Australian Defence White Paper 2015 submission

Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence      Citizens for Defence (BondBobby) on Twitter


Aircraft carrier Nimitz

                          Aircraft carrier Nimitz

Australia Free Rides on US war machine

Bobby Bond SharpenedI run Citizens for Defence blog site and support group for the Australian Defence Force where concerned citizens can lobby and sound out their frustration with the present performance of the major parties regarding defence.

Many people are disgusted at the major parties continuous freeloading on the US taxpayers and armed forces for our defence. The brutal truth is Australia has been a US freeloader for many decades and few of the experts at defence, Foreign Affairs, or the various think tanks think this ideal situation should end. Security analysts almost universally come out to support the two major parties on their desire to use the US as a milking cow by saying 1.5% of GDP is ample for defence with a few saying it should rise to 2% when funds are available.

But many thinking citizens in the community can see that this situation is fraught with catastrophic possibilities. Australia must be able to defend its land mass, sea lanes and coastal surrounds out to more than 1500 kilometres. We can do none of this now and are highly vulnerable if the US cannot come instantly to our aid for whatever reason.afghan4

One can compare our present security situation with 1938 just before WW2. Before the war we had no defence capability. The Japanese bombed Darwin and many of our soldiers never had rifles let alone ammunition which were in critically short supply. Our army was ordered to disperse into the surrounding bush as an imminent invasion was feared.

We are in the same boat today except that the weapons we face are far more destructive. Why have our governments not learnt from the lessons of history that we have to be prepared at all times to defend ourselves in order that we never are caught by surprise again by a belligerent enemy?

The US will only save us if it is in the US interest and this is the way it should be. Look how they told us to stand on our own two feet during the East Timor crisis when we had to hire civilian ferries to move our troops and supplies. Observe how the US has not involved itself to any degree in any of the current world disputes like Ukraine, Syria, and Chinese aggression in the East and South China Sea except for wild rhetoric about economic threats.

F35B Stealth fighter

         F35B Stealth fighter

Are Australians so naive that we think the US is our saviour and at our beck and call even though we have continually freeloaded off their defence force for the last 70 years? Ideally, the US should reduce its defence budget to 1.48% of GDP to match Australia and mothball its fleet and missile systems saving a few old frigates and torpedo boats to match our contribution to the Alliance.

The US just cannot afford to carry the rest of the world on its shoulders in the interests of peace. Sequestration is biting deeply with stress on ship maintenance, aircraft numbers and in all areas of the US defence force.

To achieve 4% of GDP defence budget Australia has only to put aside another $2.5 for every hundred dollars of GDP and this could easily be achieved without affecting the budget by cutting wastage. We would then match our US ally.

Freedom is not free and Australia should stop bludging on the US.

Australia a ripe plum of the South Pacific

How can a Boeing 767 jet liner with transponders turned off reportedly travel thousands of kilometres parallel to our north western coastline without being discovered by the Australian authorities? Nothing shows up the incompetence of our politicians more than when they can fail to have our continent and the surrounding oceans out to 2000 kilometres continuously monitored by radar, sonar sensors and reconnaissance drones capable of detecting the flight of a massive civilian jetliner.

This happened recently when Malaysian flight 370 was thought to have crashed in the Indian Ocean. It could have flown over Australia and crashed in the inland dessert. Our government would never know. This scandal highlights to our friends and enemies just how unprepared are our defence forces to defend our nation. The government could not do more to encourage spies, terrorists, or armies to land on our northern shores.

Amphibious operations

Amphibious operations

Indonesia is being humiliated by China with attacks on its fishing fleet in Indonesian sovereign waters and claims on an island in the South China Sea bordering its landmass. But Indonesia is not waiting for the US to come to its rescue and is setting up a naval and air base in the region with marines included. China may run into spirited resistance in the future if it continues to breach Indonesia’s sovereign territory and this is the way it should be.

