SUBMARINE FIASCO?

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SUBMARINE
FIASCO?

On April 26 this year, the Turnbull Government announced that the French shipbuilding consortium, DCNS were awarded the rights to design and build our next diesel (piston) submarine in Adelaide. It appears that they have not actually drawn up a design or signed a contract yet, just made an announcement.

Even though the April 26 announcement was fairly vague (and it appears there have been no further press releases or updates since) this original announcement is astonishing.

WHY?

  • Right now, there is not one operational French Barracuda submarine in service. The first version is still in a shipyard, yet to be launched. Sea trials and operational work up will take years.
  • That submarine is nuclear powered, not diesel
  • The boat that the Australian Government has chosen is a version of above retrofitted and re-designed with a diesel piston engine. As far as we can tell no–one ever in the history of submarine construction has tried to convert a nuclear submarine to a diesel one.
  • As you can imagine, the lead time to make this version is open-ended. There has been no estimate in the April 26 press release to give a timeline. It is therefore quite likely that under this scenario, Australia will not have an operational submarine fleet in this hiatus.
  • They could have chosen a workable state-of-the art existing diesel submarine from either the Germans or the Japanese but chose a very complicated option.
  • This is horrifyingly reminiscent of the “Seasprite” helicopter fiasco when we tried to make an ASW (Antisubmarine Warfare) helicopter from airframes that had been in the Arizona desert since the ‘60’s. The exercise was aborted after we spent $1400 million ($1.4 billion). They never entered service in Australia. This time we are looking at a $50 billion dollar experiment with frightening parallels to the Seasprite fiasco.
  • By the time all of this pans out, everyone else will undoubtedly have a nuclear attack submarine fleet. Putting a diesel piston submarine against a nuclear one is like putting a piston/propeller fighter up against a modern jet. We will be condemning our sailors to their graves.
  • Ask yourself: Why would the Government do this?
    We think that we know the answer.

WHAT WE NEED TO DO:

It is clear that if the Government goes ahead with the Diesel Barracuda idea the design phase will take so long that deciding to make the submarine in Adelaide is meaningless. The workforce will have dissipated by then.

If it turns out that we wake up to ourselves and decide to buy nuclear powered submarines for our future fleet, then building them in Adelaide will be impossible.

The Governments own estimates are that building the submarines in Adelaide will create 2800 jobs. This is a very small figure compared to what it would cost, i.e. $50 billion.

It would be far cheaper to subsidise the car industry and keep 10’s of thousands of jobs and skills in Australia – and not just Adelaide.
We definitely need a submarine fleet, but it makes real sense to buy them from a reliable supplier, who will both guarantee delivery and undoubtedly be at least 30% cheaper.

Right now, in a time of relative peace, we may naively think that military hardware is no longer a sound investment, but over the next 50 years, (and this is the time span we are talking about) the likelihood of conflict is great. We are only one catastrophe away from armed conflict. Just look at the Spratly Islands right now.

Debate over Defence matters generally does not excite the public or the media. This must change. It is far, far too serious an issue to not have full public coverage and disclosure of this.

Australia has had a policy of forward defence for well over 100 years. This policy has served us well and the forward defence that a submarine affords us is a sound continuation of that.

WHO ARE WE?

This ad has been placed by a number of concerned businessmen some of whom have paid for it as a patriotic gesture. We hope to run the ad a number of times to embarrass both the Defence Dept and the Government into “coming clean” over this matter. We are not affiliated with any political party nor do we represent any military contractor.

The names of the individuals who have started this appear below. We have nothing to hide.
– Gary Johnston (Spokesman, Sydney)
– Dick Smith (Sydney)
– John Singleton (Sydney)
– Boyd Munro (Dunblane)
– John Tait (Bendigo)

We encourage your feedback (however the website is still in an embryonic stage).

216 thoughts on “SUBMARINE FIASCO?”

  1. A really excellent campaign to try to arrest the feckless stupidity of Government. I have regained interest in trying to suggest to Government that the “nuclear option” would perhaps be better both strategically and tactically for Australia. Let’s hope it does not fall on deaf ears this time. There a very few in politics or the media who want to talk about “nuclear energy” in an adult fashion.

    This current choice of going to the French for a boat not even yet designed, stinks of a political decision to save Christopher Pyne’s and Jamie Brigg’s seats. The cost blowout over the years will be astronomic. Just wait till all those Department of Defense variations come rolling in. This was the problem with Collins: too many individual design teams making continual changes and intransigent unions demanding high wages.

    1. It is worse than what many believe. In any military/political situation where we would need the submarines ti be active after about two weeks there will be no petrol or diesel available in Australia. The small amount still in tanks will be reserved to move food into the cities.
      The submarines will be tied up at the dock for the duration.
      Few people understand how at risk our fuel supply is since the oil refineries have been closed. Any situation that required the submarines would mean that no oil tankers would arrive in Australia.
      The NRMA did a study on this problem.
      http://tinyurl.com/htsxcba
      Frankly the government is not interested. I spoke to Minister Paul Fletcher about this and his response was we have good commercial arrangements. How long that would last in a shooting war ?
      Insurance companies would ensure no tankers would ran a blockade.

      1. Further; Senate enquires into Australia’s Energy sources have been warned of the fuel problem. They dismissed the warning by telling the presenters that they were in the wrong enquiry.
        The politicians know that they will not be able to refuel the submarines after the first patrol. I was told that nuclear powered submarines was considered by cabinet and dismissed.

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      2. I absolutely agree, only a fool would believe tankers of diesel would make it to our shores in a real war, diesel subs , the thought that someone could even think of them as an opposition to nuclear vessels is beyond my comprehension, is there one government minister with guts and will, to stand and say this was an outrageous blunder.

      3. That is a very good point Barry, one that I doubt the smarties at Defence Acquisitions, or whatever they call themselves this week, have even thought of, how do you refuel a diesel sub say around Indonesia, a nuclear sub won’t need refuelling for 33 years , by then it is trade-in time.

      4. Our having refineries or not makes no difference, we import nearly all of our crude oil, and crude ships burn just as well as product ships, so the likely outcome will be that we run out of fuel after a few weeks.

      5. Thanks for this information Barry.
        I hadn’t really even thought about this aspect.
        You are entirely correct and anyone who dismisses this concern has their “head in the sand”.
        I cannot comprehend the attitude and indifference of politicians on this and many other matters of importance.

    2. Could not agree more with your comments.
      We as a country need to bring our Navy in to the 21st Century.
      Just that none of our politicians have the balls to make the hard decisions.
      It might take a spat to wake them up 😡

    3. I think that diesel subs would perform well, they could sink a bit of shipping before they were discovered, we would have to get used to the idea that it would likely be a one way trip for the crew, which is why drone subs make much more sense.

    4. For purely technical reasons a nuclear submarine is not an option for Australia. Nuclear propulsion is quite different to nuclear power generation and Australia has no sovereign capabilities or experience with either. There is no nuclear industry to provide a regulatory framework for safety or training of naval and dockyard staff. If Australia built nuclear power stations and developed its own industry base then yes, eventually nuclear propulsion may be an option but thats going to take many years and political will that is just not there. What really needs to happen is some searching questions of the RAN’s requirement for a large submarine in the first place. Basically no one makes large conventional submarines anymore and with good reason. They are costly to build, operate and maintain. They are less stealthy than smaller subs and have problems operating in shallow water. The reason for a large submarine for Australia? Endurance. More fuel tanks means greater endurance. But why is this needed when everyone else in the world does not see the need? Because the RAN insists on basing their subs in Garden Island in WA while their primary area of operations is South East Asia. Thats a very long way to deploy on a patrol. Does anyone see any alternative solutions here?

      1. What a lot of rot.dick established and developed the business to a point where Woolworths bought the business for a reputed $200 million. I hold Dick’s opinion in very regard.

        1. This is not about Dick Smith. This forum is about the idiots we have making decisions with our taxes

          When is someone going to wake up and charge these politicians with treason?

          Go Gary!

      2. To answer your question Paul:
        I’m not a business man, but a retired Royal Navy Submariner who served for 18 years in both Diesel (‘O’ boats) and Nuclear (Resolution Class).
        I would like to think I know a little bit about operational and strategic requirements to contribute to the debate.
        Any questions, let me know.
        Cheers

    1. Twelve submarines are hardly likely
      to stop a determined assault on mainland Australia with its 6000 kilometre coastline Anti- submarine aircraft would be better as the as the response time to an emergency threat would be far shorter
      fay

      1. RAN submarines principally undertake the current roles

        Suck down electronic intelligence of our neighbors e.g. military and commercial information whilst lurking off shore

        They record the propeller noises of various commercial and naval ships and submarines. Each propeller is like a fingerprint and unique to the ship. This information is stored in the sonar suite where it is used to program torpedoes or mines. In the case of mines they are launched and swum into a harbour where they settle on the bottom and sleep until the ship comes along and then breaks it back. So image an iron ore carrier sunk in a harbour entrance stopping a naval fleet from leaving – good as destroying them in the short term. Could be followed up by anti ship missiles. Torpedoes can be fired and then left behind to sleep with the submarine moving on, they can stay in the water until the enemy submarine makes enough noise or the ship comes near the torpedo and it comes alive and then attacks

        Hunt nuclear submarines because conventional submarines are so much quieter e.g. smaller and do not need to have a big pump to keep the reactor cool

        Systems such as Air Independent Propulsion and Lithium Iron Batteries are permitting convention non nuclear submarines to remain at sea submerged for up to periods of 24 days (depending on system and distance required to be covered)

        Anti submarine aircraft fixed or rotary winged need somewhere to land, have to search massive areas in the hope of detecting a submarine, burn up heaps of fuel, spare parts, airframe hours cost big $$$$$ Even the Collins Class has anti aircraft missiles to shoot down such airframes

        This is the same for ships searching for submarines they are highly vulnerable to torpedoes, anti ship missiles etc and burn up heaps of fuel and spare parts looking. Crews get burnt out and make mistakes and become vulnerable to attack! It is never one ship looking for a submarine it is many costing heaps in $$$ and capabilities

        Fear – submarines are called the silent service for a reason and they tactically leave the dock and submerge very quickly into the deep water to remain hidden. The practice is to have their pathway screened by a mine hunter or surface ship and by a Martime Patrol Aircraft to ensure no mines, torpedo or other submarines are around so the submarine can disappear

        Special forces and spies are inserted and recovered by submarines

        There are a number of other points but that is enough for now!

  2. I would suggest talking to senators from the smaller conservative parties, as well as Cory Bernardi, who is one of the few true conservatives in the Liiberal Party who is not afraid to voice his opinion.
    Unfortunately I feel this is the most effective means of gaining the government’s attention, despite being far from ideal.

  3. It is clear to all who can and will read international news that we in Australia have a serious problem with Chinese Imperialism. Just look what they did to Tibet, the Spratley islands, their buildup of their military and so on …..
    In light of these developments, Australia needs to acquire nuclear submarines as fast as we can. Preferably from America. because when the crunch comes it will only be the USA who may come to our help.
    it is a sad fact that we can not trust the coalition to advance this.
    Look carefully to other political parties who do understand the interests of Australia.
    Please start thinking.

    1. Buying military items from France has caused us problems before, talk to anyone who had anything to do with the RAAF Mirages, we had to make do with parts from South Africa, and custom made parts from the USA, when the frogs put bans on us.

    1. Canoists use paddles, not oars.

      Sometimes sideline commentators (myself included) just aren’t aware on the finer technical issues of the matter at hand.

      Please do not interpret this comment as being accepting of the decision; l would just like to be better informed of the rationale behind the decision. I am sure this could be done without letting out any top-secret information.

      1. The most serious mistake made by the government beggars belief by choosing a diesel/piston powered model before nuclear, a diesel/piston model will not give you the speed, submerged endurance time or stealth of a nuclear model no matter what whizz-bang technology it has.
        The fact that the Australian version is not even on the drawing board yet is ludicrous in this time of need.
        Finally does the Australian Navy have sufficient personnel to crew twelve units at one time should the need arise or will it be another Collins Class debacle.
        Totally agree with your article.

        1. I think you need to get past this piston diesel issue – most modern Conventional submarines work on Air Independent Propulsion, Fuel cells or lithium ion batteries. The Japanese Soryu I works on AIP , Soryu II on Li On batteries. Many modern designs think Sweden and Germany have submarines that are able to remain submerged for 14 – 24 days on fuel cells. Conventional submarines are used to kill nuclear submarines that is why they are refered to as Hunter Killers. The USN hired the Swedish Submarine and Crew of HMS Gotland to come to San Diego for a long period of time to try and find technologies to detect conventional submarines and make their own nuclear fleet less vulnerable.

          Nukes are usually noise due to their size, the reactor and cooling pumps.

          Convention submarines can go into the littorals which a Nuclear cannot due to size, Nukes pumps cannot take in water with the normal debris of coastal dwelling, sit on the bottom of shallows due to their size (seen from the air) and also mud and silt into their water intakes.

          1. What Paul says is true. He makes some good points which others do not even consider. I take no position one way or the other, but think experts and professionals should be fully consulted. I am concerned that cost and time blowouts at the ASC seem to be phenomenal. We lost one Defence Minister already because he said Adelaide was a hopeless place to build anything. Also Jay W. seems more concerned about building a $600billion nuclear waste dump which has never been proven to work, than guaranteeing power supplies and a labour force that will not be on prolonged go slows or strike action. SA cannot even keep fresh food in supermarkets, let alone keep “state of the art” manufacturing or mines operational. Wait until the air-conditioners start this summer, and the wind stops blowing! They’ll be wishing they were in Sweden! I’m no military expert, but there still appears to be for too much disagreement amongst professionals as to the future direction of not only the submarine contract, but even the “joint strike” fighter project with the US as well (for me to feel confident about either). In fact Defence seems to be more about jobs and industry (nothing changes there!) than about our Armed Forces. Sometimes I think it might actually be cheaper to scrap all these really expensive projects and spend the money to build a whole different concept(e.g. ways to kill subs). But that sounds a bit too much like Matrix and they assure me the best way to kill a nuclear sub is with a diesel submarine (just not one with all the software problems of a Collins-class). Which brings me to my final 2 points: 1. No-one has mentioned the launch software and radar capabilities yet, surely at least as important as the design concept and welding these days, and 2. Surely the only point in having a nuclear submarine in the first place is “first strike” capability, or to at least leave the enemy guessing until it is too late! That being the indisputable case, then we either need the option of a “first strike” deterrent, or at least the option of a delivery system for one (need not be submarines), or just rely on the US to ride to the rescue, and provide back-up(which is probably what the diesel subs are really for: knock out Russian or Chinese nuclear subs for the US at a price), quid pro quo. Ironically, our own “first strike” capability is what F-111 lovers told us ad infinitum, and ironically this capability would now also put us virtually in the same basket as the “rogue nations”. Don’t mistake me for a traitor, but at odd moments I sometimes feel like all money spent on defence is wasted, and that the Roman republic had it right when they had virtually no standing army, just well trained citizens and great engineers (but they had no cavalry)! One thing is for sure; that with the more I learn comes the realisation of how little I really know.

        2. As previous stated above, one does not simply buy and sail off in a nuclear powered sub. It took the Americans and Soviets decades, billions of dollars and hundreds of lives lost to develop their knowledge and capabilities to the current level. A nuke is in no way ever going to be a quick fix. It is possible for a diesel electric boat to to match a nuke in every respect except outright speed (exceedingly rarely used due to noise) and endurance (the biggest advantage of the nukes) and certainly in stealth. Depending on your operational area size can be as much a hinderance as an advantage. While the fact we are seriously considering a design not yet built is very worrying I am not so concerned about crewing it. Typically each generation of vessels has had reduced crew numbers from that previous due to greater automation so crews will likely be smaller. Also, you are not crewing 12 vessels even if there are 12 in service. At least one third of your fleet will be in some form of maintenance cycle at any one time so you would need to crew around 8 subs continuously.

