How are those submarines going to work out?

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.

(HT: Neilo)

 

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119 Responses to How are those submarines going to work out?

  1. jupes

    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?

    Yes
    Yes
    Because Chrissy Pyne needed to secure his seat.

    National Interest has nothing to do with it.

  2. Robber Baron

    When its not your own money, it gets wasted.

    In any event, in 2050 when the subs will be ready to launch, they will patrol Lake Eyre due to the flooding of the vast inland of Australia caused by global warming.

  3. Mike of Marion

    We can’t get a hole dug in outback SA to bury the Nuclear waste, so there is virtually NIL chance of getting Nuclear Submarines. We will have to put up with subs that are limited in so many ways including range and endurance.

    Don’t mention trying to get submariners too.

  4. Eyrie

    Australia has a defence policy? Really? Who knew?

  5. Jannie

    It would be cheaper to pay off SA with $10 billion, and buy half a dozen nice second hand nuclear tubs from the Yanks. France will be a Caliphate before they get to deliver anything.

  6. Roger

    Have we actually signed on the dotted line? Or was it a big announcement for the election?
    I thought I read somewhere that it was not actually set in concrete.

  7. memoryvault

    US WWII stats show that, while their subs sank a lot of shipping, blowing things up only accounted for 50% of their total utilisation. The other 50% was intel gathering and insertion/ extraction of specialist forces for covert ops.

    Good luck inserting an SAS troop with a robot sub.

    Diesel electric subs have been obsolete since September, 1954.

  8. Dr Fred Lenin

    We had better keep in with the USA ,we cannot defend ourselves at all we coukd buy a few drones and develop our own ,communication planes with rade=ar tracking sattelirtes . Create our own misslie capability a sub can only fight close up if it is not nuclear with icbms ,missiles can be delivered anywhere ,tracking radar can find enemies and missiles destroy them ,muck less limited than subs they are WW2 thinking ,think 21st century . I can just see our polliemuppets getting along with and he knows it Trump. they hate him and he knows it ,maggots .

  9. memoryvault

    It would be cheaper to pay off SA with $10 billion, and buy half a dozen nice second hand nuclear tubs from the Yanks.

    We didn’t even have to buy them, Jannie. The Yanks offered to lease us some/all of their fourteen currently mothballed Los Angeles Class subs, on very good terms. The Los Angeles Class still make up the backbone of the US attack sub fleet.

  10. Deplorable

    I agree the sub’s are obsolete now and what is their purpose,self defence or attack.
    To my mind Australia would have a better self defence capacity if $50bilion were spent on providing a ring of cruise mssles around Australia some being portable to attempt to fend off attack by others. Maybe I am not seeing what others see but to my mind the building of obsolete sub’s seems ridiculous. Let’s hope our politicians insults towards Trump have not caused friction.

  11. one old bruce

    Absolutely spot on, Sinc.

    Are we really buying deisel subs? For what? Training basically. Place holding.

    Always see ourselves as the junior partner, keeping seats warm till the big guys arrive. What crap. We should be a strategic strong point, not a weak link. The Yanks left us behind when they went into Japan’s inner domain for the final act. And we breathed a sigh of relief. It’s not disloyal to be more self-sufficient. It makes us a more valued partner too.

  12. memoryvault

    I thought I read somewhere that it was not actually set in concrete.

    Roger, at the moment the “Shortfin Barracuda” is little more than a thought bubble sketched on the back of a drink coaster. The very first of the nuclear Barracuda Class is still a year or two from even being launched, let alone commissioned.

    Our “Shortfin” variant is simply the as-yet unproven Barracuda design, with the nuclear reactors replaced with a diesel-electric power train from another sub less than half the size, and all the extra space taken up by fuel storage. At this stage nobody knows if it can even be done, let alone work.

  13. one old bruce

    OK, I sense that the subs are a gesture of self-sufficiency, while the Yanks were offering to integrate us more closely into their services, leasing their subs. So we chose a weak independent gesture and fell in a hole, neither fish nor fowl.

    Look we’re really have to make up our minds what we want to be. If we go USA, then it should be ‘all the way’. Or not. I’m for going full nuclear self-sufficiency, pretty much as I understand Israel’s defence model. Alliance with Israel, sharing military and intel, looks good to me. India is going down that road. If the Lebs don’t like it they can leave!

  14. memoryvault

    I agree the sub’s are obsolete now and what
    is their purpose,self defence or attack.

    Target.

  15. egg_

    I agree the sub’s are obsolete now and what
    is their purpose,self defence or attack.

    Target.

    Decoy?

  16. PoliticoNT

    Are we really buying deisel subs? For what? Training basically. Place holding.

    One Old Bruce – you can’t train with a platform that is mainly unavailable. (See Collins Class, two in maintenance, two ‘coming’ out of maintenance [but never quite making it], two supposedly available for actual operations, but rarely.) The problem with our political class is they don’t get the concept. Defence procurement by its nature must aggressively exclude anything that does not directly contribute to the operational capability of the ADF.

    Building submarines in South Australia is the latest in the Boasting Rights at the Stupid Table series. You may remember the previous Labor governments in VIC and NSW spending $12.5b on ‘green’ utility initiatives. The outcome from that collected stupidity has been to increase energy costs for households by around $1000 per annum (the last time I looked) and by a lot more for business. Again, boasting rights at the stupid table.

