The Federal Government should fully explain to its taxpaying citizens why it is buying a piston powered diesel French submarine for $150 billion (government figures, $50 billion construction and $100 billion maintenance for 30 years.) over the next 50 years. Rarely does the government estimate ever reflect the true cost in reality which can be more than 50% dearer than the government quote making the submarines true cost probably $225 billion. This is a catastrophe in the making.
For this sort of money, one would say we are getting the very best submarine for our brave warriors to go to war in but this is far from the case. Concerned citizens and veteran submariners alike are vociferously questioning the governments wisdom in making this submarine commitment for many reasons.
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.
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.