Major Parties risk our sovereignty

Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

 www.citizensfordefence.org

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

Major Parties risk our sovereignty

 

bobPeter Layton in an ASPI blog has ably commented on defence and money and advocates doing less with less.

But the downside of this approach is a multi-fold increase in the security risk to this nation and its many concerned citizens.

Just how much risk does the average citizen want to carry in order to save a few dollars in the short term? Does he/she want to risk his/her very survival in order to save a few pieces of silver, especially when Australia is one of the richest nations on earth on a per capita basis?

Australia’s biggest defence problem today is that the US saved this nation a drubbing by the Japanese imperial forces by defeating the Japanese armada in the Coral Sea. The bombing of Darwin and Townsville as well as some submarine activity around Sydney harbour were the only military action seen on our motherland.

Nth Korean soldiers

Nth Korean soldiers

If the US aircraft carriers had been damaged and destroyed by the Japanese in the attack on Pearl Harbour as was the Japanese plan, Australia would almost certainly have been invaded with Sydney surrounded and under heavy bombardment before the US could hastily make temporary carriers out of merchant ships and limped back into the fight.

This 12 month delay by the US would have educated this nation to the realities of war against an Asian nation and would have completely changed the Australian psyche towards the need for an Israeli like defence force to guard our borders.

Ever since WW2 the US has been held out as our saviour and Australians have been only too happy to accommodate this myth by refusing to fund our defence force even to the tune of 4-5% OF GDP which is what our US ally has done for 70 years.

Australia has always to work under the assumption that probably one of our worst case scenarios short of all out nuclear war is if the US is engaged with its allies in a multi front conflict where the US has its frontline defences fully engaged and its reserve forces likewise engaged defending against conflicts of opportunity that are sure to arise in such a situation.

Nth Korean leader

Nth Korean leader

A prime event with a fifty, fifty chance in the next few decades must be North Korea bombing South Korea with the Chinese backing the North as well as taking over Taiwan. Other world nations with axes to grind would take advantage of this challenge to world order and initiate further regional conflicts.

Where does Australia stand without a functioning defence force? Our few warriors and third rate equipment would be expected to help the Coalition forces. `Without a defence force we could be invaded or stood over by any middling armed force on earth. We could spend all the money in the world on arms but in the 10-15 year time frame needed to have these weapons built and commissioned we could have been invaded ten times over.

Nth Korean missiles

Nth Korean missiles

Our massive mineral, oil and land assets shared by a small population must be a tempting prize to any middle power with an inkling of adventurism. We are inviting them in as surely as we invite the illegal immigrants into this nation with their leaky boats.

We have to man up and take possession of our northern waters, sea lanes and land mass now. Concerned citizens want to have a modern functioning defence force that can at least hold off any attacker in the event the US is otherwise occupied until help can arrive.

Defence analysts rarely quantify the risk this nation runs in being without credible defence. This is one reason why the average citizen has no idea of the potential dangers our politicians are placing on the security of this nation by refusing to fund to the US standard a high technology defence force capable of standing alone on Australia’s northern shores or as a coalition fighting for Australia’s interests.

Major Parties diplomacy meaningless without a modern defence force

Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

 www.citizensfordefence.org

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

Indonesian Islamists

Indonesian Islamists mocking the West

Major Parties diplomacy meaningless without a modern defence force

Bobby Bond Sharpened Kornelius Purba, editor of the Jakarta Post, states there are a thousand reasons Indonesians should hate Australia and this should be noted by the legion of Australian pacifists and do-gooders who want us to believe Indonesia is a purring kitten needing a friendly cuddle.

Australia gave Indonesia a billion dollars in the recent tsunami and where was the bulk of it spent? Have we to give them another billion dollars for them to continue to like us?

Australia cannot buy love from a neighbour. Indonesia has the most Muslims per head of population in the world and there is a violent Islamist element in Indonesian society that wants to kill innocent Australians and dominate the nation.

