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Categorie: Internationale ontwikkelingen (pagina 1 van 15)

Japan offers to help build Australia’s future submarine fleet if French deal falls through

Japan’s visiting Foreign Minister says his country would still be prepared to export its submarines to Australia if protracted contract negotiations between Defence and French company Naval Group eventually collapse.

In a wide-ranging interview with the ABC before departing Sydney, Foreign Minister Taro Kono also signalled Japan would be willing to conduct joint maritime patrols with Australia in the South China Sea, and expressed hope that troop rotations would occur “soon”.

Last month the ABC revealed growing government frustrations with Naval Group over the $50 billion future submarine project, and concerns that a key strategic partnering agreement is unlikely to be signed before the end of the year.

In his only interview following talks with Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Defence Minister Christopher Pyne, Mr Kono said Tokyo would be willing to step in if Australia decided to look at other options for the replacement of the ageing Collins Class fleet.

“That’s possible – but it’s up to the Australian government to decide,” Mr Kono said. In 2016 Tokyo expressed deep disappointment after the Turnbull government awarded the lucrative submarine contract to the French over rival Japanese and German bids.Mr  Kono stressed he did not know how long it would take Japan to prepare another offering if Australia were to again approach his government.

Lees verder op Abc.net.au

Crew shortage could leave Australia’s new submarines high and dry – report

There are 600 submariners now but report warns 1,500 will be needed for new fleet.

Australia’s new multi-billion-dollar fleet of submarines may not be able to be taken out to sea unless the Department of Defence addresses a looming crew shortage, a new report warns.

The paper from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute has raised concerns that workforce recruitment will be a huge future challenge when the navy transitions to a new fleet of 12 French-designed vessels from the six Collins class submarines.

The navy has historically had trouble recruiting and retaining enough submariners for the Collins submarines. It’s understood Australia’s pool of submariners numbers about 600 people but it would need to expand to around 1,500 for the new fleet. The Collins submarines generally have a crew of 55 during operations at sea but the new bigger vessels may need about 60-70 submariners.

“One of the key risks is developing the workforce because if you don’t get that right you’ve spent your $79 billion and you’ve got your submarines but you can’t actually take them to sea,” report author Marcus Hellyer told Guardian Australia.

“Once you take into account the increased size of the [new] submarines, doubling the number of them – and we’re still on a get-well path with Collins – I suspect it will be closer to three times the submariners we have now.”

Hellyer says the federal government’s estimated $50bn acquisition cost of the submarines is likely to be closer to $79bn once inflation is taken into account because Defence is employing a “cheeky” accounting trick. “I’m reasonably confident $79bn is in the ballpark,” he said.

Lees verder op theguardian.com

Sub scuttlebutt: SEA 1000 in deep water, or is it?

It is the largest defence acquisition project in the history of the nation, but the $50 billion, or is it $80 billion, project to replace the ageing Collins Class submarines with 12 regionally-superior submarines is in deep water as growing concerns about cost, capability and delivery time frame begin to sow confusion.

When then prime minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the DCNS, now Naval Group, Shortfin Barracuda as the successful design for the hotly contested SEA 1000 Future Submarine program in April 2016, it seemed as if the disastrous procurement of the Collins Class would be put aside.

As the prime minister assured both defence and the Australian public: “The Competitive Evaluation Process (CEP) has provided the government with the detailed information required to select DCNS as the most suitable international partner to develop a regionally-superior future submarine to meet our unique national security requirements.”

The successful Shortfin Barracuda design is a conventionally powered variant of the nuclear powered Barracuda fast attack submarine currently under construction in France for the French Navy.

Lees verder op Defenceconnect.com.au

Damen dient voorstellen in voor Roemeense korvetten en Nederlands-Belgische mijnenbestrijdingsvaartuigen

Het Vlissingse Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS) heeft deze week voorstellen ingediend in de race om de bouw van korvetten voor Roemenië, en mijnenbestrijdingsvaartuigen voor Nederland en België. De deadlines voor beide projecten verstreken deze week. 

Korvetten
Roemenië wil vier nieuwe korvetten bestellen. Eind 2016 werd door de Roemeense regering besloten dat de nieuwe schepen door Damen zouden worden gebouwd. De regering van Dacian Ciolos koos voor de Sigma 10514. Er werd echter nog geen contract getekend en vijf maanden later werd het besluit door de volgende regering teruggedraaid omdat het besluit niet had voldaan aan de wetgeving. In plaats van het rechtstreeks aan een partij te gunnen, werd gekozen voor een Europese aanbesteding. In februari 2018 werd de aanbesteding formeel opgestart voor het project ter waarde van 1,6 miljard euro. Afgelopen dinsdag verliep de deadline voor de aanbieders. Op die dag moesten zij hun finale voorstel indienen.

