Transport of warships and aircraft carriers has become an increasingly expensive proposition for the Royal Navy.
And the Royal Australian Navy’s most sought-after vessel – the HMAS Prince of Wales – is no exception.
But as the Royal Fleet is in the middle of a major overhaul, it’s not yet clear whether the submarine transport ships will remain a key part of the fleet.
The Royal Australian Transport Corporation (RATC) said it is “working on options” to help ensure the vessel is available to meet its needs.
“The RATC is committed to continuing to make the most of the Royal Australia Navy and to the Royal Marine Force, and is in close contact with the RATM and Defence Minister David Johnston, who will continue to make sure the vessel can continue to operate,” the RATTC said in a statement.
But the Royal Mail has warned the vessel may not be ready for deployment for another three to six years.
“In the meantime, we will continue the process of planning, designing, building and installing a new generation of submarines,” the Royal United Services Institute said.
“This will require considerable investment and time and effort.”
It said that while the RFTC was confident the new submarine transport was “ready for service”, it would not be able to offer the vessel for export until the RAPC and the Royal Air Force were “completely committed” to getting it to the front lines.
What you need to know about submarines.
What is the RATS submarine transport?
The RATS submarines are a new class of surface ships designed to be able carry and transport both surface ships and submarines.
The vessels can carry up to six submarines.
They can carry a range of missiles, mines and bombs, as well as nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.
Their range is up to 15,000 kilometres (9,200 miles).
Where is it?
The Royal Naval Submarine Base, Devonport, is the site of the RATA’s submarines.
There is also the RAS submarine base at Toms River, New South Wales, which is a former Royal Australian Naval base and which is also home to the RCAF.
What are the problems with the submarine service?
While the Rats submarines are not new, they are not yet fully operational.
“While the RTS submarines are being upgraded and modernised to meet the demands of the Navy and the RAAF, there are many other issues that need to be addressed,” the RCAS said.
It said there were “serious challenges” to their operations in Australia.
These include: Operational limitations, maintenance, equipment requirements and training requirements; the need for constant communication and training between the RTRP and the crew, including the ability to quickly deploy a vessel when there is a problem; and the need to maintain and maintainable equipment.
There have been several major maintenance issues over the years.
There are also concerns about the safety of the equipment on the submarine.
“There are a number of serious operational issues that have been identified with the submarines, including a lack of adequate and effective communications between the crew and the submarine, as the RNTC is not able to maintain or maintainable electronic equipment that allows the crew to operate the submarine without significant risk to themselves or others,” the statement said.
The RATTM said it was working with the Defence Minister and other key members of the Government to ensure the submarine ships are operational.
It has also made “major investments” in the submarines and the RNSEA to ensure they are “ready to go”.
“RATM is in regular contact with Defence Minister Johnston and RATB as they plan and execute the ship’s full range of operations,” the organisation said.
Is the Royal ship a priority?
The RNSEA and the RCATM have been discussing the next phase of the submarine fleet and have also agreed a “strategic and operating plan”.
But the RattC said the RNST’s fleet of submarines “is not yet ready for service”.
“It is our understanding that the next ship in the ROTS is due to be commissioned in early 2021 and will be operational for the first time in late 2021,” the spokesperson said.
They added the ROTC would work with the RNTS to “plan and execute” the new ship and “to maintain the RN fleet”.
The RATS is also expected to be ready to enter service by late 2021, the RCATS statement said, adding the RNS is “in regular contact” with the Royal RAT and the Commonwealth Government on the ship.
What about the RTA submarine transport vessel?
The Toms RTA, a new type of submarine transport, is a two-masted, five-deck vessel that can carry around 10 submarines.
It is expected to carry a variety of weapons and equipment, including nuclear warheads.
The TOS submarine transport is an older design that can only carry up the most advanced weapons.
The RCATC said it would “continue to monitor the