The Royal Australian Navy Submarine Service (RANSUB) is the collective name for the Submarine Force Element Group of the Royal Australian Navy. The RAN Submarine Service has been in existance for well over 100 years and is an imntegral part of RAN operations at many different levels.
Five different types of submarine are employed by the Submarine Service to complete a wide variety of tasks.
The role of submarine rescue also is part of the Submarine Service, with both surface and sub surface vessels involved in submarine rescue operated by the service.
The mission of the RAN Submarine Service is diverse and coivers many aspects, primarily the following;
- intelligence collection and surveillance
- maritime strike and interdiction
- barrier operations
- advanced force operations
- layered defence
- interdiction of shipping (surface and sub-surface)
- containment by distraction
- support to operations on land
- global strike
- strategic deterrence
- fleet escort
- covert action support
- clandestine insertion/extraction
- submarine rescue operations
Fleet Command SubmarinesEdit
The largest type of submarine are the Fleet Command Submarines (SSCN). These giant underwater behemoths serve as the underwater command posts for the fleet as well as carying both ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. Only one of the two vessels in this class is generally deployed at any one time. The two SSCN's take the names of Australia's first two submarines, both lost during World War I (WWI), being HMAS AE1 and HMAS AE2. The original vessels were not technically commissioned so did not carry the HMAS title. The Submarine Service's SSCN's are the largest, most powerful submarines in the world. The deployed SSCN is considered to be the Fleet Flagship when deployed.
Ballistic Missile SubmarinesEdit
The ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) are part of the strategic strike force and fall under the operational control of Strategic Command's Global Strike Command. The SSBN's are deployed on lengthy patrols, on standy to respond to any global strike tasking mission that may come their way. Usually between one third and one half of the total SSBN fleet is deployed at any one time.
Fleet Guided Missile SubmarinesEdit
The fleet guided missile submarines (SSGN) are the most versatile in the Royal Australian Navy. These vessels combine land strike with cruise missiles, surface anti-shipping strike with torpedoes and missiles, and anti-submarine warfare also with torpedoes. They are part of the overall fleet operations and accompany Expeditionary Fleet Groups around the globe. They also have the ability to deploy small numbers of special forces, including the deployment and recovery of small boats. They can also lay sea mines.
The smallest of the fleets submarines, the patrol submarines (SSK) are the most numerous type and are also diesel powered. They are by far the quietest and are used in many roles, especially hunting/killing other submarines. Their primary weapons are torpedoes and medium range strike missiles. They do not have the long range strike ability of their larger relatives. They can also lay sea mines and their smal size and extremely quiet nature make them suitable for small group inseritions and intelligence gathering.
Special Operations SubmarinesEdit
The fifth type of submarine is the dedicated Special Operations Submarine (SSNSO). Whilst all of the other major types of submarine are capable of limited special operations, these vessels are dedicated to Special Operations and fall under command of RAN Special Warfare Command (RANSPECWARCOM) which in turn is part of the larger Australian Special Operations Command (AUSOCOMD). Various Swimmer Deliver Vehicles, mimi-submarines, Unmanned Underwater Systems and other specialised vessels can be operAted from the SSNSO vessels. They have dedicated berthing space for carrying troops and are equipped with extra intelligence gathering equipment.
A series of surface vessels and manned and unmanned underwater vessels are operated in the role of submarine rescue by the RAN Submarine Service. RAN Submarine Rescue is also a partner in NATO's global submarine rescue network. Each expeditionary fleet group has rescue assets and they are often forward deployed to be readyto assist if they are required.
The RAN Submarine School is housed within the major submarine facility at Fleet Base South in South Australia. The RAN School of Underwater Medicene is consdiered as a branch of the Submarine School.
The RAN school undertakes regiular exchanges and cross training with the Royal Navy Submarine School. RAN officers are regularly posted to RN vessels and vice versa.
The Australian Submarine CompanyEdit
The Australian Submarine Company (ASC) is a private enterprise based in South Australia that builds and maintains Ausralia's unique submarine fleet.