  4. We need to strat paying the costs of running 8 Virginia class SSN’s from the USN.
    We need to have them based here in Australia with their crews and begin integrating Australian crews into the USN biats until we are competant. Then ekwe need to take delivery of 8 new boats from the USA.

    1. I’ve been saying that for a long time.Well put Chris.But if we go down DCNS road the boats won’t be conventional. They will spin/ sell it to the public well beforehand, they will be nuclear, which is good thing.But you’re right, Virginias now!!

    2. Sailors on nuclear submarines are bascially Nuclear engineers and scientists. We stopped training people in nuclear engineering in the late 1980s. It would take decades to build up the skill sets, education and experiences to operate nuclear boats. Secondly, the ALP Left and Greens would work together to get rid of them. Look at the Hobart Class Air Warfare Destroyers under the Rudd ALP Government the ALP Left removed the Anti Ballistic Missile capability as they viewed such an capability would cause weapon proliferation in the region. ie Australia might be able to shoot down ICBMs from China or North Korea>

      Look what happened with the Sky Hawk A-4 replacement in New Zealand where the RNZAF was leasing F-16s and they were fitted out and pilots training in the USA, when the Shipley LP cancelled the contract and abolished the fast jet component of their Air force.

  5. Can someone explain to me why we are spending 50 billion dollars to protect the trade routes to a country we are buying and selling goods to?

    In what scenario do we imagine it would be in their interest to interrupt this trade

    1. Fair question, deserving of an answer. War, hot or cold between US/Russia/China /Japan within a 50 year timeframe?
      Followed by another query – what would Australia’s role be?
      Not to mention (in 50 years) new superpowers? India? Indonesia? Korea, N or S?

      The answer affects the question being posed by Submarine Fiasco

  6. Full marks for your ad.
    I despair at the current batch of options we have to choose from politically. French subs built here? Perhaps the whole decision is aimed at kicking the ball down the road and nothing will happen in the foreseeable.

      1. Yes you are right on that score. The Tiger’s have been an abject failure, which is why they are going to be replaced and the MRH90’s still have a lot of issues to resolve. Buying military equipment is always a complex and difficult exercise made worse by Australian Defence’s unbelievably complex procurement processes and some very poor decision making by senior defence and politicians.

        1. If you read the White Paper they the Tigres are not being replaced. Australia, France and Spain are currently working on a advanced upgrade of the Tigre and it is expected with the low airframe hours that these upgrades will address many of the problems with interoperability and improve capabilities beyond what is being offered in the Apache E model now and in the future. If you look at the details of the upgrade it is most impressive and if it does what it claims it will validate the Tigre over a modern Viper or Apache!

          Many of Australia’s problems were because we were lead in the world ahead of the French in the program/introduction and had to learn the hard way. e.g wire harnesses rubbing, software intergration etc

          Also the supply chain contracts was based on favour rather than capability and experience and did not work, France took its Tigres to Afghanistan and Africa and as a result got first dibs on spare parts of which there were too few to start with causing a world wide shortage. The Spanish quickly realized that the engines were not powerful enough for the Mediterranean climate and not be able to produce power for new systems hence uprated over the Australian versions and do not have the problems we have!

    1. French subs of which there no currently operating units, built in South Australia by the same mob that gave us the Collins Class fiasco, I ask you, what could possibly go wrong.

  7. You bemoan the submarine decision but what do you expect from “wishy-washy” (apologies to Charles M Schulz) Malcolm? There is no reason why not go nuclear other than stealth. The subs need to be the best available regardless of cost.

  8. I agree with you 100%. The government’s decision to invest $50 billion plus into this program is a stuff-up of epic proportions. I also agree with an earlier comment, that its time Australia had an adult conversation about nuclear energy and its application for Australia’s future. On the plus side, this $50 billion ‘White Elephant’ will provide a rich vein of source material for the next series of ‘Utopia’, the ABC’s awarding winning satirical comedy. In fact, based on the historical performance of the Collins class submarine program there will be sufficient comedic material for many series into the future, in addition to the obligatory spin-offs. I’m trying to be humorous here to mask my disappointment and disbelief at the government’s fiscal ineptitude.

    1. Brian,
      Spot on. The future is written in the past (appalling and costly errors of judgement) with major defence procurement.

      When SA can’t today deliver enough electricity for its industry…?

  9. I find it extremely difficult to understand why Australia needs a “first attack” weapon like a submarine which is capable of operating in the South China Sea.

    Under what possible scenarios would use this weapon?

    The only one I can think of – is to attack a Chinese fleet heading to invade Australia! Things are pretty bad if our biggest trading partner is about to invade us and I doubt a few submarines are likely to stop them.

    Furthermore I believe the proposed submarine design will be obsolete before we commission the first boat. I suggest a nuclear submarine as you propose would also be obsolete by the time it goes into service.

    Anyone who understands computers and the technology behind the air borne drones the US is currently, operating would be working on a similar technology for submarines. From press reports I believe a couple of Australian Universities already testing prototypes.

    The advantages I see in a “drone submarine” is that it can dive deeper and stay on station far longer than any manned boat.

    I suggest the government rethink its approach and utilise this money to the develop an Australian “drone submarine”. This will create more jobs in Australia and give our defense an edge over any adversary.
    A drone submarine would be perfect for resonance work which is its main application.

    I have no personal interest in this project but as retired electrical engineer and tax payer who has some knowledge of these systems, I hate to see Australian tax payers money being squandered on obsolete equipment.

    For your consideration.

    Regards Bill Myers

    1. Submarines remain Australia’s most potent strategic weapon. They are a threat that most countries in the region take very seriously and trust me, they are extremely difficult to detect and counter. Very few countries in our region have serious Anti-Submarine Warfare capabilities so they remain our most effective weapon in times of tension or conflict.

      Drones are certainly gaining capability in the air and on the ground but much more slowly at sea. The US has just started trialling unmanned vessels for ASW operations. An unmanned submarine though is a quantum leap above that in complexity and technology. One day certainly they will appear. In the timeframe that Australia requires? Very unlikely. The other minor point is the abysmal record Australia has in investing in the sort of R&D and technological development required to produce anything like an autonomous submarine.

  10. Apart from wanting submarines ‘cos every ‘advanced’ nation has them, the average Ozzie wouldn’t know or care whether we had this model or that. We’ve lived thru subsidising the car industry and decided not to. All the pollies are interested in is providing jobs for their constituents. We’re a mid-range power trying to live above our means and we ought to stop and buy off the shelf, like from Japan and nuclear – how much is it going to take to wrench us into the 21st Century?

    1. Good ‘ole ex JWT boys, but I agree with you Roger and say that while we have these self important politicians in power we will get nowhere. Our Government is obsessed with internal combat not the interests of our nation. Unified political cohesion and truth is needed. Not division. Support nuclear! And please stop journalistic headlines which beg the questions and drive non productive outcomes. Our parliment is in stalemate mode!

  11. Excellent idea to convert, but why not a jet engine? We have all the expertise in house in the form of the world standard Civil Aviation Authority who deal with engine conversions regularly and the seven year lead time may give them just about enough time to approve and bring up to Australian standards. (Ref Dick Smith) As to the billions, in their hands at least they would be wasted in a professional manner. If we go to France it may be a success and we couldn’t stand the global embarrassment. As to our nearest threat look closer to home, the Tasman sea and Bass Strait, only take another grand final and the invasion would be over in a day. Why not consider wind generation for powering our new subs. When it comes to stupidity we are indeed the lucky country and the pollies help us all the way there!

  12. This must be a deliberate misinformation campaign. These questions are easily answered. I think Dick Smith is too smart to to ask questions that have been answered before.

  13. I totally agree. This will be a real and stupid fiasco. It just seems so, so, so wrong.
    I have always supported the Japanese option. It is Diesel. It is developed, and really more importantly, the USA are more than willing to let us “have” all the secret electronics for it to be operationally useful .
    The present leakage of information from the French as regards there submarines for the Indians highlights there inability to hold on to secret information. The USA has previously stated that it would also prefer the Japanese option.
    Also, we would have something in common with the Japanese during any Asian conflict.
    Why are we making such a dumb mistake?

  14. Good on you for doing this!
    The French Sub decision was probably approved by our polliticians real masters- the Chinese dictatorship.
    No other logic explains it.
    Some say SSNs are at least 3 times more effective and much more survivable than Piston engined tubs!
    To explain this I read a history of the small team of gun engineers who created the world’s first nuke sub, the USS Nautilus in the 1950s!
    Recall? A 5 yr process from scratch!
    With a fresh captain in command it went up against a carrier task force.
    With an ability to outpace the fleet, anticipate its position, set up and reset again and again in ambush the Nautilus sank everything!
    The carriers, the escort vessels – everything!
    So effective was this demonstration The Rand Corp came to the conclusion it could replace the US Navy’s ENTIRE fleet of Diesel Electric boats with this single boat.
    Recall that the US Navy’s then fleet was the world’s largest and most effective Diesel Electric Fleet having completely obliterated Japan’s merchant fleet during WW2!
    They no longer possess a single diesel electric boat!
    No nation on earth has the range speed requirements of Australia!
    None!
    Not even the US needs nuke subs as much as Australia does.
    Here lies the betrayal!
    We were betrayed with the Collins Decision
    We are betrayed by this decision!
    Dastyari affair proves that our corrupt elite are motivated and directed by China.
    The last thing China wants is the emergence of a state of art navy with an extra 12 Virginia Class boats integrated into the warfare plans of the US Navy.
    The US navy’s Virginias will be the first subs to deploy Drones that will the multiply their effectiveness yet again!
    We may well be at war with China as soon as next week.
    Our leaders our main parties our ABC have betrayed us!

    1. I share the concerns about the cost of the project, the inappropriateness of the vessel to achieve our objectives, and the politics of propping up an industry that has a proven track record of failure – Lease US Virginia Class Nuclear subs …. do weapon and general maintenance here and send them to Guam for the “nuke” elements.

      1. Interesting idea. So you believe the USN has Virginia class submarines, which cost around US$3billion to build, lying around available for lease? They are struggling to build enough to replace their aging Los Angeles class fleet so would you like to guess what their response would be if we went cap in hand and asked to borrow some? There is the other small issue that the majority of the technology in a Virginia is highly classified. So secret in fact that it would be highly surprising if Congress approved the sale or lease of this system. They won’t sell F22 fighters to us so what makes anyone think they would provide us with Virginias?

  15. I don’t really get why this is such a big deal.. Who says we won’t be able to retrofit a nuclear submarine? No offense but I’m sure the deal has been vetted by people with more military and strategic expertise than Dick Smith.

    1. Chris, are you happy that the people who are running this dud deal also gave us the Seasprite helicopter fiasco, ( $1.4B and not one in service), the rustbuckets HMAS Manoora and Kanimbla, and the Collins Class stuffup , so I would hesitate to say they know what they are doing.

    2. To answer your question Chris:

      I’m not a business man, but a retired Royal Navy Submariner who served for 18 years in both Diesel (‘O’ boats) and Nuclear (Resolution Class).
      I would like to think I know a little bit about operational and strategic requirements to contribute to the debate.
      Any questions, let me know.
      Cheers

  16. it sounds like the scenario described in Bob Wurths ” The Battle for Australia”ie Australia always dependant on overseas countries for our defence both in supply of military material and support. If Trump gets in and drastically alters the ground rules in the Pacific Australia will once again be the most vulnerable of the mid power countries Even if the subs were operational now and we had 12 available , only 4 are in reality doing service as the remainder are either being serviced in dry dock or in between service on high seas or the dry dock

  17. I agree with the premise of your idea. We need to be as advanced as our military partners and potential threats alike. I believe we have to be at least a nuclear powered fleet equipped nation. The potential to manufacture these in Australia needs to investigated as the flow on benefits to the nation as a whole would far exceed the drop in the ocean that the current plan would have.

  18. There is no need for all of our submarines to have a long distance capability. There is a need for smaller submarines that can operate in the relatively shallow seas around the islands north of Australia. There are existing off the shelf submarines that are suitable for this role. We should also be building a submarine base in northern Australia. Our long distance submarines must be nuclear powered.

  19. Chris K, I wish I could share your optimism. I have read a number of the articles that have appeared about our sub purchase and having recently made a relatively simple engine change to a light aircraft I am astounded that we would look to re-engine a nuclear sub to a diesel electric. The change of power plant will inevitably be a colossal compromise on all sorts of parameters, hull strength, range, noise, centre of gravity, balance including ballasting and hydroplane design and manoueverabilty. Of course I’m no expert, and no doubt those in charge have it all in hand and have already got all those matters fixed in principle if not in the crucial design engineering figures, as well as planning for the complete building exercise within a reasonable budget and time frame. Yes? Chris the problem is that those in government employ do not start with any more common sense than you or I, and have some incentive, whether conscious or otherwise, to have the ball rolling interminably. Keeps them in jobs. We have seen time and again millions wasted because simple logic is overlooked in the first place. You think it will go well?
    Yours Extremely Doubtfully,

  20. Let’s get some facts here the public service manage the contract, the same people who create these issues with poor requirements understanding, scope change at whim, and historically poor contract management. Have not heard any whining about the F35 contrac. The lame comments here are unqualified and by people who like politicians give only half the picture

  21. Aussie sub already had ‘basic design’:- Diesel electric, extremely silent and efficient propulsion system, invisible to sonar, greater than 800 ft (in depth), greater than 40 knots, the ‘lads’ calculated only 6 to 10 hours at that depth and speed. (Could only fit three torpedo tube in nose.)
    When? 1960!!!
    Why stuff around now?
    (Me? I would go nuclear for subs and power generation. Nuclear subs are normally much noisier than electric ones??)
    John I.

  22. Lessons need to be learnt on the purpose and cost effectiveness of these technologies and its necessity ?
    It would appear disinfranchised and displacement people caused by foreign intervention in conflicts with unintended consequences is the main problem
    Perhaps the Japanese had the right idea using midget submarines during the 2nd world war, the same idea being emulated by the Australian secret z force incursions into Singapore also.
    Smaller Remotely controlled submarines for surveillance and protection of perceived National security concerns where spinoff of technology development benefit s the Aistealian community would be more sensible and cost effective.
    It would appear the main reason to have a local defence industry is political pork barreling.
    We buy Japanese cars why not submarines?
    If you want to build something here , I would support an Aistralian built 4wd and encourage alternative transport modes of rail and air and reduce spending on road infrastructure .

  23. When you look at all of the key data, speed, armaments, cost, utility, range, time line, availability. The decision to go with French Submarine makes no sense, it is slow, has limited range, it is expensive, and the core propulsion technology will be literally 100 years out of date. It makes no sense at all.

  24. What about moving ahead with technology and replacing our current fleet of subs with unmanned vessels – similar to the use of drones in the Middle East?

  25. When the the DCNS contract was announced the Government put the issue of “regionally superior” right up front!. To me this was always code for nuclear propulsion! In truth Australia is a maratime nation that is incredibly vulnerable to coercion through maratime blockade. At any one time Australia has only 20-30 days of imported liquid fuels within the entire nation! Just think for a minute what this means for national trade and getting food onto supermarket shelves? To deter any aggressor from blocking our vital sea lanes of trade we need a credible (thus competitive) deterrent that can remain hidden for extended periods within militarily contested domains! Only submarines with extended endurance can do this and only nuclear propulsion offers the endurance and sensory capability required. Defense needs to approach both sides of the house together with minorities and clearly explain the strategic imperative for nuclear propulsion. The public will soon follow if the political hordes in Canberra are informed, educated and unified. Defense not politicians must push this agenda or it will soon be lost in the usual left right political divide.

  26. My letter to The Australian today

    The Editor.

    I refer to the advertisement in today’s Australian headed “Submarine Fiasco”. These five gentlemen are to be applauded for bringing this impending fiasco to the attention of the wider public. Have we learned nothing from the Collins Class saga? Yet, we are about to repeat it. We cannot economically produce clothing, footware, household appliances, motor cars etc, and yet we believe we can produce high-tech submarines. It’s a fantasy. We should be buying them off the shelf, as the gentlemen suggest, from Germany or Japan, with a huge favourable impact on our beleaguered budget. Is it too late? I hope not.