    See also – renewable energy targets, wind power, tidal power, hot rock power, 98% of arts funding, the Paris Agreement (and its antecedents), the HRC, the grotesque overpayment of APS personnel on the basis that ‘we have to be competitive with the private sector’, AOTY awards, membership of the UN, allowing race to be more important than culture and hence divide us, etcetera etcetera etcetera

    It’s really not that complex. Anything that gives those c**** in Parliament House something to smirk and smile and pat themselves on the back at – boasting rights at the stupid table. Used to be preserve of the Left, but now with the Barracuda debacle. Fuck me.

  17. PoliticoNT

    OK, I sense that the subs are a gesture of self-sufficiency.

    No. We’d need a population of, I don’t know, 60 million and an economy 7-8 times the size to achieve that. And even then we’re such a bunch of pussies. One of the many good things to come out of the Trump election is to make some us reflect on just how little we rely on the belief that come what may the US is ultimately there for us.

    Pyne and the deluded arseholes in Cabinet and their overpaid lapdog officer/senior APS class on Russell Hill that heralded in this appalling negligence need to be cleaned out. I don’t say that lightly or rhetorically though. (Politics is a hell of a lot harder to make things happen within than the chest beating we indulge in on these pages.) But you’re talking Pyne, Turnbull, Bishop, Payne and all of the dirtbags associated with them.

    Please don’t for a moment underestimate what a critical piece of bungling the subs at home decision is.

  18. PoliticoNT

    ….typo….how much we rely on the belief….

  19. a reader

    As much as this malarkey is a complete waste of time, money and everything else it is at least manned. I’m really not comfortable with unmanned vehicles being used for military purposes. If you need to kill someone, you should have to take the risk yourself. Sitting in a control room 3,000km away using a radio control aeroplane/sub/ship/car is for me morally wrong.

  20. Leo G

    Sitting in a control room 3,000km away using a radio control aeroplane/sub/ship/car is for me morally wrong.

    Is is similarly wrong to be sitting in a control room in a submarine up to 3,000km away using a radio guided cruise missile?

  21. memoryvault

    sitting in a control room in a submarine up to
    3,000km away using a radio guided cruise missile?

    Sub-based, intercontinental cruise missiles?

  22. egg_

    Is is similarly wrong to be sitting in a control room in a submarine up to 3,000km away using a radio guided cruise missile?

    +1

    Fighter aircraft rarely dogfight ‘in the visual realm’ but rather by radar – they’re weapons platforms – how is a drone any different?
    Smart weapons, like the cruise missile, simply cut out the middle man.

  23. BrettW

    Without the subs we would not have
    Christopher Pyne as an MP
    or a Minister for Defence Industry.

    Too big a cost to pay.

    Surely this sub deal will go down in history as one of the biggest mistakes any Australian Government has ever made. Even a teenage school drop out would know that they are going to be outdated fairly soon but our last one is going to be made in 2050 !

  24. PoliticoNT

    a reader

    Every dollar we waste on this industry-political slush fund is a dollar we strip off real capability. Christopher Pyne isn’t just clueless when it comes to the concept of what the ADF is actually for, the weaseling c*** is deeply politically corrupt. Building submarines in SA was never about saving Liberal seats. With, what, 50%+ public sector employment anyway, SA is Labor’s play thing, lock, stock and smoking barrel.

    No, Pyne’s galactic level abuse of power is the political insider’s boast gone mad, the ultimate just watch what I’m gonna pull off! The critical damage to Australia is that enough of these c**** pull off this bullshit and you get a kind of institutional/political/media momentum going where the end result is too many ordinary members of the electorate switch off to it. What sane Australian that actually understands what we have a defence force for would condone this project?

    But a measure of our collective, indulgent and lazy indulgence on the US is that we are fucking clueless when it comes to defence and security issues. I mean, have you ever read the crap that comes out of Lowy, ASPI, Kokoda? – and they’re apparently our best people. Fuck me. As for trying to take this issue to an electorate to win a seat on, beyond a forlorn hope. Even Sharpe wouldn’t charge into that gap. (Drives me mad sometimes, but I try not to be a whiney princess about it.)

    Think of it this way. You want your navy to have submarines? Fine. Procure the best platform you can in the quickest amount of time for the best price. No other considerations are to be entered to, and any benefit for local industry must be excluded from considerations. Otherwise you are thinking about issues that have no bearing on actual capability. Which………is the sole reason we need kit for.

    The edge that we have is a mixture of capable platforms and a ship load of training on said platforms. Culturally we are not warlike like the Americans, but we have very high expectations of our military competence so we train and fight very hard. Militarily we have a lot of self belief. But what do you think happens when our people don’t get to train on their platforms? Capability degrades. So, as an example, while the Super Hornets aren’t exactly perfect – we got them operational fairly quickly and they provide us with a good level of capability. The ANZAC Class build wasn’t without its challenges but it went fairly well and for what they’re deployed for they perform reasonably well. The Collins Class on the other hand…..

  25. Leo G

    Sub-based, intercontinental cruise missiles?

    At ranges greater than 5,000 km such sub based missiles are more likely to be ballistic.

  26. memoryvault

    At ranges greater than 5,000 km such sub based
    missiles are more likely to be ballistic.

