David Leyonhjelm on Future Submarines

Major wars in future will be fought remotely, with drones, long range missiles and satellites. Surface ships will be quickly destroyed while manned aircraft and ground forces will either be wiped out or not particularly useful.

Submarines that can remain undetected beneath the surface of the ocean, on the other hand, will be largely untouchable. Armed with a variety of weapons, they offer genuine deterrence backed by the capacity, if required, to inflict massive deadly force on an enemy.

Replacing Australia’s Collins Class submarines is therefore a matter of major concern, given that the country’s future may depend on them.

The Navy’s program to replace the Collins Class submarines is known as SEA 1000. It involves modification of a French Barracuda Class submarine from nuclear to diesel-electric propulsion, plus other changes specific to Australia.

The 12 new submarines, to be known as Shortfin Barracudas, are intended to begin entering service in the early 2030s with construction extending to 2050. The program is estimated to cost $50 billion and will be the largest and most complex defence acquisition project in Australian history.

For a country with limited financial resources and industrial capacity, the decision to develop an original design is high risk. This was highlighted in a timely Insight Economics report, released in September 2017, which said: “The capability requirements for the (future submarine) set out in the 2009 Defence White Paper… were highly ambitious… and any attempt to satisfy them with a (diesel-electric submarine) of a new and untested design, apart from being excessively expensive, would inevitably risk compromising the Submarine Force’s ability to discharge its most essential operational tasks.”

“Going forward with just one design has resulted in Defence gifting to Naval Group almost complete market power over capability, price and delivery. Should the design turn out to be inadequate or unworkable, the implications for Australia’s future submarine capability would be dire.”

Then there’s the decision to build them in Australia. The Abbott government’s 2016 Defence White Paper only committed to building them in Australia if it could be done without compromising capability, cost or project schedule. That changed because of South Australian politics, and the new submarines could now be more appropriately described as the Xenophon class.

Even if all goes well, the cost of building warships in Australia will be 30 to 40 per cent more than if they were built overseas. However, the plan to build them in Adelaide at the Australian Submarine Corporation, the same group currently building the Air Warfare Destroyer, years late and a billion dollars over budget, adds to a sense of foreboding.

This follows the prize fiasco of the Collins Class submarine project. Their construction by the Australian Submarine Corporation ran years behind schedule, many millions over budget, and finally delivered a platform that the Navy has struggled to even keep operational.

And then there is the question of whether the new submarines will arrive before the Collins Class subs are retired, scheduled for 2026 to 2033. Even if delivery occurs on schedule, the first will not enter service until 2033. At best there will be one new submarine in service and a nine year gap between the retirement of the Collins Class and the introduction into service of the first six of the twelve new submarines.

Given this, the government has apparently committed an additional $15 billion to keep the 30 year old Collins submarines bobbing in the water. It’s like refurbishing a World War 2 German U-Boat for the mid-1990s.

The elements are all there for the submarine replacement program to become the procurement scandal of the century. Our Shortfin Barracudas will probably be the most expensive submarines ever built anywhere in the world.

For a lot less money, we could achieve a far more potent submarine capability. For example, off-the-shelf Japanese Soryu submarines cost only US$540 million. Modified to meet additional Navy requirements, they were quoted as costing A$750 million. If we simply bought twelve of those, the total cost to the taxpayer would be less than A$10 billion.

Equally, the existing nuclear Barracudas only cost $2 billion each, so we could get twelve of those for $24 billion.

For such an important defence capability, the government’s failure to guarantee Australia is protected by submarines is nothing less than gross negligence.

David Leyonhjelm is a senator for the Liberal Democrats

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68 Responses to David Leyonhjelm on Future Submarines

  1. Rafe Champion

    This is waste and incompetence on the scale of the NBN.

    Who was it who said he would not trust that lot to build a canoe?

  2. Baldrick

    The 12 new submarines, to be known as Shortfin Barracudas, are intended to begin entering service in the early 2030s with construction extending to 2050.

    By the time the last submarine is delivered it will be 30+ year old technology. Like training a crew today to man a submarine from 1986, using Commodore 64 computing technology.
    The whole plan is bollocks and I’d be surprised if even one gets built.

