Monday, March 09, 2009

Smaller crews for Collins class submarine replacement

The Australian Government is considering a Collins class submarine replacement with SEA 1000. This is likely to be made in Australia, for political reasons, and a stretch of the exiting Collins class. for a longer range. One topic not discussed is the crewing for the submarines. While the capital cost and technical complexity of submarines is frequently discussed, the limiting factor currently for the RAN is the availability of trained crews for them. One option which should therefore be given priority is to reduce the current complement from 45 to about 20. As well as reducing costs this would extend the range of the vessel, provide more comfort for the crew and allow more room to carry special forces.

Techniques similar to those discussed in "Operations Analysis Guides LCS Employment" (by Lieutenant Ben Abbott, U.S. Navy, in US Navy Institute Proceedings, February 2009 ) could be used to calculate the optimum crewing and deployment. Replenishment at sea using the Australian designed and built Joint High Speed Vessels could also extend the range of the submarines.

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