerged for extended periodsof time.During the Cold War, the United States’ strategy relied heavily on its ability to controlthe seas. Apart from performing traditional roles, submarines were also capable oflaunching ballistic missiles should the need arise. The United States was more dominantin this underwater strategy than Russia, which proved vital in deterring the nuclear warthat had been a constant threat for more than forty years.Main image:Photo reproduced courtesy of the Royal Australian Navy.Images left to right:Circa 1902 - John Holland designed the United States Navy’s firstsubmarine which was purchased on 11 April 1900.Electric Boat Corporation was established in 1899 tobring to completion the design of the submarine.This is one of Holland’s designs. (Photo reproducedcourtesy of Electric Boat)1911 - USS Seal designed by Simon Lake. Lake is credited asdesigning an escape trunk, conning tower, diving planes,control room and a rotating, retractable periscope.1917 - The United States Navy’s L-Class were the firstsubmarines to introduce an air purification system.1923 - Many attempts were made to create a submarine thatdoubled as an aircraft carrier. This is the US S-1.With the end of the Cold War, far fewer submarines were commissioned. In 2000, 47 nationswere operating more than 700 submarines – over 300 of which were nuclear-powered.In 1982, British submarines played a significant role in defeating Argentina in the FalklandsWar. During the conflict, HMS Conqueror sunk Argentina’s only cruiser, effectively endingthe threat of carrier and surface ships.During the first Gulf War submarines were used to launch a number of Tomahawk missileattacks, but during the second Gulf War the United States deployed far more submarineswith greater capabilities. These were heavily involved in strike missions.The United States continued to build more advanced submarines, able to operate weaponsin any sea conditions: from under arctic ice to operating in shallow water.In 2004, the United States commissioned the first Virginia Class attack submarine, designedspecifically for littoral and estuarine waters. This submarine does not have a periscope,but instead uses a high resolution digital camera. It is also capable of going to great depths,getting in close to the shore in shallow water and launching unmanned submersibles. All ofthese advancements have been designed with the added intention of fighting terrorism.7

submarines inaustraliaThe first Australian submarines, the AE1 and the AE2, were commissioned into the RoyalAustralian Navy in 1914. They were deployed during World War I, but both were lost duringcombat. The fate of the AE1 has never been determined. The AE2 was the first submarineto break through the Turkish defences before sustaining irreparable damage and sinking on30 April 1915.In 1919, six ‘J’ Class submarines were commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy. Thesecond-hand boats, received from the Royal Navy, were in such bad condition that they wereimmediately placed into refit once they reached Sydney. Even after extensive work, the boatsspent very little time in the water and, except for J7, all were decommissioned in 1924.Under the Royal Australian Navy’s post World War I development program, two submarines– HMAS Otway and HMAS Oxley – were ordered from the Royal Navy. They arrived inSydney in 1929, but due to maintenance problems and the depressed economy they werereturned to Britain in 1931.During World War II, the Royal Australian Navy obtained an ex-Dutchsubmarine K9, which was used for training purposes for surface ships insubmarine detection.(Above) The AE1, pictured here in the United Kingdom before being commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy.The Oberon Class submarines (far left) were slowly phased out during the 1990s to make way for theCollins Class submarines.Photos reproduced courtesy of the Royal Australian Navy.It wasn’t until four initial Oberon Class submarines were commissionedthat Australia began to build a strong submarine fleet. While the Oberonswere not involved in any conflict while in service, their presence wasinvaluable to the Royal Australian Navy. They were built at ScottsShipbuilding at Greenock in Scotland with the first of the boats, HMASOxley, commissioned in March 1967. This was followed by HMAS Otway,in March 1968, HMAS Ovens, in April 1969 and HMAS Onslow, December1969. Oxley’s arrival in Sydney coincided with the commissioning of thesubmarine base HMAS Platypus, at Neutral Bay, Sydney. In 1977 and 1978two more submarines were commissioned, HMAS Orion and HMAS Otama.9

collins thecollinsclass classprojectThe Collins Class project was established by the Royal Australian Navy in 1982. The newdesign was required to meet the unique needs of the Navy, which were dictated by, amongother things, Australia’s geographic location. The submarines would be required to travelgreat distances, operate in varying environments, have state-of-the-art weapons systemsand perform traditional submarine functions using the most advanced technology available.The submarines would also be required to protect Australia through their very existence,acting as a deterrent to any enemy forces.It was decided that large conventional submarines would be acquired. The Collins Class isthe second largest non-nuclear powered submarine in the world.Construction of the first submarine was initially intended to be done overseas. However, theAustralian Government soon decided in order to promote the development of local industry,all six should be constructed within Australia. The newly formed Australian SubmarineCorporation (ASC) then began the task of designing and building the most sophisticated,conventional submarine in the world.11

