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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 8/2/2005 12:04:11 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/2/2005 12:06:13 AM EDT by ArmdLbrl]
Remember a few weeks ago, someone posted how we had hired the Swedish Navy to send one of their diesel boats to the Pacific to pretend to be a Chinese submarine for our drills?

It was a fair guess that the reason why we weren't using the Canadians batch of ex-Royal Navy Upholder class diesel boats was all the design problems that turned up with them after one nearly sank off of Ireland combined with Canada cutting their defense budget so much that they could not pay to fix them.

That however, left the question of why we weren't using the Austrailians boats, the new Collins class which were supposedly state of the art, even having a non electric, and non-nuclear "Air Independant Propulsion" system to extend their underwater speed and range.

Well, someone on TankNet.com just posted the answer...


Submarine fleet riddled with risks
By Cameron Stewart
30-07-2005
From: The Australian

THREE of Australia's six Collins-class submarines have suffered potentially "catastrophic" fires, floods or equipment faults at sea.
An explosive internal navy report on submarine safety hazards - written in May 2002 and obtained by The Weekend Australian - reveals that the six subs were plagued by far more serious safety issues than has been publicly admitted.

The report, which details the contents of "hazard logs" for the entire fleet, looked at 468 reported hazards and found 67 of these to be "unacceptable" faults that needed to be "promptly resolved".

It also criticises the navy for adopting an "out of sight and out of mind" attitude to less serious faults on the multi-billion-dollar subs - widely considered Australia's most valuable defence asset.

The report, which was distributed to 26 naval commanders, revealed several potentially "catastrophic" incidents at sea, including a fire on board HMAS Waller and damage to crucial battery cables aboard HMAS Farncomb and HMAS Sheean.

Nine months after the report was written, HMAS Dechaineux (pictured) and her crew of 55 almost sank after suffering a major flood off the coast of Perth - as revealed for the first time in The Weekend Australian last Saturday.

The report shows the navy knew that the anti-flood systems on its submarines were "inadequate and dangerous" before the Dechaineux accident and reveals that a flood also occurred aboard HMAS Collins.

The report says that in April 2000, HMAS Waller suffered an on-board fire in the "main propulsion starter resistor" at the back of the submarine. "The fire, adjacent to a main battery circuit-breaker cabinet, could have had catastrophic consequences," it says.

Yet the findings of those who investigated the accident could not be implemented because "funding is not available".

The report revealed that all of the Collins-class submarines were at risk of main battery short-circuit faults.

"Such faults would be uncontrollable and catastrophic," it says. "Submarines have suffered cable damage, through poor installation and wear, which could have resulted in battery short-circuit faults."

It warned that the submarines' diesel and hydraulic oil systems "may fail and cause fires", yet at the same time questioned "the effectiveness of the Collins' Halon fixed firefighting system".

The report also disclosed that audits had raised doubts about the integrity of the submarine's pressure hulls, but gave no further details. "Cracks in the hull! This could be catastrophic," it said.

The navy said yesterday it had addressed the major safety issues raised in the report. "The issues outlined in the minute of May 24, 2002, have not been ignored and have all been acted upon either by eliminating the risks or mitigating against them. Safety is the navy's most important priority," the navy said.

The hazard report reveals that the "overheating and breakdown of one battery cable insulation" on HMAS Waller "may have had catastrophic consequences" and that this same hazard was "also present on HMAS Sheean".

It warned that, under certain conditions, the submarines could face "total loss of propulsion", while a separate set of conditions could lead the autopilot to "drive the boat to a 20-degree bow-down aspect".

The report also says that "Collins submarines roll badly in some circumstances while surfaced" and that these had resulted in several injuries to sailors, including one who had to be medically discharged from the navy.

It also criticised the attitude taken within the navy to submarine safety, saying that only the most serious safety hazards were being actively managed. "(Less serious hazards) are less actively managed and, in some cases, ignored", it said.



and this


Sub 20 seconds from death
By Cameron Stewart
23-07-2005
From: The Australian

AN Australian submarine carrying 55 sailors was seconds from sinking to the bottom of the Indian Ocean following a catastrophic on-board flood off the coast of Perth.
The near-tragedy has forced the navy to permanently reduce the diving depth of its fleet of six Collins-class submarines for safety reasons - a move that has weakened their military capability.

An investigation by The Weekend Australian has revealed that an accident on board HMAS Dechaineux on February 12, 2003, was more serious than the navy has publicly admitted.