DSNS slaagde er in om op tijd het voorstel in te dienen naar eigen zeggen. Hoewel DSNS niets vermeld over het voorstel zelf, is de algemene verwachting dat het om Sigma 10514 schepen. Volgens diverse Roemeense media is Damen een van de favorieten, zo niet dé favoriet. Natuurlijk heeft dat alles te maken met het feit dat Damen eigenaar is van Damen Shipyards Galati, waar sinds 2006 alle marineschepen voor Nederland worden gebouwd (deels of volledig). Overigens zijn er ook schepen voor andere landen gebouwd, zoals de sleepboten voor de Zweedse marine en delen van de fregatten voor Indonesië. Daarnaast is Damen ten dele eigenaar van de Mangalia scheepswerven.

Dat vergroot de kansen van Damen, maar de competitie is hevig. Het Italiaanse Fincantieri bezit er ook scheepswerven en de Naval Group werkt samen met Constanta Shipyard. Bovendien is een kwart van het personeel van Fincantieri afkomstig uit Roemenië. Alleen het Duitse TKMS bezit er geen werf en van een samenwerking is nog niets bekend. Eerder was ook een Turkse werf betrokken bij de aanbesteding, maar die viel af. Werven van buiten de Europese Unie of NAVO hebben niet meegedaan, want die zijn uitgesloten van de competitie. Andere eisen die de Roemeense marine heeft gesteld zijn: het ontwerp moet gebaseerd zijn op schepen die de afgelopen 15 jaar zijn gebouwd, alle schepen moeten in een periode van zeven jaar worden gebouwd, de waterverplaatsing moet ten minste 1.000 ton zijn en de schepen moeten in Roemenië worden gebouwd.

De Naval Group heeft vervolgens de Gowind 2500 aangeboden, Fincantieri een aangepaste versie van de korvetten die zij voor Abu Dhabi hadden gebouwd en TKMS biedt een aangepaste K130 Braunschweig korvet aan.

Lees verder op Marineschepen.nl

Christopher Pyne insists $50 billion submarines deal is on track as SA senators attack project

Cross-party political consensus on the ambitious Future Submarines program is beginning to splinter in South Australia, where construction on the $50 billion project is scheduled to begin in 2022.

Four South Australian crossbench senators have attacked the plan to build 12 submarines using French company Naval Group, arguing tens of billions could be saved and technical risks reduced if a different international firm was used. The criticism from Centre Alliance senators Rex Patrick and Stirling Griff, as well as Australian Conservatives founder Cory Bernardi and independent Tim Storer, comes just days after the ABC revealed growing tensions between France’s Naval Group and the Australian Government over contract negotiations.

Defence and industry figures have told the ABC France and Australia will not be ready before 2019 to sign a crucial “strategic partnering agreement”, which is needed before detailed design contracts can be finalised, and submarine construction begins. Senator Patrick, who has regularly criticised the decision to choose a French design, said the Future Submarine Project was now “a project out of control”.

“With news that the project’s cost has now blown out to more than $200 billion, it’s time to reassess the program’s direction,” he said. Senator Storer warned the Government was, “taking huge gambles on our long-term Defence future and on our ability to fund our defence given other priorities”.

“I am concerned about the submarines on a number of fronts: the cost blowout versus the off-the-shelf alternatives, the choice of technology being made, the delay in getting them built and in service, and the consequent risk to Australia’s continental security,” he said.

But Defence Minister Christopher Pyne rejected the criticisms and suggested South Australian voters would not look kindly at the comments.

Lees verder op Abc.net.au

India Today Editor-in-Chief talks about this week’s cover story ‘The Ambani Connection’

The dogfight over the purchase of 36 Rafale planes currently dominating public discourse in the country reminds me of the dictum, ‘Don’t confuse me with facts’. National leaders are calling each other thieves, liars, traitors and, of course, corrupt. Even Pakistan and the current and a former president of France have been dragged into the imbroglio. The two national parties seem to be like two blindfolded boxers punching in the air hoping to land a knockout punch. A lot of half-truths are flying around, with facts becoming the biggest casualty. In the eye of the storm is industrialist Anil Ambani.