Let’s be realistic about our relationship with Indonesia and put any spare money we have to give away into developing our defensive posture in northern Australia.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd claims the simple act of turning boats around that contain illegal immigrants could cause military conflict with Indonesia is a prime example of the double standard given to the Indonesian relationship. If the Indonesians are prepared to take military action over such a non military issue it follows they would certainly use military force in many other areas (Papua) should the circumstances not suit them.

Indonesia has had several coup d’état in the past where dictators have reigned with great loss of life. Yet our Ivory Tower Academics have stared into the future and infallibly advised our government that an Islamist takeover will not happen and we need no defence preparedness.

The truth is the Islamists have already claimed northern Australia as part of a future Islamic kingdom and in the event of any Coup they could have a million militia with machetes and wearing sandals roaming the north and there would not be a single thing we could do to prevent them.

F35 stealth fighter

          F35 stealth fighter

The north is a comfortable overnight rubber duckie ride from Indonesia and given the lack of security, small population and remote locations it is possible for thousands of militants to land undetected.

Australia should do everything possible to have good relations with Indonesia short of trying to buy Indonesian friendliness. Certainly, the stupidity of Australian politicians was on display when they banned live cattle exports to Indonesia for 5 weeks without any consultation with Indonesia after one controversial TV programme on the ABC.

This kind of stupidity makes the world wonder just what is in the minds of our politicians when they can say on the bible they want friendly relations with Indonesia and then carry out such provocative actions against a trading partner.

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.

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.

Diplomacy starts with a credible modern defence force.

Major parties are clueless on subs

 

Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

 www.citizensfordefence.org

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

Virginia-class sub under construction

Virginia sub being built 

Major parties are clueless on subs

bobThe 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 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 are 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.

N-imagesCATA50TG

Sub underway

General Dynamics have been building the Virginia-class 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 20-25 years time.

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.

If the government and the deceased opposition had any gumption whatsoever on defence matters they would have ordered ten Virginia submarines in 2009 when it first became obvious that the Collins submarines were unable to defend our shores.

Today, we would be looking to take delivery of probably the best attack submarines in the world from 2017. Instead, we are being spun yarns by the major parties that we will get some antiquated diesel dinosaur sub delivered in 1935 with unknown specifications and a price tag double the ball park estimate of $36 billion in 2009 dollars.

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.

Nuclear subs are an election issue

Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

 www.citizensfordefence.org

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

Virginia-class sub under way

                                          Virginia-class sub under way

Nuclear subs are an election issue

bobGeneral Peter Cosgrove is chairman of the South Australian Defence Advisory Board and is strongly in favour of building 100 year old technology submarines in South Australia powered by diesel electric propulsion.

This is a recipe for disaster as the construction of our previous submarine in SA shows. The Collins-class submarine was built between February 1990 and March 2003. It has been a shipwreck ever since with Australia rarely having even 2 submarines capable of even sailing out to sea at the onetime let alone being fit to engage an enemy in battle.

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 re-certification testing.

At present, the Collins class is costing $105 million a year per submarine but this will quickly balloon out to $150 million per annum when substantial upgrades to the Collins class planned under DCP Project Sea 1439 (conservatively estimated at $30 million per ship per year to 2021) takes effect even though the Collins class availability is close to zero.

By contrast, a nuclear Ohio class submarine three times the size of the Collins class costs $50 million to operate per year with excellent availability.

Collins submarine

Collins submarine

The Collins-class is by far the dearest submarine in the world to maintain and yet it has never provided Australia with any sustained underwater defence capability since its construction.

It seems so out of character that our retired top brass would want our forces to defend our country with 90 year old technology diesel electric submarines that have an underwater range of some 50 nautical miles at 25 knots or 500 nautical miles at 4 knots. These 4000 tonne boats will always be limited in range by fuel restraints and battery storage. They will never outrun surface ships or be able to aggressively attack a modern enemy.

One would have thought a more appropriate submarine for Australia’s defence would be able to travel at 32 knots underwater around the world if necessary without surfacing, outrunning surface ships in the process and being able to dive to 250 metres. This submarine would weigh 7500 tonnes and carry 12 Tomahawk cruise missiles and 38 missiles and torpedoes as well as having 40,000 shaft horse power courtesy of a reliable S9G nuclear reactor.

