Note: drawing contains some parts and lower hull details taken from Shipbucket.com)
|Displacement (Surfaced)||4,000 tons|
|Displacement (Submerged||4,500 tons|
|Performance||Speed (surfaced)||23 knots|
|Speed (submerged)||20 knots|
|Armament||Torpedoes||6 22.4 inch.|
The R class submarines marked a major change in the general outline of Australian submarine design. Although they kept the same operational concept as the earlier submarines, with a high surfaced speed relative to other nations submarines, they had an entirely different planform. They were double-hulled boats witha large cylindrical pressure hull flanked by ten elevating tubes for Taipan cruise missiles. These could be either nuclear or conventionally armed and were usable either as anti-ship or as land-attack weapons. The pressure hull and side launch tubes were encased in an oval outer pressure hull. This gave the submarine a wide, flat deck that allowed her crew to work on deck while the submarine was operating at speed on the surface. This latter characteristic proved of great value during Rotorua's famous rescue of shot-down aviators following the Second Battle of the Falkland Islands on April 29, 1982. The submarines were twin-screwed with each screw being set far from the ship's centerline in order to reduce blade beat from the sail. A large "beaver tail" hydroplane was set between the screws. With this plus her four hydroplanes, the R class were able to drive themselves underwater in a surprisingly short time for such large boats.
The submarines were armed with six 22.4 inch torpedo tubes in addition to theri missile tubes and could carry up to 36 weapons in their torpedo rooms.
Rotorua herself was slightly different from the other four submarines of the R class batch I in that she was reorganized internally to provide an enhanced electronics information gathering center.
The R class batch II were all experimental boats, designed to test varying items of equipment that collectively would become standard on the S-class. Ravenswood was equipped with pump jets in place of the standard seven-bladed propellers used on the batch 1 boats. Ross was equipped with Krieslauf-cycle air independent diesels supplied by oxygen tanks installed between the pressure hull and outer casing. As a result. Ross was ten feet longer than her sister ships. Redhill was equipped with a series of new non-acoustic sensors and was also used to evaluate a series of air defense weapons including a sail-launched missile system and a retractable 30mm gun.
The R class proved successful on the export market with four being sold to Chile and four to South Africa. A proposed sale of two to Thailand did not take place, that country opting to purchase four of the newer but much more expensive S class instead.
|R-15||Richmond||1966||1966||1968||1969||Decommissioned and scrapped 1994|
|R-16||Royal||1967||1967||1969||1970||Decommissioned and scrapped 1995|
|R-17||Raglan||1968||1968||1970||1971||Decommissioned and scrapped 1996|
|R-18||Rotorua||1969||1969||1971||1972||Decommissioned and scrapped 1997|
|R-19||Ravenswood||1970||1970||1972||1974||Decommissioned and scrapped 1997|
|R-20||Ross||1971||1971||1973||1975||Decommissioned and scrapped 1998|
|R-21||Redhill||1971||1971||1974||1976||Decommissioned and scrapped 1999|