Another influential Australian Leftist who is keen on the navy

Sub fleet should be doubled says Kim Beazley -- even though new ones are already planned. Tony Blair recently ordered two big new aircraft carriers for Britain so maybe the moderate Left is going back to a Theodore Roosevelt mentality. But big Kim always did like military hardware. Excerpt below

AUSTRALIA may need to double the size of its submarine fleet tocounter the growing and deadly threat posed by rival submarines in the region, former defence minister Kim Beazley said yesterday. His comments come after The Australian this week revealed that Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon had ordered planning to begin on the next generation of submarines to replace the six Collins-class boats when they are retired in 2025.

Mr Beazley also called on the Rudd Government to urgently tackle what he said was a "glaring weakness" in Australia's anti-submarine warfare capabilities. "This weakness comes at a time when (the navy) will soon be producing the best submarine targets in the region with the new air warfare destroyers and amphibious landing ships," Mr Beazley told The Weekend Australian.

Mr Beazley, who ordered the Collins-class submarines when he was defence minister in the 1980s, said the strategic scenario facing Australia had changed and that a larger submarine fleet was needed. "I think we need to have up to 12 submarines because of the numbers of submarines being developed elsewhere," he said. "This project will be of vital significance to Australia at a time when submarines are increasingly becoming multi-purpose platforms (for warfare)."

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Posted by John Ray

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