HMAS Waller (SSG 75)
HMAS Waller entering Pearl Harbor in 2008
|Namesake:||Captain Hector Waller|
|Builder:||Australian Submarine Corporation|
|Laid down:||19 March 1992|
|Launched:||14 March 1997|
|Commissioned:||10 July 1999|
|Status:||Active as of 2016|
|Class and type:||Collins-class submarine|
|Length:||77.42 m (254.0 ft)|
|Beam:||7.8 m (26 ft)|
|Draught:||7 m (23 ft) at waterline|
|Installed power:||3 × Garden Island-Hedemora HV V18b/15Ub (VB210) 18-cylinder diesel motors, 3 × Jeumont-Schneider generators (1,400 kW, 440-volt DC)|
|Test depth:||Over 180 m (590 ft) (actual depth classified)|
|Notes:||The sonars and combat system are in the process of being updated across the class, to be completed by 2010. These characteristics represent the updated equipment.|
Named for Captain Hector Waller, the boat was laid down in 1992, and launched in 1997. Despite the RAN initially refusing to accept the submarine for service, Waller has demonstrated the capabilities of the Collins class against surface and submarine targets during several international war-games.
Waller was laid down by Australian Submarine Corporation (ASC) on 19 March 1992, launched on 14 March 1997, and commissioned into the RAN on 10 July 1999. During sea trials, the number of problems and defects with Waller were significantly fewer that with the previous two submarines, indicating that problems with earlier submarines were being fixed in the latter boats during construction.
Despite this, the RAN initially refused to accept Waller into service until all defects in the submarine were repaired, unlike Collins and Farncomb, which had been provisionally accepted while defects were fixed. Although ASC believed that all problems with Waller had been rectified, the Defence Acquisition Organisation refused to accept the boat. In response, ASC began to charge the Australian Government A$100,000 a day over contract for the delays. Despite legal opinion being that ASC did not have the right to make that claim, the Government eventually paid half of what was claimed.
Waller was named for Captain Hector Waller, who commanded the five-ship 'Scrap Iron Flotilla' from 1940 to 1941, then commanded the cruiser HMAS Perth until his death and the ship's loss on 1 March 1942 during the Battle of Sunda Strait.
The Collins class is an enlarged version of the Kockums Västergötland class submarine. At 77.42 metres (254.0 ft) in length, with a beam of 7.8 metres (26 ft) and a waterline depth of 7 metres (23 ft), displacing 3,051 tonnes when surfaced, and 3,353 tonnes when submerged, they are the largest conventionally powered submarines in the world. The hull is constructed from high-tensile micro-alloy steel, and are covered in a skin of anechoic tiles to minimise detection by sonar. The depth that they can dive to is classified: most sources claim that it is over 180 metres (590 ft),
The submarine is armed with six 21-inch (530 mm) torpedo tubes, and carry a standard payload of 22 torpedoes: originally a mix of Gould Mark 48 Mod 4 torpedoes and UGM-84C Sub-Harpoon, with the Mark 48s later upgraded to the Mod 7 Common Broadband Advanced Sonar System (CBASS) version.
Each submarine is equipped with three Garden Island-Hedemora HV V18b/15Ub (VB210) 18-cylinder diesel engines, which are each connected to a 1,400 kW, 440-volt DC Jeumont-Schneider generator. The electricity generated is stored in batteries, then supplied to a single Jeumont-Schneider DC motor, which provides 7,200 shaft horsepower to a single, seven-bladed, 4.22-metre (13.8 ft) diameter skewback propeller. The Collins class has a speed of 10.5 knots (19.4 km/h; 12.1 mph) when surfaced and at snorkel depth, and can reach 21 knots (39 km/h; 24 mph) underwater. The submarines have a range of 11,000 nautical miles (20,000 km; 13,000 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) when surfaced, 9,000 nautical miles (17,000 km; 10,000 mi) at 10 knots (19 km/h; 12 mph) at snorkel depth. When submerged completely, a Collins-class submarine can travel 32.6 nautical miles (60.4 km; 37.5 mi) at maximum speed, or 480 nautical miles (890 km; 550 mi) at 4 knots (7.4 km/h; 4.6 mph). Each boat has an endurance of 70 days.