The controversy is centred around the Rs 30,000 crore ‘offsets’ that Dassault and its associates have to spend with Indian manufacturers not necessarily related to the Rafale aircraft as part of the Rs 59,000 crore Rafale deal. The allegation is that the younger Ambani’s joint venture with Dassault has been favoured with all of the Rs 30,000 crore because of his perceived proximity to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The suggestion that his company is getting all of it is not true. There are 72 companies that have been identified by the French industrial partners in the deal- Safran, Thales, Dassault Aviation- for the offset. Ambani is likely to get a decent share, but the biggest beneficiary will be the government organisation DRDO, or the Defence Research and Development Organisation, with an estimated Rs 9,000 crore.

The other big issue is that Ambani has no track record in defence manufacturing and has several failed ventures attached to his name. Most of his group companies are in poor financial health and laden with a debt of Rs 1.12 lakh crore as of March 2018.

Lees verder op indiatoday.in

Defence submarine project stalled over unsigned agreement

The Government has grown so frustrated with the French company selected to build Australia’s next fleet of submarines that Defence Minister Christopher Pyne refused to meet top officials visiting the country this week.

Naval Group was selected in 2016 to build 12 submarines for the Australian Navy, in the country’s largest-ever defence contract worth $50 billion. The ABC understands Mr Pyne will only meet the chief executive of the majority French state-owned company once a crucial document, the strategic partnering agreement (SPA), has been signed.

Negotiations on that document have stalled and it is feared they may not be resolved before next year’s federal election. Defence  and industry figures have told the ABC that France and Australia will not be ready before 2019 to sign the document, which is needed before detailed design contracts can be finalised, and submarine construction begins.

Sources familiar with the process say a goal to sign the vital SPA during a visit to Adelaide this week by French Minister Florence Parly has slipped off course, with fundamental differences that may not be reconciled before early next year. Concerns over warranties and technology transfer are believed to be the main sticking points in the tough negotiations between the Australian Commonwealth and French-owned Naval Group.

The knock-on effects of delay on the SPA, which covers the guiding terms and conditions that govern the submarine program, and the likelihood of a federal election being called in the first quarter of next year threatens to create a “perfect storm” of uncertainty, with some risk that it could ultimately sink the French project entirely.

Luister het podcast bericht hier of lees het volledige artikel op abc.net.au

Is It Time for Australia to Buy U.S. Nuclear Powered Attack Submarines?

The conversation about acquiring nuclear-powered submarines here in Australia continues to bubble along.Some commentators who previously supported acquiring conventional submarines to replace the current Collins class, such as former prime minister  Tony Abbott , now favor the nuclear option. But as Abbott noted, the government has never fully investigated the nuclear option.

Consequently there is no agreed factual baseline and many public claims about nuclear submarines are speculative and possibly questionable. It’s been suggested, for example, that acquiring the United States Navy’s current nuclear attack submarine, the Virginia class, would have a similar—or even smaller—cost to designing and building Naval Group’s Shortfin Barracuda here in Australia (for example,  here and here).

Let’s assume the government is willing to toss its  Naval Shipbuilding Plan  out the window and that the US is willing to sell us Virginia class boats off-the-shelf from US shipyards. What would it cost? Attempting to compare two very different things, one of which exists, the other of which doesn’t, is a fraught exercise. But while the Shortfin Barracuda is likely to be the most expensive conventional submarine ever built, there are some good reasons to think that the Virginia would not be cheaper.

Let’s look at a very high level parametric comparison. The Virginia weighs in at around 8,000 tonnes. The Shortfin Barracuda looks like it will between 4,500-5,000 tonnes. So with everything else being equal, the Shortfin Barracuda would need to cost around 60% more per tonne to be more expensive. RAND Corporation’s  2015 study  of the Australian shipbuilding industry suggested that building in Australia historically incurred a 30-40% premium compared to the United States, although that study was based solely on surface ships. The intent of the government’s continuous shipbuilding policy is to bring those premiums down, but even if that doesn’t occur, Shortfin Barracudas still look like they’ll be cheaper.

Lees verder op nationalinterest.org

Going nuclear: would US submarines be a cheaper option?

The conversation about acquiring nuclear-powered submarines continues to bubble along. Some commentators who previously supported acquiring conventional submarines to replace the current Collins class, such as former prime minister Tony Abbott, now favour the nuclear option. But as Abbott noted, the government has never fully investigated the nuclear option. Consequently there is no agreed factual baseline and many public claims about nuclear submarines are speculative and possibly questionable. It’s been suggested, for example, that acquiring the United States Navy’s current nuclear attack submarine, the Virginia class, would have a similar—or even smaller—cost to designing and building Naval Group’s Shortfin Barracuda here in Australia (for example, here and here).