  3. Boambee John

    Rafe

    Who was it who said he would not trust that lot to build a canoe?

    Someone who was very quickly made into a former Defence Minister?

  4. Mike of Marion

    A fleet of worn out USN nuclear class would have been better still

  5. teddy bear

    Baldrick I would go further and say that by the time the last sub sails out of the production line the design will be approaching 50 years old, and by the time they are retired the design may be approaching 100 years. The Barracuda class first began construction in 2007 so the design is probably from beginning of the century.

    Also the other thing about the French choice vs Japanese, with the Japanese we would almost certainly have been able to have access to repairs and maintenance in Japan if needed, and considering that is the main area of concern in the world right now and foreseeable future it would have provided a vital strategic asset. With the money saved we could have bought some nuclear subs from America for their specific capabilities and asked to join their underwater drone research program.

    Instead the traitors spent $50 billion plus to re-elect Pyne.

  6. Mak Siccar

    What else do you expect from our treasonous politicians? A pox on the lot of the them!

  7. Mitch M.

    All this to shore up SA coalition seats. Should have gone for the Japan Soryu subs. I suspect the reason for not doing that is that the Japanese were not willing to allow construction in Australia.

  8. The Moribund Barking Toad

    Pyne class subs.

    Will make NBN and NDIS seem like cheap and viable

  9. Up The Workers!

    I foresee no problems whatsoever with the Prime Quisling’s “Mincing Poodle-Class” seat-saving submarines.

    At the first sign of any conflict, they would routinely go over to the other side.

  10. Sabena

    I would ask the question as to whether a submarine itself is required rather than an offensive underwater submersible.Given the technology used for MH370,whilst we are not at that point yet,doesn’t it point to where we should be going?

  11. Rafe

    Yes then they would be a.liability for the enemy.

  12. RobK

    I suspect we would be better off taking a cheaper option and devloping our own smart devices to dispatch from the platform. To me, the pointy end of what you can deliver via a submarine platform is where the biggest advantage will lay and we could develop our own or buy in as required.

  13. Up The Workers!

    At least the Collins Class subs have the distinct advantage of being able to severely deafen any enemy sonar operators, two whole oceans away, and with their maintenance record being what it is, by the time they eventually arrive at the scene of battle, the enemy crew – deafened sonar operators and all – will likely have died of old age.

    It’ll be interesting to see how the “Mincing Poodle-Class” Seat-Saving subs turn out (if they ever do) given that they are intended to be built in Jay Weatherdill’s electricity-free mendicant State of Greater Snowtown, by the light of Bryant & May’s matches and donated second-hand Eveready batteries pulled at great expense, from out of Elon Musk’s giant carpet-bag.

  14. AH

    Personally, I’d like to see a concerted effort to defeat this policy. I think everyone knows it is a waste of money.

  15. What about some off the shelf US Virginia class?

  16. Dr Fred Lenin

    Of course no one has developed tracking technology for these “invisible subs “ , depends who the enemy is. The unions would support some potential enemies like they did during WW2 and Vietnam , the comrades stick together , No subs would be built if the potential enemy was a “progressive state “ , Treason is rife these days ,we are surrounded by Quislings .

  17. Didn’t Abbott666 set in train a process to buy the Japanese sub?

  18. Tel

    This is waste and incompetence on the scale of the NBN.

    It will be worse. At least with the NBN you get something at the end of the day.

  19. egg_

    It’ll be interesting to see how the “Mincing Poodle-Class” Seat-Saving subs turn out (if they ever do) given that they are intended to be built in Jay Weatherdill’s electricity-free mendicant State of Greater Snowtown, by the light of Bryant & May’s matches and donated second-hand Eveready batteries pulled at great expense, from out of Elon Musk’s giant carpet-bag.

    They’ll probably have the operating range of a Tesla.

  20. Actually we could buy Virginias with a few on-board nuke warheads for less money.

  21. Not that I would trust our new fainting sailors with a nuke button.

  22. John Constantine

    There is no Australia.

    There are no borders, no deplorable and obsolete lines on the map drawn by stale pale males.