"I don't think there was anybody on our boat who wasn't shit-scared that day," said Able Seaman Geordie Bunting, who almost drowned in the flood and who has now spoken about it for the first time.

"Another five seconds and we would have been in big trouble ... another 10 and you have got to question whether we could have surfaced."

Mike Deeks, the then commander of the navy's submarine force, said: "We were talking seconds, not minutes. It was a very serious, significant flood."

The depth at which the accident occurred and the maximum depth to which the submarine fleet is now capable of diving is classified information. All operational details about the vessel are classified because they could aid an enemy.

The accident happened about 40 nautical miles off Perth when a sea water hose in the lower engine room failed just as the Dechaineux, the fourth of the navy's six Collins-class submarines, was at its deepest diving depth.

"There was a loud bang and something hard flew past my head," Seaman Bunting said. "Then the water flooded in and I got tossed around like in a washing machine. It was coming in so fast I thought it was all over."

Two sailors rushed to rescue Seaman Bunting from the flooded engine room as Dechaineux's captain Peter Scott and his crew tried desperately to stem the flow of sea water and make the stricken submarine climb.

The crew succeeded in stopping the flood but the submarine had taken so much water it did not respond immediately to the emergency commands.

"It was pretty bloody close, mate. There would have been a lot of people frozen in the moment," Seaman Bunting said.

Lieutenant Commander Geoff Wadley, who was in the control room when the flood occurred, said: "There was a period before the submarine reacted and there was a lot of tension in the air."

Able Seaman Greg Sullivan, who saved Seaman Bunting's life by fishing him out of the flooded room, said: "I was thinking we could be in trouble. You knew it was taking longer than it should (to start to surface)."

If the flood had not been stopped in time, Dechaineux and its crew would have sunk and been crushed by water pressure before hitting the seabed.

"It would have been like crushing an empty Coke can in your hand," Seaman Bunting said. "We were too deep to hit the bottom alive."

Senior naval sources estimate that if the flood had continued for another 15-25 seconds, Dechaineux would have become too heavy to climb back to the surface.

Asked by The Weekend Australian to confirm if Dechaineux was about 20 seconds from disaster, the navy said: "All floods in submarines are serious and time is clearly a critical factor."

At the time of the accident, the navy admitted Dechaineux had taken on water but hid the true gravity of the situation. It would have been Australia's worst military disaster since the 1964 HMAS Voyager tragedy near Jervis Bay on the New South Wales South Coast, which left 82 sailors dead.

The navy responded to the crisis by ordering the submarine fleet back to port and conducting exhaustive tests on the hose that failed.

However, it was never able to find a fault with the hoses, which are still used.

Instead, the navy has reduced the diving depth of the submarines, and as a result the pressure placed on the seawater hoses. There has not been a major flooding incident since.

Despite teething problems, the six Collins submarines have performed above expectation in operations, becoming one of the nation's most valuable military assets.

Captain Scott nominated two of his crew for bravery awards. But more than two years later, those medals have still not been presented.

"We all had a pretty good idea how completely catastrophic it could have been," said a senior crew member who asked not to be named. "If it had been any worse, we wouldn't have got up, and if our propulsion system had failed we wouldn't have made it. We were probably only 20 seconds away (from sinking)."

Seaman Bunting said the accident changed his life. "I'm still nervous about it. It's the closest I'd like to come to death."



I must also say that this does not bode well for attempts by the diesel fleets to try and close the performance gap with our SSNs
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 1:21:25 AM EDT

Why are they not using nuclear subs? Is Austrailia completely anti-nuke? I do seem to remember that our nuclear powered vessles have to stay out of port...
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 1:33:53 AM EDT

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:
Why are they not using nuclear subs? Is Austrailia completely anti-nuke? I do seem to remember that our nuclear powered vessles have to stay out of port...



No thats New Zealand, the San Francisco was going to Austrailia from Guam for a port call when she hit that seamount. Austrailia didn't buy SSNs becuase they thought they could not afford them.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 1:39:31 AM EDT

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:
Why are they not using nuclear subs? Is Austrailia completely anti-nuke? I do seem to remember that our nuclear powered vessles have to stay out of port...



Cost to buy, cost to maintain, cost to train. Complexity of training, maintaining a crew.

Not to mention diesels can completely shut down.

Nuc's will ALWAYS be doing stuff to keep the reactor running. Venting this, pumping water etc.

If you don't have to "project power" that far, diesels can do the job at a fraction of the cost.