Australia has to embrace nuclear energy for its own survival. Our small population means we have to have big effective weapons to protect our 36000 kilometres of coastline. Former US Rear Admiral John B Padgett 111 has cited studies indicating that ‘it takes 2.2 to six diesel-electric submarines to obtain the equivalent effectiveness of a single nuclear submarine’.

It is time for the politicians to put up or be exposed for their utter disregard for the security of this country by condemning this nation to rely on 100 yr old diesel electric technology which is only 20% as effective as nuclear technology. The sickening spin of the politicians should be put to the test in the mid Pacific Ocean with five Collins class subs and one Virginia-class sub undergoing a series of exercises to determine the effectiveness of each boat.

This armchair admiral suggests having a big noisy warship travel in an anti submarine random zigzag pattern at 25 knots with the Virginia sub defending the ship and the Collins subs attacking the ship.

The fact is Australia has never had anything like 5 subs available for active duty at the one time in the last decade and this just highlight the pathetic performance of our politicians in the whole sorry defence debacle.Minister of Defence Stephen Smith

This is the only way for our inept politicians to assess the performance of nuclear submarines and diesel electric submarines in realistic battle conditions.

At least then firepower, endurance, and value for money may get a look in to the blinkered minds of politicians.

Defence analysts on another planet

Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

                       www.citizensfordefence.org

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

SEA DAY ON HMS BULWA

  SEA DAY ON HMS BULWA

Defence analysts on another planet

bobAndrew Davies is a senior analyst of defence at ASPI who advocates Australia continues to spend a minuscule 1.6% of GDP on defence condemning this country to unacceptable risks of intimidation or worse by Asian nations in the region over the coming decades.

Nowhere in his article has Andrew estimated the extra risk his misguided suggestions will wreak on this nation if his bluff is called. How many lives will be lost, how many women raped, and how much property will be destroyed or commandeered, all because government and their analysts want to save a few pieces of silver in the short term?amphibious operations4

Nor does Andrew mention that our ally, the US has been spending 4-5% of GDP since WW2 on its defence and by default, our defence. This is 3% of GDP more than we pay and amounts to a direct subsidy to Australia of around $46 billion dollars in this financial year alone. Australia has been bludging on the US in similar fashion for the past 70 years and yet Andrew and many other analysts accept this reprehensible rorting of an ally as reasonable.

It is hard to fathom why defence analysts would advocate any security for Australia less than the maximum we can afford. Andrew actually admits no one can predict what conflicts may lay ahead in the future. It is laughable suggesting all Australia can aspire to is a stoush with a defenceless island state on our northern perimeters. This is not defence but an abhorrent cop-out of our responsibility to protect this nation to the best of our ability.

Australia should be capable of running a Falkland’s operation three times more effective than the British did, albeit at a third of the distance the British had to travel. What is stopping this nation from reaching its potential except spineless politicians and subservient analysts?

Unloading marines

Unloading marines

Shouldn’t the 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.

If our so-called analysts had been halfway determined to defend Australia, they would have bluntly told the politicians that we need nuclear submarines for our vast oceans and seas and to defend our amphibious ships. Two small aircraft carriers should be built that could accommodate 20 stealth VTOL F35 fighters and associated aircraft on each ship.

With more air warfare destroyers and nuclear submarines this could become a small hard hitting battle group which could be capable of credible amphibious operations for Australia’s defence or in an alliance with coalition forces. In Australian waters it could operate under the added air cover of ground based stealth attack aircraft extended by fuel tankers.

Amphibious fleet

Amphibious operations

What is the point of having half a fleet incapable of anything but assisting cyclone hit victims or earthquake events? It’s one and only true purpose must be for the maximum protection of Australia and this can only be achieved if it is built in to a coherent fleet with regular exercises with the air force and army to hone the whole defence forces war fighting capabilities.