    There is only The Cause, served with fanatical devotion by our nihilistic autocrat class.

    One Great Transnational World State, and Australias elites have already signed the capitulation documents, not only signed but openly and outright stated that our quislings will never waver from implementing the full intent of deindustrialising the country, balkanising it through mass importation of veterans of the struggle against racist colonialism and exporting all industry to the third world as War Reparations.

    Who could Australia fight anyway, when our balkanised nation of nations in 2040 has millions of people that call China the old country, millions of people that call India the old country, millions of people that call the caliphate their spiritual home and millions of outright godless commo lefties.

    The proles are the true Enemy of the State, so with no enemies without, the State can focus on the enemies within, using paramilitary death squads, total and eternal robot and artificial intelligence software monitoring of all thoughts and actions, State Rationing, curfews and finally euthanasia for all those fixated individuals unhappy with the dystopia.

  23. wal1957

    They’re spending other peoples money, so it’s okay!

    Bloody politicians! If ever one of these useless hacks knocks on my door to peddle their policies they had better be prepared for a verbal onslaught that would make Keating at his best seem like a church altar boy.

    I cannot, for the life of me, understand how this project ever, ever got off the ground. 30 bloody years to build something that we need to be operational in maybe 5-10 years? And the cost? Cripes! Any claim that the Libs had to fiscal responsibility went out the door with this deal.

    Fiscal responsibility. Remember that you incompetent leftie-Liberals? Just one more reason that I will not be voting Liberal at the next election, and maybe never again.

  24. wal1957

    BTW…to anybody who writes that by not voting for the Libs I am putting in Billy Shortone…Piss Off!

    The reason we are in this mess is that everybody, (me included), were all voting for the lesser of 2 evils.
    Now we have 2 really evil choices in the 2 majors. If we don’t start supporting an alternative now, we will never force change. Rinse…spin…repeat…rinse…spin…repeat..etc

  25. Dave Wane

    Surely one of our clever allies (the US or Japan) have already thought of developing (or have already developed) unmanned “drone-like” nuclear submarines?
    Would not this be the obvious solution?
    Cheaper to build, with no pesky humans to worry about, and able to take far greater risks to inflict serious damage upon any enemy?
    But, of course: If they can be purchased; buy them “off-the shelf” , but NEVER have them built in the failed state of South Australia by that heavily subsidised canoe building collective they have down there.

  26. tgs

    While I usually agree wholeheartedly with DL I do have some issues with this article.

    Major wars in future will be fought remotely, with drones, long range missiles and satellites. Surface ships will be quickly destroyed while manned aircraft and ground forces will either be wiped out or not particularly useful.

    This smacks of amateurish armchair speculation to me. Depending on how you define “major war” and what political objectives would constitute victory it any given scenario seems almost absurdly naive to think that there are many (if any) military scenarios in which boots on the ground and manned assets would be obsolete.

    Missiles can only destroy targets for which they have effective targeting data for, the ability to defeat all countermeasures and can drop the required quantity and type of ordinance onto. Often that targeting data comes from manned assets and/or boots on the ground. In the future humans may play less of a direct role in that but to suggest that in all cases it will necessarily be 0% I think is perhaps unrealistic.

    Satellites are currently vulnerable to anti-satellite missiles such as the successful test China performed in 2007. Satellites are expensive, not easy to hide and not all that difficult to destroy if a nation already has the technology. Some satellites have the ability to change trajectory but not all that quickly and it burns their limited fuel capacities so they don’t really have any effective countermeasures. If a major conventional conflict occurred say between China and the US it’s not too implausible to see the opening stages involving the major powers targeting each others space assets (and probably saturating the LEO/MEO atmosphere with so much debris it would set the world back decades if not longer). Anecdotally I heard a year or two ago that the US Naval Academy had put celestial navigation back on the general curriculum after it had been taken off in the 80’s in part due to the concern that the officer no longer had the ability to effectively navigate if satellite systems like GPS were compromised (can’t verify the truth of that but an interesting tidbit if true).

