Amphibious ships need to defend Australia

 Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

 www.citizensfordefence.org

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

US marine amphibious hovercraft

US marine amphibious hovercraft

Amphibious ships need to defend Australia

bobThomas Lonergan on the ASPI blog lists all the uses our amphibious ships can accomplish as well as attacking Dr Hugh White for his dislike of big ships and his desire for a fleet of 24 submarines.

Both Lonergan and White miss the point that a hard hitting defence force should be both balanced and prepared for all out war.

Lonergan states “The ADF’s developing amphibious operating concept (PDF) doesn’t envisage high-intensity conflict or major war……. Emphasis is being placed on military support to humanitarian assistance and disaster recovery, evacuation operations from unstable areas, peace-enforcement, peace-keeping, and, domestically, Defence Aid to the Civil Community (DACC)”.

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.

As for White’s 24 diesel electric dinosaur submarines, the invading force will overrun these in a few hours and then outrun them to the Australian coast. If the submarines were nuclear powered and could silently operate at 32 knots submerged indefinitely, the enemy would certainly get a hiding.

Nuclear submarine under way

Nuclear submarine under way

But there needs to be both nuclear submarines well out from our coastline harassing the enemy fleet and 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.

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.

China should be the driving force for a crash modernization of the Australian defence force. It is nuclear armed. It has over 2 million troops it can call on. It has a full arsenal of ballistic missiles including anti-ship missiles. It has complete range of cruise missiles and tactical weapons.

Anti-aircraft missiles

Anti-aircraft missiles

China shows every intention of expanding its influence and borders with military threats.

The citizens of Australia deserve to be protected by a fair dinkum defence force capable of credibly assisting the US to remain influential in the Indo-Pacific region in the interests of peace and stability. The alternative is to wake up one night to see an enemy soldier driving a bayonet into your guts as is happening in so many parts of the world today.

Such a force would accomplish everything Lonergan suggested as well as providing us with a more effective defence force.

Australia shamed in Afghan war

Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

 www.citizensfordefence.org

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

Aussie Land Rover

Aussie Land Rover

Australia shamed in Afghan war

bobThe bravery and dedication of our soldiers fighting in Afghanistan is the only area of our defence forces that performed with distinction.

They fearlessly carried out their duties without the help of fighter aircraft, helicopters, tanks, heavily armoured personnel carriers, drones, anti missile weapons and most other high technology equipment demanded of a modern fighting force.

The Australian governments under John Howard, Julia Gillard, and Kevin Rudd starved our forces of the very equipment that was needed to ensure the safety of our troops in Afghanistan.

This resulted in the needless deaths of soldiers in Taliban ambushes because we had no armed reconnaissance drones surveying the ground ahead. Other soldiers died by sniper fire or improvised explosive devices simply because the government sent them to war in open Land Rovers more suited to chasing buffalo in the Northern territory than repulsing a Taliban ambush.

Aussie Soldier

Aussie Soldier

Other soldiers died because we had no helicopters to immediately evacuate the wounded to specialist medical care. It was common to have to wait 6 hours or more for a US or other Coalition helicopter to finish its tasks and travel long distances to make the pickup.

Deaths of fighting forces will always be inevitable in a war, but it is up to the government and the Australian people to provide our patriotic volunteer fighters with all weapons money can buy that will protect the lives of these gladiators fighting for our freedom.

The psyche of the average Australian (as reflected by the jelly-belly governments we elect) projects helplessness and pacifism beyond what is prudent for our survival given our isolated geographical position beneath billions of people to our north in the turbulent Indo-Pacific region.

These people for thousands of years have ruled with the spear, the arrow, gunpowder and now ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and a range of other tactical missiles. Democracy was unknown and human rights were determined by who had the biggest weapon.

Afghanistan was a perfect opportunity for Australia to develop its armed forces under realistic conditions in an insurgency conflict and yet our blinkered governments tried to do as little as possible to assist our Coalition partner the US. We fool no one. It is obvious to the world what little support Australia is giving to the Coalition and how we cannot even supply the forces to tame a small backward province like Oruzgan.

The simple fact is the Australian governments have so starved the military of funds in the last decade that we have no FA 18 jet fighters capable of performing in Afghanistan. We couldn’t even supply Black Hawk helicopters for our troops because of technical deficiencies. Our attack helicopters do not exist. Our Abrams M1 tanks are not battle ready because of unsuitable communications equipment. The list is long and the Minister for Defence, Senator Johnson should have to expose it to the Australian people.