Most of the university professors who call themselves defence analysts don’t get this and live on another planet. Australian citizens want palpable defence assets that we can see performing regular exercises which proves their capability to defend this nation if “sh*t happens”.

Retired general Jim Molan is not one of them. He has seen the ravages of war in Iraq at first hand and knows that defence capability cannot be compromised by mealy-mouthed analysts advocating a policy of “let’s hope for good luck” and save a bit of silver.

Future subs out position a nuclear sub, ha, ha!!!

Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

 www.citizensfordefence.org

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

Virginia sub in dry dock

Virginia sub in dry dock

Admiral Moffitt says “If we find our (diesel electric submarines) up against a (nuclear submarine) we defeat it by having our submarine in the right place,” (Subs need to be out there doing the damage, Brendan Nicholson, 25/5).

Admiral, we do not believe you. Prove it by challenging the US to supply a Virginia class nuclear attack submarine to go head to head with 5 Collins-class submarines in the mid Pacific Ocean.

This armchair admiral suggests having a large noisy warship travel in an anti submarine random zigzag pattern at 25 knots with the Virginia sub defending the ship and the Collins subs attacking the ship. All hits should be recorded and the whole process observed by independent observers instructed to report to the Australian people.

The politicians responsible for our defence force have never had 5 submarines available for duty at the one time in the last decade and they should declare how many sea worthy submarines they have available at present fit to oppose a Virginia class submarine.

Even if only 1, 2, or 3 subs are available the politicians should demonstrate to the Australian people that Admiral Moffitt’s statement is correct.

Considering the Australian diesel electric submarines can only reach a speed of 21 knots for 60 kilometers compared with a nuclear submarine that has a speed of 32 Knots for thousands of kilometers it behoves the government and opposition to clearly show how their diesel electric submarine can out position a nuclear submarine. It is an unbelievable suggestion.

It is a sad state of affairs when one cannot trust the judgment of politicians on defence issues anymore, especially when the whole future submarine project will cost over $50 billion which is 2 years of our paltry defence budget.

As far as “bang for the buck” goes it will be an absolute disaster.

Shipyards have to compete

Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

 www.citizensfordefence.org

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

Virginia control room

Virginia control room

Shipyards have to compete

bobUnless Australian shipyards can produce world class ships and submarines they have no future. The future submarine is doomed unless Australia can build a Virginia clone or equivalent with nuclear propulsion and all its high technology features.

Politicians are just throwing taxpayer money away if they persist in building a 4000 tonne submarine with state of the art combat and communication systems and then power it with a century old diesel electric propulsion system. This limits the submarine to a range of 60 kilometres submerged at 21 knots compared with a Virginia class nuclear attack submarine that can travel at 32 knots submerged far in excess of 60,000 kilometres.

Australia has to embrace nuclear energy for its own survival. Our small population means we have to have big effective weapons to protect our 36000 kilometres of coastline. Former US Rear Admiral John B Padgett 111 has cited studies indicating that ‘it takes 2.2 to six diesel-electric submarines to obtain the equivalent effectiveness of a single nuclear submarine’.

It is time for the politicians to put up or be exposed for their utter disregard for the security of this country by condemning this nation to rely on 100 yr old diesel electric technology which is only 20% as effective as nuclear technology. The sickening spin of the politicians should be put to the test in the mid Pacific Ocean with five Collins class subs and one Virginia-class sub undergoing a series of exercises to determine the effectiveness of each boat.

This armchair admiral suggests having a big warship travel in an anti submarine random zigzag pattern at 25 knots with the Virginia sub defending the ship and the Collins subs attacking the ship. They could have exercises where the Collins subs are in front, to the sides and at the rear of the warship with hits recorded and the whole process observed by independent observers instructed to report to the Australian people.

It is a sad state of affairs when one cannot trust the judgement of politicians on defence issues anymore, especially when the whole submarine project will cost over $50 billion which is 2 years of our pathetic defence budget. The fact is Australia has never had anything like 5 subs available for active duty at the one time in the last decade and this just highlight the pathetic performance of our politicians in the whole sorry defence debacle.

