OZ to pick up 12 redesigned SSNs (-N) and upto 450 AMRAAMs
In the ever-continuing West Pac arms race, Australian officials announced this week that France’s DCNS has won the $38.5 billion Project SEA 1000 Future Submarine program to replace six Collins-class submarines currently in service with the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) with a dozen Shortfin Barracuda Block 1A boats.
The Barracudas (Suffren-class in French Naval use) are a sexy batch of nuclear-powered attack subs that are currently building. They are 5,300-ton ships that include advanced features like a pump-jet propeller and X-shaped stern planes. While smaller than the U.S. Virginia-class, they are comparable in size to the old school Sturgeon-class SSNs of the 1970s and 80s and the Los Angeles-class which are still bumping along. They will, naturally, be larger and more advanced that the Collins.
The difference between the Aussie subs and the Sufferns will be that their dozen boats– to be built in Australia– will be diesel boats. They will be able to force-project as needed.
Further, Australia could become the first foreign nation to buy the radar-guided Raytheon AIM-120D air-to-air missile under a $1.2 billion foreign military sales package approved by the U.S. government this week. The Delta has a 50% greater range (than the already-extended range AIM-120C-7) and better guidance over its entire flight envelope yielding an improved kill probability (Pk) and the U.S. military itself is wanting a bunch but they are tied up in sequestration.
Included with that deal is:
Up to 450 Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles (AIM-120D)
Up to 34 AIM-120D Air Vehicles Instrumented (AAVI)
Up to 6 Instrumented Test Vehicles (ITVs)
Up to 10 spare AIM-120 Guidance Sections (GSs)
450 Fox Threes and a dozen of the world’s most advanced SSKs sure make a potent pill against a future enemy looking to roll hard over Canberra.
A-10s in the PI
In other news, the Air Force is rotating composite units of A-10s and HH-60s through the PI and, they are reportedly flying maritime patrols over Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea.
“Our job is to ensure air and sea domains remain open in accordance with international law,” said Air Force Col. Larry Card, the commander of the new air contingent in the Philippines. “That is extremely important, international economics depends on it — free trade depends on our ability to move goods. There’s no nation right now whose economy does not depend on the well-being of the economy of other nations.”