    Ground forces will always be needed in war. Not all military/political objectives can be achieved by remotely putting ordinance on a target. It has been proposed many, many times over the decades that boots on the ground are obsolete and wars will be won by [insert new technology here] and every single time it has been proven to be utterly mistaken. People always claim this time is different and have historically always been wrong. You might be right saying that this time around but you’ll forgive my skepticism.

    Drones, missiles and satellites are undeniably going to be of increasing importance in future military scenarios but hostile nations aren’t deterred and wars aren’t won by individual technologies or weapon systems in isolation.

    Submarines that can remain undetected beneath the surface of the ocean, on the other hand, will be largely untouchable.

    Harder to destroy than surface assets? Generally yes, depending on what they’ve up against. Untouchable? Categorically false.

    Submarines excel in certain capabilities like area denial where they are unquestionably a great bang for buck weapons platform. Against an enemy with competent ASW capabilities this becomes significantly less effective but they still make sense. However, they aren’t so good at other capabilities like strategic force projection, supporting amphibious operations, convoy escorting, etc. Depending on the kinds of operations a navy is expected to be able to undertake it really isn’t possible to do very many solely with submarines.

    For a lot less money, we could achieve a far more potent submarine capability. For example, off-the-shelf Japanese Soryu submarines cost only US$540 million. Modified to meet additional Navy requirements, they were quoted as costing A$750 million. If we simply bought twelve of those, the total cost to the taxpayer would be less than A$10 billion.

    I think we should have gone off-the-shelf Virginias from the US if we had the best product in mind without any political considerations factoring in. Even the Soryus would need to be drastically modified to meet Australia’s requirements.

    Virginias would require the ADF to develop a domestic nuke technician capability (to operate the boats, the reactors have the same effective life as the boats and don’t need to be refueled) but that seems far easier to accomplish and exponentially more beneficial from a future strategic perspective than the make-work program the Government is currently pursuing coming in on-time, on-budget and defect free.

    So that’s turned out to be a bit of an essay, congrats to anyone who made it to the end. I’m not a professional just an arm-chair enthusiast so happy to hear counter-arguments to any of the above.

  27. thefrolickingmole

    Or we could have brought a handful of nukes, a few launchers and promised to use them on any nation silly enough to bother us.

    China couldnt give a rats cock about our gender enhanced formation LGBTQWERTY brigades, but 20 nukes with a platform to deliver it and we have all the insurance wed ever need.

  28. Beertruk

    I think the Navy is struggling to get enough sailors to crew the Collins class subs we already have.

  29. John Constantine

    Why would the United States make available cutting edge technology to a fanatical socialist backwater like Australia, with a treacherous and backstabbing quisling political class deeply indebted to their Chinese communist Party paymasters?.

    Do what the Francosphere is doing in Chad and Niger and the central African dystopias, just rent out bases to the Americans to deploy drones and robots from, a peppercorn a decade in our case.

    Killer robots and savage lions to patrol the no go zone around Pine Gap and the drone bases. Sarah hanson young failing to beat off a famished Big Cat with a cardboard protest sign as it latches onto her tummy apron is possibly the best of all possible futures.

  30. tgs

    +1 to all you said. from an ex-professional.

  31. Zatara

    Or, buy brand new Virginia class boats from the US.

    The major difference between the Virginia (or Soryu) and the Barracuda classes is that the Barracuda only exists on paper.

    Virginia is a proven performer with 15 of them in service so far and 34 still to be built. They are a known quantity, not a massive modification of a boat design that hasn’t even been built yet, from a country who doesn’t exactly share Australian interests.

  32. Zatara

    Cost wise, the last US Virginia class sub buy was 10 block IVs for $17.6 billion. USN plans that 33 Virginia class submarines will be procured in the 2013–2032 timeframe, resulting in 49 submarines in total. They would be happy to produce and sell more.

    Austal has been building ships for the US Navy for years. It’s not a stretch to think they could be involved in the production as the Virginia class was designed for modular construction.

    Sharing of training and maintenance facilities, access to spares, research and development of updates, and common communications/weapons systems would massively reduce the operating costs as well.