    Herbert Smith
    38/2 Dawes Road
    Belrose NSW 2085
    Tel 9451 0595
    Mob 0431 700 227

  27. It seems a shame there are a bunch of folks who, most likely, have never stepped a foot in a submarine, let alone have a grasp of the technologies involved. A diesel boat is still the best option for Australia – why?
    Because they are quieter. Yes, you heard that right. A diesel electric boat can go dead quiet, with all machinery turned off. Nuclear subs do not have this ability and can be detected. They are great for deterrence but for stealth and special operations, the diesel electric submarine is still the best bet. Regarding Nuclear submarines, they are stupendously expensive, and thats assuming that the infrastructure to refine and produce uranium or thorium is already built, which it is not. This facility would cost more than the entire current submarine project. So the reality of Nuclear is not just one of lacking infrastructure, we also don’t have the public support en-masse to build a refinery. If we get nuclear boats, we are effectively hamstrung in a time of war, and at the mercy of the host nation. By building a diesel electric boat, we can retain sovereignty and full capability over our own fleet.

    Some of these other questions are valid and should be asked, if only for a response to ease the minds of people who really haven’t kept up to date with the hows and whys regarding Australias need of submarines.

    I do however take issue that sending our sailors in a diesel electric boat is standing in harms way. That is simply preposterous and indicates a lack of introspective thinking upon the signatories.

    1. Ben, where is the diesel fuel going to come from in case of a conflict, and how does it get to the sub at sea, do you realise that satellite technology can spot diesel sub snorkels day or night, come up for air as you have to after 36 hours, and you’re gone.

  28. Agree that $50bn is a complete waste of money.
    Give 2800 South Australian workerks $1m each (cost $2.8bn) to shut them up.
    Put $20bn into cheap agile 21st century weapons (eg drones air, underwater and surface based) . These need to be swarming, heterogeneous and unique (including some Australian only designed) to overcome assorted countermeasures.
    Can be relatively short range – main requirement is to defend Australian coast.
    Put rest into nuclear deterrence (nuclear weapons and nuclear powered subs – probably virginia class) to make even China think twice before attacking us.

  29. I understand the new high tech American Virginia Class nuclear submarines use weapons grade plutonium in their reactors, so acquiring them would break Australia’s signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1970.

    America is struggling to build enough Virginia Class subs for its own navy – they haven’t offered to sell any to Australia. Any attempt by Australia to buy some would need to be approved by Congress – not one or two high ranking individuals.

    1. You obviously have no idea just how deep the seas are around the islands north of Australia let alone where the Tectonic Plates start and end giving you a depth of well over 20,000ft, ideal to hide in to be untouched by convential subs of any size until they decide to launch their rockets eg depths between Australia and Indonesia, near Singapore and Tectonic Plates along the Northern side of Papua New Guinea, off the whole of the coast of Western Australia, East Coast out from the barrier reef etc etc. So yes you do need big suitable submarines perferably nuclear. Use your computer and learn just how deep the waters are in these areas.

  30. One wishes to “de-politicise” this issue, but, it needs to be first acknowledged that Australia’s Prime Minister is a dud/fizzer/useless. In his political simplicity he has not, even now, sought to provide a business, political and cost-benefit case to justify his “French product” decision. There is current discussion that Australia en-join across a wide spectrum with Japan – which I support; – this should include re submarines, and the “Turnbull Submarine Decision” must be unwound. It was made – purely – to thwart the Abbott intent to “go Japanese”, and to enhance the coalition’s electoral chances in South Australia – a strategy now electorally-proved a failure.
    As a committed Australian, I welcome the leadership being provided in this matter by the ‘sponsors’ of this web-site and allied issues.
    Australia needs to “go nuclear” “go Japanese” and the more broad business community is going to have to step up and give active and positive national leadership to the government; – the alternative is as is occurring; – Labor/Shorten is ‘leading’ the elected government. SO MUCH needs to be done, starting with un-winding the “Turnbull Submarine Decision” – I wish all who have stepped up to this issue every success; – it will not come easy; – it will be a hard and time-consuming slog, but the vacuum led by the Turnbull government requires such business leadership to fill the vacuum which, otherwise, Labor will fill.

    1. Turnbull undid the decision by the Abbott govt to buy Japanese off the shelf, merely to save a few seats in South Australia, and because the Chinese govt warned him off, the moron needs to be gone.

  31. WE would be much better off getting nuclear-powered subs because they have a much greater range than diesel — necessary for us to be able to patrol the large oceans around us in company with the US.

  32. This is an absolute no brainer, we should be building nuclear submarines,
    not an obsolete piston engine.They are out of date now, what will they be in 20 years time?

  33. As a retired naval person I find it unfortunate that such an important subject as the defence of Australia should be treated with such ignorance.
    I totally disagree with the proposed purchase of French submarines.
    Contrary to all the bad comments and ridicule heaped upon the Collins submarines, they have evolved into a very capable weapons system. I am a loss as to why we are not building Collins mark2.
    The expertise gleaned in production of the current boats would pay dividends in constructing and maintaining a new model.
    Advocates of nuclear powered submarines appear to be unaware of Australians reluctance to embrace anything nuclear. It,s a wonder we allow X rays to be taken.
    We have no nuclear experience to enable us to operate or maintain nuclear powered submarines. Therefore,should we decide to procure of the shelf nuclear powered submarines we would entirely reliant upon a foriegn power for ongoing support.
    The collins is a diesel electric powered submarine. This does not make it an inferior option. Certainly it has much less range and submerged speed than a nuclear boat. However, they have other advantages.
    Submarine warfare is all about stealth.
    Currently the Royal Australian Navy has six Collins class submarines in service. The RAN struggles to man these six submarines. In addition, we have a problem with retaining commanding officers for these boats. How we would be able to man and operate twelve submarines is beyond me.
    Australia has always wanted it,s defence on the cheap. Or better still, have someone else provide it for us.
    For those who question the requirement for a capable submarine fleet I might suggest some study of world history. You may well find it enlightening.

  34. People,
    I was no doubt, one of many who predicted that we would go for the French option. For reasons not least of which, were the external design of it’s propulsion system being superior (much less noisy) to the conventional exposed propeller approach.
    However almost all of the statistics on which the salesmen relied and our military enthusiastically absorbed, were surely based on the calculations of the “nuclear” powered Baracuda boat, already in advanced production of the first one.
    The mind boggles at how it can be assumed that these calculations are going to have validity when totally changing the design for what will be a totally and absolutely out-of-date diesel engined machine. Moreover it will probably take 5-7 years to carry out all these design changes and liase with sub contractors (what diesel engine is to be chosen) and a further 8 years to deliver the first boat.
    But do not despair! I am sure that the good hearted Chinese in their bid to control all the waters to their south will be patient until we get at least two of our shiny new subs.
    I believe that the argument tended earlier in these comments, that “nuclear subs are much noisier” is no longer valid.
    It may have been so 20 years ago!
    If this country is really serious about another set of boats which is going to provide the navy with what it really would like, then we should change our order now for the nuclear version and piggy-back on what the French are doing now.
    This would then provide the impetus for this country to really move into the technology of the 21st century and provide the opportunity for the clever county.

  35. Either lease a Virginia class SSN from the US and develop the technology, similar to what India did with the INS Chakra (Charlie Class SSN) from USSR , or go with 6 SS’s of the Soryu class from Japan, a country which was until we slapped them in the face attempting to form a trilateral alliance between ourselves, Japan and the US. Or a combination of both.

    The first of these Short Finned “Barramundi’s” (which I call them) could possibly be death boats, (any first of class is known to be riddled with problems) useless and should the worst happen not in time of conflict could be reminiscent of the USS Thresher disaster where the boat sank and was ultimately crushed.
    This is an unproven design noting we have enormous trouble crewing and maintaining 6 Collins class (which were always touted as being the best in the world) but ultimately unreliable boat so why choose 12 at a price of $50 Billion in round dollars?

  36. People have short memories. Remember that German submarines nearly defeated Great Britain in two world wars, not to mention their V1 and V2 rockerts, and the first jet engines, the Tiger Tank and so on. Germany was defeated in both world wars, but not because of their equipment. They had the best equipment. So why buy a French submarine? Surely the answer to this problem is to buy ready made German submarines. Why should submarines be made in Australia anyway? Our RAAF F18s and other aircraft are not made in Australia. We buy them ready made from USA. And so it should be with submarines. Buy them ready made from Germany.

    1. I agree 100% Chips, the stuff we should and can make, we don’t and stuff we shouldn’t, like subs, we try to.
      I saw somewhere that building a sub is second only to building a rocket for outer space, and a rocket does not deal with crushing pressures and salt water.

  37. Like many others I am concerned over the time this project will take, it’s cost and the uncertain outcome. Since I have no technical knowledge of the issue (beyond reading newspaper articles) I cannot reasonably comment on the virtues of Nukes vs. Diesel/Electric boats, both appear to have pros & cons which may apply now but will they in 20 plus years time.
    Given the inability of DNCS to keep specifications secret, this is a major concern & I have little faith in them for the future, and why does it take 5 to 8 years to design. From whoa to go it only took NASA 9 years to put a man on the moon from scratch!! (and they were working with slide rules!!)
    The decision to build in SA is purely political to try to save a few seats, but may ultimately result in a viable industry (maybe, perhaps, etc.), if nothing else it may stop the Labour/Greens canceling the project.
    I would have strongly supported a decision to buy the modified Japanese boats on the basis of build time, proven design & cost, they would be the next best thing to the Virginia class.
    The comment about crewing is interesting & of significant concern, so maybe drones will have to be the answer.

  38. I agree with you 100%. It is like buying bows and arrows for for our military while the rest of the world has machine guns. I agree the decision was made to appease and pander to the South Australian Labor government who have wreaked havoc on the economy of South Australia for the past 15 years.

  39. I agree we need 12 new nuclear subs off the shelf cost $35B saving $15B (per Judith Sloans recent article)
    However I believe our Government is too complacent & lacks insight just how fragile our world is,& the importance of being prepared for the unexpected
    In the two years it took Canberra to write a defence white paper,
    China has transformed three rocks in the South China Sea into Military grade runways
    Where will China be in 2030 when we are expected to have our new subs?
    As soon as Theresa May was elected Prime minister U.K. she ordered the building immediately of 4 new nuclear subs to replace
    their ageing Trident subs to ensure their security for the next 50 years

  40. Gentlemen, full marks for opening up the discussion on the submarine update programme, I fully support our collective ability to have common input and have a say.
    Interestingly in todays paper there is also a discussion on Australian Army uniforms being made in China, which is causing some consternation! In general cheaper but a feeling that they should be made in Australia.
    High technology , low volume production should be our strength in Australia with smart workers but high labour costs. This should be a great opportunity to create technology and production to employ generations with the spin off of even better defence technology entrepreneurs.
    As for the nuclear / diesel debate, this is perhaps left to the experts who understand fully the operational parameters Australia requires. Having asked the very same questions, the response I received from a defence expert politician (very hard to find) made adequate sense. Diesels are quieter and cooler for a shallow operating environment where we are mostly waiting and watching.

  41. I can see why our politicians and defence officials prefer a french sub , the nightlife in Paris beats Adelaide , not to mention the shopping for spouses , a trip to inspect will gain more frequent flyer points than a business class qantas trip from canberra to adelaide , as will the extra travel allowances for foreign travel.

    However with an ex Liberal defence minister staffer heading up the french sub builders australian office the kickbacks will be coming to the right people , and all commercial in confidence , that is you and me will never know , and any poor whistleblower that dares to tell us the truth will be ending any career they have .

    To all the proponents of nuclear powered subs , will you volunteer to go on board to fix a bad reactor or would you like your kids to do it? And will you offer up somewhere you own to store the waste , for the next ten thousand years?

    1. There will be somewhere to store the waste. The South Australian government is holding a royal commission into storing nuclear waste in the beautiful Flinders Ranges. The nuclear waste that they want to store will be imported from all over the world. Apart from the obvious risk of accidental spillage in or around Australia, there is ample evidence that ISIS etc are already actively trying to find nuclear material to create dirty bombs. (Terrorists planned an attack on Lucas Heights a few years ago). If anyone thinks that such material could be imported and buried in a “terrorist proof” manner in Australia that person is dreaming. That is not to say that the amount of nuclear material generated by Australian nuclear submarines would any more unmanageable that what we already have. I don’t know but it seems inevitable that there be some nuclear industry in Australia in the near future. This proposal (to buy French built diesel subs) is probably largely influenced by the perceived likely political reaction from the Greens and ABC who could be relied upon to do everything in their power to stop anything nuclear no matter how meritorious.The decision to buy French diesel subs has already been demonstrated to be a disaster by the leaking of the design features of the Indian version built by the French. If we wanted to buy some good pastry I would recommend the French. Otherwise ask the Germans but this time give them the proper noise reduction specification parameters they have to meet.

  42. Ecellent decision to start this website and discussion.
    Whatever the rational for needing a sub fleet, it’s another discussion. However given that the decision to have one has been made. Opting for a theoretical design from a untested French design and then try and build it in Australia, is probably one of the dumbest military hardware decisions every made.
    The Japanese option for many reasons appeared far more satisfactory to me.
    Perhaps Alan Joyce should take note. Next time QANTAS needs to replace some planes don’t go to Boing or Airbus, hire a hanger in Adelaide and ” build your own”

  43. Umm nuclear boats just won’t work for much of what Australian subs do. Nuclear boats have one huge Achilles Heel, heat, and one small one, the pumps needed to deal with all that heat. With the reactor running enourmous amounts of hot water get pumped over the side, all the time. You also can’t turn off the pumps circulating this water or you get a reactor meltdown so a nuclear boat always makes some noise, diesel bosts are actually quieter when submerged and running on batteries. To avoid detection from their heat signature nuclear boats go deep and allow all this hot water to disperse before it’s detectable at the surface. As a result they are great at long range open ocean work. Our boats do that too, but they also have a requirement to do lots of sneaky beaky work around islands in shallow water. All that heat in shallow water sticks out to sensors on aircraft and satellites like the proverbial dogs balls. A submarine that sticks out like dogs balls is a dead sub. The noise of the pumps on a nuclear boat is also is more detectable in shallow water. A sub that is heard is also a dead sub.

    For close in littoral work in shallow water a diesel/electric boat on batteries runs rings around a nuclear one. Until of course it has to snort.

    1. Iain, as you say, all good until you need to snort, and you will at some point, satellite technology is that good that a snort can be detected day or night, and how do you refuel a sub in a conflict, say up around Indonesia.

  44. The way things are going there will be a confrontation of sorts between China and the USA in the South China Sea by Christmas. The Chinese will win. This will put the lid on this stupid submarine question for all time. Think what could be done with 50billion.

  45. The Federal Government states that there needs to be “budget repair”, which will if achieved create jobs, and growth, the ‘growth” will be in debt caused by military spending on french subs with American weaponry.
    Add to this, the huge cost yet undetermined of the joint strike fighter, which so far is no contest against the perceived enemies of USA, before we find the money to pay these debts for this “lemon class’ equipment the country will be mired in unemployment, housing busts, and political upheaval. At present our economic problems, as well as the political problems, stem from debt and unemployment, not America’s supposed enemies. We, therefore are providing jobs for Americans and french workers while piling up unsustainable debt without any idea of how to pay except to hope that China will take our exported resources, in the past, we have built our own ships and planes, today we don’t even own our oil and gas, we need much better politicians and policies than the self-serving types costing us a fortune in parliament today.

  46. Great advertisement. Says it all really. Keep it up gentlemen there are plenty of us out here in the great unwashed looking for some real leadership on this vital issue. Count me in!

  47. So in the meantime SA goes into an employment crisis , Holden will shut with more Jobe lost than the government thinks, the highest utility costs in the country, no expanding industries to take up the jobs lost . Whatever we do with the subs we need the jobs here and now!!!!!!.

  48. I suggest we have a look at what other countries are doing about cyberwarfare before embarking on the assumption that present day modes of warfare will continue.This world is changing so fast.