    Sorry Leo. I didn’t think I needed a /sarc tag.

  27. MickofBrisbane

    “It is all very unsatisfactory having an industry policy as defence policy.”

    Oh, come on, Sinc! Don’t dress it up when you’ve already said:

    “I also think that national security is about securing the nation, not Liberal safe seats in South Australia.”

    Let’s go with pork-barreling v national security, no?

  28. Boambee John

    Badly.

    Next question?

  29. Defender of the faith

    Clearly new to this Sinc. Out last submarines were also built in Australia. We did not even bother to man them properly so that we’re generally idle. I wonder actually whether this is not the case globally. Most countries seem to have vast military budgets and many seem to have big defence industries. Cleverly the Swiss and the swedes seem to make a good quid out of it while the US, Australia and many others simply allow domestic industry to run riot with taxpayer cash. When we was the last time someone got fired for wasting money in defence in any country?

  30. Habib

    Immediately renew the negotiations with the USN for lease of SSN74. No other option is viable for any reasone except for political expediency, which verges on treachery.

  31. Habib

    BTW submarines no longer waste time and effort on sinking shipping. They are forward assault platforms, information gathering tools, and essential as support and protection for carriers. Which we now have. Put a carrier to sea without air and undersea cover, and it’s a 30,000-100,000 ton reef.

  32. PoliticoNT

    Put a carrier to sea without air and undersea cover, and it’s a 30,000-100,000 ton reef.

    Hello Habib. You’ll note we have:

    No undersea cover.
    No air cover at sea.
    No carrier.

    Unless you count our reliance on the USN for all three.

  33. jupes

    Culturally we are not warlike like the Americans, but we have very high expectations of our military competence so we train and fight very hard.

    Yeah nah.

    Not any more.

  34. PoliticoNT

    Yeah nah. Not any more.

    Okay Jupes, point made. And the pussies in Parliament, Russell Hill, National Circuit do their best to fuck things up, which in turn has an impact on the service headquarters, JOC, VCDF, MSC. But we do have a fair amount of self belief in the war fighting space.

    I guess the corollary is what if push really comes to shove? Killing addled Islamo-frat boys is one thing….

  35. Leo G

    Sorry Leo. I didn’t think I needed a /sarc tag.

    My sorry. Inappropriate launch due to early warning sarc verification failure.
    A demonstration perhaps of the risk of launch-on-warning postures.

  36. Habib

    2×30,000T LCDs count as carriers, at least as far as any enemy thinks so. The LCDs can operate VTOL F35, as the Marine assault carriers will do (and currently still AV8B Harrier). They are purely rotor carriers ATM.

    Part of the program was the AWDs to provide top cover, with the added advantage of all platforms being AEGIS capable. A secure undersea is also essential for any deployment of a surface task force. SSN74 would provide this, no other option can.

  37. PoliticoNT

    Habib – our LHDs can’t operate VTOL. Internal structure not designed for it. Common misconception.

  38. Habib

    Complete bollocks. Hangar decks would require minimal modification. Reduction of capability for helo is the major consideration.

  39. memoryvault

    No undersea cover.
    No air cover at sea.
    No carrier.

    Technically incorrect, Politico. We now have two very big ships (for us), that are technically classed as aircraft carriers. Their specific designation is LHD – Landing Helicopter Dock. They are each designed to carry, service and maintain six helicopters, variously configured for everything from troop landings, to torpedo launches against surface ships, to submarine warfare. Total number of helicopters currently assigned = zero, but I guess that’s a minor detail.

    But never fear. They each have four 27mm, 120 round per minute cannon, and six smaller machine guns, making them the biggest, slowest, most lightly armed “warships” ever built. The ships in Drake’s fleet had heavier firepower. They have no missile defence capability at all, but there is a plan to maybe fit them with Phalanx systems somewhere down the track. Maybe.

  40. Seaman Staines

    Our govts would have be massive investors in beta machines and Kodak shares in its dying days too I imagine ..
    Who are the clowns who advise these clowns ? And FFS it’s not like Pyne was ever worth saving is it ?
    By the the time we get our “super (diesel) subs” in 20 years time they’ll be cannon fodder for an average teenager’s long range drone .

  41. PoliticoNT

    Hangar decks would require minimal modification.

    The joint Army/Navy taskforce stuffed so much shit into those fucking things the ‘minimal modification’ would be around $500m per vessel.

  42. Habib

    ATM they don’t even have a Dalek with a stiffy, this may change. The Hobart class was supposed to obviate any need for such folderol. After all, they’re being built here.

  43. MickofBrisbane

    Unfortunately, the likes of Putin will have 6 new subs delivered within 5 years, whereas Australia’s sub deal will have only the first of 12 delivered in 15 years, with the last in 50.

    Apart from the west hoping the Russian boats leak like a sieve, the time comparison says a lot about where the west is going wrong.

    The left are totalitarians, but the Russian left are thinking about strategic world order while the western-left, with their romanticised view of socialism, are thinking employment programs and subs with a rainbow duco — like everything else, symbolism.

  44. Habib

    Actually the mods are mostly anchor points and traction to lifts. Same fuel. We need to emulate the Marines. They make this shit work, and then some.

  45. Habib

    Ski lift fronts also not only assist rotor lift in equatorial conditions, helps VTOL/STOL like billy-o.