Aussie soldiers on patrol

Aussie soldiers on patrol

The government refuses to come clean on any of this information claiming it is classified and would be useful to the enemy. The enemy knows more about our pathetic governments performance in providing this nation with a credible defence force than we do with their spies and cyber hacking. It is the concerned citizens, commentators, and general public our government wants to hide their dismal record on defending this country from.

Our record in Afghanistan shows Australia for what it is and that is a middle power that punches way below its weight in defence matters.

 

Coalition needs a 30 yr defence plan

 

Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

www.citizensfordefence.org

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

US Marine Aircraft Carrier

                        US Marine Aircraft Carrier

Coalition needs a 30 yr defence plan

Bobby Bond SharpenedMark Thomson, senior analyst for defence economics, ASPI, writes a searing exposé of the lack of serious defence planning of our political masters.

The major parties have no idea and care little for Australia to have a modern highly efficient fighting force to defend our motherland. Thomson exposes in every paragraph the government’s ineptitude in having no long term goals for defence but just a few ad-hoc political decisions for short term political expediency.

The result is an almost nonexistent defence force trying to carry on operations with a 1.5% of GDP budget. It is a mathematical impossibility and a grave strategic error which is going to cost this nation dearly in the decades ahead.

Any nation serious about protecting its sovereignty should be spending 2% of GDP on operational costs which includes extensive war games at least twice a year extending to 1500 kilometres from our coastline with emphasis on northern Australia. Another 2% of GDP should be invested in a hard hitting naval battle group and hardened forward naval and airbases around Broome, Darwin, and Weipa to guard our northern shores.

That said, I feel Thomson’s suggestion that we build the fourth AWD and equip it with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defence system employing the SM-3 missile deserves consideration. The Chinese DF-21 ballistic missile anti-shipping threat is all too real and is a threat against our AWD and amphibious ships alike. It is naive to think these weapons will not be distributed widely amongst Chinese clients in a few years and Australia should try to think ahead.

Air Warfare Destroyer

     Air Warfare Destroyer

Australia should also be planning to have anti-ballistic missiles installed at Broome and RAAF Scherger at Weipa to guard against any rogue state shooting a nuclear device at our capital cities. North Korea is so deranged that it could decide to take out a large city in Australia for the simple reason it cannot do so to the US because of the effectiveness of their ballistic missile shield. Thomson is correct in calling for Patriot missile protection for our troops. Patriot missiles and iron dome defence should also be used around high target military bases particularly in the north.

If the construction of another AWD allows our shipyards to continue operating until further work arrives, it could be a very useful strategic move for the future even though the politicians arrived at it for the wrong reasons.

The new work could be to build an aircraft carrier possibly based on the US marines VTOL F35B ships with another planned in the next decade. This would give our amphibious ships some air cover which could be critical if the fleet is out of range of our land bases.

The crazy idea of building 12 antiquated diesel electric submarines for a guess of $36 billion in 2009 dollar value which will really be $80 billion????, Or maybe $100 billion????, should be ridiculed for its stupidity and waste of taxpayer’s money.

Three Virginia class nuclear powered submarines should be purchased as soon as possible from the US to at least guard our amphibious battle fleet from attacking submarines and surface ships.

Surely arrangements can be made with the US government to build the remaining seven or nine submarines with nuclear power plants partially in Australia in cooperation with the US ship builders.

The Coalition do not need 18 months to produce a Defence White Paper on these issues but should be revealing in the next month or two their policy for the next thirty years in a 30 year Defence White Paper revised every 5 years or when a Defence White Paper is issued.

The citizens of this nation may then be able to better follow the muddled thinking of the major parties when it comes to the security of this nation.

Hot air is not hard defence

Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

www.citizensfordefence.org

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

Aus FA18 fighter built 1984

                                     Aus FA18 fighter built 1984

Hot air is not hard defence

Air Marshal Geoff Brown, Australia’s Air Force Chief, says trust of our potential adversaries and plenty of hot air about the ability of the Australian air force will be our future blueprint for the defence of this country. (Air Force welcomes Tony Abbott’s Indonesia push, Brendan Nicholson, The Australian, 11/10).

As Australia has no defence force to speak of, trust and hot air seems an incredibly insecure basis for guarding the security of this nation.

Citizens for Defence want to see the basis for some of the hot air spruiking about the extraordinary ability of our air force.

Have impromptu war games in the north where the navy is invading and the air force is defending with the army guarding the shores. Have some drone targets that the air force could shoot at a thousand kilometres from the coast. They wouldn’t even possess the missiles.