  49. Yes gentlemen I agree with your concerns – thank you for showing some clear leadership – something sadly lacking in the political class for some time now.

  50. I agree totally, lets keep up the pressure on our political class and see if we can get some common sense into this decision of submarines, we want the best and in real time. Leasing some from the Americans would be a start and an option we should look at in the interim.

  51. Why do we even need submarines? Aren’t they obsolete technology? And we can hardly afford them.

    I am from SA and I can’t see what the State would gain, particularly over the long term. We built submarines before for little benefit.

    Instead we need to support SA’s agriculture which is long term, sustainable, and a valuable part of the State’s economy.

  52. Its hard to accept the turmoil we find ourselves in Australia.
    The lack of Leadership is an Australian Tragedy and the Submarine Fiasco is but the tip of a mountain of decisions that have to be addressed.
    Even if the French Sub. was the right decision,the delivery times are a disgrace,to schedule them over 50yrs highlights the incompetence in Government & Defence,i will be long gone,but my children and Grand Children will most likely face a threat to Australia’s security and freedom.
    Many in today’s younger generation have no memories of the last major threat to this great country,but i do remember my father and his service in New Guinea,he said very little and i now wish i had been a little older and had discussed it more,but will always remember his words” It was bloody murder,they sent young pilots up in Wirraways against Japanese Zero’s” so we are now lumbered with a spineless, No Vision,man in Malcolm Turnbull,his incompetence is painful.
    So i am delighted that this Submarine Fiasco is being challenged,it is so important to a secure future for Australia and the Japanese Submarine,coupled with a much stronger defence relationship and interaction between the combined Submarine fleets and both Navies,with American support,would be a more attractive defence plan for Australia and all defence plans need to be ramped up,we cannot wait 50yrs
    After a lifetime of Liberal Membership and support,i did not vote for “TheTurnbull Coalition”( And certainly not Shorten) the man is lost,has no idea on leadership,no people skills and will destroy the Liberal Party and damage Australia,the challenges ahead are enormous and our Defence is a High Priority

  53. Agree with the conclusion that nuclear subs are what is really required. Get the US (or British?) ones – from the allies we rely on. Along with some aspects of the build (perhaps), develop a nuclear support industry in SA, and position SA for base load nuclear power generation in the future. And yes also agree that would have been a much better investment to keep the car industry.

  54. We seem to be going backwards in this country. Right from the start I thought this idea was ridiculous. Why on earth would we choose diesel above nuclear? Thank goodness for people like you. I have absolutely no confidence in this government at the moment and I am a true conservative. I despair sometimes. The conversion from nuclear to diesel….how stupid is that? Thank God that we haven’t signed a contract though.

  55. I have shared the following on Facebook and Google Plus.

    “Every Australian should be concerned about this, the Australian Government are about to spend $50,000,000,000 of BORROWED money on a ridiculous submarine project that WILL NOT WORK. Thank goodness the contract has not yet been signed.”

    I will certainly be contacting my local member (Craig Kelly MP) to voice my concerns about this fiasco.

  56. My full support.
    Spend our money wisely.
    Tried and trusted nuclear subs, not another Collins class fiasco.
    Please make the government see sense.

  57. I appreciate your efforts in drawing our attention to just how irresponsible and stupid this decision has been.
    We are not unaccustomed to politicians acting in their interests and not ours, but this is just too serious for Australia’s future to not be questioned, and the politicians to be held to account.

  58. This decision was made for political reasons only.
    Because of strikes & incompetence, the build time will double and so will the costs, a la Collins.
    Now that the “classifed information” leak has occurred, it is even more timely to cancel the order & reassess.

    Now is our chance to go nuclear.

  59. …..and yet the Australian Government will not subsidise the manufacture of military dress uniforms to be made in Australia, thereby enabling specialised uniform manufacture and jobs.

    Shame on LNP, ALP, Greens and the remainder of the hanger ons.

  60. If we need them, buying ready built, the best in the world, at a 30 percent saving is simply good, common sense economics when you consider that the saved 15 billion could be redirected to supporting existing long term industries or help develope sustainable emerging ones.

  61. Points
    The defence of our country is not about keeping people in jobs. If we as a nation cannot protect our country and our people, then jobs are of little relevence.
    The discussion over wether to obtain nuclear or diesel electric powered boats is in no way like choosing a petrol or diesel powered car. As a previous contrinuter commented, diesel powered submarines have distinct operational advantages.
    I have learned from experience that the kiss principle (keep it simple stupid) works best in warfare.
    It is far easier to build, maintain and operate a diesel electric boat than a nuclear one.
    Just to clarify, diesel submarines are propelled by silent electric motors. The diesel engines are run to recharge the batteries, or when required to propel the boat whilst surfaced.
    The submarine whilst capable of eing employed in various mission profiles, is esentially a weapons delivery platform. Make no mistake,
    The Collins class submarine is as deadly as they come when it comes to the delivery of conventional weapons.

    1. John, I think the jobs spin is all political, ( Jobson Growthe), we need the 21st century equivalent of a P51 Mustang, not a Tiger Moth.

  62. Waste of money – Submarines are likely to be obsolete by the time these are commissioned. Think undersea drones.
    In any event off the shelf – proven technology whether Brit or US would be a better choice probably US as a closer ally with a Pacific focus.
    I’m so disillusioned with both parties – seems the decisions they make are increasingly in self interest.
    Don’t they tell us we’re in a perilous financial position and steps need to be taken to repair the budget.

  63. It bedevils me how we have the Southern Hemisphere monopoly on ” idiot leaders” of this nation that have and continue squander the stable and prosperous Nation I enjoyed from my birth in 1950. We see such snap and grab political ideas in the hysteria in an election for job saving politicians . My spouse and I provided 96 years of taxation for our nations future to see such squandered by grab ideas of short term self gratuity politicians with the same rhetoric of “jobs and growth” at election ( job saving ) time and little efforts to financial stability for our nations future. I see this ongoing political self fulfilment of National “see sawing” since our last national stability period and prosperity under Messers Howard and Costello. Kennedy taught us, “ask, what can you do for your country , etc.” My deceased mother in law was a captured Nine year aged girl “slave worker for the Nazis” in WW2 and Mum always said if you put in leaders voted who gainfully sought for the countries prosperity then the people will ALSO prosper. I despair for my Nations future with such fragile idiots and the “so silly” behaviour of our latter decades of politicians. We have yet to have effectively repaired/fixed/ maintained the Collins class of “submersibles” . Most likely drone/remote control types of underwater craft from carrier craft etc will actually become most capable replacement machines to replace, technically replace, compete with, or make obsolete the “submarines” idea. The certainty of our near future decade is to see the French nation prospering from the future losses of the prosperity and efforts of my fellow Australian taxpayers due to this round of politicians.

  64. The aggressiveness of China is breathtaking. Our Government is inviting them in, nothing it seems is ‘not for sale’.
    If it comes to WW3 I don’t see that the USA will put much our way, they will be busy defending themselves.
    China will be allies with Russia.
    Will submarines save us, whether they be diesel or nuclear?
    We have seen the blowouts when purchasing our military aircraft, this French solution is disastrous. Vote buying. Is Christopher Pyne worth this much money?

  65. The time period from keel lay down to commissioning of a Virginia Class nuclear submarine is approx 2 years. There are purportedly 5 currently under construction at the Newport ship yards in the US and more coming, so they would be geared up for any new orders.

  66. How do you buy something that is not for sale? ! No country has exported a nuclear submarine in the past, who is going to start now? Maybe we should speak to the mythical nuclear submarine exporter first!

    1. Russia apparently supplied an Akula-class nuclear-powered attack submarine to India and they are building 2 more on some type of leasing arrangement. Not sure whether the ones to be supplied by the French will be nuclear powered but as recently reported the plans for these have been compromised. If we were to ask for nuclear powered subs from the US they may bend the rules particularly with their worries about Chinese intentions.

  67. What an absolute load of BULLSHIT. Nuclear Submarines ARE NOT an option as we do not have the nuclear infrastructure to support them like other nations that operate them. Also the USA WILL NOT sell its Virginia Class SSN to Australia. The USA will not sell its F22 Fighter to any nation, the Virginia Class is in the same category because of its classified technology. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the “Barracuda Short” class submarine the Royal Australian Navy and Defence have selected. It will be fitted with an American combat system and American weapons, whilst the French do the actual build of the submarine physically a lot of kit is not French. End of the day does anyone really think that Defence would not in this situation with potential national security at stake get a dud submarine. No of course not, a lot of very experienced and highly skilled Navy submariners would have done a hell of a lot of hard work over many years to reach this decision. Dick Smith and his mates have no experience in Navy Submarine War Fighting, no experience in war fighting whatsoever, nor have they ever served in the Australian Defence Force. They have absolutely NO KNOWLEDGE of the new submarines capabilities, they merely argue with speculation and lots of emotion relying on that to get their way.

    1. Craig believes Defence is a smart outfit.  Short memory, huh?

      Try these points Craig.

      The good old SLR – one backsight leaf and refusal to modify it.  Refusal to modify the dust cover to allow magazine reloading direct by clips.

      Owen gun replacement the F1 – unwanted by everyone but forced on us.

      The Wombat anti-tank gun with a British prime mover, wrong for Australia.

      The 106mm RCL mounted on the Land-Rover – veh lights fell out, windscreen and mudguards badly frightened when it was fired fired. – ad hoc mods needed.

      Remember the hodge-podge of personal bush gear we had.  US M1956 stuff mixed with Brit M1937-pattern basic pouches, haversack and big pack.

      Remember the Aust Army’s winter gear: a thin khaki pullover for use from Hobart to Darwin. We only got Combat Jackets because Minister Fraser, in a tent and with four blankets, almost froze one night on Exercise Longshot.

      Also forgotten is the absolute waste of billions trying to make the anti-submarine helicopter project work, but abandoned without one example doing any work.

      The purchase of old US amphibious ops ships that were at the wreckers, that the Yanks took bets on how far they would go before sinking, and had to be rebuilt here around the keel at $100-million.

      Purchase of F18s with radar less capable than that in the Mirage; meant RAAF could not deploy to the Iraqi wars until better radar was fitted.

      One reason the Collins class are so bad is the use of US gear in another design. We could lease thePURPOSE BUILT US subs and have them go home for necessary oil changes or whatever.

      Boots GP not replaced because a public servant would not make a decision to order more, so Dunlop dismantled the factory set-up; people bought boots from civilian suppliers.

      Uniforms used to be from CGCF in Melbourne; disbanded; now troops await uniforms until public servants decide it is time to ask for quotes from suppliers…. 

      Our patrol boats spend a lot of time under repair because they were bought off the shelf by Defence, but the design and engines are not suitable for blue water ops.

      Financial control led to ad hoc fuel systems in RAN ships, so the fire at sea, people died; enquiry slanted to blame those in uniform.

      Ditto for helicopter parts, so lack of flying, so the SAS-Army heli crash out of Townsville years ago, due to lack of night flying experience; enquiry slanted to blame those in uniform.

      Steyr 5.56mm not suited to work in Iraq and Afghanistan due  to design and fine talcum powder dust there; whole platoons unable to return fire with Steyr. Soldiers I know have watched the gas plug fly down range when they fired it!

      Steyr good to 400 metres, then no good; bad guys know this and engage from outside that range.

      The Army attack helicopter program is years behind because the design was accepted at design stage and in other circumstances would be a failure, but we have to make it work; years go by.

      Remember the Australian Nomad aircraft – pushed into production over the protests of the designers; tails fell off, about 60 people killed; Army Aviation refused to fly them. The civilian engineer brought in to push it to production refused to accept blame and said pilots do not know if an aircraft is safe, the engineers do and all pilots have to do is fly within those bounds; arrogance to the max. 

      Eventually this guy became so disliked that a bunch of senior guys went to the minister – Beazley, I think – and gave an ultimatum: he goes or we all go.  He was appointed to do special jobs as they might arise and told to go home and wait.

      First Diggers went to Vietnam with boots older than they were. Shirts fell apart. Not enough MGs for base defence – public servants in Canberra knew better.

      Not relevant to defence/subs, but still VERY indicative of the PS mental approach:
      When Clinton was president, a Soviet satellite was falling from orbit and passing over Australia.  The National Disaster Org was tasked to inform John Howard.  This thing is whizzing over at x-mph and could fall on us somewhere at any moment.
      A Wing Commander composed a short message to the PM, but it was rejected by his superior and told to re-write it; done; rejected again; re-write.  The thing is speeding overhead…
      Meanwhile, Clinton rang Howard to warn him and Howard asked why he was not informed…  Excreta hit the fan.
      The then-minister – name forgotten – also was splattered and took an axe to NDO, the senior person was sacked on the spot. 

      Good news but far, far too infrequent.

    2. Dear Craig,
      Do NOT thrust our Defence bureaucracy to do the right thing by the troops please!

      In 1989 I saw Australian infantry snipers who with their own money bought British Parker Hale(?) 7.62mm rifles to use if they were sent into action.

      Why? Because the logistics experts in Canberra refused to replace the shot out barrels on the Australian Army issue sniper rifles.

      You may also find that some of our Afghanistan medal winners wore Adidas boots in action as the government issue footwear was crap.

      Trust not boffins in high castles Craig – especially if you are one too.

  68. I totally agree with this persons view:
    “chris Squelch says:
    September 13, 2016 at 8:05 am
    We need to strat paying the costs of running 8 Virginia class SSN’s from the USN.
    We need to have them based here in Australia with their crews and begin integrating Australian crews into the USN biats until we are competant. Then ekwe need to take delivery of 8 new boats from the USA.”

    If it comes to a real shooting war where Australia is on the receiving end, then the only ally we might have is the USA and only if it’s in their interest to help us.
    ‘Leasing; these US subs plus crew and maintenance, has got to be cheaper than the unbelievable waste that trying to develop our own new subs will be.
    Wake up Malcolm or hit the road and let someone who knows what he is doing take over (and that isn’t you Bill, btw).

  69. I am a technological dunce, but I hope I have enough common sense to make a rational comment about this issue.
    Our most recent major adversaries, Germany and Japan, have proven to the world their technological superiority. They have always operated with ruthless efficiency, as our brave and noble predecessors found out to their cost in WWII.
    By contrast, the French before and after WWII were crippled by industrial disruption and inefficiency.
    The German history of quickly producing state of the art U-boats, the latest of which could not be used because of the 1945 surrender, seems a poignant reason to seriously consider the Germans before the French.
    The technological superiority of the Japanese and their strategic alliance with Australia (mutual tensions with China), as well as their geographical proximity to Australia, appear to be convincing advantages over the French option.
    The technological advantages of the French option must be remarkable to have won the contract. I just wish someone could explain in layman’s terms just what they are. Ordinary taxpayers like me deserve no less.

    1. You sure are and you sure don’t.
      1945 was a long time ago and things change. A lot.
      Why do you assume that the Japanese have a submarine technologically superior to anyone else come from? They may make nice TVs and cars, but submarines are very different thing.

  70. If we must have submarines, the only logical choice is the Virginia Class nuclear sub, bought or leased from our one and only reliable ally, the USA. We could have them soon and at a fraction of $500B (not the estimated $50B) cost the made-in -Australia subs would ultimately blow out to.

    And while we are contemplating cancelling the sub contract with France, could you also please try to recover control of the strategic port of Darwin from China. Darwin is here half the sub fleet would be based.

    Allowing the NT to sell the Port of Darwin, for petty cash, to China, while Canberra slept, is even more incomprehensible than the sub decision.

  71. Totally agree we should have got Virginia class boats, however they would never be based in Darwin for many reasons which is why none of current boats are based in Darwin.

    The LEASE of Darwin port is irrelevant, the Chinese can not take it away from us nor can they stop us from using it(Navy ship’s can use any port in the country free of charge). As for the intel they could gather is no different from the intel their spy’s could gather sitting on the beach with a set of binoculars.

    As with any LEASING agreement (just like renting a house) has mutually agreed conditions and any breach of these conditions could cause the LEASE to be terminated.

