CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE
32 knots underwater
250 metre depth range
12 Tomahawk cruise missiles
38 + torpedoes & Missiles
5 new sonar array systems
Photonics masts outside pressure hull
S9G reactor 40,000 SHP
Aus$2.5 Billion bare
Aussie Sub 1920s Technology
- Air Chief Marshal Houston and General Cosgrove are calling for Australian built submarines and declare that this is essential for the nation’s strategic interests and have called the ultra high technology US Virginia class nuclear attack submarine a cheaper option whose purchase should be resisted by the government.
Every thinking citizen of Australia looks up to and admires these brave professional warriors who have dedicated a lifetime to defending our nation. Their opinions have to be closely scrutinised. Not so, the opinions of a myriad of ivory tower professors more intent on having their opinion agree with the government of the day, hoping for a government appointed job as a future defence advisor.
It seems so out of character that our retired top brass would want our forces to defend our country with 90 year old technology diesel electric submarines that have an underwater range of some 50 nautical miles at 25 knots or 500 nautical miles at 4 knots. These 4000 tonne boats will always be limited in range by fuel restraints and battery storage. They will never outrun surface ships or be able to aggressively attack a modern enemy.
One would have thought a more appropriate submarine for Australia’s defence would be able to travel at 32 knots underwater around the world if necessary without surfacing, outrunning surface ships in the process and being able to dive to 250 metres. This submarine would weigh 7500 tonnes and carry 12 Tomahawk cruise missiles and 38 missiles and torpedoes as well as having 40,000 shaft horse power courtesy of a reliable S9G nuclear reactor.
The Virginia class submarines are equipped with five cutting edge sonar systems ranging from new active/passive sonar, to world leading low and high frequency towed sonar array backed up by the advanced electromagnetic signature reduction system built into it.
As well, this submarine has photonics masts instead of traditional periscopes located outside the pressure hull. Each mast contains high resolution cameras, along with light- intensification and infrared sensors, an infrared laser rangefinder, and an integrated electronic support measures array.
There are 12 Virginia class submarines serving in the US navy at present and all these state of the art systems are performing flawlessly. There are two submarines being constructed at present and a planned schedule of future submarine construction through to 2025. They are being delivered less than ten years from order at an under budget cost of $2.5 billion bare of weapons.
Yet the proposed Australian built submarines have a pie in the sky price estimate of $40 billion for 12 dieselectric submarines which the whole world knows will end up in excess of $80 billion when the cost overruns and the delays and mistakes have been taken into account. The design is not known nor is the specifications revealed except that the submarine cannot be nuclear and has to weigh 4000 tonnes.
The Collins class submarines built in Australia in the 1990s are a catastrophe which has our 36,000 kilometres of coastline defenceless now and for the next two decades. Their construction was a litany of errors, cost overruns, and budget blowouts which resulted in a submarine which needs two years in dry dock for every three years of use and is economically unrepairable.
With the advance in technology in the last thirty years the new submarines proposed to be built in Australia in the next two decades are destined to be even bigger failures than the Collins debacle.
Australia’s cringe factor seems to permeate all politicians and their defence advisors, the electorate who vote them in and some of the top brass of the defence forces resulting in our leaders always choosing that we remain defenceless and buy yesterdays technology to fight tomorrow’s wars.