We should understand that national security expenditure has a large element of industry and welfare policy in it. Now while I agree that keeping Labor out of office is in the national interest, I also think that national security is about securing the nation, not Liberal safe seats in South Australia.
So this article is of great interest.
As unmanned aerial drones have become a critical part of modern warfare, the Pentagon is now looking to deploy autonomous robots underwater, patrolling the sea floor on what one top Navy official called an “Eisenhower highway network,” complete with rest stops where the drones could recharge.
Although still in the development stages, the technology has matured in recent years to be able to overcome the vast difficulties of operating underwater, a far more harsh environment than what aerial drones face in the sky.
It is very likely that the types of submarine that the Australian government has commissioned will be obsolete in the near(ish) future. Perhaps they are obsolete already – diesel engines as opposed to nuclear was I think a mistake.
But this does raise interesting questions.
- Should we be exploring these options with the Americans now?
- Should we have waited (implicitly are are waiting, but have committed billions in expenditure already).
- Why did we commit to a very long-term submarine build when a new technology was in the offering?
It is all very unsatisfactory having an industry policy as defence policy.