    I wish people would get it through their thick head’s that the LEASE of Darwin Port is exactly that, it is not a SALE, the Chinese LEASE holders do not own the land or the infrastructure on it, they are only LEASING it under strictly agreed conditions and obligations.

    1. A 99 year lease is as good as a sale; at least for the next few generations. And how much development, especially defence development, do you think will take place in the Port of Darwin while it is under Chinese control.
      If the NT was desperate for money, I’m sure the US would made a better offer than the paltry $5M per year China is paying but they were not given the opportunity and it would never have occurred to them that anyone could be so stupid as to sell such a strategic asset to such a fair weather friend.

  72. Five clowns making a statement they know nothing about , what is their Military experience and expertise in the area of submarines ? Squat is the answer as for a relative time of peace , I must be living in a different world given our troops are posted all over the world at the moment In hostile zones . Stick to selling white goods aussiemite and making bubblegum ads because you don’t have a clue what your talking about here.

    1. These ‘five clowns’ as you put them have got more common sense between them than you, even if you mated with a Cray supercomputer. Apart from the demonstrated failure of the French when it comes to security even the economics don’t add up. The now totally compromised Indian navy Scorpène-class diesel-electric attack submarines cost around $3 billion for six of them, the first built in India. Our 12, on the other hand, are quoted at $50 billion. We must have some lousy clowns negotiating in the 3 ring circus in Canberra. Cancel the contract and go cap in hand to our American mates and do a deal on the Virginia class. Cheap, we’ll still get jobs maintening them and have instant, battle-ready integration. (Disclaimer ¦ I have met two of the proponents, but that in no way influences my judgement of this matter)

  73. I agree with your sentiments entirely.
    If our Government was serious about giving our Defence Forces the where-with-all to protect our country they would have opted for nuclear subs.
    By giving preference to jobs over Defence Capability they have knowingly hobbled Defence with a second best option.
    As you say, jobs in SA would be better secured by subsiding the car industry – new cars are always required, new subs only come around every few decades.
    Given that the French are now having security problems and a firm order has yet to be placed, now is the time for Politicians to rethink the wisdom of buying diesel subs!

  74. The ongoing commentary about the method of propulsion that our proposed new submarines should have, reveals more about the almost total lack of understanding of submarine warfare.
    The much lauded Virginia class submarine is a purpose built fast attack hunter killer submarine. It,s design role was, and is the destruction of ballastic missile submarines.
    Submarines provide a significent deterrance to a potential enemy.
    They are difficult to detect, even when you know they are in your vicinity. I can assure the readers that the detection of submarines ties up a lot of manpower and rescoures. I know this to be true as I have served in anti submarine squadrons.
    There are many more factors to consider in the selection of our next class of submarine than it,s method of propulsion.
    In addition, given the recent French debacle with regard to the Indian submarines, extreme caution needs to be exercised.

  75. This always sounded like another “certain American fighter jet” contract which has been delayed and delayed and cost overrun after cost overrun; all of which the imbeciles in Defence Procurement did not have the commercial nouce to understand before signing.
    Our current submarines are very ‘tired’ and few are operational at any one time. We need new ones NOW, and with a sensible cost schedule. Sadly what is it? – 3 politicians in South Australia who might lose their seats – are effectively going to stuff us again. I wish Malcolm had kept his balls.

  76. Since my early comment, I’ve enjoyed the rich diversity of comments that have followed. In my personal opinion while the discussion thread has wandered off line occasionally, the underlying theme has remained. Well done to all!

    Some observations in the interest of provoking thought and comment!

    There has been a significant number of comments relating to Australia embracing nuclear power. I even shared my own view in my original comment. While I support Australia engaging with nuclear power, the nuclear connection articulated in this web sites question is an observation and question relating to the challenges of redesigning a nuclear submarine for diesel propulsion. From my perspective this web site is questioning the government’s fiscal responsibility. For Australia, a spend of $50 billion is significant. I suspect that Sir Humphrey of ‘Yes Minister’ fame would characterise it as a ‘courageous’ decision. When you consider the size of the spend within the context of the proposed time-line to the launch of the first submarine, juxtaposed against other existing, emerging and future defense technologies the government’s decision appears to have taken many steps past Sir Humphrey’s ‘courageous’ position.

    Reflections on earlier comments…

    1. One ‘Comment’ clearly disliked the nuclear option. Suggesting that if nuclear supporters were so inclined they should let their children train and be exposed to nuclear technology. While I am a nuclear advocate, I completely agree that the nuclear industry has a multitude of negative issues, such as safety, waste, weapons proliferation etc. This legacy a direct result of the manufacturing methodology and fuel decision made by the US military in the Manhattan project in the 1940’s. Essentially, the Manhattan Projects success benchmark was to manufacture weapons grade material in sufficient quality and quantity to construct bombs. Considerations such as waste and proliferation issues were of a secondary nature. However, I would encourage everybody to have an open mind when it comes to nuclear power. While we will continue to deal with the legacy of the past 70 odd years, the future is encouraging. The nuclear industries new 4th generation design fission reactors being constructed now have gone a long way in dealing with the legacy issues. The 5th generation fission reactors now on the drawing board go even further. Also, if the many firms researching and investing in hot and cold nuclear fusion technology have a break-through, then that will be a game charger.

    2. One other ‘Comment’ came to the defense of our Royal Australian Navy (RAN), suggesting that their education and experience ideally positioned them to determine the best solution for the new submarines. I also hold Australia’s armed services in high regard. In fact, I’d match them person to person against any service in the world. However, poor performance needs to be called out in any organization. The facts are that the financial and operational outcomes of the Collins class program were an embarrassment to both the RAN and the government. For example, only looking at the human resource issues, the RAN throughout the Collins program demonstrated an inability to acquire or retain the necessary human resources (sailors) to operate the submarines (Yule and Woolner, 2008). In 2008 the RAN only had sufficient personal to operate three of the six vessels (Defense Industry Daily, 2015). In the preceding years, 2009 through to 2013 an average of two or less were on active service at any one time (Defense Industry Daily, 2015).

    On the plus side the proposed new submarines have the advantage of requiring less personal for operation. In addition, the RAN has produced numerous papers and studies designed to address the human resource requirements for the new submarines (Wylie, 2006). Am I encouraged by this level of study and analysis. No I’m not! These processes duplicate the exact same processes undertaken in the 1970’s and 1980’s when the RAN transitioned from the Oberon class submarines to the Collins class. If I was to put my Systems Thinking hat on I’d say this was a perfect example of the ‘Limits to Success’ archetype. In layman’s terms, making the same mistake time after time, or history repeating itself.

  77. Wouldn’t the time for this protest have been BEFORE the contract was signed, I wonder how businessmen can rant at a deciaion after the deal is done, surely in business the points of view should be aired prior to the signing of the contract. There was a very long lead up to this decision when these views could have been aired, or do you have another agenda, the deal is done you are safe to voice your protests knowing it will fall on deaf ears but you get your names in the nations debate with no risks. IS there a book coming out or something else in the wind that needs publicity?

  78. To all who have posted here:
    Please note that you are not privy to design or role data that is used to determine suitability for purpose.
    You are not privy to engineering assessments, design briefs or scope of works.
    You are not privy to details on loadouts, ranges, or any of a myriad of other critical information.
    All you have is generalised media comments.
    I strongly suggest you you find some facts before going of half cocked like you seem to. For example – quoting any information based on the forthcoming shortfin barracuda warfish is much like looking at a fridge made by LG and calling LG’s televisions rubbish based on what you have seen. The DCNS options are at best loosely designed on the barracuda, not unlike claimed here – are not a retrofit. It’s a completely new design, based on an existing structure.
    Unlike others have mentioned, this design is not based on 60 year old shipwrecks or something, it’s a new design, and a new build.

    Facts – Check em.
    http://dcnsgroup.com.au/futuresubmarines/barracuda.php

  79. “Right now, there is not one operational French Barracuda submarine in service. The first version is still in a shipyard, yet to be launched.”
    True. As it is well documented that the Germans don’t have a boat that fits our needs, and the Japanese publicly stated that they would not be giving us their Soryu design, but instead designing a new one to meet our needs, NO ONE has anything in operational service that would suit our needs. This means that what you portray as a negative is actually a positive, as the French are way ahead in this regard as their proposal is at least visible as opposed to existing purely on paper.

    “Sea trials and operational work up will take years.”
    It will, and that rigorous testing will be able to inform the design team working on the systems that are common on the Shortfin Barracuda, meaning issues can be designed out early on rather than have them show up during sea trials, which is much more efficient in terms of time and cost.

    “That submarine is nuclear powered, not diesel.”
    It is. And that means that it’s designed to much more stringent safety standards than a non nuclear boat.

    “The boat that the Australian Government has chosen is a version of above retrofitted and re-designed with a diesel piston engine.”
    Retrofitted? You mean get one with a nuclear plant and swap it out? No. that’s simply imprecise language. Redesigned? Well sort of, but not really. Much of the design in a nuclear submarine are the same as a conventional boat (layout, accommodation, galley and eating spaces) there’s a lot more than just engine. There ARE changes to be made, but having an already designed hull that is about the right size means one can concentrate on the differences, and therefore do it more quickly and efficiently than designing from scratch.
    And why the obsession with “diesel piston engine”? It seems like an attempt to make it seem outdated. In fact conventional submarines are Diesel Electric, and use state of the art battery technology, even the ‘old tech’ lead acid cells are very advanced. Conventional submarines are more analogous to a Toyota Prius. Incidentally, you know nuclear powered boats are simply a steam engine right? The rotational steam engine predates the Diesel engine by over 100 years!

    “As far as we can tell no–one ever in the history of submarine construction has tried to convert a nuclear submarine to a diesel one.”
    And neither are DCNS, they are not taking a nuclear boat and stripping it out and rebuilding it. They are designing a diesel boat using a baseline that is about the right size and using common systems where possible, this is far and away more efficient and more sensible than designing everything again.

    “As you can imagine, the lead time to make this version is open-ended. There has been no estimate in the April 26 press release to give a timeline.”
    Not in the short statement the PM made, you’re right. An indicative timeline has since been publicly stated as being around 2030 for a first boat and for anyone crying “that’s not in a contract or agreed or even very precise!” Of course it’s not; looking that far out it would be folly to try and pin it down any more precisely, ‘as you can imagine’. As the saying goes: “Fast delivery, low cost, high quality; pick any two.”

    “It is therefore quite likely that under this scenario, Australia will not have an operational submarine fleet in this hiatus.”
    No it’s not. There is a well documented plan to cover any gap using Collins class boats. That plan isn’t just something that someone thought up over coffee or during an “Oh shit, when?” moment when they were given an indicative timeline from DCNS… it’s been a possibility that has been under consideration and in planning as a contingency for YEARS.

    “They could have chosen a workable state-of-the art existing diesel submarine from either the Germans or the Japanese but chose a very complicated option.”
    As stated above, this is not true; neither the Germans or the Japanese have ‘workable options’ that would suit Australia. As for being state-of-the-art, there was much press after the announcement that addressed whether or not the submissions from Germany and Japan were up to scratch in terms of technology. As designing new submarines is very complicated whichever way one does it, picking a designer with the closest baseline to what we actually want and need, is the LEAST complicated option.
    “This is horrifyingly reminiscent of the “Seasprite” helicopter fiasco when we tried to make an ASW (Antisubmarine Warfare) helicopter from airframes that had been in the Arizona desert since the ‘60’s. The exercise was aborted after we spent $1400 million ($1.4 billion). They never entered service in Australia. This time we are looking at a $50 billion dollar experiment with frightening parallels to the Seasprite fiasco.”
    What “frightening parallels”? The only thing horrifying about this is your attempt at analogy. You stated that the Seasprite airframes had been in a desert since the 60’s. The new submarines aren’t hulks waiting to be refitted, they’re brand new designs. In fact, the only common aspect I can see is that they are defence procurements.
    “By the time all of this pans out, everyone else will undoubtedly have a nuclear attack submarine fleet.”
    No they won’t. There’s nothing “undoubted” about that statement at all. As other commenters pointed out, nuclear and conventional submarines are for different things, and many of the actors in our region want to do the things that conventional (that means diesel electric) boats are best at. Not to mention that they also don’t have the nuclear infrastructure to support such acquisitions, as Australia doesn’t. There would be no way to maintain sovereign support of the boats, and if you think $50b over 50 years is a lot of research what it would cost to set up nuclear submarine maintenance from scratch
    “Putting a diesel piston submarine against a nuclear one is like putting a piston/propeller fighter up against a modern jet. We will be condemning our sailors to their graves.”
    Actually that’s completely untrue and could very well be the other way around. Unlike aircraft, submarines don’t rely on speed, but on stealth. Once again, your attempt at an aviation based analogy is flawed and merely demonstrates your lack of comprehension about what submarines do, how they’re designed and how they operate. I understand that you consider your area of expertise to be aviation, but aeroplanes and submarines are very different things. As a result, the statement about “condemning our sailors to their graves” is not just terribly sensationalist and exaggerated, but also completely false.

    “Ask yourself: Why would the Government do this?”
    Because they have information and access to experts that you don’t. Experts that issued an “unequivocal” and “unambiguous” recommendation to them.

    “We think that we know the answer.”
    You may THINK that you do, but it can be fairly easily shown that you actually don’t.

    1. Some good points but there has been much happening in the background on the submarine saga that many people are not aware of. Australia actually has access to a working design which already meets all their requirements. Its called the Collins submarine. And before people start spouting the usual media generated rhetoric on this be aware that while the submarines did have issues early on they have all been resolved. Thats what happens when you evolve a brand new design. So up until about 18 months ago the Defence plan always was to build an evolved Collins. Use the base design, stretch it a bit to add an AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) add some new stealth tech and a new combat system and there you have it. The original submarine designer, Saab Kockums, had worked closely with defence up until that point and had placed a firm proposal to build 12 submarines for $20billion based on an evolved Colloins design. It would have been low risk, highly effective, technoligically advanced and more than a match for any submarines and surface ships in the region. It would also have been easy to build in Adelaide with the existing workforce. So what happened to this great plan? Tony Abbot and senior members of the DMO to be precise. This is where it gets really ugly but thats another story.

      1. I am well aware of what’s been going on behind the scenes, and judging by the rest of your comment, you’re not so well informed.

        While you are correct that Collins issues have been resolved and it is now a world class submarine that meets our requirements now, that doesn’t mean that it meets the FUTURE needs of Australia as weapons and detection technologies evolve and Collins will no longer cut it.

        Just a semantic note, one doesn’t evolve a new design as evolve implies moving on from another point.

        ‘Evolving’ Collins to enable it to meet those future needs would mean making such drastic changes that a new design would be less work, less risk, and therefore less costly. If you don’t understand that, then be grateful that experts who DO understand submarine design made the decision rather than you!

        Why you think that the plan “until about 18 months ago… always was to build an evolved Collins” is a mystery.

      2. Oh and using Collins then “stretching it a bit to add an AIP (Air Independent Propulsion) [do you understand what AIP gives you? I’m going to say you don’t] add some new stealth tech and a new combat system and there you have it”!!??

        What do you think you have? Let me tell you: What you’d have is a compromised design with a baseline of old technology that would be nothing like a match for future combatants.

        What happened to that plan? Tony Abbot and The Japanese. And what happened to that plan? The CEP. Where common sense finally prevailed.

  80. It is not uncommon that the RAN be required to operate ships, aircraft, and presumably submarines that are designed for but not fitted with important weapons and systems. Simply a cost saving measure.A midlife upgrade is always very expensive. The FFG upgrade to fit the Verticle Launch System (VLS) is an axample.
    I was never sure who actually signs off on these projects. However, there are numerous examples of blatant waste of money.
    I have little confidence in the decision making process when it comes to purchasing military equipment.
    I strongly fear that whatever submarine the navy ends up with it will another possibly deadly compromise.

    1. One thing we can see is the major stuffups they have made in the past, so how can we have confidence they will get this one right.

