Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

Too late to pull out of Australia’s botched super-expensive submarines purchase?

‘Lost the plot’: How an obsession with local jobs blew out Australia’s $90 billion submarine program, By Anthony GallowaySEPTEMBER 14, 2021   Nick Minchin isn’t surprised Australia’s future submarines are arriving later than expected and $40 billion more expensive. He has seen it all before……..

I was staggered by that, no wonder we ran into financial difficulties with Defence’s estimates of maintaining and operating these things,” Minchin tells The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age…………

Now, history is repeating itself.

Australia’s 12 new attack-class submarines – Australia’s largest military acquisition in its history – were originally slated to cost between $40 billion and $50 billion. According to the latest projections they will now cost about $90 billion to build and $145 billion to maintain over their life cycle. Despite the fact former prime minister Tony Abbott promised the first of the submarines would be in the water by the mid-2020s, it is now not scheduled to become operational until the mid-2030s.

In the current debate on Australia’s submarine debacle, French-bashing has been all the rage. And with French builder Naval Group’s cost blowouts, schedule slippages and dubious commitments on meeting local content requirements – it’s been an easy sport. But it’s worth asking: would we have arrived at this point regardless of which bidder we chose? After all, Defence’s acquisition debacles are not confined to French-designed submarines…………….

And it’s not just submarines where there are inherent problems………..

……………….  the Abbott government opted for a deeply flawed Competitive Evaluation Process which led to the current mess.”.

……….. On April 26, 2016, Turnbull announced France had won the hard-fought global race for the $50 billion contract and all the submarines would be built in Adelaide. According to Turnbull, the recommendation from Defence was “unequivocal” that the French proposal for a conventionally powered version of the latest French nuclear submarine design – the Shortfin Barracuda – was the best of the three options.

Is it too late to pull out?

Once Scott Morrison took over the prime ministership, the project was already going off course. By late 2019, Defence officials conceded that the cost of building and maintaining the submarines would total $225 billion over the life of the program, while concerns were mounting about Naval Group’s schedule slippages and its ability to meet its local content commitments, which were never written into the agreement.

…………. Morrison tasked Vice-Admiral Jonathan Mead and Commodore Tim Brown to look at alternative options for the submarine fleet, including long-range conventionally powered submarines that Swedish company Saab Kockums had offered the Dutch navy. The government also rejected Naval Group’s proposal outlining the next two-year phase of the program, telling the company it needed more information on how its cost and schedule projections would be met.

After taking over the defence portfolio, Peter Dutton told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age he was having some “frank discussions” with his department. A month later, Dutton revealed he had ordered life-of-type extensions for all six Collins-class submarines, which involves completely rebuilding them so they can continue to operate beyond their planned retirement date of the mid-2020s. Dutton also tasked Defence to embrace more asymmetric warfare capabilities by acquiring long-range missiles and drones, which can be “produced in bulk, more quickly and cheaply, and where their loss would be more tolerable, without significantly impacting our force posture”.

After taking over the defence portfolio, Peter Dutton told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age he was having some “frank discussions” with his department. A month later, Dutton revealed he had ordered life-of-type extensions for all six Collins-class submarines, which involves completely rebuilding them so they can continue to operate beyond their planned retirement date of the mid-2020s. Dutton also tasked Defence to embrace more asymmetric warfare capabilities by acquiring long-range missiles and drones, which can be “produced in bulk, more quickly and cheaply, and where their loss would be more tolerable, without significantly impacting our force posture”.

Within the next week, the government is expected to announce it has reached a deal with Naval Group on the next two-and-half years of the submarine program.

By then, it almost certainly will be too late to pull out.  https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/lost-the-plot-how-an-obsession-with-local-jobs-blew-out-australia-s-90-billion-submarine-program-20210913-p58r34.html



September 14, 2021 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, politics, weapons and war

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