Industry and Infrastructure for Future Submarines

An International Perspective

by John Birkler

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The Royal Australian Navy plans to retire its Collins-class submarines, when their service lives expire. Their replacement: 12 new vessels known as the Future Submarine. These replacements will be designed to travel farther, stay on patrol longer, support more missions, and provide more capabilities than the Collins vessels. Acquiring these new submarines will be the largest, most complex defense procurement in Australia's history. However, because Australia has not designed a submarine in the modern era, the effort will be challenging. This paper draws from RAND's considerable international submarine experience to discuss the benefits of long-range planning, ways to improve efficiency, the need to sustain hard-to-replace resources, the importance of testing, and potential policy implications for Australia. The paper was originally presented at the Submarine Institute of Australia's 5th Biennial Conference 2010, in Perth, Australia, in November 2010.

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