In 1999, Waller reportedly operated in the International Force for East Timor (INTERFET) together with a second Collins-class boat providing escorts for transport ships and monitoring Indonesian communications. Waller had overtly docked in Darwin during the international naval buildup in September shortly before the Force sailed to East Timor. On 21 October, Navy clearance divers infiltrated into the Oecussi Enclave to conduct a covert beach reconnaissance and survey of an amphibious landing site for an amphibious landing by HMAS Brunei the following day reportedly inserting from a submarine believed to be Waller.
In late May 2000, Waller became the first Australian submarine to operate as a fully integrated component of a United States Navy carrier battle group during wargames. Waller’s role was to search for and engage opposing submarines hunting the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln, a role in which she performed better than expected. A few days later, as part of the RIMPAC 2000 exercise, Waller was assigned to act as an 'enemy' submarine, and was reported to have successfully engaged two USN nuclear submarines before coming into attacking range of Abraham Lincoln. Waller performed similarly during the Operation Tandem Thrust wargames in 2001, when she 'sank' two USN amphibious assault ships in waters just over 70 metres (230 ft) deep; although the submarine was 'destroyed' herself later in the exercise.
During a multinational exercise in September 2003, which was attended by Waller and sister boat Rankin, Waller successfully "sank" a Los Angeles-class nuclear submarine, prompting claims from the USN that diesel submarines like the Collins class are one of the major threats facing modern navies.
In 2006, the Mark 48 torpedoes carried by the Collins class were upgraded to the Mod 7 Common Broadband Advanced Sonar System (CBASS) version, which had been jointly developed with the United States Navy. Waller was the first vessel of either navy to fire an armed version of the torpedo, sinking the decommissioned Spruance-class destroyer USS Fletcher on 16 July 2008, during RIMPAC 08.
In early 2009, battery problems aboard Waller forced the submarine to undergo emergency maintenance. This, combined with other factors affecting Waller’s sister boats, left HMAS Farncomb as the only operational submarine in Australian service as of mid-2009. The boat was returned to service during the end of the year, but maintenance delays and malfunctions aboard other submarines during early 2010, meant that Waller was the only fully operational submarine during February and March 2010.
Waller was undergoing deep maintenance during 2012, and was due to return to service in 2013.
On 27 February 2014, a fire broke out aboard the submarine while she was surfaced off the Western Australian coast. The fire was extinguished by those aboard, and there were no injuries, although four personnel who fought the fire directly were taken ashore for medical observation. Waller was docked for repairs, which are due to be completed by the end of 2015, with the submarine returning to full operational status in mid-2016.
- Yule & Woolner, The Collins Class Submarine Story, pp. 295–6
- Thompson, Lessons not learned, pp. 26–8
- Sherman Aussie Collins-Class Sub "Sinks" US Boat
- Wertheirm (ed.), Combat Fleets of the World, p. 18
- Yule & Woolner, The Collins Class Submarine Story, p. 234
- Yule & Woolner, The Collins Class Submarine Story, pp. 271–2
- Yule & Woolner, The Collins Class Submarine Story, p. 272
- Yule & Woolner, The Collins Class Submarine Story, pp. 272–3
- Yule & Woolner, The Collins Class Submarine Story, p. 340
- Woolner, Procuring Change, p. 7
- Jones, in The Royal Australian Navy, p. 244
- Yule & Woolner, The Collins Class Submarine Story, pp. 165–74
- ‘Built in Australia’ Collins rolls out, Jane's Defence Weekly
- Wertheirm (ed.), Combat Fleets of the World, p. 19
- Grazebrook, RAN prepares for Collins class
- SSK Collins Class (Type 471) Attack Submarine, naval-technology.com
- Heavyweight Torpedo – Mark 48, United States Navy Fact File
- Grazebrook, Collins class comes up Down Under
- Hyland, Arms race' leaving our subs all at sea
- McDonald, Into Dili's darkness
- Farrell, Peacemakers, p. 66.