Our defence forces are capable of none of the above exercises.

Self delusion is the cardinal enemy of an efficient and effective defence force for Australia.

 

 

Collins Class subs a shipwreck

 

Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

www.citizensfordefence.org

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

Collins submarine

                       Collins submarines based at HMAS Sterling

Collins Class subs a shipwreck

Bobby Bond SharpenedOur Collins class submarines have never been competitive or reliable with less than 20% availability over the last 12 years. (Challenge to keep Collins Class subs competitive, Brendan Nicholson, 10/10).

The subs have depth restrictions, speed restrictions, periscopes that vibrate and leak water, endless battery, generator and engine problems, and no capacity to provide the firepower and endurance demanded to adequately defend our 36,000kilometre coastline.

Collins calls the NRMA

                 Collins calls the N.R.M.A. with engine trouble

 

 

Yet the Collins subs are by far the most expensive submarines to maintain in the world with costs running at over $150 million per annum per sub despite being unavailable for combat most of the time. By contrast, a US nuclear Ohio class submarine three times the size of the Collins class costs $50 million to operate per year with excellent availability.

Five years after it became obvious to the world the Collins submarines were a military write off our government is assembling “a team of international and local engineers and naval architects” to begin planning for the 12 new future subs.

The head of the Defence Department’s submarine program, David Gould says it still has not been decided whether the new subs will be Collins clones or a new design.

The government still has to figure out what went wrong with the Collins subs according to the retiring head of Defence’s new submarine project, Rowan Moffitt. He said the navy is now cutting the pressure hulls of the subs to remove the diesel motors for major repairs. This will leave the submarines with permanently weakened hulls even if they go through extensive recertification processes.

This cacophony of failures has bedevilled the Collins class 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.

For example, The sub 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.

Is it feasible to scrap one or two Collins-class submarines for spare parts and refurbish the remaining 4-5 subs to a level where they could reliably accomplish short missions along the Australian coastline?

Our politicians have not even had a realistic trial of 5 Collins subs against a Virginia class nuclear powered submarine to access their strengths and weaknesses. They are spending two full years funding of the defence budget without even evaluating a nuclear submarine.

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.

It seems the Coalition is happy to continue to blunder on down the path the Labor party has led us for the last 6 years resulting in a nation with no effective submarine defences for the next 50 years.

Nuclear subs the only defence

Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

www.citizensfordefence.org

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

Virginia sub in dry dock

Virginia sub in dry dock

Nuclear subs the only defence

The Collins class submarine is defective in 68 crucial areas of operation. This will take billions of dollars of taxpayer money to attempt to correct. The outcomes are far from guaranteed to be successful. (Secret Defence report signals Collins subs crisis, Cameron Stuart, 25-9)

The major parties are playing a game of Russian roulette with the defence of this nation by delaying decisions and refusing to fund renewal of our submarine fleet.

 Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine


Virginia submarine

The Collins failure was clearly evident in 2009 and the major parties could have bought and leased Virginia class nuclear attack submarines from the US which would have started to be delivered in 2017.

Scrap one or two Collins-class submarines for spare parts and refurbish the remaining 4-5 subs to a level where they could reliably accomplish short missions along the Australian coastline?

Lease several Virginia class subs for our immediate protection whilst we either build Virginia clones in Australia in partnership with the US builders or have them built in the US.

Why are our blinkered politicians so intent on building in South Australia yesterday’s submarine technology to fight tomorrow’s wars?

Coalition – show defence plan

Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

www.citizensfordefence.org

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

Jap sub attacked Garden Island naval base

Japanese sub attacked Garden Island naval base

Coalition – show defence plan

Bobby Bond SharpenedThe Australian Federal Government elections have produced a Coalition government with a healthy majority and a defence minister, Senator David Johnson sworn in to control our defence forces.

Senator Johnson to date has had quite an unremarkable stint as opposition defence minister for many years and so it is refreshing that he should come out in the Australian several days ago with headlines Defending sea lanes ‘a priority’, and quote this was one reason the navy needed highly capable long-range submarines to complement its surface warships.

Yet he is the minister in charge of defence in a party that has for years refused to consider nuclear powered submarines which are the only highly capable long-range submarines suitable for the vast oceans and seas surrounding Australia. US research shows that nuclear submarines are 2.2-6 times more effective than diesel powered subs and this firepower comes at a third of the cost.

Already, the Coalition has totally rejected the call for the Garden Island naval base in Sydney Harbour to be removed to a more suitable position on the east coast of Australia for the heavy maintenance of our ships which will be primarily stationed at Broome, Darwin, Townsville and hopefully Weipa in a forward posture setting.