  81. My company built and supplied very special welding equipment back in 1988 for asc in south australia ,back then we still struggled with the then labour Hawks govts decision to built diesel powered subs and not nuclear run engines, the navy hated it but had to go along with the govt. Nothing has changed in 28 years this is a very bad idea as we all know how vulnerable our coastline is now with the the rise in major asian countries today.

  82. There is some misinformation being put out by the group “Submarines For Australia”.

    First of all lets deal with the Kaman SH2G(A) Seasprites that the RAN bought and had the problems with. There was no problem with the actual aircraft at all; they were refurbished and zero timed airframes which is common practice in rotary wing aviation, especially amongst the military. The actual problems arose when the RAN decided to operate the Seasprites as two man crew rather than the standard three man crew they had on the S70s and now on the MH60Rs. The RAN stipulated that the pilot will have the ability to place the aircraft in autohover at very low level and that the WSOs MFD screens can also be displayed on the pilots MFD. The contractors were never able to deconflict the bugs within the software that was required for these two bespoke Australianised capabilities. That is why the RAN Seasprites went belly up. It was an unrealistic requirement demanded by the RAN. They now fly quite well with Kiwi roundels painted on them, especially since the RAN two crew requirement was deep sixed.

    The next point is that SSNs are not the be all to end all. Australia does not have a civilian nuclear industry and infrastructure to support a fleet of SSNs. So the discussion has to be held: does Australia go down the path of nuclear electricity generation and that will be a contentious topic.

    If you don’t go down that path then you will be dependant upon a foreign nation for your nuclear power plant maintenance and nuclear fuel. Your SSNs will be one of your nations most sensitive, strategic, valuable and important platforms and you will not want to be beholden to another nation (no matter how friendly the relationship at present) for the maintenance and upkeep of your most sensitive, strategic, valuable and important platform.

  83. Australia quite simply does not have the nuclear industry required to build, maintain and operate nuclear powered vessels – be they submarines or ships.

    The only nuclear reactor we have in the country is used for medical and research purposes.

    The time and money required to build this industry would far exceed the $50B being spent on the submarines and would be unlikely to generate any jobs in Australia for 15 years or more. We would need to grow the industry from the ground up, starting at universities and importing the knowledge from other countries.

    And that is assuming that the NIMBY minorities actually let nuclear developments proceed in their vicinity.

    How many nuclear power plants do we have?

  84. One of the often stated reasons in our media for non specification of a nuclear option in the tender process has been Australia’s inability to maintain the nuclear reactors. As an Australian engineer, I know our engineering capability in most technical fields is highly ranked and felt it was being denigrated. I contacted ANSTO. After exchange of several emails, the conclusions were:
    1. The reactors used in nuclear submarines are sealed units and require no maintenance of the reactors for up to 30 years. They then need refuelling or replacement.
    2. While Australia has no experience with this type of reactor almost every Australian university offers courses in nuclear physics and engineering.
    3. The theoretical and practical principles of this type of reactor are well known. They have been in safe operation in Western countries for decades.
    4. The reactor manufacturers can, and would, as a condition of purchase transfer knowledge to enable safe operation, control, and safety monitoring and regulation of such reactors to Australian bodies, and have done so in other countries.
    5. ANSTO agreed that given at least 10 years advance notice before the reactors were needed, Australian engineers and technicians and their regulatory bodies could introduce the knowledge and experience and specialised monitoring equipment required.
    6. ANSTO agreed that any changes to our already international class existing nuclear safeguards and legislative and regulatory controls (if required) could be based on best practice from countries already operating nuclear submarines.

    I am not a nuclear engineer. I have lead and managed fleets of complex plant using large diesels, and lead technical studies. Hence out of curiosity about an interesting debate, I questioned whether nuclear submarine reactors had any major technical and operational advantages, and the answer seemed to be very positive.

    One of the problems with diesel submarines is their limited range and need for maintenance. Since Australia bases maintenance for submarines several thousand kilometres from any likely operating area, it seems likely that space for operating fuel has to be higher than any diesel submarine in the world.

    It would be interesting to know the comparative propulsion unit maintenance schedule for diesel and nuclear submarines. It would be interesting to have a comparative estimates of operational availability and utilisation in typical operational areas for diesel and nuclear submarines. It would be interesting to know the comparative capital, operating, maintenance, and depreciation costs of the two types. The capital cost of an off the shelf modern nuclear submarine appears to be about the same as a new Australian diesel submarines, and have much less risk of cost blowout.

    My own experience with large modern diesels is that reliability depends on frequent and technically expert maintenance. Large diesels are by no means low maintenance, and require complex skills, specialised training, and supplies and inventories of costly parts and consumables.

    The in theatre availability of Collins Class submarines, can be readily estimated taking into account travel time and maintenance schedules. I have no doubt that the in theatre availability of nuclear submarines would be significantly higher, based on what is known of nuclear submarines in operation. That means fewer submarines (and less costs) are needed to achieve the same time in our remote theatres of operation based on operation from Adelaide..

    Most importantly, I assumed the objective and reason for Australia buying major weapons is not to fight a war. I assumed we aim to project maximum defensive and destructive capability to deter enemies and prevent having to fight.

    My admittedly limited investigations strongly suggested that nuclear submarines project a much greater threat potential than diesel submarines. This is because they carry more, and more powerful and longer ranged weapons, and can stay in the operational area much longer.

    Simply put, it appears that nuclear submarines have 5 times the shaft horsepower of a typical diesel submarine, and due to that power, can be at least twice the size. That means they have the room and load capability for a much greater load of weapons and military capability.

    Diesel submarines are much less powerful, and also sacrifice space for weapons and people to carry as much as possible diesel fuel and oxygen. Therefore, nuclear submarines, which can stay on site longer and thus have higher in theatre availability, project both more weapon power, and for longer usable time. This is called “military worth”, and can be calculated. We do not know the military worth or comparative time in theatre per nuclear and diesel submarine, or military worth and weapons threat potential per dollar cost. One Wikipedia entry claims that the Virginia Class nuclear submarine can carry of the order of 40 vertical tube missiles with ranges of 1000 km, as well as 30 torpedos. The comparative military worth of a Virginia Class or similar British or French nuclear submarine versus the new diesel submarines would be interesting to know.

    While stealth matters, the old scenario of submarines and ships hunting each other with sonar at close range, would seem to be to this layman at least, in the realm of old movies as a typical operating scenario. Another scenario which seems to be assumed by the specifications of the latest nuclear submarines is to use surprise to launch the highest possible load of large, high range smart missiles from many kilometres away, seeking enemy ships identified by satellites and drones, and use cruise missiles to bombard land installations from a distance.

    On the face of it, Australia has chosen lower military worth submarines, to be less threatening than we could have to potential opponents. Risk assessment would show that a reduced destructive capability in today’s world actually raises the risk of attack.

    The decision to discard the best defensive and threat projection option for Australia to reduce the risk of war may have been partly based on a misconception, introduced from some quarter, that the reactor nuclear technology is too complex for this country to introduce. My email exchanges with ANSTO show otherwise.

    The businessmen who have raised this inconvenient question should be commended.

    In any case, I would appreciate better informed comment than my own.

    No doubt there are very good reasons for the decision our leaders took, but they don’t seem to be clear to many Australians, including this one. This is a decision for the next generation of Australians. Once I looked into the engineering capability issue, and learnt a bit more about the options, I felt an obligation to my children and their generation to ask why we haven’t bought the best submarine type to minimise their risk of having to fight. I would like to be proven wrong in my probably simplistic and perhaps uninformed assessment that the risk of future war could be lower by introducing equally as many more capable submarines.

    Perhaps there is still time for discussion, and perhaps someone can advise the sound reasons why the nuclear option was completely ruled out in specifications for tenders. Perhaps the decision was partly based on a misconception about Australian nuclear technical, scientific, engineering and safety expertise.

    To summarise, my initial discussions with ANSTO indicate that given the lead times, Australia would be capable of safely operating these reactors.

    1. BrianM speaks well.
      Consider also please the vast difference in speed of diesel/electric and nuclear submarines.
      Many cargo ships today adopt “slow steaming” to save fuel. This lowered speeds from the standard 25 knots to 20 knots. If being pursued or in a hurry, they would use maximum speed. Modern destroyers can move in excess of 30 knots. Even Aircraft Carriers “admit” speeds of
      25 knots to “in excess of 30 knots”.
      If our subs can only do 20 knots submerged ? ? ? ?

    2. And for the generation of submarines after this one I would totally agree. However we do not have 10 years to develop a sovereign capability to meet current Collins replacement requirements. ANSTO would not be familiar with the requirements of a nuclear propulsion capability or the resources required to sustian. A casual read of https://nnsa.energy.gov/aboutus/ourprograms/powernavy2
      will show how much is required to do it safely. Sealed containers the nuclear reactors may be but the whole propulsion train isn’t and all requires maintenance by both navy and civilian staff. We have great engineers but even with the best will in the world 10 years to develop these skills and facilities is very unrealistic. Then you have the spent fuel saga. Safe handling and storage and being able to decomission a reactor safely?

      1. Well as these new submarines are not expected in service until 2030 and it is now 2016 that means we have 14 years until the first boat is in service and probably each additional sub will probably be at 2 year intervals and the first boat will not need that much maintenance in the first few years and with help from our American allies to help with the training line, means we probably have 20 years to develop an intermediate maintenance capability and 30 years for a full maintenance capability and we will not have to deal with the disposal issue until roughly 30 years after the first boat enters service circa 2060 or 44 years from now.

        The far larger, more diverse and complex USN nuclear fleet was develop in far less time than that. Time we have skills, and the ability to further developed and refit those skills we certainly have and can sustain in improve over the next 50 years.

  85. When our military wants to get new facilities constructed, any new works valued at over $15M, after being painstakingly vetted by Finance, must be rigorously assessed by a Parliamentary Committee. Implications of construction, future planned use, ongoing maintenance etc costs are examined.
    If it passes that hurdle, the construction project then goes to Parliament for clearance.
    How can Turnbull, and his henchmen, decide to commit our grandchildren to a $50B bill for ill-defined submarines from a nation with an awful reputation for screwing military hardware customers?

  86. It’s perhaps not widely known that Saab Kockums, the original designers of the Collins submarines and the only company to have actually built a submarine in Australia, submitted a proposal for a new submarine, based on an evolved Collins design which drew on all the lessons learnt and included updated stealth technology and Air Independent Propulsion. It would have met all the RAN’s requirements and the quoted price for building 12 of these subs in Australia and specifically in Adelaide was $20 billion. This offer was rejected by Tony Abbotts government basically saying that the Swedes, who have been building submarines for over 100 years, did not know what they were doing. So in short a proven low-risk design for $20 billion was rejected in favour of an unproven high-risk design for $50 billion. While nuclear submarines would be ideal for Australia they require a highly sophisticated nuclear regulatory framework and people with a lot of experience in the nuclear industry. The absence of any indigenous nuclear industry makes building and sustaining a nuclear submarine unrealistic in Australia for the foreseeable future.

  87. This Country seems to be run by idiots.

    Buying a Submarine that is perfect for the Second World War. Diesel and Battery powered modified backwards from a Nuclear powered Sub. Everyone else in the Pacific will have Nuclear Subs that can remain submerged for up to six months. Yes, that includes the Chinese. The Ozzie Steel Coffins have to surface (or near surface probably every week to run the diesels and charge up the batteries. And every few years to change over the batteries completely.) Nuclear Subs can run 30 years between power change overs.

    Buy American Nuclear Subs at half the cost with a few added in for good measure. The totally compromised French Subs are to have American technology. Can you trust the French with American Technology? You have got to be joking

    A French Sub that will never be delivered from a Country with a collapsing economy an an impossible work force and a growing and fatal Muslim problem. French Banks a fatally compromised and in default with Greek loans. (CDO’s from American Merchant Banks) Thirty years to deliver? It is never going to happen. Thirty years to a War? It will be a lot sooner than that, it’s the economy STUPID. China alone have Thirty trillion dollars in defaulting loans in it’s shadow banking system. There solution will be to flood the markets with cheap goods and crash all other Asian economies. At present we have a silly ex-banker exhorting others to invest in Asia. I don’t think so, it’s time to get your money out.

    Thank you

    Paul Lancaster

  88. The great thing about doing defence deals with the french is that as soon as we have a diplomatic row (e.g. rainbow warrior bombing) they just cut off spare parts. We ALWAYS buy cheap european junk (witness the army attack helicopters) and spend YEARS trying to get their systems to work in a US environment. Seasprite was a joke. Diesel subs can be great for local defence. Their quietness means they routinely pop up in the middle of US carrier groups undetected. Nuke subs are really for long range force projection– like you need to get from the US west coast to Guam FAST. We don’t need to do that. But if we went diesel for god’s sake buy off the shelf from an ally that won’t chuck a hissy fit and for god’s sake build in the training and tech transfer so that WE can maintain them and not rely on a planeload of technicians getting here in the middle of a shooting war. How the hell did we ever win in PNG?

    1. Ralph, they did it to us with the Mirage jets during the Viet Nam war , not sure of the reasons, but you are right, they are a less than reliable supplier of military hardware that we should steer well clear of.

  89. I congratulate you and your group on what you are trying to do. I have been passionate about this issue for more than a decade when I could see us making the same mistakes as we did with the Collins catastrophe.
    This French submarine is neither a nuclear submarine nor a dedicated diesel electric submarine but an orphan misfit that will have no speed, range or hope of ever speeding to the conflict it is supposed to defend us in.
    Can anyone say these misfit submarines can match a nuclear submarine in any way? They cannot travel more than fifty kilometers submerged at full speed of 20 knots. They are not equipped with vertical launch cruise missiles. They are dinosaurs from the first half of the last century.
    . …… ……………..…….French Sub………………..Virginia-class
    Cost of 1 sub………………Au$4.2 billion………………Au$3.5 billion
    Sub weight…………………4700 tons………………….. 8000 tons
    Cost per ton……………… $8936 a ton………………..$4375 a ton
    % of price per ton………. 104% dearer……………… 51% cheaper
    Submerged sub
    Top speed…………………. 22 knots…………………… 32 knots
    Distance………………….32.8 nautical miles……no limit
    Snorting speed……………12 knots…………………… 32 knots
    Propulsion………………….Dieselectric…………………nuclear powered
    Shaft Horse P……………… 8,000 shp………………….40,000 shp
    Cruise Missiles……………..0………………………………40
    Missile Range……………….0……………………………..1000 miles
    Torpedoes………………….. 30…………………………… 38 (21 inch)
    Dive Depth…………………..200 metres………………..250+(480 alleged)
    Submerged Endurance…14 days……………………..100 days+
    Work rate of sub………….3=1 nuclear sub………….1 nuclear sub
    Cost for same
    Work rate…………………..$12.6B at 2016 $……………$3.5B at 2016 $

    My web title is Citizens for Defence (citizensfordefence.org) .
    I hope you may be able to glance through my analysis titled
    Past and future Australian submarine fleet
    http://citizensfordefence.org/?p=287

    You should be able to access it by clicking directly on the above title.

      1. Thanks John. One wonders why the government will not listen to reason and consider combat effectiveness first and then move onto what is needed to satisfy the US or Britain to assist us into nuclear attack submarines.
        The US ambassador to Australia was quite unequivocal in February 2012 in announcing on all media outlets that the US was open to assisting us into nuclear submarines to increase the firepower of the Coalition in Southern Asia.
        I hope your submarine experience and the lobbying of your friends has success for the sake of the future defence of our wonderful continent Australia.
        You have my full support and if I could help in any way I will.

