Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Smaller Overseas Submarines and Australian Tenders

The Australian Government is reported to be having negation difficulties with the French builder selected for the Collins Class submarine replacement. Perhaps it is time to consider not attempting to build very large bespoke submarines in Australia. Instead a smaller proven design could be ordered from an overseas shipyard, with recent experience in submarine building. Australian shipyards could instead build small submarine tenders to resupply these vessels.

Australia's unique requirement for a very long range conventionally powered submarine to transit from Australian ports meant that no proven designs were suitable. However, recently it was announced Australia and the USA would return to their former naval base on Manus Island, which is capable of operating submarines. Australia could complement the base with a small fleet of submarine tenders, based on the Arafura class multipurpose warship, or an Austral multi-hull design.

The small tenders could be fitted for the same modular mission payload system as the Arafura class. The tenders could dash at high speed to a suitable sheltered location to re-provision a submarine. The ships could be built in Australia in the shipyards currently building the Arafura class, meeting the political need for employment, as well as maintaining a shipbuilding capability.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Repairing a RAAF Leather Flying Jacket

In 2014 I purchased an A2 leather flying jacket. Having worn it a lot, it was showing signs of wear. Some would pay extra for the worn-in look, but I decided to carry out some repairs.

There were spots of lighter color, where the leather had worn, some holes in the cloth inside (just above the woven waistband), and the woven cuffs have frayed.

The color of the leather is officially described as "seal brown" (after the sea mammal, not the special forces). But Waproo Dark Brown Raven Oil is a reasonable match for this. I purchased a 50 ml bottle from a shoe repair kiosk, and dyed the shoulder straps, collar, front pockets and front zip flap. There was was only half a bottle left, so I decided to order online a 500 ml bottle. It turned out I only needed about 150ml for the whole jacket. This is a powerful dye, so it is important to keep it off the cloth lining (and anything else you do not want dark brown).

The cuffs I repaired with a darning needle and dark brown DMC Stranded Cotton 3371

The cloth lining was frayed just above the woven stretch cuff at the front bottom of the jacket, on each side, extending about 20 mm up. This is the point where my belt rubs on the inside of the jacket. I repaired it with a "fawn" iron-on patch (polyester cotton). 

I cut the patch length-ways into four strips 23 mm wide. These I ironed onto the cloth lining inside each front side of the jacket, just above the stretch cuff. First I ironed one end of a strip to just next to the zipper, then stretched the jacket out, and kept it stretched while ironing the strip flat onto the fabric. When the patch cooled down I let go, and the fabric puckered around the stretch cuff. It took two overlapping strips to reach the side seam of the jacket. I did not patch the back of the jacket as there was no sign of wear.

The total cost was about $40, and should keep the coat looking good for a few more years.