Vietnam is buying Russian submarines for its defence and it too is likely to take direct action if Chinese harassment continues. The Philippines and Malaysia have to do the same if they expect to get back their sovereign estate and surrounding oceans.

The Indonesian dispute with China is in closer proximity to the Australian coastlines than is Christmas Island and should be a litmus test of Australia’s resolve in aiding its close neighbours. There is little doubt that Chinese success there will encourage further adventurism by China south of Indonesia, whether it is fishing or mineral rights, military bases in the small nations surrounding Australia or some other activity.

The US has clearly shown that it is not interested in these internecine disputes anywhere in the world but has a self interest of preventing major conflicts and wars. It is up to the affected nations in the South and East China Sea to arm themselves sufficiently to make a credible attempt to defend their territory and hope that a NATO type body could be formed to give it more clout at some time in the future. With these actions one would hope that the US will step in if China escalates the situation by partially invading any of these nations’ sovereign interests.

Australia should launch a crash program where we acquire the wherewithal to defend the Northern Australian land mass and coastline and project power to the northern shipping lanes from Asia to the Indian Ocean. We could blockade Chinese merchant ships and secure our area and allow the US and its other allies to concentrate on the sea air battle closer to China.

We live in the most isolated region on the planet bordering the Great Southern Ocean and have billions of Asians to our north with limited food, water and resources fully aware that Australia has limitless resources and a very scant population to fill a vast continent.

It is extremely dangerous to think that Australia can survive in this environment for any length of time without the most high technology weapons and trained personnel constantly honed to operational excellence with the capacity to defend this nation against the unexpected and the unknown.

RAAF Scherger

RAAF Scherger

Shouldn’t the northern bare bases at RAAF Scherger, Curtin, and Learmonth be developed into hardened forward defence airfield with underground fuel and weapons storage, top end radar and missile fortifications as well as a few stealth fighters ready to go on each base?

Our defence forces need to be set up so we can project air power 2000 kilometres out to sea from our northern coastal bases in a matter of days. We should have large comprehensive exercises twice a year carrying this out and improving our performance with new equipment and tactics.

Australia is a middle power that has recklessly abrogated its responsibility for its own defence to another nation in order to save a few pieces of silver and yet we are amongst the richest nations on earth per capita. As a middle power we lack any punch for our weight.

Move navy to northern bases

Garden Island naval base is on the dearest real estate in the land and is nestled in the centre of Sydney. In any conflict it will be one of the first bases targeted by the enemy and in a severe attack hundreds of thousands of Sydneysiders could be killed or injured.

The position is indefensible with close in missile protection having to be put in densely populated suburbs of Sydney which will in turn become targets for incoming missiles until the destruction of the Garden Island military base is achieved. There is very real potential for hundreds of thousands of Sydneysiders to be killed or injured together with billions of dollars of infrastructure destroyed.

Garden Island

Garden Island

There is limited space to berth big ships. The time to move is now with the proceeds of the sale of the site put towards establishing another naval base on the east coast of Australia to carry out heavy maintenance and servicing of our ships and submarines as well as three battle hardened bases in Northern Australia to berth, fuel up and arm our battle fleet for extensive exercises in northern waters in order to defend the nation or carry out humanitarian tasks in event of natural disasters.

Brisbane may be a suitable site for a ship maintenance base but harbours in the Townsville Cairns area should be closely scrutinised for suitability as it would be much closer to where the warships are based. Gladstone and Mackay are other areas that may support a base.

Heavy loss of civilian life and property could be avoided if the base is located somewhere between Gladstone and Cairns so that it is nearer the northern waters where many of our ships will be located. The base should be located in a semi rural setting where an iron dome of anti missile missiles can be positioned for its defence. In times of threats of attack the surrounding district and base could be evacuated of all non essential people. In addition, if the base could be positioned close to the Great Dividing Range or similar mountains, tunnels could be drilled into the mountain for storing fuel, ammunition, missiles and supplies as well as machine shops and engineering repair facilities.