    Yes, they are nuclear powered, which is why they are more expensive to buy than the Soryu. Having a cadre of people trained and experienced in handling nuclear reactors might come in handy after the blackout riots start.

  33. Boambee John

    Beertruk
    #2605725, posted on January 9, 2018 at 6:49 pm
    I think the Navy is struggling to get enough sailors to crew the Collins class subs we already have.

    The Navy has struggled to get enough sailors to crew the Collins from the time they were delivered.

  34. zyconoclast

    Instead the traitors spent $50 billion plus to re-elect Pyne.

    The unlubricated back fist of SSM knows no limits to the pain inflicted on taxpayers.

  35. Muddy

    A good post, tgs.

    Also, consider how some of those technologies might be neutralised using human-guided low-tech tactics. How ‘safe’ is our electrical grid, for example?

  36. Penguinite

    If they automate aircraft subs should be a cinch. Think how long a sub could stay submerged without a crew?

  37. overburdened

    I have an associate who was driving a Collins Classer around. As with any good ADF personnel, no comments on the tools. IMO Oz should have a long hard look at itself and decide to write off mistakes and try and do what’s best. This naturally implies the Government so I’ll just shut the fuck up.

  38. testpattern

    Oh a life on the quolling waves

    ‘It’s like refurbishing a World War 2 German U-Boat for the mid-1990s.’

    You sure about that? really? Only things wrong with Collins are the diesels haven’t been suitable for Indian-Pacific water, long runs from basewest have resulted in much wear, and a couple have lost deep dive capability because of hullcutting. Four probably still have fighting ability intact, the other two can still lurk and do traffic analysis.

  39. rickw

    Even if all goes well, the cost of building warships in Australia will be 30 to 40 per cent more than if they were built overseas.

    We are 30 to 40 per cent less efficient than France??!!

    We are soooo stuffed. When the immigration Ponzi scheme collapses we will be a third world economy full of third world people.

  40. Remember SECURITY !

    1. France has a putrid reputation for canceling defence contracts for French political reasons even when $$$ has been paid.

    2. After Britain pullled France out of the sewer in WW1 & WW2, France still happily sold their Exocet missiles to the Argentinians = hundreds of UK dead in the Falklands.

    3. The plans for a similar French sub sold to India have already been compromised.

    4. Unless Turncoat and Bishop have totally alienated President Trump, the USA is likely to supply the tactical weapons and gizzards for Turncoat’s Frog Subs. Will all US contractors agree in writing to put their EQPT in the Barracudas?

    5. Any war material built in Australia by *&^%$#@! unions will be delivered as reliably, cost effectively and on schedule just as the Collins subs were. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

    PS. NO need to buy US Subs. Just LEASE them including the maintenance and refitting schedules.

  41. rickw

    I think the Navy is struggling to get enough sailors to crew the Collins class subs we already have.

    Being in a steel can underwater is bad enough, add Lesbians and you have a job that no sane person wants to do.

  42. Our Silent SUBS ?

    We were told the Barracudas were great because the jet propulsion system is quieter than propellers.

    With a NUKE powered sub that is fine. They have unlimited energy.

    But our bold PM says NO nuclear stuff for us!

    Jet propulsion systems will drain Mr Turnbull’s electric batteries very very quickly.

    What then?

  43. marcus classis

    Major wars in future will be fought remotely, with drones, long range missiles and satellites. Surface ships will be quickly destroyed while manned aircraft and ground forces will either be wiped out or not particularly useful.

    What infantile twaddle.

  44. marcus classis

    I think the Navy is struggling to get enough sailors to crew the Collins class subs we already have.

    There are 6 Collins class.

    There are five full crews.

    One sub is always in refit (the nature of submarines, they are multiple system safety critical).

    The comment quoted above has not been correct for many years now.

  45. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    There are 6 Collins class.

    There are five full crews.

    One sub is always in refit (the nature of submarines, they are multiple system safety critical).

    Thanks for sorting that one out.

  46. Adelagado

    Major wars in future will be fought remotely, with drones, long range missiles and satellites.

    Surely drone subs are on the drawing board somewhere.