Virginia sub being built

Virginia sub being built

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.

BAE systems already are expected to build our diesel dinosaur subs and they build the new British Astute-Class. General Dynamics Electric Boat Company build the Virginia-Class sub in the US and already supply Australia with most of the combat and communications systems. The US has supplied Britain with nuclear propulsion technology in the past and hopefully would do the same for us provided the Electric Boat Company set up a subsidiary in Australia to assemble the boats.

It is high technology fire power that Australia desperately needs in its defence force and if Australian shipyards cannot provide it at a competitive price it has to be sought elsewhere.

The issue will never be settled even if the government arrogantly foists last century submarines on the Australian defence force.

 

Defence white paper 2013 so last century

Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

 www.citizensfordefence.org

Anti-aircraft_missiles

                             Anti-aircraft_missiles

CITIZENS FOR DEFENCE

Defence white paper so last century

bobThe Defence White Paper 2013 has been delivered by the Labor government and the dust has settled amongst the many analysts examining the paper.

Those analysts close to the government or subsidised by the government offered trivial incremental criticism encased in a broad acceptance of the paper.

Other independent observers came out and gave the government a thrashing it deserves for its lack of funding for the defence forces and the lack of any strategic plan.

The DWP 2013 is a fake political document designed to mislead the Australian public into believing the defence force is just treading water and will continue to proceed in the years ahead when the finances are brought forward.

F35

F35 Lightning 2 stealth fighter

But it is really treading water in the 20 km wide mouth of the Amazon River where the water seems calm but the mighty flow of the river is actually sweeping them into the ocean and oblivion.

The surge of funds flowing into weapons procurement in the Indo-Pacific region makes treading water on defence a sure fire recipe for ending up perishing in a tsunami of Asian nationalism and military eruptions.

The DWP 2013 is a last century relic suitable to a time when Australia could have a defence force edge over other nations in Asia.

This century heralds a new dawn where Indonesia boasts that it intends to have a bigger defence force than anyone else in the southern Asia. China maintains 1.25 million soldiers and has a massive arms building programme of conventional weapons as well as short and medium range conventional ballistic missiles, land attack and anti-ship cruise missiles, counter space weapons and military cyberspace systems

The time for Australia to build our defences is now, not when the rest of Asia has had decades to consolidate and hone their forces into war machines which can intimidate an unarmed Australia and deny the US sea and air space in the South Pacific.

Politicians should realise that 2% of GDP for defence spending is not acceptable in these circumstances. It insults our ally the US who has invested close to 5% of GDP for defence for the last 70 years. We have to man up. We have to match the US per capita and then some.

There needs to be a strategic plan where in a reasonable amount of time Australia will be able to project hard hitting power up to 2000 kilometres from its coastline inside of 4 days.

The RAAF bare bases Scherger at Weipa on Cape York Peninsula, Curtin at Derby WA, and Learmonth at Exmouth in WA should be built up progressively by installing top end radar installations, underground fuel and weapons supplies, hardened bunkers for command centres and portable defence missile batteries.

RAAF Scherger Cape York

RAAF Scherger Cape York

Surveillance drones should oversee the northern waters as well as aircraft and patrol boats. It is incredible how junk boats can travel at 4 knots and end up in Geraldton, Darwin and who knows how many other estuaries and coves around our northern coastline without being discovered.

Serious exercises should be held twice a year in the middle of summer and the middle of winter where a panel of interested citizens, retired army officers and media could observe the success or otherwise of these manoeuvres and inform the nation.

The defence forces have more public relations officers than tank commanders. These officers spin out the good side and hide the bad side of the defence forces performance.

These exercises could have the navy in an unknown position 1500 kilometres or more out to sea and on discovery by the normal surveillance methods an immediate mobilisation of fuel tankers, AWAC and electronic aircraft and stealth attack planes would proceed to the nearest northern airbase where within hours they would mount a coordinated attack out to sea with the use of the fuel tankers and AWACs etc. Missiles could be fired at drone targets.