  46. PoliticoNT

    Memoryvault – technically I’m actually correct, although I accept perhaps I have been tardy with my own language. By aircraft carrier I mean something that can put to sea with a reasonable fast jet capability, VTOL or otherwise. Yes, as Habib correctly notes with a ‘bit’ of modification the LHDs could launch jets. But at $500m per platform, not to mention having to toss out all the other capability they’re supposed to provide, well I guess so…..

    We only have the fucking things because instead of a bit of focus around delivering the strategic lift capability Howard discovered we didn’t have for East Timor (Jupes just let me add there are more dangerous streets in Palmerston than all of that Third World shithole, so yes, I take your earlier point) – somehow we got the DFAT/IPDIV/AusAID must have outcome. And you just watch those c**** gagging to use it. Next time there’s a cyclone in the Philippines…

  47. Habib

    Mind you, we can still rely on the USN to cover us as they already have for decades, Trumpy might even re-activate the 2 carrier fleets mothballed by his sitzplinken predecessor.

  48. memoryvault

    Memoryvault – technically I’m actually correct, although I accept perhaps I have been tardy with my own language.

    Yes, Politico, we are merely debating semantics. In their current form and kit, our LHD’s are little more than Red Cross Relief Ships, regardless of what they were originally designed to be.

    I’d still feel better if they had some minimal level of defence, above fending off Somali pirates.

  49. PoliticoNT

    After all, they’re being built here.

    Yes, the AWD is my all time favourite. I mean you couldn’t ask for a better way of doing business. A hull from the Spanish, combat system from the Americans, and built at three different locations in Aussie! I mean, fuck me cobber, what could possibly go wrong with that one!

    And just think. Navy’s best and brightest, 1000+ years of operational experience providing the sharpest guidance possible advising we go with the new gen Arleigh Burke. But no, the cock-munching creeps of NSCC led by the iminitable Brendan Nelson, lately of the AWM, came up with a much more Australian boondoggle.

    As fucking awful as Labor can be in the defence space, at least they can claim they’re not responsible for the LHD, AWD or new submarine.

  50. memoryvault

    As fucking awful as Labor can be in the defence space, at least they can claim they’re not responsible for the LHD, AWD or new submarine.

    As far as defence goes, the worst Labor usually manages is to do nothing at all. It takes a Liberal government to come up with these multi-billion dollar cock-ups.

  51. memoryvault

    1000+ years of operational experience providing the sharpest guidance possible advising we go with the new gen Arleigh Burke.

    Have you ever read the “official” reason we didn’t go with the Arleigh-Burke?
    “Unproven design in operational conditions”.

  52. Habib

    Do any of you have any idea of what athe capability of a light assault carrier? Best we can hope to put to sea, and rightly sorted with support and load, fuck up anything in this region.

  53. PoliticoNT

    “Unproven design in operational conditions”.

    Yah, complete political bullshit, and unbelievably stupid. The local build schemozzle aside, the Arleigh-Burke has been active since 1988. They’ve built 60+ of a planned class total of around 75. The idea it wasn’t a proven design is untrue. The RAN version would have had some updates. Big deal. Naval vessels are continually updated.

    I look forward to the declassification of the cabinet papers although stupid is as stupid does. Sometimes there’s no explaining political idiocy.

  54. PoliticoNT

    Do any of you have any idea of what the capability of a light assault carrier? Best we can hope to put to sea, and rightly sorted with support and load, fuck up anything in this region.

    Habib, buying one of these would make sense. Therefore we would not buy one. Also the Wasp Class offers no SJW-rescuing-third-world-peoples-bleeding-heart-bullshit outcomes, so no way Payne and the collected idiots of AusAID/IPDIV/STRATPOL/DFAT/PMC would go for it.

    Sigh.

  55. PoliticoNT

    Meanwhile the Hobart Class build continues apace. At present it appears we will be getting three platforms for the price of five.

  56. Habib

    Arleigh-Burke is by far the best operational destroyer on the ocean. Why don’t we have them? Or the S70-Q, or Bell UH1-Y, or the Bell AH-1Z, or AH64?

  57. Zulu Kilo Die Onuitspreeklike

    Or the S70-Q, or Bell UH1-Y, or the Bell AH-1Z, or AH64?

    Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation was producing Sabre jet fighters, armed with 2 x 30mm Aden cannon, and the Rolls Royce Avon engine, while the Yanks were still farting about with .50 Cal machine guns, and a powerplant 20% less powerful..

  58. PoliticoNT

    Arleigh-Burke is by far the best operational destroyer on the ocean. Why don’t we have them?

    You’d have to ask the members of the Howard-era NSCC who made the decision. It was taken contrary to the advice provided by Defence, especially Navy. Just another maritime procurement fuck up Australian style.

  59. Habib

    All going to be obsolete soon anyway.

    I for one welcome our SKYNET overlord.

  60. PoliticoNT

    Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation was producing Sabre jet fighters, armed with 2 x 30mm Aden cannon, and the Rolls Royce Avon engine, while the Yanks were still farting about with .50 Cal machine guns, and a powerplant 20% less powerful.

    Sure Zulu but where did it end up going? Costello is right. We’re good at digging up shit and exporting to the world. Focus on what we have the economies of scale for. It’s not that we can’t design and build good defence sector shit we just don’t build and export at anywhere close to the output of, say, the US. So, okay, during the Korean War we built a good fast jet. And then?

