Under a new treaty AUKUS, the US, UK and Australia will share technology to co-operate in the construction of an eight nuclear sub fleet for Australia.
There is discussion of the US Virginia class or the UK Astute class being possibilities.
While construction in Adelaide, South Australia is the ideal outcome, buying or constructing in their countries of origin still seems to be on the table.
The possibility of leasing boats for training while construction is underway is also being considered.
We will trundle over to Aussie to exercise. The Collins class took a while to sort out their many problems and I think next time they will follow the overseas design more closely if the next class are built in South Australia.
Hopefully (for the Ozzy tax payers) they will be built in the UK or US. If the Oz shipbuilding industry is as unionised as their merchant fleet and ports then they won’t get their boats for 30 years or so.
China and France aren’t happy and for some reason the EU thinks they should have been consulted.
I have some sympathy for the French who lost a $90 billion dollar contract for 10 diesel boats (Shortfin Barracuda), but the strategic situation was very different when that contract was negotiated and the price was quoted at $50 billion.
The situation now with China has changed everything and the $90 billion price tag was going into the nuke price range.
Our Australian defence procurement has always been barely short of appalling and ill-considered.
For a country of 25 million souls our tax base is very limited yet the bureaucracy and politicians must believe that we have 25 billion money trees growing in our arid regions.
If Aus fears China, then they need to get serious about defense. Presently, they’re defending an entire continent with three destroyers and eight frigates, and a total Navy personnel size that is 1/3 the size of the New York police force. Their best defense would be a population of 100 million people and the tax base to support two carrier battle groups. But that’s not going to happen.
So a few state-of-the-art subs seems a reasonable investment in national defense, which is always costly.
I absolutely agree that the next logical step in procurement would be long range nuclear capability. My issue is that, once again, the correct decision is not made in the first instance. The Chinese have been pushing into nuclear submarine capability for the last 50 years and have been partially assisted by the Sino-Russian alliance.
The US/UK/ AUS submarine alliance is a no brainer.
The Collins class procurement was flawed. They had many problems in service.
The recent Hobart Class AWD program saw a foreign design built in Australia. The vessels were constructed as separate modules built by different companies around the country. Costs blew out and there were issues with quality control.
I get very frustrated with the waste of available funding when we have such a limited and finite tax base.
“As said, the idea of converting an SSN to an SSK was rather hare-brained to begin with, so I don’t blame them for struggling to deliver. However, if it is supposed to be a strategic partnership between countries, I fail to see how the diplomats weren’t involved to a greater extent at an earlier stage and why a greater priority wasn’t assigned? It might certainly have been the Australian partners who struggled, but in that case Naval Group would have been the one who needed to step up and ensure the success, so that isn’t an explanation in my book either. Hindsight might be 20-20, but the only explanation is that it wasn’t evident in France exactly how fed up the Australian politicians were with the project falling behind. “