CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE
US has Collins-class replacement
32 knots underwater
250 metre depth range
38 + torpedoes & Missiles
S9G reactor 40,000 SHP
Aus$2.5 Billion bare
The Collins class submarines built in Australia in the 1990s have proven an utter failure as a weapon to defend our vast oceans and leaves our 36,000 kilometres of coastline undefended. This was first recognised in the 2009 defence White Paper and yet three years on we are wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and years of delays on a fruitless search for another design for a new Australian submarine.
This crazy decision by the government to even attempt to build diesel electric submarines with technology dating back to WW1, 90 years ago must make these boats the most expensive antiques of all time.
These new diesel dinosaurs will weigh 4000 tonnes and probably have a submerged range on batteries of 50 nautical miles at an optimistic 25 knots or 500 nautical miles at 4 knots. Compare this performance with the 7500 tonne Virginia class nuclear attack submarine which has endless endurance at a speed of 32 knots.
Our Collins class submarines are a joke now with one of the six submarines operational some of the time. The one that engages in the yearly multinational exercises off Hawaii usually embarrasses this nation by having to limp to harbour to have hose repairs or have major generator malfunctions such as the January 2010 issue with HMAS Farncomb involving failures in 1 of the submarine’s 3 French Jeumont-Schneider, 1,400 kW/ 440-volt DC generators, and this has served in many respects as the final straw.
These submarines are economically unrepairable with two years in dry-dock for maintenance for every three years of use. The engines need replacement and this will require the pressure hull to be cut to replace them. This will take years and cost hundreds of millions of dollars as the pressure hull will have to undergo extensive recertification testing.
The new submarine dinosaurs are to be built in Australia and it seems that they may provide some second rate defence deterrence around the middle 2030’s and if Collin’s performance is any indication these new boats will be lemons. Our close neighbour, Indonesia, plans to have 10 submarines by 2024 and probably 15 by 2035. Common sense alone dictates that we have only one choice.
The Virginia class is 3500 tonnes larger and yet at $2.5 billion without weapons is more than financially competitive with anything Australia can build. These submarines are being built in the US at present with delivery less than ten years from the order and under budget.
This nation needs state of the art submarines now to replace the Collins disaster.
Yet this ineptitude of politicians is self inflicted by their own narrow vision and failure to plan.
In 2009 when it was first publically identified that Australia had no submarine defence immediate action could have been taken to place an order for several Virginia class Nuclear Attack submarines which would have started delivery by 2019.
The American Ambassador, Jeffrey L. Bleich, has advised Australia that the US is more than willing to lease or sell nuclear powered Virginia class attack submarines to this nation to improve our defence force.
In the immediate future we could have leased several US submarines for our immediate defence and this would also provide a familiarisation period with the new technology.
The US desire to have access to HMAS Sterling to service military vessels including nuclear submarines would be a golden opportunity for this nation to maintain any of our nuclear submarines at this facility.
There is no second choice. Governments refuse to take their responsibility to defend this nation seriously. They delay and muddy the waters. They withdraw funding from defence and refuse to fund new weapons. They employ an army of spin doctors to hoodwink the Australian public into believing they have an effective plan for our defence.