    Getting back to the source – submarines – building them here degrades our maritime warfare capability.

  61. Habib

    We do not have the engineering capability to build current generation weapon platforms, or even weapons. we have to buy smart on the market.

  62. Habib

    Lithgow can’t even knock out a bad copy of an Austrian failure. We’d get better gear from a workshop on the NW Frontier.

  63. Snoopy

    I thought the Lithgow F90 was supposed to be duck’s guts?

  64. Snoopy

    I thought the Lithgow F90 was supposed to be the duck’s guts?

  65. perturbed

    Until Labor and the Greens are utterly reamed out and crushed at the ballot box, and the odious culture of protest and interference that they support and enable withers and dies, there will be no prospect of nuclear submarines in the RAN, regardless of how sensible an idea they are. Diesel-electric subs are the quietest and hardest to find, and are the best in confined waters, but if Australia were a superpower its emphasis would have to be on deep-water sea-lane control.

    Also, there are jobs a drone just can’t do.

  66. PoliticoNT

    We have to buy smart on the market.

    Short of me becoming MINDEF Habib, I don’t see it happening.

  67. Habib

    As opposed to an actual well proven weapon like the M4, as used by all of our special forces?

    But we made the F90 here wif Osstraleen labeer!!!! An Owen gun for the noughties.

  68. PoliticoNT

    I thought the Lithgow F90 was supposed to be duck’s guts?

    We had a choice between the original Steyr AUG or the M4. The M4 was slightly more capable and expensive. So we went with the Steyr AUG, then made 1,000 pattern and design changes to the rifle and its 5.56 round. Yes, that’s right – 1,000 alterations. (I’ve read the official report.)

    As a result the AUS Steyr is substantially more expensive than the original, and a teeny little bit more capable than the M4. Buying the M4 would have been a better deal. But, you know, Straya!

  69. Habib

    Why does SF exclusively use the M4 then?

  70. PoliticoNT

    Unfortunately even if I can fight and claw my way into being the Member for Solomon it won’t provide enough of a base to get onto the front bench, certainly not Defence.

    Might have to move back to WA after all.

  71. PoliticoNT

    Why does SF exclusively use the M4 then?

    It’s a fucking great weapon. Durable, accurate, and nicely flexible when it comes to getting your in-house armorer to add on bits and pieces.

  72. Habib

    Main reason we bought the F88 was the Austrians said they’d let us build the fuckers at Lithgow. Colt said get fucked, on the very reasonable basis of shit quality control. We’d have done better buying AKs and MI24s off the Czechs when they joined NATO.

  73. Habib

    BTW it wouldn’t even be ironic having the ADF kitted with Soviet gear these days.

  74. memoryvault

    Short of me becoming MINDEF Habib, I don’t see it happening.

    Got my vote, Politico.

  75. memoryvault

    You need to get out of the NT, Politico, move to QLD and align with (not join) PHON.
    Then pick just about any current NP rural seat.

  76. Habib

    Let’s face it, the Spetznaz short AK47 is the best close range combat weapon ever built, 7.62 over 5.56, fuck up anyone in range. The MI24 is still the best assault helicopter ever built, and all of this gear is now available from a NATO partner. What’s to lose? Most dickheads wouldn’t notice, and the kiddies would think the ADF were sick ready to smoke homies.

  77. GoTiges

    It is all very unsatisfactory having an industry policy as defence policy.

    Agree. And if only Defence recognised a good Defence Industry when they saw it. When the Timor operation was getting underway and they realised what dogs they had bought with Kanimbla and Manoura, they went to a company in Tasmania for the Jervis Bay (II). Cheap as chips, a crew of 20, up to 4o knots in sea state 4, and carry anything you like. Some of us then younger Naval Officers were urging the old blokes to buy more of these things, they would be really hard to hit. Let’s bolt a gun to it, a missile launcher, spy gear, or special forces and see what they can do. Although Jervis Bay had solved the immediate operational need at short notice and performed brilliantly, they got rid of it and we went with AWD. Impressive ships, but can only be in one place at one time and if you lose it you lose 350 blokes (and blokesses), not 20.

  78. PoliticoNT

    Memoryvault – I was born in St George but can’t see myself moving back to Queensland, got no roots there at all. Even if my folks do the retirement move from Darwin to SEQ it wouldn’t be enough. Perth though – I’ve done a few stints there, did my uni there, got mates/friends, was even a member of the Fremantle Branch of the Libs. (Pointless fucking exercise but still fun.)

    It’ll be interesting to see how PHON go in the State election. I’m sure there was a PHON-style party back in the early 60s that picked up a lot of seats in State Parliament. Then ON did it again in the late 90s. Coming up again. Don’t know if they’ll last any longer than the last two times though.

  79. Habib

    I heard the story about the purchase of Kanimblla and Maonoura, how that prick escaped prosecution still astounds me.

  80. PoliticoNT

    Let’s face it, the Spetznaz short AK47 is the best close range combat weapon ever built, 7.62 over 5.56, fuck up anyone in range.

    Habib, when you talk like that I find myself feeling like Steve Martin in LA Story – emotionally erect.