This is the only way to be sure the force is coordinated and effective and in the end honed to perfection.

Several decades ago the armed forces had such an exercise and it was sickening to follow. The northern coast was under simulated attack and had to be defended. The air force did not have the range to find the attacking ships.

The army loaded up the Leopard tanks onto low loaders and headed up through South Australia to Alice Springs. It was a tortuous slow trip which culminated in the convoy being blocked in the Northern Territory by several bridges that had a load bearing weight less than the convoy.

It took many days to get army earthmoving equipment to make detours. Finally they got to the target area and the tanks were put into service. After two days the tanks halted because the air conditioners couldn’t cope with the extreme heat and the motors air filters could not cope with the red dust.

It was Dads army at its worst. The exercise was a complete failure and instead of learning from the exercise the defence force has never carried out another comprehensive exercise to this day to my knowledge.

A coordinated mobile force like the above is what the DWP should be about even if bases in the south have to be closed or reduced in size and valuable land in built up areas sold off. Having a Naval Base in Sydney harbour is obscene and should be sold off.

Australia is capable of defending itself if the politicians had the will and the media informed the nation of the pathetic state our defence forces are in.

Australia is a US bloodsucker

Professor Paul Dibb and other learned defence analysts suggest Australia’s defence budget should increase from 1.56% of GDP to 2% of GDP when funds become available.
Our Ally the US has just reduced its defence budget from nearly 5% of GDP to 4.1% of GDP which has caused much concern in the Western Minister of Defence Stephen Smithdemocracies.
Even at this reduced defence spending the US is subsidising Australian defence spending to over $30 billion per year.
Add this up for the 70 odd years since WW2 that the Americans have been doing this and our “free ride” on the US tax payer becomes obscene and an embarrassing exploitation of a good friend.
Surely our pride and our concern for our own security demand we match the percentage of US GDP spending.

Past and future Australian submarine fleet

 Robert Bond   Director   Citizens for Defence

 www.citizensfordefence.org

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]

2)      The Collins class submarines are 3051 tonnes surfaced and were built by the Australian Submarine Corporation at Port Adelaide South Australia between February 1990 and March 2003.[2]

3)      The sub can reach 10.5 knots (19.4km/hr) on the surface or at snorkel depth or 21 knots (39km/hr) submerged. The sub can travel 11,000 nautical miles (20,000 kms) surfaced or 9,000 nautical miles (17,000 kms) at snorkel depth.[3]

4)      When submerged the sub can travel 32.6 nautical miles (60.4km/hr) at 21 knots (39km/hr) or 480 nautical miles (890 kms) at 4 knots (7.4km/hr).[4]

5)      The sub can dive to over 180 metres deep with the exact figure classified.[5]

6)      The sub is powered by 3 x Garden Island-Hedemora HV V18b/15Ub (VB210) 18-cylinder diesel motors driving 3 x Jeumont-Schneider generators (1,400 kW, 440-volt DC).[6] A single 1 x Jeumont-Schneider DC motor (7,200 shp, 5.4 MW), drives a 1 x seven-bladed, 4.22 m (13.8 ft) diameter skewback propeller which propels the sub.[7]

7)      The sub has six 21-inch (530m) torpedo tubes and carries 22 torpedoes.[8]

HMAS_Sterling 18-9-12The 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]

9)      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.[10]

10)  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.[11]

11)  On April 14 2011 the Australian Strategic Policy Institute think tank wrote “…the boats have spent so little time in the water due to maintenance and crewing problems that the hulls have not been pressure cycled anywhere near to the extent anticipated. However, a life-of? type extension for the Collins is not an especially appealing prospect for a number of reasons. To start with, the drive train in the Collins has been problematic since day one, and attempts to keep the fleet going into the late 2020s would almost certainly require work to replace the highly problematic diesel engines (which are already ‘orphans’ in the world of maritime diesels). That alone is an undertaking requiring major engineering work, not to mention a lot of money. It is a simple fact of geometry that the engines can only be removed by cutting the pressure hull. Given that less complex mid-cycle dockings are taking 100 weeks to complete (against an anticipated 52 weeks), this exercise would result in considerable downtime. It could be that every five years of additional life would come at the cost of one or two extra years out of the water and/or conducting sea trials for each boat being upgraded. This would further exacerbate the already disappointingly low availability of the fleet.” [12]