Any government that ignores the need for active naval and air force bases at Broome, Darwin and Weipa or similar locations is inviting the enemy in. History has shown that if the circumstances arise in the future there are many adventurous Indo-Pacific nations willing to take advantage of our shameful complacency for the security of this nation.

At present it takes ships at least 4 days to sail from Sydney or HMAS Sterling to Darwin and this is just too big an advantage to give an enemy if Australia is under attack. With the ships stationed at Broome, Darwin and Scherger the enemy can be engaged immediately further out to sea and this could be crucial in achieving a satisfactory naval engagement.

These new bases could double the effectiveness of our fighting forces in defending this nation at minimal additional cost when taken over fifty years.


Abbott & Johnson drowning in sub fiasco      Citizens for Defence (BondBobby) on Twitter

Future Sub calls the NRMA

                      Future Sub calls the NRMA


Abbott & Johnson drowning in sub fiasco

The submarine Australia hopes to acquire in the next decade is more and more turning into a tangled mess where Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Defence Minister Senator Johnston are way out of their depth. These politicians are dogmatically standing by outdated concepts such as diesel electric propulsion that will ultimately lead to another 50 years of virtually nonexistent undersea defence for a nation that has vast oceans and seas surrounding it.

Senator Johnston

Senator Johnston

Britain and the US only use nuclear powered submarines and doesn’t this tell our flat earth politicians something. They are not interested in wasting everyone’s time by designing a last century relic that will have to hide in the shallows if a nuclear attack submarine is anywhere within a thousand miles of it in a conflict.

Have our politicians even approached the US or Britain about the supply of nuclear propulsion units or submarines? The US supplied Britain propulsion units for their first nuclear submarines. Why aren’t any deals put up to the US or Britain made public so that we taxpayers and concerned citizens can judge how wisely our defence dollar is being spent?

Sure, the US and Britain are concerned about their secret technology, and understandably so, but why don’t our politicians put it to them and see where the boundaries are. Just as an outside observer and based on what the US ambassador to Australia has said several times in the past and what US think tanks and analysts are saying the US would be amenable to us purchasing 10 Virginia class submarines to assist US forces in this area of the Indo-Pacific.  As an encouragement to the US we could extensively upgrade HMAS Sterling in Western Australia as a joint facility for Australian and US ships. Have any of these proposals been discussed and if so why are they being kept secret?

As English speaking allies and mother countries they are the only nations Australia should be seeking help from and we should accept their designs and technology where it can be obtained. These subs will be defending this nation for 50 years and we will depend on our allies for spare parts accident damage repair and technological upgrades. We can rely on these two nations to be always there for us.

Not so Germany, Sweden, Japan, France or most other countries in the world. They are breaking their necks to design and build Australia 100 year old technology subs designed for the Mediterranean or Baltic Sea which virtually can fit into the Queensland Gulf of Carpentaria. The Japanese submarine is built exclusively for the East China Sea and the Sea of Japan which are just oversized ponds. Yet Australia has the vast Pacific Ocean, the vast Indian Ocean, the Timor Sea and China Seas not to mention the Great Southern Ocean to patrol.

Virginia Nuclear powered submarine under way

Virginia Nuclear powered submarine under way

The Swiss, French, Japanese and Germans have never recently built a submarine suitable for such a task and yet Australia seems to be going to let them design and build an unproven dinosaur with no guarantees that it will adequately defend our nation and no guarantees that we will be able to acquire parts and follow up assistance to keep the subs operational. Indeed Sweden caused Australian soldiers to die in Vietnam when it denied us ammunition for their antitank weapons in the Vietnam War because they were morally opposed to us fighting the communists.

The politician’s brainless consideration of completely new designed diesel electric museum piece submarines with the assistance of Germany, France, Sweden, or Japan is going to kill countless Australian submariners as they pit their obsolete submarines against nimble high technology nuclear attack submarines in the decades ahead.