  81. memoryvault

    Politico, WA will do, except I can’t work on your campaign. Same deal. Align with, but not join, PHON. Only because of their propensity to implode. Regardless, if you do decide to run, get in touch with me via the Doomlord and I will give you some insider knowledge on campaigns.

  82. Zulu Kilo Die Onuitspreeklike

    Habib, I’ m punishing the Scotch, I used to be an Airfield Defense Guard, when when they ever allocated the Carl Gustav?

  83. PoliticoNT

    memoryvault – roger that.

    I’m writing a submission at the moment on the 2016 Territory election. Shane Stone has come back in as the Party’s (CLP) president. Ominous sign though, his call for submissions included a missive we must not detail the actual fucks ups and mistakes, and especially not those responsible. As ever, I’ll be ignoring that.

    It’s worth being involved in though. You never know who’s watching/reading. The CLP are suffering the exact same problems every other contemporary party are, and party management seem incapable of both identifying (the problems) and then presenting some practical actions to make a difference.

    I don’t know if you’ve watched NT politics but public perception of why the CLP vote imploded and the actual reality are two different things. We’ve got every so called expert on our books including Mark Textor and Brian Loughnane (2016 federal election fuck up anyone?) but they all seem fairly clueless. Ordinary members are a different thing, kind of like ordinary voters. (Who would have thought that half a million Australians would get sick of the ABC/ALP calling them racist, and then retaliate by voting PHON.)

    Anyway, if you’re offering I wouldn’t mind having someone having a look at what I’ve written.

  84. memoryvault

    Anyway, if you’re offering I wouldn’t mind having someone having a look at what I’ve written.

    Count me in, Politico. If I can help in any way, I will. Email via the Doomlord. Surrounded by armchair warriors – which is mostly what this site is about – it’s a breath of fresh air to encounter a doer.

    But now it’s time for bed, otherwise the Memsahib will chuck a hissy fit tomorow.

  85. Zatara

    Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation was producing Sabre jet fighters, armed with 2 x 30mm Aden cannon, and the Rolls Royce Avon engine, while the Yanks were still farting about with .50 Cal machine guns, and a powerplant 20% less powerful..

    CAC started building licensed copies of the F-86 in 1951, and in 1953 the US moved on to the vastly more capableF-1oo Super Saber with 4 x 20mm cannon as their first line fighter.

    So nah, they weren’t farting around.

  86. Jupes;
    Culturally we are not warlike like the Americans, but we have very high expectations of our military competence so we train and fight very hard.

    Yeah nah.

    Not any more.

    One of the reasons for me resigning my commission in ’94 was due to the cancellation of our annual range shoot and qualification. It’s disgraceful that the Army wouldn’t afford 2-3,000 rounds of 9mm/7.62 once a year for a unit that was marked on mobilisation plans for one of our Brigades. It shows the army leadership isn’t serious about its core function.
    When I ask about how far down the senior ranks a Stalinesque Purge would need to go, I’m deadly serious. Defence preparedness in Australia is on a par with the crime of treason.

  87. Michel Lasouris

    It is blindingly obvious that the use of unmanned drones will perform many tasks in defence that are just too dangerous for human to perform. I, along with so many others have posted numerous criticisms of the submarine programme; not only obscenely expensive and even grossly more expensive than say the Israeli and Indian proposals, but as said above, also out of date before the first vessel is started. Just how, I wonder will the political authors of this stupidity explain their……stupidity? Most of the threats we face to our sovereignty will involve (ultimately) large numbers of enemy troops. I can’t see any alternative given the immense size of Australia. Weapons of mass destruction will be essential then, and accurately targeted. Thus surveillance will be critical; hence the need for dron
    es ( air and sea) followed by accurate, unmanned vehicle to carry the necessary ordinance.

  88. Eyrie

    a reader
    #2220271, posted on November 26, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    “As much as this malarkey is a complete waste of time, money and everything else it is at least manned. I’m really not comfortable with unmanned vehicles being used for military purposes. If you need to kill someone, you should have to take the risk yourself. Sitting in a control room 3,000km away using a radio control aeroplane/sub/ship/car is for me morally wrong.”

    You want us to kill the enemy with our bare hands, you precious petal?
    If you are going to a fair fight or anything like a fair fight – you haven’t done enough preparation.

  89. Botswana O'Hooligan

    Its the threat that counts so as long as our subs aren’t put anywhere near water Nero turnbull can threaten all and sundry with mythical whatevers and we can sleep well at night.

  90. Michel Lasouris;

    Most of the threats we face to our sovereignty will involve (ultimately) large numbers of enemy troops.

    Why are we forgetting the concept of mass in war?
    Look at what happened to the Germans against the Soviets in WW2 – better designed, better built, more effective machinery, and when they were gone at 10:1 odds, the poor bastards in the foxholes were sitting ducks for overwhelming Soviet odds.
    The Chinese could throw all their thousands of obsolete MiG 21s against our 70 F/A 18s and at the end they would suffer a couple of hundred losses, and we’d have no aircraft left. At this point, they’d throw all their thousands of obsolete aircraft at us and we’d be without an army or navy.
    The refusal to adhere to this ages old military fact is more than blind incompetence, it is treasonable.

  91. Senile Old Guy

    I don’t know if you’ve watched NT politics but public perception of why the CLP vote imploded and the actual reality are two different things.