- McPhedran, Torpedoed – Collins Class submarine sinks US ship
- Haney, WashingtonWatch
- McPhedran, $330m for sub-standard subs
- Oakes, Two subs out of action for 9 years
- Berry, Paul (6 December 2012). "This year in review". Navy News. Directorate of Defence News. pp. 6–7.
- Wroe, David (27 February 2014). "Submarine fire: Navy personnel taken ashore". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
- "HMAS Waller Repaired and Ready for Re-join Fleet Mid 2016". The Navy. Navy League of Australia. 78 (1): 15.
- Farrell, John (2000). Peace Makers: INTERFETs Liberation of East Timor. Rocklea: Fullbore. ISBN 0-646-39424-X.
- Jones, Peter (2001). "A Period of Change and Uncertainty". In Stevens, David. The Royal Australian Navy. The Australian Centenary History of Defence. III. South Melbourne, VIC: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-555542-2. OCLC 50418095.
- Thompson, Roger (2007). Lessons not learned: the U.S. Navy's status quo culture (Google Books). Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-865-4. OCLC 76901958. Retrieved 14 May 2009.
- Wertheim, Eric, ed. (2007). The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World: Their Ships, Aircraft, and Systems (Google Books) (15th ed.). Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press. ISBN 978-1-59114-955-2. OCLC 140283156. Retrieved 1 May 2009.
- Yule, Peter; Woolner, Derek (2008). The Collins Class Submarine Story: Steel, Spies and Spin (Google Books). Port Melbourne, VIC: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-86894-5. OCLC 213111359. Retrieved 1 May 2009.
- Journal and news articles
- "'Built in Australia' Collins rolls out". Jane's Defence Weekly. Jane's Information Group. 20 (6). 7 August 1993.
- Grazebrook, A.W. (1 December 1995). "RAN prepares for Collins class". Jane's Navy International. Jane's Information Group. 100 (6).
- Grazebrook, A.W. (1 January 1998). "Collins class comes up Down Under". Jane's Navy International. Jane's Information Group. 103 (1).
- Haney, Cecil (2008). "WashingtonWatch". Undersea Warfare (38). Retrieved 18 May 2009.
- Hyland, Tom (6 May 2007). "'Arms race' leaving our subs all at sea". The Age. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
- McDonald, Hamish (18 September 1999). "Into Dili's darkness". The Age. Archived from the original on 13 November 2004.
- McPhedran, Ian (25 July 2008). "Torpedoed – Collins Class submarine sinks US ship". The Advertiser. Archived from the original on 4 August 2008. Retrieved 18 May 2009.
- McPhedran, Ian (3 June 2009). "$330m for sub-standard subs". The Daily Telegraph. News Limited. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
- Oakes, Dan (11 February 2010). "Two subs out of action for 9 years". The Age. Fairfax Media. Archived from the original on 21 March 2016. Retrieved 12 February 2010.
- Sherman, Kenneth B. (December 2003). "Aussie Collins-Class Sub "Sinks" US Boat". Journal of Electronic Defense. 26 (12): 24. ISSN 0192-429X.
- Woolner, Derek (18 September 2001). "Procuring Change: How Kockums was Selected for the Collins Class Submarine" (PDF). Research Paper. Canberra: Department of the Parliamentary Library. 2001–02 (4). ISSN 1328-7478. Retrieved 24 April 2009.
- Websites and other media
- "Heavyweight Torpedo – Mark 48". United States Navy Fact File. United States Navy. 17 January 2009. Retrieved 22 April 2009.
- "SSK Collins Class (Type 471) Attack Submarine". Industry Projects, naval-technology.com. SPG Media. Retrieved 20 April 2009.
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