12)  Aug 3/12: Problems continue. After reporting a successful torpedo firing and sinking exercise during RIMPAC 2012, Australia’s DoD reveals that a leak is forcing HMAS Farncomb to return to port immediately. Fortunately, the submarine was at periscope depth, and the problem “has been traced to a split in a hose on the submarine’s weight compensation system.” The Liberal Party’s shadow defence minister, David Johnson, reminds Sydney Morning Herald readers that these kinds of breakdowns are all too common:“Farncomb is no stranger to this kind of incident… In August it lost both its propulsion motor and emergency back up in deep water off the Western Australian coast. The second, a few months later in the South China Sea, involved a build up of toxic gases that had the crew wearing oxygen masks and blowing its emergency ballast tanks for a rapid ascent. In May last year another Collins Class submarine, HMAS Dechaineux was forced to return to Singapore for repairs after breaking down on its way to a training exercise, also in the South China Sea. It was the only submarine due to participate in the 5-nation exercise and the embarrassment was amplified when the Navy News published a pre-written account of its daring exploits on the presumption nothing could go wrong.”[13]

13)  April 21/12: Unsalvageable? Commander James Harrap, a 20-year navy veteran, resigns from the RAN after commanding both HMAS Waller and HMAS Collins. While the boats and their crews had “serviced the navy well and achieved much,” the media obtain a copy of his overall assessment. It is stark and scathing: scrap the class. “I don’t believe the Collins-class are sustainable in the long term and many of the expensive upgrade plans which have been proposed would be throwing good money after bad… Over the last two years, I believe these problems have become worse… Throughout my command of both Collins and Waller, full capability was never available and frequently over 50 per cent of the identified defects were awaiting stores… Collins has consistently been let down by some fundamental design flaws, leading to poor reliability and inconsistent performance. The constant stream of defects and operation control limitations makes getting to sea difficult, staying at sea harder and fighting the enemy a luxury only available once the first two have been overcome.” The submarines’ diesel engines come in for special criticism, but they are far from his only target. His final conclusion: “I do not believe we have the capability to independently design and build our own submarines.” The Australian .[14]

14)  Dec 13/11: Coles Review, Phase 1 Following its July 19/11 announcement (q.v.) and Nov 4/11 delivery, Phase 1 of the Coles Review of RAN submarine sustainment is made public. It goes so far as to call the government’s chosen structure to manage Australia’s submarine force “unfit for purpose,” and the report’s own statement of its raison d’etre is a concise summary of the fleet’s visible issues: “Despite increases in funding for sustainment, and strenuous efforts on the part of the various authorities and agencies involved, the level of submarine availability continues to fall. The length of dockings is increasing and submarines frequently have to return to harbour with problems. Loss of availability had also been caused by lack of crews, and the level of crew availability remains critical to the support of operations. Ministers became increasingly concerned about damage to the national reputation and frustrated at the apparent inability of Defence to sort out the problems……”.[15]

15)  Oct 15/11: $$$$ Australian media look at the Collins Class’ annual costs: “Figures obtained by the Herald Sun, show the six Collins subs cost about $630 million a year – or $105 million each – to maintain, making them the most expensive submarines ever to put to sea… The annual price for “sustainment” (maintenance and support) is $415.9 million for 2011-12 with operating costs running at $213.4 million for the year, for a total of $629.3 million. A US Navy Ohio Class nuclear attack submarine – more than three times the size of a Collins boat – costs about $50 million a year to operate.” See: Herald Sun | Courier Mail , incl. infographic | Australia’s Daily Telegraph .[16]

16)  At present, the Collins class is costing $105 million a year but this will quickly balloon out to $150 million per annum when substantial upgrades to the Collins class planned under DCP Project Sea 1439 (conservatively estimated at $30 million per ship per year to 2021)[17] takes effect even though the Collins class availability is close to zero. By contrast, a nuclear Ohio class submarine three times the size of the Collins class costs $50 million to operate per year with excellent availability.[18]

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.