Let’s assume the government is willing to toss its Naval Shipbuilding Plan out the window and that the US is willing to sell us Virginia class boats off-the-shelf from US shipyards. What would it cost? Attempting to compare two very different things, one of which exists, the other of which doesn’t, is a fraught exercise. But while the Shortfin Barracuda is likely to be the most expensive conventional submarine ever built, there are some good reasons to think that the Virginia would not be cheaper.

Let’s look at a very high level parametric comparison. The Virginia weighs in at around 8,000 tonnes. The Shortfin Barracuda looks like it will between 4,500-5,000 tonnes. So with everything else being equal, the Shortfin Barracuda would need to cost around 60% more per tonne to be more expensive. RAND Corporation’s 2015 study of the Australian shipbuilding industry suggested that building in Australia historically incurred a 30-40% premium compared to the United States, although that study was based solely on surface ships. The intent of the government’s continuous shipbuilding policy is to bring those premiums down, but even if that doesn’t occur, Shortfin Barracudas still look like they’ll be cheaper.

We can also compare the publicly available information about the two classes, noting that there is a vast gulf in the quality of information in the US compared to here. The US Department of Defense’s Justification Book for fiscal year 2019 for shipbuilding (p. 37) provides a unit cost for a Virginia class submarine of US$3.25 billion. If we multiply by 12 and convert at current exchange rate that makes around A$53.7 billion (of course, if the Aussie dollar sank, that number would go up).

We don’t know what Defence has estimated the unit cost of a Shortfin Barracuda to be (and likely never will). In response to questions at Senate hearings, Defence officials have stated that the estimated total acquisition cost of the future submarine program, which is designing and building 12 Shortfin Barracudas, is around $50 billion ‘constant dollars’ (a measure which doesn’t take inflation and price escalation into account). The cost of Australian projects includes everything needed to bring a capability into service. In the case of the future submarine program that likely includes wharves, training and testing facilities, simulators, and so on.

Lees verder op Aspistrategist.org.au

Diesel Submarines: The Game Changer the U.S. Navy Needs

One of the world’s best naval strategists presents all the reasons for acquiring diesel submarines to augment the existing nuclear fleet. And the navy needs to listen.

Among the more-than-ample reasons for acquiring a flotilla of diesel-electric submarines for the U.S. Navy: SSKs could help deter war by demonstrating American resiliency should war come in the Western Pacific. Deterrence comes from capability and visible resolve to use it. And from staying power. Foes blanch at starting a fight if they fear they can do little to blunt an antagonist’s warmaking capability. In short, resilient contestants deter. And should war come anyway, an artfully employed diesel contingent could help the United States and its allies—principally Japan—prevail in that war.

To recap the case for conventionally powered submarines : SSKs could comprise the nucleus of an allied fleet. Procuring a common platform with the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF), constituting a combined silent service, and stationing that fleet permanently in the theater would show that America has skin in the game of defending Japan. Tokyo would draw confidence from such a fleet. The alliance would emerge refortified.

In other words, Tokyo need not fear being left in the lurch if American sailors stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their Japanese brethren—and if the Japanese state and society know for a fact the United States will always be there during a rumble in the Pacific. It’s hard to overstate the value to Washington of keeping faith with allies and friends. America has no strategic position in Asia without bases on Asian soil. Merging part of the U.S. Navy into a genuinely multinational fleet would make a powerful statement about multinational solidarity—and help guarantee access to those bases.

Moreover, these are the right subs for the strategic environment. That’s doubly so if allied maritime strategy aims at bottling up Chinese or Russian shipping within the first island chain— as it should . It’s commonplace for nuclear proponents to claim that diesel boats are unfit for the job of closing straits and narrow seas to surface and subsurface traffic. For proof they run through the laundry list of advantages SSNs boast over their diesel-driven cousins—advantages such as their ability to stay underwater for indefinite stretches and cruise at high velocity. Case closed.

Well, no. SSKs have no need to match SSNs; they need to be good enough for the job, and cheap enough to buy in bulk. In effect champions of nuclear submarines deny that diesel boats can do what they have done for many decades. The U.S. Navy Pacific Fleet sub force tormented the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II, including along the island chain. Undersea warfare could have proved decisive in that conflict. The JMSDF unleashed similar tactics vis-à-vis Soviet and Chinese shipping during the Cold War. Both navies prosecuted an island-chain strategy to good effect, and with more rudimentary diesel boats than today’s to boot. Denying historical fact doesn’t add up to a terribly convincing case against SSKs.

Lees verder op Nationalinterest.org

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