Mr Abbott and Mr Johnston level with the Australian people and tell us why you cannot make a rational decision on nuclear submarines for the defence of our nation.

Japanese submarine technology a step too far

When is Australia going to grow up and join the real world where nuclear submarines exist in all our enemies’ navies and nuclear power stations generate the power for use in building these submarines? The idealists who oppose nuclear power are becoming an incredible threat to our security, our prosperity, and our position in the world. Purchase of 100 year old technology diesel dinosaur submarines will type Australia ever more as a backward subservient nation that is irrelevant in world affairs. Study the performance chart between a Japanese submarine and a US Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine and see the madness in purchasing a Jap sub.

……………………………….Japanese Sub          Virginia-class

Cost of 1 sub                  A$3 billion             A$2.5 billion

Sub weight                    4000 tonnes            7900 tonnes

Submerged sub

Top speed                      22 knots                  32 knots

Distance                        50 nautical miles     unlimited

Snorting speed              12 knots                  32 knots

Propulsion                    Dieselectric             nuclear powered

Shaft Horse P               8,000 shp               40,000 shp

Cruise Missiles              8                              16

Range                           1000 miles                 1000 miles

Torpedoes                     30                             38 (54 inch)

Dive Depth                    200 metres               250+(480 alleged)      


Endurance                    14 days                     100 days+


work rate of sub           3=1 nuclear sub       1 nuclear sub

Cost for same

work rate                    $9B at 2012 $           $2.5B at 2012 $


Past and future Australian submarine fleet

We have a comprehensive examination of the Collins-class submarine, The Future Submarine, and the US Virginia-class submarine and it clearly shows the absolute stupidity of saddling Australia for the next 50 years with a last century dinosaur diesel electric submarine. It will be incapable of defending our coastline and will make us a laughing stock of the world for our backward subservient approach to our defence. The following is a link to the paper on our web site which is very relevant to the Australian submarine question from the view of concerned citizens. We have included here an outline of its headings.

Past and future Australian submarine fleet (Ctrl+Click)

Posted on 26/04/2013

 Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence


Past and future Australian submarine fleet

Six Collins class submarines defend our 36,000 kilometres of coastline.

1)      Planning for a new class to replace the RAN’s Oberon-class submarines began in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Proposals were received from seven companies; two were selected for a funded study to determine the winning design, which was announced in mid-1987. The submarines are an enlarged version of Swedish shipbuilder KockumsVästergötland class and were originally referred to as the Type 471.[1]

The Collins-class is a shipwreck of troubles

 8)      The Collins class submarines have been an utter failure since they were commissioned. For instance on the 21 May 2009 HMAS Waller tied up at the Henderson shipyard south of Perth for urgent battery repairs, the only seaworthy sub is HMAS Farncomb. The other four boats are either out of active service (HMAS Collins) or out of the water for major maintenance known as full cycle docking (HMAS Sheehan, Rankin and Dechaineux). This total lack of availability has persisted through to the present day with one sub available most of the time and sometimes two subs fit to sail.[9]

Future Submarines

17)  The government has named four options for the acquisition of the Future Submarine:- a newly designed developmental submarine:- evolution of an existing submarine design:- modification of an existing design for Australian needs:- purchase of an existing military off the shelf (MOTS) submarine design.[19] All four options would be assembled in Adelaide. Nuclear submarines built overseas have been specifically ruled out by the government.

An Australian Virginia class nuclear attack Submarine

22)  The American Ambassador, Jeffrey L. Bleich, has advised Australia during February 2012 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.[25]

28)  The Virginia has a Fiber optic fly-by-wire Ship Control System and this replaces electro-hydraulic systems for control surface actuation. [31]

29)   The S9G nuclear reactor  core life is estimated at 33 years which is the life of the submarine. The fuel rods will never need changing.[32]

30)  The sub has a crew of 120 enlisted and 14 officers.[33]

