CANBERRA ($1=1.47 Australian Dollars) — The Astute [UK] and Virginia [USA] class nuclear submarines are in the sights of the Royal Australian Navy and are of interest in terms of future Australian submarine designs. According to the Belgian online portal Navy Reconnaissance, citing an Australian source including Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles, Canberra will choose the design of its nuclear submarines next year .
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BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that Australia’s nuclear submarines were to be made by the French manufacturer Naval Group. But last September, Australia “sunk” the hopes of the French, abandoned the construction of 12 Shortfin Barracuda Block A1 conventional submarines, and chose the partnership of the USA and Great Britain, forming together the AUKUS project. The growing threat from China in the Indo-Pacific region was the main reason why Australia abandoned the deal with France.
However, there is another reason – deadlines and budget. France committed to delivering the first Barracuda Block A1 class submarine by the end of 2030, but Paris abandoned this deadline and indicated another – 2035. This is a problem for Australia, as the country currently operates six Collins submarines, and extending the deadline for the first Barracuda Block A1 means spending funds to upgrade not three Collins submarines [as was the plan if France met the first delivery deadline]. and to all six. All this also reflects on the overall planned budget of the program for the new Australian submarine fleet. Suddenly the planned $40 billion became $69 billion, which Australia refused.
About Astute and Virginia-class submarines
The Astute is the latest class of British nuclear-powered submarine, which has been in service with the Royal British Navy since 2010. A total of seven submarines of this class are planned to enter service with the British Royal Navy – currently, four are in active service.
The dimensions of the Astute-class submarines are as follows: the length is 97 m [318 ft 3 in], the beam is 11.3 m [37 ft 1 in] and the draught is 10 m [32 ft 10 in]. The submarine is powered by a Rolls-Royce PWR 2 nuclear reactor and MTU 600 kilowatt diesel generators. The submarine has been tested to a depth of 300m and has a top speed of 30 knots. It has six torpedo tubes that fire Spearfish heavyweight torpedoes. Submarines of this class are also armed with Tomahawk Block V cruise missiles.
The Virginia class, also known as the SSN-774 class, is a class of nuclear-powered cruise missile fast-attack submarines. This class of submarines entered service with the US Navy in 2004 and currently, 21 submarines are in active service. A total of 66 submarines are planned to be built.
The dimensions of the Virginia-class submarine are as follows: the length is 377 ft [115 m] or 460 ft [140 m] for Block V and the beam is 34 ft [10 m]. The submarine is powered by one S9G nuclear reactor of 280,000 hp [210 MW], two steam turbines of 40,000 shp [30 MW], and one single shaft pump-jet propulsor. It can dive to a depth of 240 meters and has a maximum speed of 25 knots. Submarines of this class are armed with 12 VLS tubes [for BGM-109 Tomahawk missiles], four 533 mm torpedo tubes [for Mk-48 torpedos or UGM-84 Harpoon missiles], and 25 torpedoes & missiles [torpedo room] + twelve missiles [in the VLS tubes].
New Australian subs will not sail around New Zealand
On September 16, the New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has first commented on a deal between Australia, Britain, and the United States to build new nuclear submarines for the Royal Australian Navy. “New Zealand’s position on banning nuclear-powered ships in our waters remains unchanged,” she told Newshub.
BulgarianMilitary.com reminds you that back in 1987, New Zealand made a fundamental decision on the nuclear-free status of the territory and territorial waters of New Zealanders. On September 16, Jacinda Ardern reminded her Australian counterpart Scott Morrison, who informed her of Australia’s intentions to build nuclear submarines that it would abide by the decision made in the last century.
However, Jacinda Ardern welcomes her neighbors’ decision to build new nuclear submarines and ensure security in the region. According to her, the common goal of both New Zealand and Australia is to ensure security and peace in the Indo-Pacific region, of which New Zealand is a part. “New Zealand is primarily a country in the Pacific, and we look at foreign policy developments through the prism of what is in the region’s interest,” Ardern said then.
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