A bit surprising from a centre-Left government. Perhaps they are as conservative as they say they are. Or is this just a pork-barrel project for the faltering South Australia economy? I can see another economic disaster unfolding however. It doesn't look likely but pray to all your gods that Australia buys something off the shelf this time. Buying unproven designs has never worked well: behind time, over budget and lacking capabilities has been the routine result in the past
AUSTRALIA will build the world's most lethal conventional submarine fleet, capable of carrying long-range cruise missiles and futuristic midget-subs, to combat an expected arms race in the region. Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon has ordered planning to begin on the next generation of submarines to replace the Royal Australian Navy's Collins-class fleet [which they have just recently finally got working!] with the aim of gaining "first pass" approval for the design phase from cabinet's National Security Committee in 2011.
The 17-year project will be the largest, longest and most expensive defence acquisition since Federation, potentially costing up to $25 billion. It comes at a time when regional navies such as Indonesia's, China's and India's are seeking to dramatically expand their submarine fleets, potentially altering the balance of naval power in the region. "There is widespread agreement that submarines provide a vital military capability for Australia," Mr Fitzgibbon said. "The development of new submarines requires long-term planning and needs to progress quickly, and that's what I have asked for.".....
Post by John Ray