31)   The Virginia-class carries 16 (fire and forget) Tomahawk cruise missiles with a range of 1000 miles. The vertical launching system has the capacity to launch the 16 Tomahawk submarine-launched cruise missiles (SLCM) in a single salvo. There is capacity for up to 26 mk48 ADCAP mod 6 heavyweight torpedoes and sub harpoon anti-ship missiles to be fired from the 21in torpedo tubes. Mk60 CAPTOR mines may also be fitted. [34]

32)  The Virginia-class has been specifically designed for spying on enemy coastlines with the use of unmanned underwater vessels (UUV). Although in its infancy, UUVs will grow into a far superior system than smaller submarines trying to navigate and hide in shallow waters.[35] The Virginia also carries the 60 tonne mini sub to the site and up to 16 SEAL commandos can be transported to shore for espionage or for spying.[36]

Australia needs a cutting edge submarine fleet

35)  Australia’s area of interest starts squarely in the South China Sea which is about 4000 nautical miles from HMAS Sterling in WA. The Middle East is Australia’s second area of interest but if a circle with a radius of 4000 kilometres was drawn around Australia it would cover the deep Indian and Pacific Oceans as well as the Great Southern Ocean and South East Asia.

How many submarines and what type

41)  Australia would need at the absolute minimum three submarines to protect our amphibious ships and air warfare destroyers from submarine attack and another three on covert missions in hostile waters. Ten submarines in total may cover this need if they were ultra reliable and the duration of the conflict was short.

Is the Collins Class capable of patrolling our eastern coastline?

48)  Could the Collins-class submarines missions be scaled back to a point where the subs can be deployed near ports around our coastline for training and defence purposes where they could possibly be of some use to this nation for the rest of their operational lives? The pressure hull has many more cycles to go and the life of the engines may be able to be extended sufficiently with an in frame overhaul when needed.

Cost and performance of proposed Submarines

51)  Ten well managed Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines would be as effective as 30 unreliable one off Australian designed and built dieselectric submarines. The Collins fiasco is an example of what will probably be the eventuality if Australia decides to go it alone down the Collins path again. In fact, the world has moved on since Collins was built and the technology is advancing at such a rapid rate that a bad outcome is almost guaranteed.

53)  Below is a table comparing the three types of submarines Australia should be interested in? At the bottom I have tried to estimate the effectiveness of each submarine toward our defence suggesting that it would take at least 5 Collins submarines or three Future Submarines (depending on which one is chosen) to match one Virginia class nuclear attack submarine. People will dispute this but they only have to study this statistical table to realise just how superior the nuclear boat is in all departments as well as being such excellent value for money.



Future Subs




6 for A$6.24 billion

12 for A$36 billion

10 at A$25 billion

Year of dollar

1986 dollars

2009 dollars

2012 dollars

Cost of 1 sub

A$1.040 billion

A$3 billion

A$2.5 billion


Sub weight

3051 tonnes

4,000 tonnes

7900 tonnes


Submergd sub

Top speed

21 knots

22 knots ???

32 knots


32.6 nautcl miles

40 nautcl miles


Snorting speed

10.6 knots

12 Knots ????

32 knots



Diesel electric

Diesel electric

Nuclear electric

Shaft Horse P

7500 SHP

10,000 SHP ????

40,000 SHP


Cruise Missiles


8 ????




1000 miles




30 ????



Dive Depth

180 metres plus

200metres plus ???

250+ (480 alleged)



55 days

60 days

100 days +




work rate of sub

5=1 nuclear sub

3=1 nuclear sub

1 nuclear sub


Cost for same

work rate

$5B at 1986 $

$9B at 2009 $

$2.5B at 2012 $



54)  There are at least 6 Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines in operation with the US navy at present and all their state of the art systems seem to be operating flawlessly. Buying a proven line of submarines from a nation that has had a near flawless record for fifty years in building nuclear submarines goes a long way to reduce the risk of acquiring a poor performing weapons platform. On the other hand it seems a formidably risky enterprise for Australia to design and build from scratch a dieselectric submarine anywhere near the size and competence of the Virginia-class. General Dynamics have been building these submarines with delivery well before the ten year delivery date and under budget. An Australian designed and built large submarine can expect to be delivered to the navy in 15-20 years time.