Then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd introduced this policy during the recent elections and it is remarkable how many experts and commentators came out passionately and vehemently derided the suggestion. They gave no reasons for their opposition other than the cost and it has no strategic, tactical, or operational relevance to this nations defence.

Garden Island - Is this a fit place for the largest naval target in the land

Garden Island – Is this a fit place amongst the elite skyscrapers for the largest naval target in the land.

Well, citizens for defence do not claim to have the knowledge of these defence experts but surely they could explain to we laymen and women who want a robust defence force and posture  for our protection why this is so.

Whatever the cost, and it is in no way clear taken over a fifty year period that the benefits will not far outweigh the costs on purely monetary terms, the costs in potential deaths and destruction to our largest city and the elite living on the most valuable real estate in Australia will be horrendous if any war broke out.

Senator Johnson

Senator Johnson

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.

None of this need come about 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.

Move navy to northern bases

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

Robert Bond    Director    Citizens for Defence

www.citizensfordefence.org

Garden Island

Garden Island

 

Move navy to northern bases

Bobby Bond SharpenedPrime Minister Kevin Rudd intends to form a task force to look into closing the Garden Island naval base in Sydney harbour and moving the ships to HMAS Sterling, Broome, Darwin, and possibly Brisbane Townsville and Cairns.

At last we have a politician who can see the future need to build up our defences in Northern Australia. This task force will have a serious job to do in shaping our defence posture for the rest of this century.

Whether short sighted politicians will follow through when the time comes will be another Question.

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.

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.

The three hardened naval bases on our northern shores should be at Broome near the bare base RAAF Curtin, Darwin and Weipa in Cape York Peninsula near the bare base RAAF Scherger. These RAAF bare bases should be made fully operational over time to combine with the naval bases and provide air cover for the navy.

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.

RAAF Scherger

RAAF Scherger

Rudd has said that these relocations would not be funded out of the defence budget but I assume by special grants and sale of the Garden city site. Other bases in the south of Australia could be partially or totally sold off or reduced in size and those proceeds and savings put towards the proposed new bases.

These changes could lift our defence forces out of the present pathetic apathy because of governments starving them of funding. These new bases could double the effectiveness of our fighting forces in defending this nation at minimal additional cost when taken over thirty years.

Governments may see value for money in implementing this new plan and generously fund the changes resulting in the first time ever Australia reaches a point where it can defend itself with some vigour and purpose.

 

 

Australia Free Rides on US war machine

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

Robert Bond Director Citizens for Defence

www.citizensfordefence.org

Australia Free Rides on US war machine

bobSam Roggeveen in his post in the Lowy Interpreter blog “Free-riding may be selfish, but it works” seems to approve of the Australian nation milking the US Alliance for all it is worth in order that we can obtain US military protection for nothing.

If Former US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage in his plea for more Australian support for the Alliance evokes such sarcastic self interest by the Australian masses, then the Alliance has little future.

Sam, we hope is talking tongue in cheek when he says it works for Australia and he is right.

The US should realize that leading by example does not work with selfish Australians and saving us from the ravages of a marauding Asian nation in WW2 is of little relevance to the present generation.

Ideally, the US should reduce its defence budget to 1.48% of GDP to match Australia in the 13-14 financial year and mothball its fleet and missile systems saving a few old frigates and torpedo boats to match Australia’s contribution to the Alliance.

I can hear the howls of protest against the US from the “selfish” Australians denigrating the US for ratting on an Alliance partner.

The time has probably arrived when the US will have to segregate its military forces into homeland security forces and ally support forces. 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.227427-hillary-clinton-in-perth

The US has to put in place a set of incentives which values its military machine and the cost of maintaining it by the US taxpayers.

They should deal with Australia by,

  • · Under Aus 2% GDP for defence: no US Alliance support
  • · Under Aus 3% GDP for defence: US matches Aus defence effectiveness
  • · Under Aus 4% GDP for defence: US doubles Aus defence effectiveness.
  • · Over Aus 4% GDP for defence: US acts as a full Alliance partner

Even this arrangement would be incredible security value for Australia. We would know where we stand and would probably feel less like parasites feeding off the loins of the US war machine.

Build nuclear subs in Australia

Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

www.citizensfordefence.org

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

Aircraft carrier Nimitz

Aircraft carrier Nimitz

Build nuclear subs in Australia

bobBoth 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.

Nuclear submarine under way

Nuclear submarine under way

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.