18)  A (MOTS) purchase is the cheapest by far but these European subs are only 2000 tonnes and cannot meet the needs of the Australian navy as outlined in the defence White Paper. The French Scorpene class is a typical example with India purchasing six Scorpene submarines for US$3 billion in 2005.[20] The size of the (MOTS) submarines limits their capacity to launch unmanned undersea vehicle (UUV) deployment and Special Forces insertions. The Scorpene can do 20 knots (37km/hr) and has six torpedo tubes for its 18 torpedos.[21] It is best suited to coastline duties such as the Mediterranean where it operates close to its base.

19)  It is hard to see Australia testing out a new design because of the myriad of risks associated with the development of a new submarine. Cost overruns and technical and construction problems could delay the commissioning of this submarine to well over 15 years if the Collins example is to be repeated.[22]

20)  This year, there have been discussions between Japan and Australia about whether the Japanese Soryu class submarine would be suitable for Australian needs. It is 4000 tonnes and could become available to Australia because Japan has just lifted a ban on exporting military equipment to any country except the US. However, little is known about the systems or design of this sub, or whether Japan will reintroduce a ban on military systems in the future leaving Australia in the lurch for maintenance needs.[23]

21)  The government is attracted to repeating the same mistakes made in the building of the Collins class and that is to take a smaller European design of 2000 tonnes and enlarge the craft into a 4000 tonnes vessel. The degree of redesign will be determined by the suitability of the underlying design for Australian conditions and the changes necessary to meet the required range and endurance profile and to fit systems like a MOTS US combat system and (potentially) an Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) capability.[24]

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]  

23)  The Virginia-class nuclear attack submarine has a weight of 7,900 metric tonnes and is being built in the US at Newport by General Dynamics Electric Boat Company. The submarine costs $2.5 billion to buy and $50 million a year to operate. (based on 2012 prices) [26] SSN Virginia was commissioned in 2004 with 5 Virginia-class subs commissioned to date with 2 subs a year planned to be built from 2011 until 2025.

24)  These state of the art submarines can maintain a speed of 32 knots submerged for months on end travelling tens of thousands of kilometres in that time compared with an Australian built dieselectric submarine that will do little more than 21 knots for a distance of 32.6 nautical miles or 480 nautical miles at 4 knots.[27]

25)  In addition, the Virginia class submarines are equipped with five cutting edge sonar systems ranging from new active/passive sonar, to world leading low and high frequency towed sonar array backed up by the advanced electromagnetic signature reduction system built into it.[28]

26)  As well, this submarine has photonics masts instead of traditional periscopes located outside the pressure hull. Each mast contains high resolution cameras, along with light- intensification and infrared sensors, an infrared laser rangefinder, and an integrated electronic support measures array.[29]

27)  The Virginia Class new attack submarine is an advanced stealth multimission nuclear-powered submarine. The noise level of the Virginia-class is a lower acoustic signature than the Russian Improved Akula Class and fourth-generation attack submarines. To achieve this low acoustic signature, the Virginia incorporates newly designed anechoic coatings, isolated deck structures and a new design of propulsor.30]

 The propulsor stops corrosion and makes the ship stealthy

   

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]

The ships 16 vertical launch tomahawk missiles and 38 torpedoes

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]

33)  Oceanic and Naval Systems advanced SEAL delivery system (ASDS), to deliver special warfare forces such as navy sea air land (SEAL) reconnaissance units for counter teams or Marine -terrorism or localised conflict An integral lock-out / lock-in chamber is incorporated into the hull for special operations. The chamber can host a mini-submarine, such as Northrop Grumman’s operations. [37] 

The SEALs can exit the sub while its underwater by passing through this airlock