    Well, that would be interesting to read. As a swinging voter, they stuffed up from Day One with Terry Mills and the massive utility increases, blamed on the financial situation being ‘worse than expected’. Anyone who had been paying attention was fairly sure that Labor had massively blown the budget, so either he was lying or clueless, neither of which was a good look.

  92. Harlequin Decline

    This will be the biggest fuck up of ADF Procurement in Australian history. Unproven French design, re-engined before the first one is launched, built in Oz from the get go, Australian Unions, required to integrate with USN C4I systems, expensive even before the design is completed and spread over 30+ years to guarantee obsolescence.

    What could possibly go right?

  93. Botswana O'Hooligan

    Winston Smith
    You are surely right for I attempted to train many Celestials and their affiliates on the fine art of defying gravity at a reasonably high speed for many years and found about two who would be suitable for further training. Remember that they couldn’t find Pearce AFB when sent down from the north to aid in the search for MH-370 and had to land at Perth, but also remember that there are squillions of them. If one armed them with sticks and flotation devices, preferably flotation devices built in SA to even out the equation somewhat, their numbers would prevail so we have a choice, Friday prayers in the streets or scraping out our daily rice bowl. Which is it to be?

  94. memoryvault

    What could possibly go right?

    They manage to keep the power on?

  95. Myrddin Seren

    I hope Pyne is in lock-step with the rest of the global political class and gets massive kick backs from the French once the cheques from Defence start rolling.

    I would hate to think the Coalition is so dumb they wreck any real defence capability and destroy the budget because Stupid ?

    At least give us the satisfaction of knowing it was naked corruption when Pyne is waving to the peasants from the balcony of his secure, post-politics chateau in the Caliphate of the Cote d’Azur.

  96. Muddy

    I think this panic is a bit premature. What are we to do in the meantime, and what if the new concepts don’t work out as planned? Plus what MV wrote about the multiple roles of manned subs, including infiltration and exfiltration of special forces parties.
    I’m nowhere close to being an expert on this subject, but what about the projection of power as a deterrent? Are Lego Guppies going to intimidate anyone?

  97. Boambee John

    Winston at 1030

    “Quantity has a quality all of its own”, Joe Stalin.

  98. egg_

    The Chinese could throw all their thousands of obsolete MiG 21s against our 70 F/A 18s and at the end they would suffer a couple of hundred losses

    Optimistic – IMHO the FA18’s wouldn’t stand a chance.

  99. Eyrie

    Re the F-86 and F-100: Some years ago Mrs Eyrie and I had one Capt Bill Charney (aka Capt. Biff Windsock – look it up) to dinner one delightful evening, along with a young Army helicopter pilot friend and his wife. Bill flew the F-100 on ground attack missions in South Vietnam for a year and referred to it is the Not So Super Sabre. He then flew the F-86H(the last, more powerful model the US built) and when I asked him what it was like he sighed and said “I could have flown the F-86 for the rest of my life”.
    re the Australian Avon Sabre with the 30mm guns – when they first fired them the engine would stop because the shock waves from the cannon shells blocked the intake airflow. The RAAF investigated so they they fitted an upward pointing camera to a Canberra and flew it just under the nose of the Sabre with the lighting conditions just right so they could photograph the shock waves. So they fired the guns and of course had forgotten one little detail – the recoil slowed the Sabre down and put the Canberra right about where the cannon shells would hit it. Fortunately the Canberra pilot pushed hard. I got the story verbatim from him (he was the RAAF’s Chief Test pilot at the time). He could hear the shockwaves from the supersonic cannon shells passing over the canopy.
    The fix was a switch on the trigger to reduce the engine fuel flow momentarily while the guns were firing.

  100. Eyrie

    One more thing, late in the Korean War the US sent some 4 x 20mm cannon armed F-86 Sabres to test under combat conditions.

  101. Rayvic

    Very timely posting by Sinc.

    It is in the national interest that the misguided, obsolete-design submarine procurement policy is rigorously reviewed and rectified. All of Sinc’s suggested options must be examined.

  102. egg_

    F-100 Super Sabre Thunderbirds aerobatics – Nellis AFB 1959 – aerial footage

  103. egg;

    Optimistic – IMHO the FA18’s wouldn’t stand a chance.

    I assumed the F/A 18s would carry 4xAAMRAM all of which hit a MiG 21.

  104. egg_

    Winston Smith EWLOB26051952M
    #2220883, posted on November 27, 2016 at 12:10 pm

    Overwhelming numbers and once (with)’in visual range’ would be a different ballgame, with today’s ‘weapons platform’ slugs, IMHO.

  105. Egg, you are of course, quite right.
    The only way is two or three advanced AWACS type aircraft behind platform aircraft with advanced missile capability. The platform aircraft carry 16 – 20 missiles and fire off the required amount. You would need five or six squadrons and be prepared to replace all of them if the enemy caught up with them. If that happened, the pilots would abandon the aircraft and make their way back home. It’s assumed the action would take place over our own lines if we were writing down the enemy pilots and planes.
    Still, the AWACS aircraft would be priority targets.
    And our advanced missile supply is only good for three days if my information is correct.

  106. Habib

    The Chinese could throw all their thousands of obsolete MiG 21s against our 70 F/A 18s and at the end they would suffer a couple of hundred losses. Hornets wouldn’t even engage, they’d be wiped out by surface launched heat seeking missiles, any left would be taken out by ground fire. Anyone who launches an assault with obsolete platforms is merely consigning trained crew to death.