Boomers are different, because it is there job to go to sea, get lost, and stay lost for long periods of time.
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 1:50:06 AM EDT

Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery:

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:
Why are they not using nuclear subs? Is Austrailia completely anti-nuke? I do seem to remember that our nuclear powered vessles have to stay out of port...



Cost to buy, cost to maintain, cost to train. Complexity of training, maintaining a crew.

Not to mention diesels can completely shut down.

Nuc's will ALWAYS be doing stuff to keep the reactor running. Venting this, pumping water etc.

If you don't have to "project power" that far, diesels can do the job at a fraction of the cost.

Boomers are different, because it is there job to go to sea, get lost, and stay lost for long periods of time.



But when diesels are running there is all that flammable oil, all that high voltage, and all that toxic gas that has to be delt with...and a lot less reserve boyancy since the hulls have to be so much smaller to compensate for so much less engine power...
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 1:55:45 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/2/2005 1:56:30 AM EDT by vito113]
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 1:59:25 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:

Originally Posted By OLY-M4gery:

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:
Why are they not using nuclear subs? Is Austrailia completely anti-nuke? I do seem to remember that our nuclear powered vessles have to stay out of port...



Cost to buy, cost to maintain, cost to train. Complexity of training, maintaining a crew.

Not to mention diesels can completely shut down.

Nuc's will ALWAYS be doing stuff to keep the reactor running. Venting this, pumping water etc.

If you don't have to "project power" that far, diesels can do the job at a fraction of the cost.

Boomers are different, because it is there job to go to sea, get lost, and stay lost for long periods of time.



But when diesels are running there is all that flammable oil, all that high voltage, and all that toxic gas that has to be delt with...and a lot less reserve boyancy since the hulls have to be so much smaller to compensate for so much less engine power...



Yup, there are trade-offs. I think smaller hull, less power, is a question of keeping the boat small, (stealthy), and making sure it can dive-surface smoothly since it will have to poke at least a snorkel up regularly. Getting close to the surface is when the get vulnerable.

Hazards of diesel vs. hazards of nuc's. I gotta think the nuc's have more safety features, and also more ways to go wrong, and worse results if the do go.

Diesels have been power subs for almost 100 years. I'm thinking they may have the routine down........

Diesel vs Nuc comes down to a money issue, as well as a mission issue.

The US run Nuc's because we have a world wide naval presence. Where is Australia sending there subs?


Link Posted: 8/2/2005 2:04:35 AM EDT

Diesels have been power subs for almost 100 years. I'm thinking they may have the routine down........


If so why are they the ones having all the fires and floodings? Its not like either the Austrailians or Canadians are new to submarines...
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 2:29:46 AM EDT

Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl:

Diesels have been power subs for almost 100 years. I'm thinking they may have the routine down........


If so why are they the ones having all the fires and floodings? Its not like either the Austrailians or Canadians are new to submarines...



The Canadian boats, had been mothballed for months-years, then refitted. There was a design issue that was ID'ed as a potential problem, but would have required basically gutting the command area of the boat to make minor alterations. It was decided it was not worth it.

The boat was traveling on the surface, while the cre made repairs to a vent in the conning tower. Due to the nature of the vent, they needed to keep a hatch open while making repairs. The boat was hit by a smallish "rogue wave", causing some water to go down the open hatch.

Some of the water got to the substandard, previously ID'ed wiring, and shorted out the wiring causing an electical fire, between the inner hull and some of the electronic gear. The gear blocked the crew's ability to get to the source of the fire.


Reading the article about the Aussie boats, it seems like they have some "new tech", and are having "teething" problems, as is common with a lot of major weapons systems.

Link Posted: 8/2/2005 2:46:53 AM EDT
diesel subs, nuclear subs... pfsst

everyone's forgetting about the turtle. The USN should be conducting OPFOR exercises against a fleet of enemy turtles, the human powered subs!
Link Posted: 8/2/2005 4:16:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By KS_Physicist:
Nuc's will ALWAYS be doing stuff to keep the reactor running. Venting this, pumping water etc.



A technical point but not true. You can cool the reactor down, depressurize and the turn the coolant pumps off on a pressurized water reactor. It takes a couple days to get there from normal operating pressure and temperature but we did so when needed by the ship's schedule on the three U. S. Navy submarines I served on. I was one of the nuclear propulsion plant operators on SSBN 623, SSN 702 and SSN 705 from 1981 to 1987.
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