A South Australian built, MODIFIED Collins Class submarine built in Adelaide is the best option to ensure Australia’s national security!
So said the Advertiser (adelaidenow.com.au) 20 January 2012
I concur but have reservations:
We cannot get the people to properly crew six Collins boats let alone twelve! It is essential that Australia’s planning for a new generation boat takes into account all the lessons learnt to date and benefits from the positive aspects of the prior & current one. The last boat fulfilled its specification (otherwise the Government would not have been left to pay the ‘get-well’ programs) so, make sure the specification asks for what we need exactly or, better still, adopt an iterative spiral model that comprises modules with the interfaces thoroughly designed and exhaustively modeled first. The Collins is a good design that can defeat a carrier battle group in exercises – we ought to hang onto the attributes that make it so. We should evolve the current design in a way that heavily increases automation and redundancy for much better MTBF & MTTR. This time around manage the documentation release & distribution better so logistics effort (training & maintenance) is always based on the current design. Consider a proportion of the boats fitted with Stirling Engines (or equivalent) for long-range underwater endurance to play the shell game better. Innovative techniques to detect & isolate problems should be pioneered – automatic damage reports including compromised hull integrity, fail-safe states, automated switchover. Make sure that crew will be well trained, safe and happy with good work-life balance and remuneration – and do the research to ensure it will be so. Be aware that combat systems, sensor systems and communication systems keep evolving so be able to integrate the very best and latest. Be able to simulate every interface from both sides. And, often latest allied technologies are denied us so you cannot always just buy in the whole package.