  47. Zatara

    NO need to buy US Subs. Just LEASE them

    Sorry, but leasing Virginia class submarines is, and always has been, a pipe dream.

    There is no business case for the US to do so that doesn’t involve the US taxpayers being out a huge heap of cash up front and then being stuck with a nuclear reactor and a worthless hulk to spend another heap of cash to decommission after. All to pay for a boat operated by a foreign government.

    Lost in the debate surrounding the Collins-class replacement was serious consideration on leasing Virginia-class boats from the U.S. According to a former Bush administration official, conversations were held but failed to progress due in part because Canberra was not entirely confident the U.S. government would agree.

    Indeed, ingenious plans drawn up on cocktail napkins often fail in the harsh light of dawn.

  48. The very idea of spending $50B on redesigned French subs seems to obviously idiotic that I am unable to believe it will actually happen. Nobody, not even the Greens, could be so stupid.

  49. Sorry, but leasing Virginia class submarines is, and always has been, a pipe dream.

    Maybe, maybe not, Zatara. But at the end of the day a Virginia Class sub is only a Los Angeles Class sub designed to be built faster and cheaper through modulisation of the design. The biggest difference is in the reactors. Those used in the LA class require refueling every seven years, whereas those in the V class are good for the life of the boat. Originally the plan was to upgrade the LA class reactors to the newer variety, but that was scrapped in favour of replacement of the whole boat for political reasons – mainly employment opportunities.

    LA class subs still make up the bulk of the U.S. Attack sub fleet, and their weaponry and electronic systems are upgraded to keep pace with new developments in the V class. The Yanks currently have 14 LA class subs in mothballs that only require replacement of the reactors to be fully operational. So modified, they would have an operational life of 18 years, with a further ten years available with an upgrade of electronics at the end of that time.

    Reactor replacement would cost USD $600 million (~ AUD $900 million). These subs will already be subject to the decommissioning costs you mentioned, regardless of whether they sit mothballed for the next 18 years, or become part of the RAN. At a lease cost of, say AUD $2.5 – $3 billion per sub, including remaining part of the ongoing upgrade program, leasing 12 for 18 years becomes an attractive deal for both us and the Americans. The capacity exists to upgrade the boats at the rate of two a year, so we would have our entire fleet of 12 in six years, at a total cost of AUD $36 billion.

  50. Surely drone subs are on the drawing board somewhere.

    There”s a reason even nuclear subs, with an endurance limited only by the amount of food they can carry, nonetheless only do rotations of 70 to 90 days. Ultimately, sea water eats everything. Ditto for the organisms that live in it. This is also why you aren’t going to see electricity generation by wave or tidal power anytime soon.

    We are a long way from being able to just leave something in the ocean for months at a time, and come back and find it is still fully operational.

  51. JohnA

    Jannie #2605980, posted on January 10, 2018, at 1:28 am

    The very idea of spending $50B on redesigned French subs seems to obviously idiotic that I am unable to believe it will actually happen. Nobody, not even the Greens, could be so stupid.

    I refer you to the so-called Einstein Theory of the Nature of the Universe:

    “I believe there are only two infinite substances in this Universe: Hydrogen and Stupidity. But I am not 100% confident about Hydrogen.”

  52. Adelagado

    memoryvault
    #2606071, posted on January 10, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Re drone subs.

    We are a long way from being able to just leave something in the ocean for months at a time, and come back and find it is still fully operational.

    Thats not what I had in mind. I imagined an unmanned sub remotely controlled from a ship or land base. It would only be in the water for a few days or weeks at a time. The savings in building something that requires no facilities or life support systems for a crew would be enormous.

  53. Sinclair Davidson

    Why is nobody talking about ramjets in low-Earth orbit?

  54. areff

    Where is our Rickover

    (second attempt to overcome the daunting challenge of linking)

  55. marcus classis

    Thats not what I had in mind. I imagined an unmanned sub remotely controlled from a ship or land base. It would only be in the water for a few days or weeks at a time. The savings in building something that requires no facilities or life support systems for a crew would be enormous.

    Had them for decades. Called UAV. Very expensive, very short ranged, low reliability, demand extensive backup support (usually a specialised surface ship).

