Australians the world over are known for being, well, let’s just say uncomplicated. So it’s fitting that it has decided to name the first submarine slated to replace its current slate of Collins-class attack submarines with a new generation of attack subs, starting with the HMAS Attack.
The deeply-considered name was announced by the Chief of the Australian Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, on Twitter:
Now it’s not like there’s no precedent for there being something named “Attack” in the Australian Navy. There was another vessel named the HMAS Attack, which served from the 1960s to the 1980s, though that was a patrol vessel. Not really an attack vessel?
Anyway, this is the country that elected a guy Prime Minister because he could drink beer real good and had another Prime Minister drown while out for a day on the beach so they named a swimming pool after him. I wouldn’t read too much into the things Australia does.
The future HMAS Attack, set to launch sometime in the 2030s, will be the lead boat of Australia’s new attack submarines. And as there were so many issues with the current Collins-class when it was first launched back in the 1990s (including problems with the welding in the bow of the HMAS Collins, which may or may not have not have led to the front falling off, though that is a known and significant problem in Australian marine engineering), the Attack-class subs will be based off an existing design.
Then-Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced in 2016 that the Collins-class replacement sub would essentially be a significantly modified version of the French Barracuda-class, swapping out the French nuclear reactor for a more conventional diesel-electric propulsion setup. Both have their pluses and their minuses, but suffice it to say that a diesel-electric setup is cheaper and less complicated than a nuclear reactor, while also being potentially quieter, though diesel-electric submarines don’t have nearly the range of nuclear submarines and occasionally need to come up to shallower depths to re-charge batteries using the sub’s diesel motors.
From the Australian ABC:
A French company has beaten competitors from Germany and Japan to secure the contract to build Australia’s next fleet of submarines, with the Federal Government promising thousands of Australian jobs will be created.
The much anticipated $50 billion contract has been settled in the febrile, pre-election period and ensures the 12 new submarines will be built at Adelaide’s Osborne shipyards.
The upcoming HMAS Attack should have both anti-ship and land-attack capabilities, if the French Barracuda-class is any guide. Defence24 notes that the Barracuda-class is quite heavily armed:
Barracudas are going to be fitted with four 533 mm torpedo launchers. A special, automated ordnance loading system will be able to deliver 20 torpedoes or missiles to the launchers. Depending on the task carried out by the submarine, the available armament includes MdCN (missiles de croisière navale) cruise missiles, Exocet SM93 anti-ship missiles, F21 heavy torpedoes, A3SM anti aircraft missiles (based on the Mica system) or even mines.
And they should also have a little extra space for special operations forces, too. Just in case.
Even if they’ll have to pretend to ignore the name.