submarine constructionThe Collins Class project required specification, integration and installationof equipment and material from over 150 major contractors and hundredsof smaller suppliers. Most modules of the submarines were constructedoff-site and then shipped to ASC for integration.Key parameters for equipment included electrical power, cooling, noise,shock resistance, weight and electromagnetic characteristics, all underrigorous configuration management as data was distributed between thevarious suppliers during the design phase.Electrical EquipmentSpace PlatformSection200DieselGeneratorsSection100CasingsSection200Section 300Section400 and 500Section 600Section 100Main MotorDomestic ServicesSpace PlatformFinSection 400Upper AccommodationSpace PlatformSection500submarine outfitting statisticsPiping23,500 metresMajor cable lengths 7,000Cable connections 200,000Cable75,000 metresBatteries400 tonnesControl Room /Lower AccommodationPlatformA completed submarine is a system of systems. A Collins Class submarinecontains 108 integrated systems which are linked structurally, mechanically,electrically, hydraulically, pneumatically and electronically. All of these systemsneed power and cooling and many need to communicate with each other inorder to achieve full operational capability.17

ole of submarinesSubmarines are the least visible of all military assets. While this makes them highlysecretive in nature, it also makes them highly valuable. They provide several differentfunctions to navies, many of which affect other military operations.14233Designed to be virtually undetectable, submarines are able to patrol the world’s oceans– even in hostile territory. This allows them to gather intelligence, undertake surveillanceand carry out reconnaissance missions. They are able to monitor the air, land and sea(both above the surface and below). Submarines act as force multipliers: forcing foreignmilitary to launch several vessels in response to even the threat of a single submarine.During times of war, submarines are crucial in controlling the seas. They detect and destroyhostile submarines and surface ships, blockade foreign ports and restrict ocean transport.They provide intelligence and underwater protection for surface ships and are able todetect and lay mines more efficiently than any other navy vessel. Submarines provide ameans to land Special Forces in hostile regions and, if fitted with suitable weapons, areable to strike land targets.While most commonly known for the role they play in navies, submarines are also used for avariety of functions in the private sector. The most common are scientific submarines, whichexplore the world’s oceans to further research and to locate sunken ships. Submarines canalso be used for tourism, while unmanned submarines (which are very small and operatedremotely from the surface) are used to perform work which is too deep or too dangerousfor divers, such as on an oil rig.The role of submarines is varied, including: surveillance (1), mine laying (2), locating and destroying hostilesurface ships (3) and landing Special Forces (4) (although not all roles are undertaken at the same time).19

elative complexityof submarinesThe Collins Class submarines are the most complex military vessel built in Australia to date.The submarines are ten times more complicated than a frigate, even though both areapproximately 3,000 tonnes displacement. Over 33,000 drawings and 5000 work orderswere produced before the build process began, and once work started, each submarine took2.5 million hours to assemble.Platform Battle Tank Boeing Frigate Collins ClassComplexity Metrics 777 SubmarineWeight (tonnes) 30 250 3,600 3,000Length (metres) 7 60 118 78Number of systems 25 40 60 108Number of suppliers 600 550 600 1,600Crew size 4 10 163 43Patrol duration (hours) 24 8-14 340 1,700Number of parts to assemble 14,000 100,000 170,000 500,000Number of person hours to assemble 5,500 50,000 1,200,000 2,500,000Construction time (months) 7 14 22 60Price (AUD $M) 4 300 600 1,000Photos reproduced courtesy of the Royal Australian Navy.21

submarines ofthe futureSubmarine technology is constantly evolving. Future advancements will allowsubmarines of tomorrow to be far more efficient and effective warships. Whiledesigners are looking at ways to improve current models, entirely new conceptsare also being developed.One of theses concepts is a miniature submarine which is remotely operatedand equipped with sensors such as the periscope and sonar system. Thisminiature submarine will then feed information back to the ‘mothership’,which can remain a safe distance away.Other ideas include: ways to accommodate for a greater variety of weaponsused, sonar systems that allow the submarine to be further away from itstarget and air-independent propulsion which will allow submarines to staysubmerged for weeks at a time. Improvements to hull strength are also beingresearched in order to develop a design that can withstand a direct hit fromtoday’s conventional weapons.23

acknowledgementsBill Hollas, DTO Manager, ASCAndrew Mangnoson, South Australian Maritime MuseumSamantha McDonough, Australian Maritime MuseumSteve Middel, Electric Boat CorporationSpecial thanks to the Royal Australian Navy photographic branchwww.navy.gov.auASC Pty LtdMersey Road, Outer HarborSouth Australia 5018Telephone: +61 8 8348 7000www.asc.com.au

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