  90. I congratulate you and your group on what you are trying to do. I have been passionate about this issue for more than a decade when I could see us making the same mistakes as we did with the Collins catastrophe.
    This French submarine is neither a nuclear submarine nor a dedicated diesel electric submarine but an orphan misfit that will have no speed, range or hope of ever speeding to the conflict it is supposed to defend us in.
    Can anyone say these misfit submarines can match a nuclear submarine in any way? They cannot travel more than fifty kilometers submerged at full speed of 20 knots. They are not equipped with vertical launch cruise missiles. They are dinosaurs from the first half of the last century.
    . …… ……………..…….French Sub………………..Virginia-class
    Cost of 1 sub………………Au$4.2 billion………………Au$3.5 billion
    Sub weight…………………4700 tons………………….. 8000 tons
    Cost per ton……………… $8936 a ton………………..$4375 a ton
    % of price per ton………. 104% dearer……………… 51% cheaper
    Submerged sub
    Top speed…………………. 22 knots…………………… 32 knots
    Distance………………….32.8 nautical miles……no limit
    Snorting speed……………12 knots…………………… 32 knots
    Propulsion………………….Dieselectric…………………nuclear powered
    Shaft Horse P……………… 8,000 shp………………….40,000 shp
    Cruise Missiles……………..0………………………………40
    Missile Range……………….0……………………………..1000 miles
    Torpedoes………………….. 30…………………………… 38 (21 inch)
    Dive Depth…………………..200 metres………………..250+(480 alleged)
    Submerged Endurance…14 days……………………..100 days+
    Work rate of sub………….3=1 nuclear sub………….1 nuclear sub
    Cost for same
    Work rate…………………..$12.6B at 2016 $……………$3.5B at 2016 $

    1. Thanks Robert you saved me the trouble of going through my archives to get the Virginia figures. These useless diesel subs have to spend most of their time snorkelling, in my time as crew on Neptunes in the 1960’s we could pick up a snort on radar at 30 miles. We have enormous transit distances and large areas of ocean to patrol with our subs that means regular refueling by surface vessels making them extremely vulnerable. The Virginia class is the only way yo go, otherwise we can be cut off from the rest of the world very easily.

      1. Thanks for your service Clive, if you could pick up snorts from 30 miles away in the ’60’s, imagine what satellite technology can do now.

  91. I have been concerned about this ridiculous proposal even before your useful advertisement, for which many thanks. I believe that Australia should buy nuclear submarines from a reliable friendly source and have done with it.

  92. SA pork barreling aside, I have never understood the wisdom of building submarines in Australia – the most complex and sophisticated machines known to man (other than space rockets). Excuse the pun, but the additional costs for this country are ‘astronomical’. Buy tried and tested boats and then maintain them, if we need to in Australia. That way we can save up to $20 billion and we can stop arguing about, for example, the relatively paltry costs of a plebiscite – as well as make serious inroads into our mounting debt

  93. A far greater problem for a diesel powered submarine is whether the fuel would be available when they are completed. According to a data base I have received from a U.S. Petroleuem geologist on the 1059 Giant Oil and Gas Fields of the World, future oil reserves will be a lot lower than almost all imagine. This data base from the American Association of Petroleum Geologists is an ongoing compilation by the late Professor Mike Horn and is an ongoing work.
    To take Saudi Arabia as an example, they do not have 266 billion barrels of reserves or what ever current misinformation they publish. The current figure is around 45610 billion barrels and on that basis it is highly unlikely they will be exporting any oil by 2025. That figure is from a 28 column spread sheet of their 59 large oil fields showing all the data from date discovered, depth, original oil in place and current estimated recoverable reserves.
    Similarly both Iran and Iraq would have less than 40 billion barrels each based on this data base. Current large oil fields are estimated to deplete at around 5/6% p.a. but worse still, 22 million barrels of daily oil production comes from off shore fields which deplete at between 10-15% p.a.
    If you don’t think we have a problem in this area, it is a denial of reality. I have given this data base to my Federal member who happens to be on the overall cabinet and am hoping some action will result. The need to go nuclear is beyond argument in my opinion.

  94. You are absolutely on the right track to question this flawed decision and I strongly support the stance you have taken. I have a background in strategic and defence matters and in private enterprise. The current plan, such as it is, would be an immense waste of national resources and not produce the desired strategic outcome or purported employment or economic benefit.

  95. Australia needs to have a mature debate about nuclear energy and that includes nuclear submarines. If buying these antiquated powered submarines is going to be our massive strategic military shift of the future, at an unprecedented tax payers expense then why would you bring a knife to a gun fight?

  96. Australia needs to have a mature debate about nuclear energy and that includes nuclear submarines. If buying these antiquated powered submarines is going to be our massive strategic military shift of the future, at an unprecedented tax payers expense, then why would you bring a knife to a gun fight?

  97. Our PM Malcom Turnbull has signed off on what will be the gravest Naval blunder of all time in awarding the $40 BillionTender for Australias replacement submarine fleet to the French DCNS consortium for the re-design and construction of diesel powered Barracuda Submarines.

    Diesel powered submarines were antiquated when the Collins Class was introduced and what a fiasco and massive cost overrun this was to become. At any point in time, only two Collins Class are operational, creating extreme vulnerability in our coastal defences.

    Australia is long overdue in acknowledging the technical, operational and safety advances achieved over the last 15 years in Nuclear Energy.
    The Federal Government needs to embark on an educational program to familiarise the population with the unparalleld advantages of Nuclear Powered Submarines over any alternative.

    Submarine design and construction is completely different to building surface vessels. The knowledge, resources and workforce skills are highly specialised and it is questionable that Australia posesses this capability.
    Redesigning and substituting nuclear power plants for diesel engines in submarines is a recipe for disaster, as the Japanese emphasised in their bid. It simply won’t work.

    The Turnbull Government should cancel the Tender award to the French DCNS, based upon the recent international security leak of the complete technical and operational design specifications of the same Barracuda design ordered by the Indian Navy. So any future enemy, has already been provided with the highly secret operational capabilities of our forthcoming submarines. Yes there are differences, but fundamentally, there is not much variation.

    Instead our Government needs to open negotiations with our primary ally the USA, to acquire the latest advanced Nuclear Powered submarines.
    Our workforce of 2,500 could benefit from the maintenance and servicing of these boats, if not also participating in the fitout of navigation and communications systems.
    Nuclear Powered submarines answer all of the perceived unique operational requirements of Australia, including long range patrols on a far more cost efficient basis than antiquated diesel power.

    Australia needs to equip our Navy with the capability to challenge any future aggressor on an equal footing as a minimum and preferrably with significant technical and operational advantage.

    Diesel Powered submarines do not satisfy this urgent need by any measure.

  98. Diesel class submarines are redundant in a modern hot war – most especially for the long distances to transit to target relative to the Australian land mass.

    Most people DONT KNOW that in peace time our current and proposed submarines transit to the exercise area on the SURFACE. Thus they can transit at ease 10-12,000 km. However in war – surely this would not be the case and the submarines would need to submerge and their range is reduced to about 1200km – and at slow speed.

    So I ask – how will a conventional submarine refuel at sea – by a tanker perhaps! Do we really expect a tanker to last 2km when it heads to open sea.

    To best describe the nonsense of this project – its likened to a camouflaged person running the length of a football oval to throw a dart at a wall – then run back… yet needing a drink provided by an un-camouflaged water boy every 100m of the journey.

    The defendants will point to other nations building conventional submarines like Singapore or S Korea. Well for them it makes perfect sense as the attack sea lanes are at their door step. And with short range to the target – it makes sense.

    Of course the US wants us to be stupid enough to build them – they gave up conventional submarines decades ago. They NEED us to retain a submarine fleet to act as a training device in their own force development.

    This is a national disgrace.

  99. People,
    .
    The only way that the well intended people who started this, are going to attract the type of attention required to influence what could be a 55 billion dollar stuff up, is to actively lobby the defense personnel who surely must have some influence on the government of the day!!! And (hopefully) have more detailed information available to them than any of us, There are many retired senior submariners and naval officers who could contribute to this discussion. However I guess they would not want to jeopardize their pensions in doing so.
    Short of open riots in the streets, I do not think that anything will change at the lower level of interest represented by the “grass roots” of this country.
    I believe that the general public have no idea -or interest- about what has been decided. For instance over a discussion of this subject in the bar of my club recently, three friends had no idea that we are going to “modify” a nuclear sub back to a diesel driven one. Indeed I believe that most people only know that we are buying from the French because of the recent leakage of information from DCNS.!!!
    This country has been locked politically, in an anti-nuclear mind set for the past 30 years. And the idea of a nuclear submarine is anathema to the pollies of all flavours. If we had moved then, we would not be having this discussion today.
    We are going backwards.
    I would commend that you read the single column article by Paul Kelly in the “inquirer” section of the Weekend Australian, in which he comments on a talk given by Costello last week.
    It says it all!!.

  100. Having just finished reading Jeffrey Grey’s “A Military History of Australia”, I was appalled by the recurring nightmare of unpreparedness prior to conflicts, accompanied by inappropriate expenditure on outdated technology and advice, usually with localised infighting for political advantage within the Defence establishment and politicians.
    Here we go again, thanks to South Australia’s strident call to be propped up industrially.
    Regional conflict will require at least some Australian attack submarine support of trade lines in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, since we can’t depend on the US. Such a submarine fleet necessitates silence, speed ability, and target killing effectiveness. None of these requirements are known attributes of the French design, since that boat has never been built or operated. Mind you, we could ask others around the world whether it might work, since French design criteria seem to be widely available, especially the secret bits.
    My suggestion is that Australia should lease a limited number of small nuclear-powered attack submarines (from the US or UK) along with an initial home port engineering and training establishment.
    Australia’s long-term requirement for stable industrial baseload power in a carbon-limited world may yet be the advent of Gen IV SMRs (Small Modular Reactors), localised in focussed areas where needed. The global expertise in this type of reactor is in the nuclear navies.
    Hence opting for both a nuclear submarine capability plus a nuclear power generation capability with all of the ancillary engineering and training represents a wonderful opportunity for Australia. Yes, it will take around 10 years to build that capability, but others have already noted the huge leg up which we already have in our tertiary institutions, as well as at ANSTO (bless them!).
    For the record, I am a 67-year old geoscientist specialising in uranium, having travelled to the backblocks of the world many times. I have no maritime or defence credentials other than having read a large amount on these topics, plus an intense patriotic personal interest on behalf of my children and grandkids.

  101. Remember Sol Trujillo, the Three Amigos, the “complete software upgrade” across Telstra? Trujillo is a career CIA asset specializing in compromising national comms networks. All Oz military comms independent of Telstra depend on USA-controlled assets.

    In the event that a REAL threat to Oz arose, the Americans would switch off the Oz military’s comms, tell them to sit down and shut up, and take care of the threat themselves. They regard Oz as their backyard, the military here as a joke, and won’t tolerate any threat that they perceive as being against their own interests.

    The subs, like all other Oz military gear, are just tokens to give the plebs the illusion of a Defence Force – i.e. it’s a Defence Farce. This is why neither the govt nor the military take Oz Defence seriously, as neither does any other country; only the Great Oz Unwashed.

  102. The F-111 was the first “swing-wing” aircraft to enter service with the USA Air Force. The wing “carry-through” structure contained pivot points allowing the wings to be configured for both low and super-sonic speeds, and was a major source of problems throughout development. It was conceived primarily as a low-level bomber, able to fly at altitudes as low as five hundred feet using terrain-following radar. It’s primary mission was to carry out surgical attacks on enemy assets in heavily built-up areas without damaging surrounding structures.

    It relied on speed and what is now called “stealth” – the ability to remain undetected. As a result, it was not fitted with machine guns or conventional aircraft cannon, for the simple reason that it was never intended to dog-fight. Any pilot sufficiently foolish to do so would probably rip the wings off; instead, they turned for home and firewalled the throttles.

    General Dynamics ran short of money during development, and hearing that the Ozzies were in the market for new kit, sent a salesman over to hand out brown paper bags. Discussions hit a bump when the Ozzies produced a laundry list of requirements, including machine guns and/or cannon. Undeterred, the salesman phoned home that night and said, “Hey guys! Can you hang a few machine guns on that thing?” After the laughter had died down, he insisted, “No, seriously?”

    “But why the hey would anyone want them? You’d never dare get into a real fight and use them.”

    “The Ozzies want them.”

    “Ah, well, that’s fine then!”

    So Oz got its F-111Cs, the only country in world to purchase them, and at gala events flew them PROUDLY overhead spouting fuel into the jetstream to give the punters below a REEL THRILL. Of course, none of the pilots were foolish enough to use them in anger: they never saw combat, much to their relief.

    Americans frequently complain about the grief and embarrassment they endure from the speech and actions of their allies, but always mention the sole exception of Australia. Ozns ALWAYS do exactly as they’re told by their Big Brave American Brothers, and are delighted to buy their cast-off military hardware, even at monstrously inflated prices. The Abrams tanks are great for sixty-ton wheelies in the desert, but completely useless for pretty much anything else. But hey, they’re a lot of fun, and buying them made the Americans SOOO happy.

  103. What is the connection between F111 bombers and acquiring the Virginia attack submarines. They are both superior bits of gear that have performed well. They attacked Libya from Britain and nearly killed Gadaffi.
    Their terrain skimming radar was world leading technology for many years and made it a potentially dangerous weapon to any of our neighbors.
    I had a relative fly Mirages, F4 phantoms and F111s in succession and he said the F4 was a thrill of a lifetime with its performance and reliability and the F111 skimming the deck over NSWs undulating mountains and flats at midnight in pitch black was something else.
    Why we are buying French piston subs instead of proven US subs is beyond me and the politicians should explain to us their innate wisdom in the choice.

  104. In July 1971 a new aircraft built by the Government Aircraft Factory took to the air for the first time. A twin-engined, multi-purpose transport designed for both military and civilian use, the Nomad was also intended to maintain aircraft production at GAF after the end of Mirage production.

    In some respects it wasn’t a bad little aircraft … er, that’s not EXACTLY true … well, in the interests of honesty, it was a pig of an aeroplane, a right steenking piece of sheet … metal, that is. It DID fly, most of the time, when someone brave or foolish enough to take the controls could be found, and after the intrepid Oz military pilots refused to fly it, unsuspecting foreign pilots on 457 visas were recruited when necessary, which wasn’t often (I may have made that last bit up).

    You see, amongst a plethora of faults, the one that gave most pilots a fit of conniptions was that the tail fell off. NOT all the time, mind you, and only during landings, which meant that you didn’t have far to walk home if you survived the event. Most didn’t. Even if you got clear of the thing, pulling the rip cord at five hundred feet means that the ‘chute is just opening as you hit the ground. Pretty fast. You might recover and get by afterwards as a quadriplegic, but your insurance company wouldn’t foot the bills.

    The original design was a bold piece of Ozzie innovation: the entire tail empennage was hinged so that it could swing open, providing rear-loading access for small vehicles and the like. This is tricky, of course, and requires close attention to such things as resonances in the fuselage structure, which must be well damped to avoid excessive vibration. They weren’t, and it did, catastrophically as it turned out. If you were quick off the mark you could throttle up the engines and kill the resonance with a bit of luck, but by this time Mother Earth is staring you in the face, and your neat landing flare-out is all to hell. Not good for the CV.

    Confidential army documents seen by the media included a damning list of safety concerns. Strength calculations used by engineers were wrong, there were stability and airworthiness problems, and major concerns over fatigue and cracking in the tailplane.

    “The Nomad has fundamental handling deficiencies affecting safety of flight,” one report said. “These deficiencies were identified at the point of introduction into service and have never been corrected.”

    A new tail was designed but never accepted because it would have amounted to an admission of failure, and in 1995 the aircraft was removed from military service.

    But the cunning Ozzies, determined to turn quiet failure into even quieter success, adopted a TRULY innovative approach: they repurposed them as Secret Weapons, and gave them away to neighbouring countries whose leaders they didn’t much like. Indonesia scored eighteen of them for the bargain price of two million dollars. The planes’ engines were worth close to that, and more than twenty million had been spent bringing them up to army specifications. Yet they’re still flying them, and if the fatality rate is the same as here in Oz, the entire Indonesian Air Force will pretty soon be wiped out. How’s that for SHEER GENIUS!

  105. Then there’s the Austeyr rifle, one of the sexiest bits of kit a young dare-devil can wave about on the parade-ground, setting the girls in the audience atizzy and all moist in the nether regions. And the parade-ground is where it belongs, being the only place it’s safe, since those brandishing it are not issued with ammunition. If ammunition IS issued, everyone with an IQ higher than room temperature immediately runs for cover, although the greatest danger is to the bearers, not the putative enemy.

