Robert Bond Director Citizens for Defence
CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE
Build nuclear subs in Australia
Both major parties have said the 12 Future Submarines will be built with 100 year old diesel electric propulsion systems which limits these subs to an 80 kilometre range submerged at full speed. Compare this with a nuclear propelled sub which can sail submerged at full speed of more than 32 knots around the world if necessary and outrun surface ships in the process.
No current election issue, whether it be schools, gay marriages, or disability insurance comes close to the $60 billion cost or the absolute top priority of national security decisions of our politicians on the submarine purchases.
The two major parties should be brought to account for their total abandonment of any attempt to equip the Australian navy with the most capable submarine to defend our 36,000 kilometre coastline for the next 40 years.
Never do the two major parties take into account the Future Submarines lack of effectiveness, speed, endurance, performance, and firepower, or consider that there is probably a billion dollars cost saving per submarine if a US Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine were purchased.
Instead, all we hear from the blinkered politicians is a jingoistic appeal to some nationalistic theme that says survival of our nation comes second to partisan politics.
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.
Our politicians have not even had a realistic trial of 5 Collins subs against a nuclear submarine to access their strengths and weaknesses. They are spending two full years funding of the defence budget without even evaluating a nuclear submarine.
Our nation has more oceans and seas surrounding it than any other continent on earth and yet our inept politicians have selected a sub that cannot travel more than 60 to 100 kilometres at full speed submerged and have rejected outright a submarine that can sail around the world submerged.
Brazil is building a nuclear submarine which includes the reactor with help from the French. The British have the new Astute-Class nuclear submarine, and the US ambassador to Australia has said that the US would supply Virginia subs to Australia to improve our defence forces.
Surely our paralysed politicians could start to consider the defence of this nation by approaching these nations for a joint venture arrangement where we can acquire modern submarines.
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.
I do not believe the majority of Australians want to send our brave sailors to sea for the next 50 years in diesel dinosaur submarines to face nimble modern nuclear attack submarines operated by the enemy.
Rudd and Abbot should lead on this issue instead of hiding in the shadows of political expedience.