    Days or weeks means no strategic capability (the sub is coastal only). How does it do targeting?

    Seawater is not air. You cannot communicate through it at more than very low data rates. The best is VLF radio, frequencies in the range of 3 to 30 kilohertz (kHz), corresponding to wavelengths from 100 to 10 kilometres, respectively. Yes, kilometres. Using Minimum Shift Keying data rate is exceptional: up to 450 characters per minute. Unfortunately, the noise rate is pretty high, so the same messages are repeated multiple times. Transmission antenna are very large (a few kilometres normally) and the sub has to trail a very long wire to pick the signal up.

    People have been pouring money down the UAV rathole for 50 years. it does not work unless you have a hard tether to the controlling ship.

  56. Driftforge

    This sort of bollocks deserves to be fisked in detail, but it will have to wait for another day. Suffice to say now that nothing is overpriced more than something not appropriate to the task required.

    “This is critical to our future defense. Therefore we should buy the cheapest available.”

  57. EvilElvis

    Given this, the government has apparently committed an additional $15 billion to keep the 30 year old Collins submarines bobbing in the water. It’s like refurbishing a World War 2 German U-Boat for the mid-1990s.

    The elements are all there for the submarine replacement program to become the procurement scandal of the century. Our Shortfin Barracudas will probably be the most expensive submarines ever built anywhere in the world.

    Fuck me drunk, where were you DL at the last election when this shit was floated? Pardon the pun. The horse bolts and the libertarians get on board over 12 months later? The fucking things will be built and sunk and get stripped for their valuable diesel gensets by the time you work out you’ve been diddled by the left again…

  58. tgs

    Sinclair Davidson
    #2606156, posted on January 10, 2018 at 10:05 am
    Why is nobody talking about ramjets in low-Earth orbit?

    In what context?

  59. Neil

    The subs could still be useful. The diesel engines on the subs could be used as electricity generators for SA when the wind stops blowing

  60. tgs;

    Sinclair Davidson
    #2606156, posted on January 10, 2018 at 10:05 am
    Why is nobody talking about ramjets in low-Earth orbit?

    In what context?

    Any context!
    I suggest a railgun about ten miles long, accelerating a manned spacecraft at an angle of 15 degrees from Cape York.
    Armed with Rods from God, and powered by a filthy great big reactor.
    …and with scramjet engines just for the hell of it.
    Crewed with LGBT members and others who would like to contribute to the Australian Glorious Defence Forces.
    Can anyone think of a Righteous name for the craft?
    🙂

  61. Nato

    @Winston Smith.
    Lion Helm?

  62. testpattern

    ffs you lot are still repeating your ignorant crap from last year. before captain quoll writes more rubbish he should read, regularly and for a long time, pete’s blog at –

    http://gentleseas.blogspot.com.au/

  63. Habib

    Or lease Virginia class SSNs and leap a couple of generations, with a platform that in fully inter-operable with our and the USN fleet, for about a third the cost, and zero development risk. Added benefit of kicking a local nuclear industry into the 21st century, and really pissing off local hippies and regional antagonists.

    Far too logical and reasonable, so never happen.

  64. Habib

    By the way SSNs don’t carry any naughty nukes, conventional weapons only as they’re hunter-killers. A couple of Ohio SSBNs would be nice to round off the fleet. Even one with 14 MIRVs on board could cause mischief.

  65. Cynic of Ayr

    Just two things:
    1. Will diesel fuel still be viable in 30 years time? I don’t know. The Greenies think they know, but they don’t.
    2. If war does break out on the Australian Continent, and matters are as dire as the good Senator suggests, where will the subs get more fuel from? The country’s fuel systems will be wrecked. The harbour will be wrecked, so the subs can’t go in there. The surface ships are all gone, so there’s no fuel there.
    I suspect the only subs still operational will be the nuclear ones – hunters and boomers.
    Or, these new subs have a few acres of solar panels on board to charge the batteries.
    It’s all very stupid, and I am very disappointed in the hierarchy of the Navy, going along with this.

  66. Nick Fox

    Arc welding submarines while being powered by wind and the big battery could be a stretch!

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