    It was designed by the Austrian firm of Steyr to Oz specifications, a rather odd choice, since Steyr specialize in sniper rifles, not military kit. Two unique Ozzie innovations were the lack of a trigger guard, which gave it that macho ready-when-you-are look, and a push-button safety instead of the usual small lever. This looks much neater, and adds an extra element of excitement by making it near impossible to tell whether the safety is on or off. But it was the cost-cutting respec that gave the weapon its unique characteristics.

    Steyr specified a special high-temperature alloy for the barrel to accommodate the rapid rate of fire, which cost the proverbial arm and leg; but the Oz accountants flipped when they saw the price tag, insisted that standard barrel steel would do fine, thanks very much, and placed the order. As a result, if you squeeze the trigger for more than a second or two, the barrel overheats, the gun jams, and the plastic bits melt and fall off. And the neat safety has seen an inordinate number of “unauthorized discharges” – translation: the idiot was cleaning the thing with a round in the breech and the safety off.

    Soldiers are reportedly delighted to be issued with them on the parade ground to impress their Significant Others, but when it comes to REAL work they insist on being issued with REAL rifles.

    Then there are the Navy’s new patrol boats, which look REELY SPIFFING when tied up at the wharf. They’re also quite safe to sail up and down local creeks, with perhaps the odd trip out past the blue line on calm days. But they’re no longer allowed to take them out to sea because, you see, their hulls are made of aluminium. When steel is repeatedly flexed its natural elasticity allows it to do so indefinitely. Aluminium, however, rapidly fatigues: its crystalline structure alters and it breaks apart. Which is what is happening to the patrol boats: they are literally falling apart. They were never designed to go to sea, just to look natty at the wharf to impress visiting Third World dignitaries.

    Then there’s the … but just a minute now. There’s a pattern here, I’m sure of it. A pattern of … the mot juste escapes me the the moment … a pattern of … of … a pattern … I’ll get back to you when I remember it.

    1. Ziggy, as someone whom has been involved with the Steyr from its introduction into service you strike me as an armchair expert with no real world experience with the weapon. For a start even the most cursory examination of an original Aug and the F88 will show that neither has a conventional trigger guard and both have a push button safety catch neither of which is ” a unique ozzie innovation”. Incidentally I can name a good couple of dozen weapons that has a small button as a safety catch. Determining if the safety is on can be done simply by running your thumb over the button or perhaps in your case opening your eyes would work best? I have yet to see a Steyr with melted plastic components and I have seen some fools using them over the years. I have fired literally thousands of round through the various versions and could count on both hands the number of stoppages I have had to deal with in that time. The propensity for unauthorised discharges you speak of comes down to the training, competence and confidence of the users. As I stated I have carried the thing and fired thousands of rounds through it in the past 27 years, I have never had a UD/ND but I was trained old school where actions have consequences and you are responsible for them. I have also investigated close to two dozen UD/ND weapons and have found only once a weapon at fault and then because I was an eyewitness and did not see the individuals finger anywhere near the trigger at the time the weapon discharged. By the way, Steyr have for most of their history specialised in both military/police kit and sporting rifles, indeed I would consider a “sniper rifle” to be about as specialised as it gets. Please either check your facts, get some experience or refrain from comment.

  106. In a serious discussion about matters vital to the defence of a sovereign nation. this sort of trite commentary is to be deplored.

    Kindly take your foreign, vapid speculations elsewhere.

  107. OK. So since no-one else here seems to have understood what I’m saying, it’s this:

    Ozns suffer from the delusion that they are a PROUD, independent nation. They are not, and never have been. In 1900 the British govt promulgated legislation that ALLOWED Ozns to consider themselves a nation.

    A REAL nation comes into being when a group of people decide to determine their OWN future rather than have it determined by others. The UK has, Russia has, the USA has, even tiny Singapore has, but Ozns have NEVER done that. In 1901 the BRITISH legislation was enacted, ALLOWING Oz to become a pseudo-“Nation” in order to bolster the number of “independent” votes in international disputes (the same applied to other “commonwealth” countries of the time).

    Oz was a UK colony until the Hitler War, since when it has been a US protectorate. It is the USA’s back yard, owned and controlled by them other than for insignificant local affairs. Alexander “Dolly” Downer was famed for giving parliamentary speeches that were not only based on press releases from the USA Department of State, but often quoted them verbatim.

    All Oz males do as they’re told by their women-folk – their mummies and wives. Oz femmes worship American celebrities. It’s a far more effective method of social control than military invasion, especially because it’s both automatic and invisible.

    And now we have Christopher “Sweetlips” Pyne telling us that because the French submarine deal was cut by Oz “experts”, we should all immediately kowtow. And do you know what? All true Ozns WILL, because they ALWAYS do exactly as they’re told by their Big Brave American Brothers AND THEIR LOCAL CATAMITES.

  108. Let me explain one more thing for the benefit of anyone still reading this, and it has to do with experts.

    You don’t become a true expert by getting a fancy piece of paper from an even fancier college. You only do it after many years of proven, practical experience. Most of today’s “experts” are frauds – conmen – preying on the gullible, with little or no expertise in anything except deception, but often backed by wealthy criminals and the mass media.

    In order to be an “Australian submarine expert”, one must have had many years of REAL experience designing, building and maintaining submarines. Prior to the Collins class there were only the Oberon boats, British designed and built, so anyone claiming to be an “Australian submarine expert” was at best a braggart, and probably a liar.

    Therefore, any “Australian submarine expert” today can only have gained their expertise on the Collins boats, and they are an unmitigated disaster.

    Will Australians then allow these experts practised in disaster to oversee the next generation of boats?

    You bet your bottom dollar they will! That’s just how stupid, gullible and gutless they really are.

  109. If you don’t believe that Americans would screw Oz as badly as is here implied, just take a look at how they’ve screwed the whole world during the past decade (I won’t even mention 911). And by the way, they’re ALL entertaining, and quite viewable by those with attention spans in the milliseconds:

    How the Wall Street Banksters created criminal “financial instruments” that nuked the world economy:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Big_Short_%28film%29
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1596363/
    https://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/jan/27/the-big-short-financially-accurate-adam-mckay-subprime-money-bale-gosling-pitt
    https://www.facebook.com/TheBigShortMovie/

    Some technical details for those interested:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fiasco_%28book%29
    https://www.amazon.com/Fiasco-Inside-Story-Street-Trader/dp/0140278796

    But it’s only a part of a much uglier story:
    http://economichitman.com/
    https://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Economic-Hit-John-Perkins/dp/0452287081
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confessions_of_an_Economic_Hit_Man
    http://johnperkins.org/

    And the “ultimate instrument” by which all of this has been done:
    http://thecorporation.com/
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Corporation_%28film%29
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0379225/
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0379225/

    I’ve just finished my second beer and have Kikkoman mackerel awaiting for a late lunch, so I’ll leave it here. Have a nice day yourselves.

  110. Notice to all contributors:

    On behalf of our Submarines For Australia syndicate, I would like to thank all of you for contributing to our ongoing forum. We have been absolutely staggered by the positive response and erudite conclusions (mostly!) that you have made.

    We note that some of you have had distinguished careers in the Navy. Some people have said that our syndicate lacks gravitas, as we do not have a highly qualified person to add weight to our claims. Well we actually do have, his name is John Tait and he is an ex-British Lieutenant Commander with extensive experience in the British Navy on both Diesel and Nuclear boats. John is, in effect our technical advisor.

    John is living in retirement in the Victorian countryside and it is logistically difficult for him to be available to the media at short notice. We were kind of hoping that we could get an equivalent submariner with similar experience to John who would be able to act as a spokesman for us on technical matters. Anyone up for this? NO PAY!

    Anyway, thanks again to all of you. Those who have offered financial help, at this stage we can cope money-wise, thank you also. We may put a fund together in the future but it probably won’t be necessary.

    Best wishes on behalf of the syndicate,

    Gary Johnston
    Submarines For Australia

  111. Great comment. I thought you might have given up on the idea of insisting the Australian government consider first and only combat effectiveness for our next submarine as that is the only purpose we are building or buying submarines.
    It is a shame John is isolated from the media as he is a sterling choice for passing the knowledge he has to the rest of us and Australia.
    This campaign lends itself favorably to email, the web, and press releases which are useful and can be carried on from a distance.
    You have many supporters passionate about the defence of our children and grand children willing to help where possible.

  112. I viewed the discussion about the new Australian submarines form Germany for a while. The first and important mistake is that Australia wants a superior submarine. Not the submarine itself has to be superior the submarine fleet has to be superior.

    My point always was the submarine fleet has to be big and not the submarine itself. The price for a submarine can be scaled according to displacement. According to that for one 4,000 t submarine 4 smaller 1,000 t submarines could be bought (even cheaper due to mass production). For 12 fat submarines Australia could afford at least 48 small ones. Even the crew requirement would stay nearly the same.

    Australia is a big country so a big submarine makes no sense. Australia needs many submarine bases to cover its coasts. Even a nuclear powered submarine can just run at 30 kn. A small submarine already in place is always faster.

    Range is today sufficient for such small submarines even to reach all parts of China.

    A big fast submarine is far easier to detect than a small one.

    A small submarine could be produced on a yearly base and after 24 years replaced by a brand new one. A submarine fleet of big submarines would produce a gap to the next generation of submarines. A small submarine design can evolve. A big one (e.g. Collins-class) has no change to evolve.

    1. You forgot to mention crews for the boats. Currently they cannot crew the six submarines they have, so I have to ask where are the crews for eight submarines going magically come from. Three is not point having twelve submarine when eight will be tied up rusting.

  113. The first question in deciding the specification for any equipment is “What are the primary objectives of this asset”.

    Some of the respondents to this forum imply “combat effectiveness” as most important. I agree, but I offer “combat deterrence” as more important. I hope our submarines are mainly intended to convince potential enemies not to even go into combat with us in the first place.

    That means having high capacity to carry effective, powerful, accurate, long range weapons capable of doing a lot of damage to on shore assets.

    In addition, since we are two to four thousand kilometres from any likely combat theatre, we must have long range, extended time at sea, high reliability, low fuel usage, superb enemy detection ability, excellent communications, high capacity to carry countermeasures, and ability to stay quietly underwater for long periods. Stealth is important, but so is the ability to be quiet throughout all operation, detect enemies before they detect you, and then quickly get away, so underwater speed for extended periods would be important.

    However, when we assess these requirements for Australian submarines, only one (stealth) seems to positively favour diesels over nuclear engines. However, I suspect that nuclear submarines are actually much quieter than diesels, and therefore less detectable at medium to long ranges. I have some experience with large diesels, and they are far from quiet. The vaunted stealth operation applies only when the diesels are shut down and the submarine is running on (flammable Li ion?) batteries. I suspect nuclear engines are much quieter over the operational envelope, but only a submariner could answer that.

    I hope the debate about nuclear vs diesel results in some answers about our decision to acquire apparently less defensive capability than we could to defend our country and our children and grandchildren. As demonstrated earlier, we do have the technological ability to operate and maintain nuclear reactors, so that can be discounted as a reason for the decision.

  114. I assume having five persons endorsing the objectives of this movement is intended to indicate that the persons generally have views which are sound and have experience which should be supported. Having been a member of AOPA when Boyd Munro and Dick Smith took control, spent all of the organisations funds and left it as a dysfunctional, broken organisation with fewer members, I have less than no confidence in their point of view.

  115. Just the other day 5 prominent self-made Australian businessmen stepped up with an expensive full page add in the Australian purely on patriotic grounds plus making many other media engagements to try to bring to the Australian people the sheer recklessness of the government decision on the French submarine.
    Dick Smith, Gary Johnston of Jaycar Electronics, and John Tait, a British submarine commander of 29 years’ experience in Nuclear powered and piston submarines lead a group saying the French sub is a poor deal for Australia. These businessmen have built their businesses on being able to pick a good deal and conversely just as importantly to pick a bad deal and that is what they judge the French submarine deal is to Australia.
    There are many issues about the French sub that should terminate this deal such as,
    1. Submarine crew safety as these submarines are so antiquated and unsuitable for our needs that they will send the crews to their graves.
    2. Economically as this piston sub costs twice the price per ton when compared with the most modern US nuclear powered Virginia attack submarine.
    3. Combat effectiveness as the Virginia (Block 5) has up to 40 vertically launched cruise missiles that are fire and forget with a 1000mile range, as well as 38 heavy duty torpedoes as against the piston sub which has no cruise missiles and fewer torpedoes.
    4. Speed as the Virginia can sail around the world at over 32 knots without surfacing and the piston sub can sail no further than 60 kilometres submerged at full speed of 20 knots on battery power alone and then has to break the surface to snort for energy and air.
    5. The US has a history over seventy-five years of supplying us with reliable state of the art weapons that do the job whereas the French Tiger helicopters have been non-operational duds for ten years, the French held back parts for our mirage jet fighters in the Vietnam war and have been known to have security that leaks like a sieve for many years.
    Virginia Submarine underway
    Virginia Submarine underway

    The British and the US at different times have supplied us with quality weaponsforthepastcentury. They are English speaking countries and our allies with shared values and they should be where we buy this century nuclear submarines to defend our 36,000 km coastline. This submarine deal will last until 2080 when the last submarine will be de-commissioned. In that time, we will rely on the builder for critical parts, technical advice, repairs, submarine updates and many other issues that crop up between allies. The US and Great Britain will deliver.
    The French speak a different language, have provided unreliable products and servicing in the past, and have never been a close ally of Australia since WW2. They have never won a war in a hundred years and have often been politically antagonistic and uncooperative to Western Allies (Rainbow Warrior NZ) so the risks of having a massive defence investment with them out to 2080 must be significant.
    Prime Minister Turnbull, Defence Minister Pyne and Defence Minister Payne should come out and explain fully to the nation how they justify spending such a massive amount of money on inferior last century technology submarines when state of the art nuclear powered submarines are available to Australia (either built in Australia, or imported) for the same money.
    Prime Minister Turnbull has stated that nuclear submarines have never at any time been considered for our defence and this is a disgraceful irresponsible admission.

  116. Thank you Gentlemen!
    This is horrendous, especially when the deficit is continuing to increase and the Politicians are to gutless to address the issue.
    With the rapid change in technological development our leaders should be looking at Drone Submarines. The americans are testing them now.

  117. Ah but you are all wrong already. These submarines have already made their first strike! They have already sent a torpedo to killed off common sense and a government who is prepared to pay 50 billion for a few votes. Mind you the opposition couldn’t even figure out how to be incompetent.

    Keep at it. Buying votes is not a form of defence. Well political defence maybe!

  118. Gentlemen,

    You are so right. Please keep pushing. I will continue speaking to every person I can buttonhole on this issue.

  119. What a wonderful bunch of armchair admirals, talk about empty vessels. You should be ashamed, you really are a clueless bunch with heads firmly entrenched between arse and Murdoch bullshit. Pathetic bunch of whinging morons.

  120. I completely agree with your assessment that we could continue to subsidise the automobile industry for a fraction of the $50b price tag and get better bang for the taxpayer buck, i.e. 40,000 v 2,800 jobs. When I was an undergraduate student, I was told that there was a compelling strategic reason to preserve an automobile industry. What has changed? Looks like political ideaology trumped national interest. This would have never happened on Howard’s watch. It’s not too late to get GM and Toyota to defer their decision but time is running out…

    1. we should have our own car industry. Bugger foreigners. Howard’s watch. He bought those stupid Abrams tanks instead of the Leopard II. We had to rip out the turbine engine and place in a diesel

  121. yes. Subsisidise auto industry. we are good and experienced at that.

    A mix of off the shelf subs both Nuclear and conventional with AIP

    The German 212 or Swedish Gotland class a26, so long as it’s a high seas boat ( no others ) would be good. If the USA refuses to sell us nukes then I’d be prepared to go to the Poms and Russians even

  122. Take a nuclear design, remove the nuclear parts and fit a diesel engine.

    A $G50 camel designed by the horse committee

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