55)  An important consideration is the significant budget cuts to defence in the US as a result of the Sequester occurring on the 1 March 2013. This is going to place considerable strain on the desire of the US to pivot to Asia. Australia is in a situation where it could for once genuinely contribute to its Alliance partner by buying ten of probably the best attack submarines in the world from the US and allowing them to share the HMAS Sterling naval base and assist them to house and maintain the 2500 marines to be trained in Darwin in the coming years.

56)  Under the present circumstances the US may be amenable to providing fairly quickly some leased submarines and the expertise to operate them for this part of the world until our submarines have been delivered. This would be part of our contribution to the Alliance in South East Asia and would assist the US in putting the pivot in place which is surely critical to our security.



[1] Collins class Wikipedia

[2] Collins class  Wikipedia

[3] Wikipedia

[4] Wikipedia

[5] Wikipedia

[6] Wikipedia

[7] Wikipedia

[8] Wikipedia

[9] Defence Industry Daily

[10] Defence Industry Daily

[11] DID

[12] DID, Australian Strategic Policy Institute

[13] DID, Sydney Morning Herald

[14] DID, The Australian

[15] DID, Coles Review

[16] DID, newspapers

[17] Defence Capability Plan 2012 update, Project Sea 1439 Phases 3, 5B and 6 (Department of Defence)

[18] DID

[19] Simon Cowan, Centre for Independent Studies, Future Submarine Project Should Raise Periscope for Another Look   - a (MOTS) acquisition is a purchase of military equipment typically in use by a foreign country from a defence supplier with minimal adaptation.

[20] CIS Simon Cowan, see “India to buy six Scorpene submarines” Rediff India Abroad (12 September 2005)

[21] Wikipedia Scorpene submarine

[22] CIS Simon Cowan, Brendan Nicholson, “Nuclear or not we’ll need prefab subs” The Australian (9 Feb 2011)

[23] CIS Simon Cowan

[24] CIS Simon Cowan

[25] John Kerin ‘US floats nuclear subs option’ The Australian Financial Review (22 February 2012)

[26] Wikipedia

[27] Wikipedia

[28] Wikipedia

[29] Wikipedia


[31] Wikipedia

[32] Wikipedia

[33] Wikipedia


[35] CIS, Simon Cowan

[36] Northrop Grumman


[38] ASPI Peter Briggs ‘Why Submarines for Australia’ 22 February 2013

[39] ASPI Peter Briggs ‘Why Submarines for Australia’ 22 February 2013

[40] CIS Simon Cowan

[41] CIS Simon Cowan

[42] John B Padgett 111, ‘Projecting Power: The Case for Maintaining an All-Nuclear fleet’ Armed Forces Journal (September 2011)

[43]  DID


Amphibious ships need to defend Australia

Concerned citizens and Australian taxpayers never spent billions of dollars for these ships to be primarily used for “humanitarian assistance and disaster recovery”. Their first use is for the defence of Australia. They should be part of a battle group capable of amphibious operations in hostile territory. The battle group should closely follow the example of the US marines who have had many decades of firsthand experience in amphibious operations.

There needs to be a battle fleet of Australian ships under the cover of air bases in Northern Australia. This battle group should have 20 F35B VTOL stealth attack aircraft on each of our amphibious ships capable of attacking the enemy with long distance anti-ship missiles whilst the air force with the aid of fuel tanker aircraft gives cover to the fleet.

US Marine Aircraft Carrier

US Marine Aircraft Carrier

When the enemy lands on our shore the fleet could retire and regroup by replacing the F35 Fighters with helicopters and troops to be used in co-ordination with the army and air force to oppose the enemy forces.

Australia badly needs US marine size aircraft carriers for the F35B stealth fighters which could be built in Australia.

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