  107. Habib

    BTW the minigun was developed to deal with mass assaults such as the Chicoms deployed in Korea. As long as the ammunition supply keeps up, that tactic’s gone along with trench warfare and cavalry charges.

  108. Habib;

    As long as the ammunition supply keeps up, that tactic’s gone along with trench warfare and cavalry charges.

    That’s why Russia, North Korea, and China have spent a lot of money on SF units. They realise the value of stopping that ammunition getting to the front.

  109. Habib

    ZK, bloody ADGies have just about every piece of kit short of tanks. SF wannabes in the main.

    I recall mustering for an ANZAC day march a couple of years ago, and the Blue Orchids were leading. A Sqn of ADGies were milling around in their powder blue berets, waiting to form up; a cranky old buffer standing next to me remarked “have a look at those cnuts; a couple of stokers on the piss would take the lot of ’em“.

  110. Muddy

    The U.S. Naval War College’s War College Review online magazine, features an article on unmanned maritime systems which may be of interest to someone. I’ve only just downloaded it and not had an opportunity to read it in full yet. It’s a quick and easy pdf and doesn’t cost anything.

  111. egg_

    unmanned maritime systems

    From previous, smart weapons is the future, particularly in Winston’s asymmetrical scenario.

  112. PoliticoNT

    Well, that would be interesting to read.

    SOG – sure. I still have to work out how to ’email the Doomlord’ to get in contact with other Cats. I’m assuming this is code for Sinclair.

    In basic terms though it was the fuck-up over the RMB process that collapsed the vote. It happened before the utility price announcement (a sensible proposal which came out of the RMB). Mills and his fifth floor queers could have gone with KPMG, Deloittes etc. Instead they got a coterie of old boys in on ridiculous contracts including cars and executive apartments. Then got into a trench fight with Joe Voter through the esteemed pages of the NT News. Solid gold fuck up.

    Their vote never recovered. Foundation 51 made the RMB disaster far worse. It was like they’d laid the foundations for distrust and anger with that chest beating idiocy. Those fucking contracts did it. Mills spent almost 8 years building a decent reputation and destroyed it by taking a gigantic shit down the throat of the electorate.

    It is possible they might have revived themselves but the mismanagement of Alison Anderson was the death knell. Those three bush seats were effectively gone from that point onwards. Sheer fucking incompetence. Then the mindless Cabinet reshuffles. The non-coup. It didn’t matter what policy of substance they actually got through. They were gone.

    But it all started with the RMB contracts.

  113. PoliticoNT

    This will be the biggest fuck up of ADF Procurement in Australian history.

    HD – correct.

    It is in the national interest that the misguided, obsolete-design submarine procurement policy is rigorously reviewed and rectified. All of Sinc’s suggested options must be examined.

    Rayvic – Not necessarily. Sinc asks whether we should consider particular (conceptual) options. The counsel I would provide is that those doing the considering should be ordinary members of the public, within which you’ll find more common sense and rationality than anywhere else, especially the advisory class. Sinc’s closing sentence – It is all very unsatisfactory having an industry policy as defence policy – is the best point he makes but still off the mark. It’s more accurate to describe it as an industry/political slush fund. Certainly acquiring naval capability will not be the outcome of the project, no matter how much Pyne et al bleat.

    I hope Pyne is in lock-step with the rest of the global political class and gets massive kick backs from the French once the cheques from Defence start rolling.

    Myrrdin – see my caffeine-enhanced posts last night with references to what drives Pyne. It’s a measure of political corruption, grandiose ego, a complicit media/defence, and an arse lazy electorate long used to depending on US power. Again, short of me becoming MINDEF I don’t see a change on the horizon. (False humility being the refuge of the incompetent and all.)

  114. memoryvault

    Politico,

    Sinclair is called the Doomlord because of his avatar, and his ability to smite.
    He is contactable via email. The address is in the “about” section at the top of the page.

  115. Tel

    Anyone who launches an assault with obsolete platforms is merely consigning trained crew to death.

    A bunch of iron-age tribesmen known as “Taliban” did surprisingly well against the full might of the US military for more than a decade and those guys had no platform at all. They also stalled the USSR at it’s peak and even the British Empire at their peak.

    Leave smugness to the New York Times and friends… they are better at ignoring reality than we are.

  116. Habib

    The Telitubbies wouldnt have lasted a week with full force brought to bear, instead of being protected by arcane ROEs. Even with the parlous state of Soviet soldiery in the ’80s, the muj were getting annhilated until they started getting ordnance and funds (especially Stingers) from the CIA. Now they’re dependant on Iran & Pakistan, and they’re hardly the best allies to have. If full war was engaged they’d be targets as well. Would only take one or two small yield nukes to see the whole rabble run like poodles.

  117. Habib;

    Anyone who launches an assault with obsolete platforms is merely consigning trained crew to death.

    You are correct, but in this case I was suggesting that it would be a defensive battle over our own lines. Any crew shot down would be recoverable by our own side. To take it further, if, after the platforms had launched their missiles and were unable to get away, the aircraft would be deemed lost and the crews bail out to fight another day. We can build more weapons platforms cheaply, it’s the pilots who take time and money to train. Whether radio control would work is another story.

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